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Old School Gameplay Collides With Modern Graphics

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the film-at-eleven dept.

PC Games (Games) 314

While console shooters like Halo have gotten a lot of press in recent years, I will freely admit to being a PC man first and foremost when it comes to the genre. Getting the chance to use mouselook and engage in some old-fashioned shooter action is a wonderful nostalgic thrill. While stories are nice, brainless, shiny, visceral action still has a place in modern games. Proving that tried-and-true formulas are still enjoyable today, Star Wars Battlefront II and Quake IV deliver visually impressive violence-fests that uphold their series pedigrees with distinction. Read on for my impressions of these two new games with thoroughly familiar experiences.

  • Title: Quake IV
  • Developer: Raven Software
  • Publisher: Activision
  • System: PC (360)
  • Reviewer: Zonk
  • Score: 7/10

Although Unreal Tournament has been the game of choice at most of the LAN parties I've been to, Quake 3 has always been my preferred way of dealing out rocket love. The game's combination of frenetic action and gothic trappings is something I've never been able to get enough of. Developed by my hometown's most well known player in the games industry (sorry Human Head), the most recent entry in the Quake series updates its look ... and not much else.

Quake IV is the story of a marine participating in the invasion of the planet Stroggos. After the events of Quake and Quake II, humanity has had enough and is taking the fight to the dirty space aliens that wrecked up our planet. The single-player mission that explores this story is well presented. The developers seem determined to have Quake stand up to more modern gaming experiences, and there are some successes on that front. Quake IV's AI is nothing particularly intriguing for most of the game. While both your soldier buddies and alien opponents will occasionally take some cover, for the most part they have a saturation-with-plasma-fire approach to combat. Towards the end of your combat tour, though, highly intelligent Strogg become your opponents. They're highly aggressive, have the same weapons you do, and know enough to get behind a crate when a grenade lands in front of them. It would have been interesting to fight more of these baddies throughout the game, as for the most part the average Strogg is cannon fodder.

The story itself features elements you'd never expect from a Quake title. There's a little bit of mission variety, for one, with some fetch the hoozle missions, escort missions, and rail shooting mixed in with the usual run and gun. While they all devolve into 'shoot things and keep moving' it's obvious that Raven put some thought into providing a variety of experiences. At least one level actually takes you out of the fighting and attempts to flesh out your understanding of protagonist Michael Kane's world. You're given the chance to wander around part of a dropship, encountering fellow marines and overhearing numerous scripted conversations. While it can't hold a candle to City 17, the non-combat detail is a first for the series and once again shows Raven's commitment to modernity.

The problem, such as it is, comes in the fact that the minute-to-minute gameplay is virtually unchanged from the Quake II days. It looks better, to be sure, but you run down a hallway, some Strogg jump out, you shoot them. Repeat until level clear, then repeat until game finish. While I personally have no problem with that venerable and highly enjoyable sequence of events, be forewarned that if you play Quake IV you're just not going to encounter many of the aspects that are hallmarks of modern FPS titles.

As you'd expect from something built on the Doom engine, Quake IV looks terrific. One reason that the graphics stand out so much is that, unlike in Doom 3, you can actually see the environments, objects, and creatures around you. While there are some dark sequences several of your weapons have flashlights built into them, making the darkness more ambiance than gameplay element. Character appearance and animation is top notch, and the scare factor of critters leaping at you is heightened by the sometimes disturbing ways in which Stroggification has warped your opponent's appearance. Composed sound elements plays a subdued role, with minimal musical cues doing their best not to get in the way of the action. Sound effects are loud and for the most part satisfying. Weapons have weight, and cries of anger and pain definitely get across success or failure as you shoot at an enemy.

If the last game in the series is any indication, there are a lot of you out there that couldn't care less about the last few paragraphs I've written. The multiplayer aspect to id games is always top notch, and this one is no exception. Quake IV is Quake 3 redux, right down to the jump-pads and the announcer. Weapons have no reload time, and level design is focused on making sure there are plenty of fragging opportunities. As with previous titles in the series Deathmatch seems to be the design focus. 16-player maps seem to be the order of the day, with several even lifted directly from Quake 3. Gameplay is extremely fast, and the twitch-bunnies you'll face online make the AI in the single player campaign look like statues. In order to get the kind of response I wanted from my online experience, I had to turn down some of the settings I was using for the single player missions. With some of the more expensive shinies turned off, the game responded quickly and I had no problems staying in the fight.

Despite the game's adherence to elements from previous Quake games, Quake IV somehow fails to capture nostalgia and comes off feeling retread. The modern graphics simply highlight the sometimes simplistic level design, and while there are some physics elements used in the game for the most part the Doom engine feels more funhouse than realistic environment. Gameplay, too, feels very much like the same experience we had in 1999. Nostalgia is one thing, but the fact that the Quake world has nothing new to offer after a six year lapse is frustrating. The bottom line: if you've played previous iterations in the Quake series and enjoyed them, you'll like Quake IV. It's a solid, fast, frantic style of FPS that is becoming far less common nowadays. The frustrating mix of new and old may throw gamers who aren't fans of the franchise and accepting of gameplay from the previous decade.

