The sequel to the 1996 game Quake, Quake II foregoes the Lovecraftian story and atmosphere in favor of a hard sci-fi aesthetic (while still retaining some of its grit). It was originally planned to be an entirely unique IP, although its gameplay similarities allowed it to stick with the "Quake" name. Along with being more mission-based (with different types of objectives), the game includes seamless levels that allow players to travel back-and-forth between them (which are required to complete certain objectives). It also includes a harder industrial-metal CD soundtrack, most of which are from the musician Sonic Mayhem (who previously did an alternate soundtrack for Quake).
The game's main campaign is set on the planet Stroggos, homeworld of the hostile bio-mechanical race known as the Strogg. In a desparate attempt to prevent the Strogg from invading Earth, the Terran Coalition of Man (TCM) stages a counter-attack against Stroggos known as "Operation Alien Overlord". Players take control of a lone marine (later known as "Bitterman"), whose drop pod crash-lands away from the staging area due to an E.M.P. blast from the Stroggos planetary defense system (or "Big Gun"). As the last remaining survivor, the marine must single-handedly take out strategic Strogg infrastructure before hunting down the enemy leader (codenamed "Makron").
The game's expands on the 3D game engine used in Quake, featuring additional out-of-the-box support for hardware-accelerated 3D graphics (via OpenGL) and new rendering effects (such as different-colored lighting). The game engine, later known as id Tech 2, also revamps the modularity of the game logic by having it use module DLLs instead of using QuakeC. Along with several fan-made mods, the game's engine was used for several third-party games, including Heretic II, SiN, Kingpin: Life of Crime, Soldier of Fortune, Daikatana, and Anachronox. Its complete source code was later released as open source on December 22 2001 under the GNU General Public License, allowing for expanded source ports.
Along with two licensed "mission packs" (The Reckoning by Xatrix and Ground Zero by Rogue), the game received two official console ports (a Nintendo 64 version by Raster Productions and a Sony PlayStation version by HammerHead), multiple third-party computer ports (for Mac OS, Linux, and the Amiga), and an obscure port for the Zeebo. Other releases include Quake II Netpack I: Extremities (which include fan-made mods and levels), Quake II: Quad Damage (which include the game, both Mission Packs, and the Netpack), Quake II: Colossus (a Linux compilation including the game and both Mission Packs), and Ultimate Quake (which include the original Quake trilogy). The game's story was also expanded in both Quake 4 and the spin-off Enemy Territory: Quake Wars.
Since its release, it received multiple enhanced ports and re-releases, including the Xbox 360 port (as a bonus disc for that platform's release of Quake 4), the PC digital re-release (via Steam on August 3, 2007, albeit without the original soundtrack), and Quake II RTX: an enhanced PC and Linux version by NVIDIA's Lightspeed Studios, released on June 6, 2019, that makes extensive use of the ray-tracing technologies of modern GPUs. In addition, in celebration of the game's 25th anniversary, the game received an enhanced update for the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC (the last of which is distributed as a game update to the Steam version) on August 10, 2023. Similar to the enhanced update of the original Quake, this update was created by Nightdive Studios and utilizes their KEX Engine, adding modern graphical options (such as widescreen support and dynamic lighting), updated accessibility options (including UI and controls), and new multiplayer options (including online matchmaking, split-screen, and bots). Along with the original game, this version includes both mission packs and a new bonus expansion by MachineGames ("Call of the Machine"). It also features a recreation of the game's Nintendo 64 port, as well as some behind-the-scenes material.
Quake II is a fast-paced first-person shooter game similar to it predecessor. Some of the weapons from the original Quake make an appearance in Quake II (Shotgun, Super Shotgun, Grenade Launcher, and Rocket Launcher) along with many new weapons (Blaster, Machine Gun, Chain Gun, Railgun, Hyperblaster, and BFG10K).
The single player of Quake II contains nine missions each with one primary objective and several secondary objectives that must be completed in order to complete the primary objective. Along the way there are plenty of weapons to collect and enemies to shoot. The single player focuses on action and contains no puzzles, except for having to press switches to open up new areas, and minimal backtracking.
