Quake: Scourge of Armagon is an expansion pack to the original Quake that introduces new enemies, new weapons and a slew of new levels to shoot your way through. The most noticeable difference from the get go is the amazing new soundtrack added to this expansion. While the original Quake had creepy ambient music that put a sense of dread to the environment the music in this is either heavy metal or some rather dark sounding techno that will have you involuntarily headbanging. This new soundtrack suits the game as the levels are filled with far more enemies at any one time so you’ll be shooting more often than not. Unfortunately like the original Quake the soundtrack in this has been cut out of the game leaving it with nothing but sound effects. If you are not willing to mod the music back in I would suggest you skip this expansion all together as it just isn’t Quake without the soundtrack. This expansion is far harder than the original game and will require you to put your former experience to the test as they can and will throw tons of high level monsters at you at once.
Enemy placement is also far more cruel and you will often times be face to face with the likes of a Vore (spider demon). It is necessary to keep your finger on the fire button at all times as any delay can lead to your untimely death. This expansion pack is not just a bunch of levels to shoot your way through as the level design is also quite different in that it has an Adventure game like feel to it. For example you will be running from falling boulders, trying to squeeze your way through spinning grinders to press a switch and a few narrow steel beams you must cross over bottomless pit. Most of these environmental hazards that differentiated it from the base game are only found in the first few levels and then it’s mostly shooting bad guys in your face with the gun of your choosing. A new weapon added is a grenade launcher that shoots grenades and won’t detonate until someone steps near it, whether that be you or the enemy it doesn’t differentiate and may cause your death if misused. The next weapon you will encounter is a laser weapons that fires bouncing balls that is very useful for shooting enemies around a corner. Last but not least is a mighty hammer that will electrocute any surrounding enemies though it does take up cell ammo.
You will need all the help you can get as the new enemies are equally as deadly as your new found arsenal. One of the first new enemies that you will meet is a giant robotic scorpion that shoots nails at you. It is a very deadly enemy as these nails move quite fast and are hard to avoid. The next one is called a Gremlin which leaps at you and will steal whatever weapon you are holding. It also has the ability to chow down on corpses and spawn more Gremlins so taking care of any you see should come as a priority if you don’t want a small army of them after you. Lastly is a floating hunk of meat called a Spike Mine that will explode in your face if you let it get close enough. It sounds like an easy enough task to simply not let it close to you but these guys are pretty sneaky and while they do emit a distinct sound it is rather hard to hear, making it too late once you see it flying overhead like a deadly piñata. One hit is all it takes for these guys to kill you so while they are the weakest enemies they are also the most dangerous. All of the monsters from the base game are back and ready to rip you in half though thankfully the Slimes are only encountered once in this expansion. You will be facing a lot more of the grunts and Rottweilers as the entire first episode is set on Earth.
There are three episodes overall and it is quite a lengthy expansion pack considering it took me about 6 hours to complete while the base game took me 8. The story is as unimportant as ever and involves a creature called Armagon taking control of the hellish forces after the demise of last game’s bad guy and attacking Earth yet again. It is up to you to go into hell and take him down. Thankfully there is an actual final boss fight in this unlike the underwhelming ending in the original. The story is as minimal as ever and will only give you a few lines of text at the end of an episode. The environments you will be exploring are pretty interesting and range from a church, some type of building floating in pitch black darkness and some levels with rivers of blood. Some environments can now blow up in certain set sequences and annoyingly enough the debris from the wall can still damage you for some unknown reason causing you to wait around until they disappear so you can walk to the objective safely.
New items include the Wetsuit which will allow you to breathe underwater and reflects electric type attacks. A rather strange shield that reflects half of the damage you take back to the enemy and last but not least a horn that summons friendly monsters. These monsters will follow you around until they die and what monster you get is up solely to luck. Secrets are plentiful and as difficult as ever to find though it does help to keep an eye out as ammo can be rather scare at times. Running out of ammo is a death sentence as the axe does little damage and has very short range, even if you are lucky enough to have the hammer it has the same range as the axe and it is a rather bad idea to face someone with a chainsaw for an arm or a giant scorpion in melee combat. When all is said and done this is quite a meaty expansion pack with all that we loved about Quake but cranked to 11. If you didn’t like Quake the first time around there is nothing here that will convert you though for those that loved the original, Scourge of Armagon definitely lives up to the standards set by the original developers ID and may actually be even better given that you prefer pure action and more difficulty. Why they took away the soundtrack is unknown to me but if you are willing to put in the little effort to get it back this will definitely give you more of what you loved about Quake.