  • Title: Star Wars Battlefront II
  • Developer: Pandemic Studios
  • Publisher: Lucasarts
  • System: PC (PS2, PSP, XBox)
  • Reviewer: Zonk
  • Score: 8/10

The original Star Wars Battlefront (SWB) was the a traditional FPS title that did a competent job of capturing some of the essential atmosphere of the Star Wars franchise. Putting you in the boots of J. Random Clone, the opportunity to see the Battle of Hoth or fight in the streets of Theed was powerful mojo for Star Wars fans. Star Wars Battlefront II upholds the standard of the original title, and successfully expands its scope with new places to fight and new ways to go into combat.

With the exception of the Super Star Wars series of titles back in the SNES days, Star Wars movie-specific game titles have almost universally disappointed. The blending of the mythology into a more cohesive whole makes for a much richer and ultimately more rewarding environment to set a game, and SWB II makes full use of all six movies. The single-player campaign starts you off in the final days of the Clone War, filling the boots of a Clone Trooper under the command of a Jedi Knight of the Republic. If you've played the previous title you'll have almost no trouble getting into the thick of it. Gameplay is essentially unchanged, preserving the wise decisions from the original title's designers. You'll have the option of choosing from among several unit types to spawn onto the battlefield. Each has a specific set of weapons to draw on, such as a heavy weapons trooper or a sniping unit. The average Battlefront mission tasks you with keeping control of several nodes scattered across the map. Nodes can be flipped from one side to the other by occupying the area around the node with troops. Most maps are won when all nodes have been converted to one side or the other. SWB II"s single-player campaign switches this up a little with non-node mission objectives. One level, for example, requires you to hold just one node for a specific length of time as a massive force of droids marches on your position. Another has you fighting off the monstrous Acklay creatures before they can kill too many of your troops. This variety adds a little more interest to what would otherwise be multiplayer games played between you and a bunch of AI.

The biggest change in Star Wars Battlefront II is the inclusion of space combat. While it's no Tie Fighter, space missions will please the dogfighter in every Star Wars fan. Most of them are fairly quick, with just one or two simple objectives (destroy these ships, keep this ship alive). Gameplay is fast and enjoyable, with a more straightforward version of the controls you might expect from other Star Wars titles. The straightforward design makes it easy to just hop in a craft and blow stuff up. Some single player missions have a little more to them, requiring you to fight in space and then land for another objective. Dropping the shield protecting a landing bay, piloting a troop transport inside, and then stealing data from the ship's computer is a highly satisfying experience. To provide the entire range of Star Wars gameplay, Jedi characters are also available. They're fast and powerful, and a side with one available to them has a great chance of prevailing. Control is similar to what you'd expect from Jedi Academy, and there are several force powers available to the Jedi that makes fighting one as a normal ground troop a short and stressful experience.

Visually SWB II is an obvious improvement over the previous title. There's a great deal of detail, and the overall presentation of the game has been refined. Both the visuals and soundscape do their best to adhere to the Star Wars universe, and succeed admirably. Ships explode, battle droids splinter, and gungans gargle with the sights and sounds you'd expect from a licensed title. As with all Star Wars games, the sound experience is particularly enjoyable. John Williams scores strain to be heard over the zip and pop of blaster fire or the scream of a passing Tie Fighter. While there aren't any appreciable physics elements, playing SWB II also probably won't strain your graphics card overmuch. The feel and look are dead on, dropping you into the mythos of the galaxy far, far away.

While the single player game is enjoyable, multiplayer is really this game's strong suit. Extremely large battles are possible, and every aspect of the single player campaign is available to multiplayer combatants. Maps are fairly roomy and are usually set in extremely evocative locales. While fighting on the snowy ground of Hoth was done to death five years ago, some of the new levels offer a distinctly different experience. Kashyyyk, Dagobah, and Coruscant are all battlefields in this (sometimes continuity breaking) free-for-all environment. Action isn't nearly as fast paced as Quake or Unreal Tournament, but that's okay. The joy to be had in popping off shots at a fleeing droid or charging Rebel soldier means that it's fun to savor the moment. The 'hold-the-node' gameplay is the default choice, but just like in the single player experience there are space battles and objective missions to be had as well. There was very little slowdown or technical problems related to the game during battle I participated in, and the necessarily aggressive tone that teams have to take to win matches ensures both offensive and defensive players will have a blast.

Given that it's only been a year since the last Battlefront title, it should come as no surprise that gameplay still feels fairly fresh. SWB II improves on already enjoyable gameplay by expanding the scope of the title. More Jedi, and space combat completes the full arc of what makes the Star Wars universe unique. While I don't expect that SMB II is going to be knocking Half-Life off of the top of the server population list anytime soon, it's a satisfying update to a title that scratches a dorky itch. Whether on foot or in space, Star Wars Battlefront II puts you in the moment like few other license titles can.

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Fp? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010708)

Fp de numero uno de number one? Que?

Not all Star Wars games suck (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010740)

"With the exception of the Super Star Wars series of titles back in the SNES days, Star Wars movie-specific game titles have almost universally disappointed."

Bullshit. Games like X-Wing and Tie Fighter were very, very good games and well received. Also Dark Forces, Dark Forces 2, Jedi Knight, etc. All excellent games.

Re:Not all Star Wars games suck (1)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010781)

At least he managed to give something a score other than '8/10'

Re:Not all Star Wars games suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010785)

Don't forget Knights of the Old Republic. Excellent RPG.

Re:Not all Star Wars games suck (1)

billdcon (911566) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010789)

This was my first reaction as well, but I think the original poster meant games that attempt to follow the action of a specific movie, like the Phantom Menace game, etc...not games that carve out a new part of the EU, like the cool games you mentioned. Just my 2 cents.

