Dissolution of Eternity is the second and final expansion pack released for Quake. It takes place directly after the first mission pack which finds our hero returning back to Earth and soon realizing that the fight is far from over. Keeping in the game’s tradition, we start off in a hub-world where we walk through a portal to select our difficulty, as well as one of the two episodes available in this pack. You can enter whichever episode you please, but ideally, you’ll want to enter from the first to give yourself time to adjust to the new features and feel the progression. Fitting for the final task in the hellish Quake 1 universe, it pulls no punches, and you will have to put everything you’ve learned on your journey here to good use. Higher tier enemies are far more common, and traps are aplenty with both of their placements usually being designed to catch the player by surprise.
After some time of mowing down our foes using our trusty shotgun, its big new feature will soon make an appearance. Certain weapons now have alternative ammo such as flaming nails, cluster-bomb grenades, an energy ball and firing multiple rockets in a single blast. These are powerful new additions to our arsenal that more than balance the playing field and in fact, may oddly enough actually sway it towards our favor. You essentially can carry twice the amount of ammo meaning you can be far more liberal while laying down glorious, though slightly overkill death upon all that stand in your way. As mentioned, not only are powerful enemies more common now, they are also more numerous making for some pretty crazy battles. Since ammo is never really an issue, it is tempting to have the heavy hitting weapons such as the rocket launcher on hand at all times, but that will likely end with you harming yourself as much as your foes.
Enemy placement is pretty fiendish, at times feeling like you are playing a mod designed to troll you. If you think something is going to go wrong, it probably will. From ogres suddenly spawning behind you and introducing their chainsaw into your spine to turning sharp corners only to be pounced on by a fiend, it is best to never let your guard down. It will never reach the point of being frustrating though it does get a tad tedious seeing the same tricks used so frequently. Level design this time around ranges from good, decent, and in a few maps I’d go as far as calling them below average. Some of the levels have a hard time keeping a good flow, especially when keycards come into the equation. If you haven’t memorized where the colored door for that key is, occasionally the only way they nudge you along is to spawn a few weak enemies to give you an obvious trail. This doesn’t feel as natural as the base game and even the first expansion pack that guided you along in more subtly. It is the weakest of the two expansion packs in that regard, though overall it is a worthwhile set of 16 maps and by no means terrible.
Traps and platforming take on a much more prominent role in Dissolution of Eternity. Electric barriers, saw blades, swinging pendulums and more await to slaughter players a bit too eager to rush into the next fight. In a few maps, periodic earthquakes may occur which completely screw with your handling and brings to mind a game of pinball as you smash into walls across the entire level while attempting to progress. It is a neat idea, but they simply occur too often and last too long, making it more of an annoyance than anything. Seeing some structures crumble under its wrath is admittedly cool however. On rare occasions, you will find power-ups placed throughout the levels, and there are two new ones to be discovered in single player. First, you have the Power Shield that dramatically reduces the damage you take. The second one is a bit more interesting and called the Anti-Grav Belt. It allows you to jump great distances and slowly fall back down as if you were on the moon. Like the vanilla power-ups, these too will disappear after a bit of time has passed, so make use of them while you can.
There is a multitude of new enemies and bosses to encounter. A surprising amount in fact. They have pretty much doubled the roster of monsters with all these new additions. Granted, many are simple reskins or have a slightly different attack such as the ogre that launches cluster grenades now, but it is an impressive amount of effort nonetheless. Among my favorites have to be the statues. They are reskins of the Knight, though now possess one vital new difference in that they are indestructible until you trigger a specific event. Whether that event is flipping a trigger or merely walking past them will be anyone’s guess, making crossing in front of such efficient melee fighters quite intense as you brace yourself for anything. Another interesting foe is the Wrath who floats through the air and fires homing beacons similar to the Vore. What truly makes it dangerous is the deadly black gas it releases when it dies, that will really mess up your day if you are unfortunate enough to get caught in that blast. These are just a few that you’ll encounter, and they do add new, fascinating things to be aware of during the heat of battle.
Quake and its first expansion pack were one of the first games I’ve reviewed on this site well over two years ago. In that time we have gotten Quake Champions, a spiritual successor to Quake 3, and it is a shame Bethesda still hasn’t gotten around to fixing the soundtrack’s legal issues with the original games of the series. You see, the soundtrack has been cut from the base game as well as its expansion packs, and it falls to the players to go out of their way and patch it back in. It is not the end of the world though it is an unfortunate extra step to get this game running as it was intended to back in the day. With that out of the way, Dissolution of Eternity features a brand new soundtrack that is well worth listening to. Like the expansion pack before it, it does away with the creepy ambient music of the base game in exchange for one that gets the blood pumping which is even more fitting in this due to the high enemy count.
The developers behind this really have a love for rocket jumping which I certainly approve of and has most of the secrets only within reach if you are willing to shoot an explosive right beneath your own feet. While that may sound like madness to the younger readers, doing so carries the originally unintended effect in which that blast will propel you far higher than you can ever hope to jump and allow you to reach new places. Ironically enough, Map 07 has a glitched out elevator, and you are forced to rocket jump to your destination in order to progress. It is one heck of a jump to make it to the third floor, and you will need to use the rocket launchers alt fire for a strong enough blast to reach it. If you don’t have enough health to survive that, your only other resource will be to cheat. This is the only glitch I’ve encountered, but it is one major enough that I’d recommend keeping it in mind as you decide whether to purchase this expansion pack or not.
16 maps, a ton of new standard enemies and bosses, an original soundtrack and new ways to use existing weapons is what is on offer here. In total it should last you upwards of five hours and features the best ending so far. You will deplete everything you’ve gathered so far as you fight that magnificent end boss and in all likelihood, come out of it half dead and with a grin of disbelief on your face as you emerge triumphant. Truly a perfect way to send off such an iconic game and perfectly illustrates how this expansion pack can really shine during its high points. It has its flaws no doubt, such as the nasty bug on Map 07, and the removal of its soundtrack that the rest of the older games also suffer from, but is certainly worthy of being in your collection. With Dissolution of Eternity, you will encounter your greatest challenge yet and will finally have a chance to finish the fight for good with a neigh unstoppable hail of firepower carving your path.