Quake is a first person shooter that has you traveling through four different dimensions in search of runes that will allow you to fight the main villain. That is pretty much all the story you get and it is up to you to reach the end of each level until you retrieve a rune and must go to the next dimension. You are free to choose whichever dimension to go to first but I suggest going from left to right since that introduces all the weapons and enemies much more smoothly. Starting off you must walk into a portal to choose which difficulty you want and to select hard you have to jump over lava which was a nice touch. Your starting weapon is a shotgun, which sounds a lot more awesome than you may think since it is pretty much as useless as the pistol from Doom, disappointingly enough.
This is a very fast paced shooter where your moving speed is swifter than that of most games sprinting speed these days, which really comes in handy when there is an enemy pouncing toward you and another is shooting grenades at you. Learning an enemy and its weaknesses is vital to surviving as you will be under attack by several different types of enemies at once and must learn to choose which one poses the biggest threat or simply how to spot an opening. Like in Doom, they will also attack each other if they accidentally hit one another, and that can be very advantageous if you have enough skill to cause the enemies to attack each other to the death, as it saves you both ammo and the risk of taking them on yourself. It is still exhilarating gameplay after all this time and is just as fun today as it was back then.
Environments are still rather acceptable and the atmosphere retains a strong horror vibe to it. Character models have not aged well at all and are rather laughable unfortunately. You will not have time to gawk at them though unless you want a chainsaw to the face. Enemies are pretty versatile since most have both a ranged and close quarters attack. An example is an enemy with a chainsaw attacked to its arm that will use it when you get too close and a grenade launcher when you are at a distance. That is just one enemy, they usually through multiple types of monsters at you and adapting on the fly is the biggest part of winning a battle. All the enemies are instantly vastly different from one another and instantly recognizable which is an important thing in these type of games. Even a slime is more than capable of killing you if you are not careful.
That same level of awareness is necessary when traversing the levels. You are in their world and if something looks too good to be true it most likely is. One thing that I found strange at first is that there is no activate button and you most shoot or simply walk into to switches to activate them. I was unsure how to feel about this at first, but risking a bit of ammo to shoot something that looks out of place and suspicious to find hidden secrets did end up being much better than pressing your face against walls and mashing the activate key like in Doom. Level design is amazing in Quake and each level somehow manages to feel different than the last. The four dimensions do end up blending together in my mind though since they don’t really have any real noticeable gimmicks to differentiate them from one another. There is an extra dimension to fight the bad guy but it is a tiny level and ended up being a very disappointing fight.
As mentioned before your basic weapon to fend off monsters is an underwhelming shotgun and a fire axe in case you are desperate. There is also a double barreled shotgun you come across later on but it is probably one of the most disappointing shotguns I have used in recent memory. It takes about 5-6 point blank shots to take out some of the most common enemies which makes the game feel bullet spongy but worse still it burns through ammo which you can only carry 100 of that type. A huge disappointment after the legendary double barreled shotgun from Doom 2. Other weapons fare much better and are a lot more useful. There are two versions of guns that shoot nails and are very useful against enemies though ammo does go by quickly. Your most useful weapon will be a grenade launcher which outputs a huge amount of damage and ammo is plentiful though you will obviously not want to use it when enemies are close by.
As is typical from games of this era, there are health kits to replenish your health and armor pickups that will allow you to take more damage. There are other pickups like a hazmat suit that lets you walk on hazards, a quad damage pickup that allows you to completely dominate your foes , a protection pick up that makes you invulnerable for a while and a golden ring that turns you invisible. Turning invisible sounds cool in theory but once you fire at an enemy they can see you perfectly and avoiding them may not be the wisest choice as you may be attacked by those same enemies if they hear a battle nearby. On the topic of sound one thing that must be mentioned is that the Steam version had all the music removed. I don’t know why but if you do not want to put it back in I wouldn’t even bother playing this game.
Quake is still a very playable game if you can get past the dated graphics. It is unlike any other shooter released today and is an extinct brand of FPS which is a real shame. If you are buying it expecting multiplayer do know the community is dead and there are no bots so it all falls to the single player. One heck of a campaign though and it should last you about 6 hours. There is no real reason to play it again other than for fun or wanting to try the hidden difficulty mode. It is a perfect game to pick up and play when you are bored since most levels are only 10 to 15 minutes long. If you are on the lookout for some fast paced FPS action or simply want to see why the Quake series is held in such high regards by most, Quake 1 is highly recommended.