Re:Not all Star Wars games suck (2, Insightful)

billdcon (911566) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010871)

Good God, could my original message be any less informative? Self-loathing aside, the point I was trying to make about the original author is maybe he is trying to say "Games based on actual Star Wars movies, with the exception of Super Star Wars, generally suck." I don't think the author meant to group all SW games into this category...I think he sees a distinction between games like TIE Fighter (not based on a Star Wars movie, but set in the SW universe) and games like "The Phantom Menace" (based on the flow and events of a Star Wars movie). I'm not feeling very smart right now...hope this makes sense.

You mean Turkey (possibly)? (1)

BlightThePower (663950) | more than 8 years ago | (#14011151)

I'm not sure what the relevance is here.

110% agreed (1)

leather_helmet (887398) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010806)

there seems to be an inclination amongst a lot of people to say the ALL starwars games suck, or that ALL games based on movie licenses suck
the latter has slight validity, the former does not

Re:Not all Star Wars games suck (2, Funny)

jeblucas (560748) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010814)

That was a typo, he meant to write:
With the exception of the Super Star Wars series of titles back in the SNES days, and games like X-Wing and Tie Fighter, and Dark Forces, Dark Forces 2, Jedi Knight, and Knights of the Old Republic 1 and 2, and the vector-based arcade classics, Star Wars movie-specific game titles have almost universally disappointed.
Must've hit ^U or something.

Don't forget Republic Commandos... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010841)

Probably the best StarWars game to come out in the last few years.

Re:Not all Star Wars games suck (1)

thekel (909848) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010816)

Damn straight. Sometimes you have to wonder where Zonk has been the past twenty years...

Re:Not all Star Wars games suck (1)

Guardian452 (761937) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010830)

"...Star Wars movie-specific game titles..."

You're right about those being great games, but he excluded them.

Re:Not all Star Wars games suck (1)

jounihat (884616) | more than 8 years ago | (#14011094)

But he didn't exclude the original Star Wars for NES, or the vector-based Star Wars space shooter. Those were excellent games too.

Re:Not all Star Wars games suck (0)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010856)


It wasn't a FPS, but I think that the best Star Wars game I've played lately was Knights of the Old Republic. An RPG, but one with enough realtime action to merit a glace by more than just diehard RPG fans. KotOR 2 was a dissapointment, but still playable for those that loved the first game.

Re:Not all Star Wars games suck (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010863)

don't forget KOTOR, that game was quite well-received, including by me :)

Tie Fighter remains the best SW themed game "evar" :P

Kotor I is magnificent! (1)

Sean-Khan (930331) | more than 8 years ago | (#14011058)

KOTOR I is one of the greatest games I've seen for the last few years. I started to play it again after a while, mainly because of the atmosphere. While there's interesting things in KOTOR II, the atmosphere's not there, I got bored with the game.

Atmosphere is an important factor in Star Wars games. If it fails, the whole game is likely to fail.

Re:Kotor I is magnificent! (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14011143)

I've played through it twice now, as different classes, to get a feel for it. Unfortunately the game ends up being pure hack and slash towards the end no matter what you do (although you end up using force powers more as you go, if you are not a soldier, and you end up using them less if you are.)

Re:Not all Star Wars games suck (1)

BobPaul (710574) | more than 8 years ago | (#14011206)

KOTOR isn't movie specific, though. It takes place well before the prequels. He wasn't talking about star wars games other than movie games. XWing, KOTOR, etc were good games, but I have to agree about the movie based titles, which pretty much all sucked...

Re:Not all Star Wars games suck (2, Insightful)

Fizzlewhiff (256410) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010882)

I loved Tie Fighter. That seems to be one genre of games that has vanished, the combat flight sim. There used to be so many to choose from. Now there are only a few. I would love to see a modern version of X-Wing or Tie Fighter. I dork around with the space part of Galaxies but it just isn't the same feeling.

Re:Not all Star Wars games suck (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 8 years ago | (#14011014)

I'm surprised that open-source projects haven't sprung in to fill this role. You're right, it was quite fun, and is relatively absent in modern gaming, for the most part. Nowadays, with excellent free graphics, sound, and physics engines, plus powerful hardware to run them, it could readily get all of the eye and ear candy modern gamers come to expect. Yet, most of your 3d models are going to be largely static, making them easier to develop.

How hard would it be? Heck, after I finish major development work on Vulture's Eye/Claw, I may even be tempted ;) Of course, I'd be probably tempted back to other projects like my inifinite-tesselation 3d engine first. Still, I'm surprised that nobody has stepped up to the plate. Surely there's some project out there that I've missed...

Re:Not all Star Wars games suck (1)

Cheapy (809643) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010945)

If you reread the statement that you are criticizing, you'll see the words 'movie-specific.' Surprise surprise, X-Wing / Tie Fighter aren't from the movies.

And Dark Forces has little to do with the movies, other than the enviroment.

Yes, all those games are great. No, they aren't movie-specific.

Re:Not all Star Wars games suck (2, Interesting)

syrinx (106469) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010987)

You're a dumbass. "Movie-specific". You even quoted it. X-Wing is not from a movie. Neither is KOTOR. Or Dark Forces. Or Tie Fighter.

The "Phantom Menace" game is movie-specific, because it's, wait for it, specific to a movie. Also, it sucked. This is Zonk's point.