The game does include a few scripted events such as enemies running away from an imminent air strike, but these mostly consist of monster closets. The area for each mission is very large and has several sections, the game loads whenever the player reaches a different section of the area. Sections are identified by two doors in close proximity to each other, the player enters the first door and before entering the second the game loads. In addition, each section has its own separate statistics for secrets, enemies, goals, etc.
|The starting weapon in Quake II. The Blaster has infinite ammo, but has a slow rate of fire and is very weak.|
|The Shotgun fires 12 pellets and does decent damage at close range. Unlike most shotguns, it can be used effectively at medium range but it useless at long ranges.|
|The Super Shotgun fires 20 pellets and is significantly stronger than the shotgun, it fires two shells at once.|
|The Machine Gun is a sub-machine gun with a good rate of fire but strong vertical recoil. Fire it in short bursts or maintain the aim until it reaches the top of its climb.|
|The Chain Gun takes a few seconds to warm up but once it starts shooting it has an extremely high rate of fire and will drain the player's ammo supply very quickly. Unlike the machine gun the chain gun has no vertical climb, but is still inaccurate at long range.|
|The Grenade is a simple weapon that can be thrown or used as ammo for the grenade launcher. The grenade can be cooked by holding the fire button.|
|The Grenade Launcher uses grenades as ammo, once fired the grenades take 3 seconds to explode or if they make contact with an enemy they will explode immediately.|
|The Rocket Launcher fires relatively slow moving rockets that have a large radius of splash damage making it a dangerous weapon to use at close range. Jumping while firing at the ground allows the player to rocket jump to out-of-reach areas.|
|The Railgun fires a depleted uranium slug at very high speeds. In the hands of an expert, it is one of the best weapons to use in multiplayer due to its accuracy and damage.|
|The Hyperblaster is an automatic weapon that fires bolts on energy in a circular pattern. The weapon has to spin down after being fired so it can't be fired again for a few seconds.|
|The BFG 10K is the most powerful weapon in Quake II, and it is a homeage to the famous BFG 9000 from Doom. When fired, it releases a large green energy ball that shoots out green lasers at nearby enemies. It consumes 50 energy cells per shot and can kill most enemies in one hit.|
|The Grapple is a Capture the Flag only item and can be used to get to areas on the map that would otherwise be inaccessible, it is also very useful to gain high speed very quickly.|
|Enemy (health points)||Description|
|The Light Guard is the most common and weakest enemy in Quake II. It carries either a Blaster, Shotgun, or Machine Gun and has the lowest amount of health points out of all the enemies in the game. Even in large numbers, the Light Guard posses little threat to the player due to its weak attacks and low health.|
|The Barracuda Shark is a rare enemy only found in water and are usually seen travelling in packs.|
|The Enforcer is a common enemy in the earlier levels, but in the later levels is much less common. The Enforcer attacks with its chain gun that is attached to his right arm when the player is at a distance. When up close it will attempt to melee the player with his right arm. The Enforcer's low health and slow movements makes it easy to deal with.|
|The Berzerker has no range attacks and will only attempt to get up close to the player and use a melee attack. The player can easily tell if a Berzerker has spotted them because it will shot out "Trespasser" when it spots the player. The Berzerker is a quick enemy and its melee attack knocks the player back a long distance or can easily knock the player off of a ledge. However, the attack itself does not do a lot of damage.|
|The Gunner is a common enemy that has a machine gun on its right arm and a grenade launcher on it left. Despite its relatively low health, the Gunner is one of the deadliest enemies in the game, mostly due to its very powerful grenade launcher. It can fire 4 grenades in quick succession that do massive damage if they directly hit the player.|
|The Flyer is a small flying robot with low health, it attacks with its blaster cannons at long range and uses its wings to melee the player when up close. They are one of the most annoying enemies in the game because of their small size and the fact that they are flying, which makes them difficult to hit. However, if the player can get them up close a simple shotgun blast will kill them easily.|
|The Parasite is a four-legged dog-like enemy that attacks by launching a organic tube at the player which drains the players health. The attack is annoying because its almost impossible to dodge and does a lot of damage.|
|The Mutant is a rare enemy that only appears in two levels. Similar to the Berzerker, it has no range attacks and will only attempt to get up close to melee. It is more dangerous then the Berzerker due to its higher health and more damaging attacks.|
|The Brain is a strange robotic enemy that appears rarely. The Brain has an energy shield on the front that protects it from damage. It has two attacks, an arm hook and releasing tentacles from its chest. Neither attack has a good range and that coupled with its extremely slow speed make it one of the easiest enemies in the game. The only problem is that its energy shield makes it a bullet sponge.|
