Midway at one time seemed to be the guys that were going to be handling the reigns of id on the home consoles, that didn't necessarily stay the case, but they did handle a couple really nice games for id in the form of DOOM 64 and Quake. The point of Quake, innitially on the PC was to actually get a FPS running on a PC with actual 3D hardware. Show off what id can do with a PC running the new high end hardware at the time, and away they went. The point was at the time here could the Nintendo 64 handle a PC style port of Quake? We knew that from a technical standpoint it could, just look what Lobotomy pulled out of the Saturn's version of Quake, which is now a legendary port of the game. Here it is, a review of the Nintendo 64's version of Quake.
Right from the start, those of you that are familiar with the PC version of Quake, you are going to be bummed in the fact that Trent Reznor's, of Nine Inch Nails Fame, amazing score for the PC version is not here. Trent did not want his music messed with outside of the digital realm, so Midway was not allowed to use the music. Sad too because I really believe that Midway could have possibly gotten really close on this one, but there you have it. Don't blame Midway for not trying because the soundtrack is actually one of the factors that held up the release of the game. They wanted the Reznor music intact. Now that we have that out of the way, let's focus on the game at hand, shall we?
The graphics are very nice. You might notice that the dark graphics of the PC version are not present here. Okay, so the brown tones are not exacly the same, but what you do get are some pretty damn gloomy effects anyway and level designs that mimic the PC versions very well. I am sure there are a few places here and there that are different, but as of this point, I have still not seen any, outside of the very beginning of the game where you can pick which chapter of the game to play, that is missing. The game is now scaled into a level by level design similar to the same console set up of DOOM. I personally am not too wild about it, but cannot fault the game for it either, it was the way of Console games at the time. All of your enemies are here, your weapons and traps, as well as slip gates, and yeah, they still can get crazy. Wait until you try and escape a grenade through one and the grenade actually follows you trough! That's something new! All in all, game design wise it is Quake from the ground up with some very nice graphical tricks for the 64 version only. Also, just for the purist in you, the game has the option to turn off the damn filter! Now you got a version that looks closer to the PC original and not as much Fuzz!
The controls for this release of Quake are solid and work very well with the Nintendo 64 controller. It is one of the more responsive FPS's on console I can remember when taking the analogue into consideration. This ain't a bad thing either, it's a good thing. Other nice things here where control is concerned: The controls do not slip when you play Deathmatch! Yup, the Nintendo 64 version does have Deathmatch mode intact! More on that in a moment. The sounds are wicked identical to the PC Version of the game, which is a good thing for people wanting to experience what Quake is supposed to be like. The only thing changed is the music. I know that this is a big deal to a point, but the music that was created for the game by Aubrey Hodges, who also did the music for DOOM 64 and the Playstation release of DOOM, is very well done and very moody. It may not capture the same creep factor that Reznor's work does, but that was a hard pill to swallow I am sure. He did a great job for what he had. It may not be Reznor's vision, but it works very well and gives the game about the same atmosphere. Not bad at all.
Deathmatch is in the game, although it is only two player. Very sad when you look at the whole package as Goldeneye and the later released Quake II had four player deathmatch as well, but considering midway were running out of time and over budget due to the soundtrack hic ups, I think it comes off well, especially when you look at the fact that they were going to ditch the feature entirely at first but had a bit of time at the end of the wire to squeeze it in and do it well. The arena's are nicely built and it is still a blast to run trough the game with your buddy and shoot the **** out of him!
All in all, it is a very impressive port of the PC original and I still would recommend it to my friends. I wont comment on which console version I like better because I enjoy them both for different reasons. This game is a killer game no matter what it's on and I say that if you have the Nintendo 64 and do not have Quake but like FPS games and are sick of your precious Golden Eye, pick it up. The game is awesome and this is an awesome port, especially when you know everything Midway went through to get it out the door.