Tired of hiding.. (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 8 years ago | (#14011002)

I don't care what anyone thinks..

I liked Jedi Arena [] for the Atari 2600!

Re:Not all Star Wars games suck (2, Insightful)

WolfZombie (918513) | more than 8 years ago | (#14011115)

Don't forget Lego Star Wars! That game was awesome, takes you back to the old push button Nintendo days! Great game for relaxation instead of stress, and it follows the movies!

Mouselook is oldschool? (5, Insightful)

Fizzlewhiff (256410) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010742)

When I think oldschool I think of games like Kings Quest and Monkey Island or even further back to the old SSI and Avalon Hill wargames.

Re:Mouselook is oldschool? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010748)


Re:Mouselook is oldschool? (2, Funny)

Rei (128717) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010911)

When I saw the words "Old School Gameplay", my first thought was "You are standing in an open field west of a white house..". My next thought was "The quagga hits! The aquatar misses!"

Re:Mouselook is oldschool? (2, Informative)

F34nor (321515) | more than 8 years ago | (#14011095)

If you are looking for old school. God back to the PDP-1 and an oscilloscope and fire up Spacewar. Or if you're stuck with new fangled hardware download Ur-Quan masters.

Without a doubt Starcontrol2 was the best multiplayer game and the best single player game ever.

Re:Mouselook is oldschool? (1)

AppyPappy (64817) | more than 8 years ago | (#14011128)

I learned how to win at Monopoly by playing it on a Univac mainframe. And it was all text. None of that hippie art crap for us. OG, baby. Original Gamer. Open the mailbox, G. Load your cassette of Avalon Hill's B1 Nuclear Bomber and take out the Soviet Union. Star Trek on the the photon torps and find a supply station before you get Klingoned.

Old school computer games sucked. I loved playing Panzerblitz and Third Reich on boards though. But I'll take Call of Duty over the whole pile.

Old School? Come on. Please. (5, Insightful)

digitalsushi (137809) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010744)

I'm 26. I'm not even an old gamer. Some of you guys in your mid 30s, I bow to your TRUE old school heritage. What about me? Why the hell can't Nintendo crank out a 2D side scroller of Mario World for the cube? There's TONS of people like me with CASH now, that would be 50 bucks for a Super Mario World 2. I spent 20 weeks winning that game. I bet they would write one quicker! For that matter, why arent there Flash versions of new games in the older styles? Copyright be damned, those things float freely and uncredited. Why haven't I seen it yet? Nintendo CEO Mr. Miyagi could crank Mario World 2 out on the john some morning instead of reading the wall street journal. ARgh so frustrating. I have cash to spend on a near zero development cost product and it DOESNT EXIST. SOMEONE LISTEN TO THE RANDOM SLASHDOT MASSES WITH ALL CASH AND NO DRIVE

Re:Old School? Come on. Please. (1)

Evangelion (2145) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010815)

There are plans for a new 2D side scrolling Mario for the DS (tentative title is "The New Super Mario Brothers").

That was the nice thing about Metroid Fusion a few years back -- new 2D goodness.

Re:Old School? Come on. Please. (1)

Therlin (126989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010824)

Thank you! I'm in my early 30s and I miss the good old fun games that I grew up with. I'm really growing tired of first person shooters and RPGs. Surely there has to be something else out there for people like me, but I sure can't find it.

Bah! I Laugh at Kids in Their Mid-Thirties! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010894)

'Mouse-look'? In my day that's what we called it when you crawled around under the raised floor trying to find the rat which was gnawing on cables.

Hell, I remember using punch-cards to play Solitaire, and even that was considered to be 'newfangled' gaming by the old guys at work.

Kids today...yeesh!

Look around you! (2, Interesting)

Inoshiro (71693) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010948)

"For that matter, why arent there Flash versions of new games in the older styles?"

You mean like Alien Homonid? Or did you want a 2D game like Viewtiful Joe? The problem is that these are not sellers. People do not buy them.

Indie Game Developers (3, Interesting)

TheSifters (228899) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010963)

There are lots of independent developers doing just this for PC games. I've recently released my first indie game [] , and lots of other people are doing great things. You really have the freedom to make games that are fun to play!

Re:Indie Game Developers (3, Funny)

dadioflex (854298) | more than 8 years ago | (#14011136)

Nice license agreement.... "By playing this game, I promise I will spend a little less time working every day and a little more time playing games and listening to music."

Re:Indie Game Developers (1)

dadioflex (854298) | more than 8 years ago | (#14011217)

Um, though your demo did crash my PC. You can't get more old school than that.

Re:Old School? Come on. Please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14011026)

There are plenty of Mario clones/fangames out there on the net. has a bunch and I'm sure there are plenty of other sites as well.

Heck, if you want to make your own, there is an open-source SMB3 engine [] out there as well.

Re:Old School? Come on. Please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14011037)

Actually, there is a site completely dedicated to providing you with every old game from the NES, SNES, etc era:

They are using Java to bring you all those old classics you grew up loving: ExciteBike, Mike Tyson's Punch Out! Mario of all kinds...

Re:Old School? Come on. Please. (1)

Viper Daimao (911947) | more than 8 years ago | (#14011039)

There's TONS of people like me with CASH now, that would be 50 bucks for a Super Mario World 2.

I think you mean Super Mario World 3 [] . But yeah, just imagine all the side scrolling goodness they could fit on a gamecube disk. It could have like 20 different endings or any number of non-3D graphical innovations.