|The Medic is another rare enemy that attacks using its automatic blaster attached to its right arm. However, attacking is not its main use, the Medic is able to revive any enemy that is not gibbed.|
|A flying enemy similar to the Flyer except with a lot more health and no melee attack. The Icarus is more of an annoyance than anything, its attack does very little damage and it poses little threat to the player. However, it keeps its distance from the player making it difficult to hit.|
|The technician is a robotic enemy that contains a head encased in liquid. Other than being an incredibly strange enemy, the Technician posses little threat to the player because it is slow and does very little damage.|
|The Gladiator is an enemy with high health and a very powerful shoulder mounted Railgun. The Gladiator is one of the most dangerous enemies in the game as its Railgun does a lot of damage and is difficult to dodge and its up close melee attack also does quite a bit of damage as well.|
|The Iron Maiden is an enemy with a Rocket Launcher attached to its left arm and a claw attached to its right arm that is used for melee. Its Rocket Launcher attack deals heavy damage.|
|The Tank is the strongest normal enemy in Quake II. It is heavily armoured and slow moving and has three main weapons. Its first weapon is a machine gun attached to its right arm which does low damage. Its second weapon is a blaster on its left arm that fires three blasts in a row which deals high damage. Lastly, it has a shoulder mounted Rocket Launcher which fires a stream of rockets and is the Tank's deadliest attack. The Tank is a very powerful enemy and has a lot of health, but if the player can take advantage of its slow speed it is much easier to deal with. Popping in and out of cover to shoot at it with a powerful weapon such as the rocket launcher or BFG10K will keep the player from getting hit by the Tanks deadly attacks. The Tank also has a more powerful variation called the Tank Commander (not to be confused with the boss enemy of the same name). Tank Commanders have the same attacks that do the same amount of damage, the only difference is it has 1000 health points instead of 800. Tank Commanders can only be found in the games final level.|
|The Tank Commander is a boss enemy that is encountered twice in Quake II. It has tank-like treads to help it move around quickly, and it has two weapons, a chain gun and a rocket launcher. Its chain gun attack is very dangerous because it can kill the player in a mater of seconds and has no start up delay. Its Rocket Launcher attack fires three rockets that do massive damage.|
|The Hornet is the second boss enemy, encountered two times (three counting the secret level) in Quake II. It has less health than the Tank Boss, but is harder to hit because it is able to fly. Like the Tank Boss the Hornet has two attacks, a twin chain gun that does the same amount of damage as the Tank Boss' chain gun and a rocket launcher that fires four rockets rather than the three rockets the tank boss fires. The Hornet is a very tough enemy to kill and its chaingun attack is hard to dodge and does a lot of damage.|
|The Jorg is an exoskeleton used by the leader of the Strogg, the Makron. It is tied with the Makron himself for the most hit points in the game, and is equipped with twin chain guns. The chain guns deal similar damage to that of the other two bosses, the main difference being the Jorg's chaingun lasts indefinitely while the other bosses chain guns only fire in bursts making the Jorg's chaingun more dangerous. In addition to the chain gun attack, the Makron himself will fire his BFG 10K. This attack is extremely dangerous because the beams that shoot out from a BFG 10K energy shot are extremely hard to dodge and drain the players health and armor very quickly. One BFG 10K shot can kill the player instantly or cripple them if they don't find cover quickly. When Jorg is defeated it will explode and the Makron is left exposed.|
|The Makron is the leader of the Strogg and is fought after destroying the Makron's exoskeleton, Jorg. The Makron still has the powerful BFG 10K attack which he uses in the Jorg battle, but he also has two new attacks. The first is a blaster attack that fires 20 blaster shots, the attack does moderate damage but is easily avoided by strafing. The second is a Railgun attack very similar to that of the Gladiator. It can also be dodged by strafing, but is harder to avoid than the blaster attack.|
Unlike id's previous first-person shooters, which had players progressing from level to level (with the game sometimes split into multiple "episodes"), Quake II has the game split into multiple groups of seamless levels. This system allows players to traverse back-and-forth between levels at different points, which is sometimes required to complete objectives. The included campaign is split into the following:
The first series of levels is set in a military base, in which players must reach its communication systems and establish a link to the player's command ship.
- BASE1 - Outer Base
- BASE2 - Installation
- BASE3 - Comm Center
- TRAIN - Lost Station (hidden level)
The second series of levels is set in a warehouse, in which players must shut down a vital supply transport.
- BUNK1 - Ammo Depot
- WARE1 - Supply Station
- WARE2 - Warehouse
The third series of levels is set in a security complex, in which players must shut down the computer controlling the region's security grid.