Re:Old School? Come on. Please. (1)

joshuao3 (776721) | more than 8 years ago | (#14011067)

Unfortunately, releasing new side scrollers for non-portable consoles is a step too far back for most gamers. But, there is a compromise that blends 2d action and gameplay with killer looks. Enter stage right, Crash Bandicoot. In my opinion CB epitomizes the genre of 2d scrollers, even though it was in 3d (sorta)... it's fast, easy to control, challenging, requires killer timing, and can be frustrating all at the same time. Create a half-dozen franchises in the style of Crash and that'll be a cash cow, if ever there was one.

Re:Old School? Come on. Please. (1)

mudbogger (668451) | more than 8 years ago | (#14011071)

If you have Steam, which is the Valve content distribution system that comes with Half Life 2 and other games you can download "Codename Gordon" which is a pretty decent 2-D Flash game. It is free if you own one of their other games. It is really not that great but is a good example of what has been done recently along those lines.

New Super Mario Bros. for DS (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#14011073)

Why the hell can't Nintendo crank out a 2D side scroller of Mario World for the cube?

That was called "Super Smash Bros. Melee adventure mode". But what you're really looking for is a New Super Mario Bros. 2DSidescroller, right? The spot has details [] .

Re:Old School? Come on. Please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14011187)

I totally hear you. Sometimes you can find decent freeware versions of the old classics (check out freedroid if you are an old paradroid fan). Anyone know of a good, free remake of the great Giana sisters?

who cares? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010753)

Really, who cares what you think?


Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010965)

Moderators, please vote up the parent post. It is quite good!

Fun factor (2, Insightful)

external400kdiskette (930221) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010760)

Quake has always been successful even to technically superior games because it always had a high fun factor which many people considered higher than technically advanced games like Unreal. At the end of the day many people just wanted a fast on line game which doesn't require thought or much else other than killing.

The public demands to know (4, Funny)

WinDoze (52234) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010766)

Can I take a Jedi, lop Jar-Jar's filthy head clean off his shoulders, then have a Wookie come over and "mark his territory" on the still-warm corpse? Cause that would be, y'know, cool and stuff.

games are a poor excuse to use non free software (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010771)

Most every Windows game is released under a non-free license, so that rules out any dual-boot or emulation options. I can't see any merit in supporting non-free software (and yes, running and trading the software is supporting it by increasing its popularity) for something as easily replaced as a Quake clone.

The free software games are fine for whiling away some time (I'm at risk of becoming addicted to Frozen Bubble) and encourage the spread of free software among those who need a gaming fix.

When I want to play a game, I'll do it with real people away from a computer -- a few hours of Go in a coffee shop, or a game of squash if I'm feeling energetic.

Old School? (4, Funny)

statusbar (314703) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010777)

Here I thought Old School meant BattleZone, Joust, and PacMan.


Re:Old School? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010850)

Old School is pong.

Re:Old School? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14011104)

Pong?! Try OXO. Noob.

Re:Old School? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14011019)

I always assumed old school meant Pong.

Re:Old School? (1)

orderb13 (792382) | more than 8 years ago | (#14011195)

I went looking for Pong at my grand father's house the other day, but couldn't find it. :-( I remember whiling away HOURS playing that game.

Re:Old School? (1)

xlr8ed (726203) | more than 8 years ago | (#14011199)

Here I thought Old School meant BattleZone, Joust, and PacMan.

They are, this is just what you get when you put a 12 y/o in charge of reviews...

Quake (4, Insightful)

flynt (248848) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010778)

I still remember the first time I logged on to a TCP/IP Quake 1 server on my 33.6 modem. I knew it would be something special. I played Quake quite a bit, and always tried the new versions, but they never seemed to be as good as the original. Thinking back, it's seems amazing that I was able to have a quality online game experience over a dial-up connection with a game as intense as Quake. The new versions of Quake, they looked good, but none of them *felt* like Quake. The weapons weren't as devastating, the movement was all wrong, it just didn't feel right. I haven't tried Quake IV yet, but I'm expecting more of the same. Does anyone else feel the same way? Quake to me was one of the first games to have a real online presence, and I'll always remember it fondly. It was also a time where you could find servers not overrun with high school boys, since most of the good connections were only at universities back in those days.

Re:Quake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010834)

Deathmatch doesn't get any faster/purer than in QuakeWorld. Much of the servers I played on are still full every day, the gameplay is _that_ good.

Re:Quake (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010890)

I wholeheartedly agree. It's amazing to me that you could have a great experience playing quakeworld on a 28.8k modem (or even slower!) but today you need fucking broadband just to play a FPS. The server requirements have gone steadily up, and for what? The net gameplay certainly hasn't gotten any smoother. I still play Q1 occasionally by myself, let alone on the 'net. Maybe it's just because I haven't played HL2, or because I'm just plain jaded, but I am still of the opinion that there is no finer FPS than quake 1.

Re:Quake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010896)

ThreeWave CTF: my god, the fun never stopped. I skipped quake 2 entirely because q1ctf was so much fun... I wish people still played: i would

Quake, all-nighters, and social gaming (1)

xenomouse (904937) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010981)

Quake was the first PC video game that made me want to play it all night long and disregard sleep. The only other game i remember being able to keep me awake through to the next morning was Lode Runner for the Apple IIc. Those are the only two games for which i have ever lost an entire night's worth of sleep. For Quake, i must have pulled one or two all nighters per week during my sophomore year (and a decent part of my junior year) of college. Coincidentally, i met tons of really cool people doing so (many with whom i am still very good friends). Sadly, i doubt i'll ever have such a good experience again, though HL, UT, and Halo came close. For that reason alone, i'd rather play Quake than any of its glamorous descendants - it's kind of like toasting to old friends.

Re:Quake (1)

GoNINzo (32266) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010982)

Unfortunately, no, it doesn't feel like old school Quake at all. I remember when the id system was released in QuakeWorld, and I signed up, played once, and then went back to netQuake because I was on a T3 and had an unbelievable ping. And the differences between an LPB and HPB were HUGE. ah good times... *sniff*

Re:Quake (2, Funny)

ak_hepcat (468765) | more than 8 years ago | (#14011007)

33.6? Luxury! We used to have to dial up some stupid ISP at 9600 baud and run a buggy IPX->TCP/IP bridge hack just to play doom online, and we loved it!

Re:Quake (1)

IgLou (732042) | more than 8 years ago | (#14011059)

OH man! I remember similar... I had the modem that was the next step up from the 9600 and trying to play doom II deathmatch with a buddy of mine. I remember I had to shrink my scrink down to less than half the size and my buddy did too. Even then we had so much latency it was insane! It made for some funny deaths.

"Oh! I'm outside... and falling now" Oh I miss that! In a masochistic beat-myself-up kind of way.

Re:Quake (1)

mcsestretch (926118) | more than 8 years ago | (#14011202)

Man...I still remember IPX multiplayer on the original Doom. Every night at 10:00 p.m. we'd kick the freshmen out of the physics labs and have a game or two going simultaneously over separate thin-net LANs (bandwidth was precious back then).


That being said, I LOVE Q4. It's kept me busy for almost 2 straight weeks. I've almost forgotten what my family looks like. :) I need a job where I can play Q4 all day.

Oh, and I'm not addicted to FPS. Not at all. I can quit anytime I least that's what I tell myself.

Good old games (1)

Barkley44 (919010) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010787)

I personally loved X-Wing from the Star Wars series, and others like Kings Quest and Space Quest. Even the text version of Jitch Hickers Guide to The Galaxy (ie. you typed what you wanted to do like "north", no ASCII art either :)

Re:Good old games (1)

StarvingSE (875139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14011041)

1 wordfor you: Zork

Nice Duke Nukem Reference (2, Interesting)

adavies42 (746183) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010797)

"Dirty space aliens that wrecked up our planet"--cute.

7/10 for Q4? Come on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010805)

The single player mode is pathetic. It's entirely linear: go fetch this guy, find this key, open this door, kill these baddies, yawn. I beat the first three levels with no sound (it doesn't seem to like ALSA very much) then turned it off out of sheer boredom. After the freedom given by games such as HL2 and Doom3 (which is actually pretty linear, but it doesn't *feel* linear), Q4 was a huge dissapointment.

Re:7/10 for Q4? Come on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010914)

I made it all the way to the final stage and then gave up due to boredom. I still think Quake 4 is a much better game than Doom 3. But that's mostly because Doom 3 sucked so much. At least in Quake 4 you can see the pretty graphics but they forgot again to include a plot or any characters.

Re:7/10 for Q4? Come on... (1)

tktk (540564) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010926)

I agree with the sound issue.

My friend and I tried playing the game. During the first few levels, there was a lot of static in the audio. We thought it was suppose to simulate battle conditions and bad communications. When we finally realized that it was bad static, I exited and restarted the game. The sound came back with constant, annoying tone.

Since that night, I've continued to play for a few more levels. But it's gotten so boring that Q4 turns itself off out of sheer boredom. The game keeps crashing once I enter a specific corridor. There's no explainable reason for the crash. No monsters coming, no switch to full motion video, no loud sounds. And no amount of tweaking game settings will let me get past this spot.

Quake IV Is Like Having Sex With The Lights On! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010812)

Only there's no sex and the light is less than flattering to my buttocks.

Did they fix the Most Glaring Problem? (2, Interesting)

American AC in Paris (230456) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010817)

The AI in SWB 1 was so bad they might as well have stuck 'em on rails. How substantially has the AI in SWB 2 improved? For example, do bots still dash for vehicles and fly in circles for the duration of the match? Will they still hop obligingly into your line of fire without so much as a batted eyelash? Will they wait patiently in your crosshairs as you unload on them with your sniper rifle?

If they've fixed the AI, SWB2 might be worth checking out. If not, then there's really no compelling reason to grab it beyond the fact that it's Star Wars...

Re:Did they fix the Most Glaring Problem? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010920)

It's improved somewhat. You'll see snipers take up position in high places, that sort of thing.

Unfortunately, you'll also see bots in vehicles march into walls and get stuck (Utapau - clone wars), or bots roll-dodge right off a ledge into the waiting abyss (Death Star - either period).

Getting support from the AI is much improved. They will follow you in formation and rarely get stuck or wander off.

Waiting for same answer (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010950)

I have not yet seen anyone report if the AI is better; That's also what I'm waiting to know before I buy this game. I didn't buy the first Battlefront and I'm loathe to buy this one unless I know the single player will be fun.

Old School (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010831)

Is stuff like Pac-man, Frogger, Pong... the first computer games that the masses actually played. Stuff like Zork and the Infocom games, that were the first interactive adventures. You know... OLD school, not "older than last year" school. :-)

Game AI (3, Insightful)

Ignignot (782335) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010846)

Why is game AI in FPS's always defined as "they can hide behind boxes?" Does that define sophistication for us now? It has been around since at least Half Life. People still ooh and ahh about it though, and I can't understand that.

I think the real test for an AI would be to guess where you are going to go and try to cut you off, time where you are and toss grenades at you without looking, perform ambushes on the fly, and so on. However, most of this can be done with scripting and I think it is easier to do it that way. So much of AI is game theory - the computer being able to guess where you are and what you are doing without actually seeing you. This is make-work in an fps though because the computer already "knows" exactly where you are, if the programmers want to take advantage of it.

I don't know about the rest of you guys, but I feel like I've been playing against the exact same AI for the last 10 years. The only thing that's changed is more intricate scripting.

Re:Game AI (1)

MrJynxx (902913) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010959)

I'm with you on the stupidity of most FPS games. That was until I played Farcry. That was actually the only FPS shooter I was never able to beat.

I've beaten doom, doom2, quake 1/2, dark forces, etc etc, basically everything since doom.. But farcry was just out there, i've never seen AI that smart before. Maybe they should sell their AI component to other developers, but i'm sure devs would prefer to use their own shitty AI to keep costs down.

Also battlefront 1 was a complete waste of money for me(played for 3 days). I have never seen AI that stupid! doom wasn't even that bad, at least in doom they shot back!


Re:Game AI (2, Interesting)

Ignignot (782335) | more than 8 years ago | (#14011123)

I played Far Cry on the hardest difficulty level. While I agree that its AI was more sophisticated than I normally see in FPSs, (putting to lie my statement about always playing against the same AI), I thought that most of the difficulty in that game came from the fact that the computer could shoot unerringly with some weapons, such as rocket launchers, through smoke and trees. Otherwise I agree, it had well done notification between enemies, good patrols, and good use of cover. What it didn't have much of was mercs working together in an effective way - they'd always come at you as directly as possible and not wait for their buddies. This was disappointing. I could run into a bunker, shoot one guy, and the bad guys would come in as soon as they arrived so I could pick them off one by one. I'd have liked it more if they would take up station around all the exits, then just start throwing in grenades until I either had to run out or just died. Alternatively use flashbangs to disorient me and then rush me. Alternatively, drive a tank through the building and crush me. Alternatively, drop a grenade by the propane tank outside the building and blow me to hell. Alternatively, throw in tear gas. But no, they just come in, one by one.

I despair of FPS shooters (3, Interesting)

thatguywhoiam (524290) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010859)

I lost pretty much all interest in FPS games somewhere around Quake 3/Unreal Tournament. It became apparent even then that these games should not have a sequel number after them, but a version. We have seen Quake, versions 1-4 now for instance. Its the same game.

I looked with hope at Halo 2 (first one was, sorry to say, dead boring, apart from the neat little plot twist with the Flood), hoping that the famous sequel would be a sequel.. but no, its another version, and unfinished at that. I loved that game, but they are all That Game now, and I have played a hellof a lot of Unreal and Quake. So much that I feel like I never need to play it again, until the genre decides to stretch a bit and offer something beyond Grr! Skullz! and Hot Babe with Howitzer!

I do see Zonk's point - of course there is a place for 'the twitch', and Nintendo does quite well in that area.

But I will wait until FPS games truly do something new. Apart from easy questions like, why can't I blow a hole through a wall? (Red Faction came close to this.) Where is the weather? Why is the AI so mind numbingly stupid?.... there are harder questions, like, is this a good idea to have a single point of view for the entire game no matter what? A counter-example of this would be something like Metal Gear Solid, which could switch between views depending on circumstance... Valve looked like they were onto something with HalfLife 2, but that sort of turned out like a really neat tech demo, with the physics... seems obvious to me that they are selling an 'engine' now, with a game as an afterthought. Kind of like id.

Re:I despair of FPS shooters (1)

(A)*(B)!0_- (888552) | more than 8 years ago | (#14011035)

Quake II is nowhere near the same game as Quake 3. The gameplay is completely different. If anything Quake 3 is another version of Unreal Tournament.

Perhaps you've got your timeline confused and lost interest before Quake II - because you've got your facts wrong.

Re:I despair of FPS shooters (1)

thatguywhoiam (524290) | more than 8 years ago | (#14011198)

Perhaps you've got your timeline confused and lost interest before Quake II - because you've got your facts wrong.

If we were talking about facts... which we weren't. You can't understand that I just have a difference of opinion on this? What was so 'completely different' between the two?

Lost coast. (1)

Cyno01 (573917) | more than 8 years ago | (#14011214)

Even on the medium setting, the combine soldiers in HL2:LC seemed pretty damn smart, at least on the cliffs. Flanking manuvers, well placed 'nades, shooting the bridge in front of you down... Then again there was the old school pop-up shooting gallery in the church.:P

Pandemic Studios // Battlefront (2, Interesting)

leather_helmet (887398) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010865)

Great developer - they have not (yet) sold thier souls to EA or other huge publishers

Quality staff as well and thier studio in SantaMonica is really nice...happy employees = good games/product

yeah. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010883)

A game that has "mouselook" is oldschool? oooo kay.

Oldschool? (1)

borawjm (747876) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010912)

Perhaps, the author is refering to Generation Y. Might give some insight as to Zonk's age aswell.

Re:Oldschool? (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010932)

Yeah, I was expecting him to throw out something like a Tempest 2000. Instead, he's laking about "old-school" FPSes? He's not even talking about ray-cast FPSes like Wolf3d or Rise of the Triad!

Re:Oldschool? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14011009)

Yeah, when I think of 'Old school gaming' I'm more inspired by the games that were on Ataris, Colleco Visions, and Intelivisions (and possibly NES and SNES games); you know videogames that were made more than 10 years ago. It makes me imagine people talking about the 'Old School' Starwars movies and meaning the special edition (GOD DAMMIT HAN SHOT FIRST!!!).

Quake 1 is still great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010978)

My friends and I still play Quake 1 co-op. Well... sorta... the "goal" is just to see who can trigger the most level changes. Although we don't keep track... it's just plain fun. Every level ends with all players in the -20's. Sometimes you'll run as quick as you can through an area just to trigger the monsters AI to start. Other times you'll wait in anticipation for your "team mate" to come 'round the corner just so you can blow him to bits and keep on your way. Or hang out in a secluded spot, wait for them to kill a few monsters ahead and almost get to the gate and then kill 'em.

Good clean co-op fun. Nobody wins... nobody loses... everybody has a blast.

Re:Quake 1 is still great (1)

flynt (248848) | more than 8 years ago | (#14011120)


Return to Wolfenstein is still my Daddy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010985)

I dunno, Return to Castle Wolfenstein multiplayer is still the best MP FPS I have ever played.

Battlefront II is great! (4, Funny)

(A)*(B)!0_- (888552) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010986)

One of the new gameplay modes in Battlefront II is hunt mode. In a hunt game, you select a planet and can either play as the native population or an invading force seeking to wipe out the natives. On Hoth, you can play as the Rebels and try to kill wampas or the other way around. Now, the beautiful aspect of this is that Endor includes hunt mode - the Empire moves in with sniper rifles and starts picking off ewoks.

I've played this quite a bit and am always very satisfied to drop one of these stupid teddy bears to the ground.

Quake 1 (1)

Thrymm (662097) | more than 8 years ago | (#14011050)

Quake 1 had nothing to do with Earth's invasion of Stroggos... it basically had no storyline other than Shug-Niggurath being the boss at the end. All in all, good times in Q1 for sure! Slipgating to telefrag your friends! Quake 2 and Quake 4 are tied together plotwise.

Title leaves me disappointed. (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14011116)

"Old School Gameplay Collides With Modern Graphics"

I was so hoping this was going to be a new uber graphics version of Nethack.


old school? young pup! (2, Insightful)

mustafap (452510) | more than 8 years ago | (#14011124)

I guess he has never played zork on a mainframe :o)

Quake 4 extends Quake II, not Quake (1)

xihr (556141) | more than 8 years ago | (#14011155)

Quake 4 continues the story in Quake II, but Quake II didn't have anything to do with Quake (other than, of course, the title). The Stroggos first appear in Quake II. (And there are contestants in the Quake III Arena that are from the Stroggos War, but other than that the similarity ends.)

In other news.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14011156)

All your base are belong to us

interesting.. (2, Insightful)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 8 years ago | (#14011171)

that the author should consider Quake 4 to be oldschool gameplay.

I guess I'm showing my age by considering the definition of oldschool gaming to cover games like Pacman and Atari 'Star Raiders'.

Quake 4 was a letdown (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14011215)

It's been years since Quake 3 and THIS is all they come up with? Is it just me or is it Doom 3 with different textures and weapons? I uninstalled it after the first 2 hours. Fear was a better game, but the plot was just as lame. Bla bla bla...Quake 2 was the best game of the series I think. Multiplayer "IS" the game, and should not be an afterthought to a lame series of single player missions. Not to mention you need a friggin Cray computer to host an 8 player server anymore! 8 players?!?! What the heck is that?!?! I played a ton of 32 player Quake2 games on then AVERAGE hardware, now thats where its at! 64 players was alittle too crazy, but atleast it was an option. Quake 1 was killer but the graphics in Quake2 combined with the oldschool feel of Quake1 was the best of both worlds. The graphics of Quake 4 are great, but they dont make the game. Go back to your roots game developers!!!! This is NOT what most gamers want. Give me "fun." Give us offhand-grapple, more fluid movement and more old school feel! I have been PC gaming for a little over 10 years, out of all the games, Quake2 is the definately the one game that I logged the most hours playing. The movement in Quake4 feels like you are walking in molasses! I'd take an engine-upgraded version of Quake2 anyday over whats out there now!!!

I can't wait... (2, Interesting)

jbarr (2233) | more than 8 years ago | (#14011218) see the Zork series in a new, and better interface!

Seriously though, I have to admit that most games have lost my favor because they have simply become too detailed. For me, (and I admit I'm and old fart at 39) games are those things that are the most fun when they are limited in scope, provide diversion, entertainment, and overall, let me have fun in a short period of time. Challenges like Zork, and "classic" arcade games like Road Blasters, Tempest, and Centipede, really held my attention. Don't get me wrong, current games are certainly quite interesting, but to me, a "quest" or "campaign" or "mission" is not what I tend to look for.

There was a great show on G4TV (Icons, I think) a couple months back that detailied the history of arcade games, how they have evolved into what are now current console games, and how the arcade industry is struggling. It was interesting to see that when arcades bring back the "classic" games, revenue spikes.

But then again, retro isn't always the best thing. I'd like to see more innovation and new concepts and designs.
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