- JAIL1 - Main Gate
- JAIL2 - Detention Center
- JAIL3 - Security Complex
- JAIL4 - Torture Chambers
- JAIL5 - Guard House
- SECURITY - Grid Control
The fourth series of levels is set in nearby mines, in which players must traverse in order to reach the Strogg production facility.
- MINTRO - Mine Entrance
- MINE1 - Upper Mines
- MINE2 - Bore Hole
- MINE3 - Drilling Area
- MINE4 - Lower Mines
The fifth series of levels is set in the facility that produces new Strogg from the marine's fallen allies. Players must traverse the facility and shut it down.
- FACT1 - Receiving Center
- FACT2 - Processing Plant
- FACT3 - Sudden Death (hidden level)
The sixth series of levels is set in a power plant close to the planetary defense system. Players must disrupt the enemy defenses by overloading its reactor (after shutting down both the coolant and waste disposal systems).
- POWER1 - Power Plant
- POWER2 - The Reactor
- COOL1 - Cooling Facility
- WASTE1 - Toxic Waste Dump
- WASTE2 - Pumping Station 1
- WASTE3 - Pumping Station 2
The seventh series of levels is set inside the planetary defense system itself (known as the "Big Gun"). Players must disable it to allow the TCM to call in an air strike and demolish it.
- BIGGUN - Big Gun
The eighth series of levels is set inside a hangar that controls the Black Hole Generator (which allows interplanetary travel for their invasion). Players must shut down the Strogg fleet, then destroy the Black Hole Generator itself, and then proceed to the Makron's palace.
- HANGAR1 - Outer Hangar
- HANGAR2 - Inner Hangar
- LAB - Research Lab
- COMMAND - Launch Command
- STRIKE - Outlands
- SPACE - Comm Satellite (hidden level)
The ninth series of levels is set inside the Makron's heavily-guarded palace. As they make their way to the Makron, they must disable the communication laser that allows the Makron to communicate with its distant armies.
- CITY1 - Outer Courts
- CITY2 - Lower Palace
- CITY3 - Upper Palace
In the tenth and final series of levels, the players make their way to the Makron's inner sanctum and must pursue the Strogg leader to the final confrontation.
- BOSS1 - Inner Chamber
- BOSS2 - Final Showdown
The base game includes eight Deathmatch maps, with additional maps added as separate downloads.
- Q2DM1 - The Edge
- Q2DM2 - Tokay's Towers
- Q2DM3 - The Frag Pipe
- Q2DM4 - Lost Hallways
- Q2DM5 - The Pits
- Q2DM6 - Lave Tomb
- Q2DM7 - The Slimy Place
- Q2DM8 - WareHouse
The studio later released three additional maps that were intended for 64-player servers, all in a single separate download:
- Base64 - The Strogg Base
- City64 - Courts at War
- Sewer64 - The Sewers of Stroggos
In addition, the following map was released as a separate download:
- Match1 - Reckless Abandon
ThreeWave Capture the Flag
The v3.20 patch of Quake II includes the mod Quake II ThreeWave Capture the Flag, which brings the Capture the Flag game mode to Quake II. Based on the ThreeWave Capture mod for the original Quake, CTF is a team-based mode where two teams fight to steal the enemy's flag from their base and bring it back to theirs.
The mode includes a bonus utility weapon, known as the Grapple, which serves as a grappling hook that allows new mobility options. It also adds four unique "tech" power-ups, which serve as a player upgrade:
- Power Amplifier - Increased damage.
- Disruptor Shield - Increased damage resistance.
- Time Accelerator - Increased movement speed.
- Auto Doc - Grants health regeneration.
Only one Tech power-up can be equipped per player, and can be dropped for other players using a dedicated command.
The first included version, known as CTF 1.02, includes the following batch of levels:
- Q2CTF1 - McKinley Revival
- Q2CTF2 - Stronghold Opposition
- Q2CTF3 - The Smelter
- Q2CTF4 - Outlands
- Q2CTF5 - Capture Showdown
id later released three additional maps with the CTF 1.50 patch:
- Q2CTF6 - Borders Canyon
- Q2CTF7 - Boxed In
- Q2CTF8 - The Hangar Scenario
In addition, the following map was released as a separate download:
- Q2CTF4a - Outlands II
Quake II had a very active modding community which spawned a large number of total conversations, maps, player models and more.
Action Quake 2
Perhaps the most noteworthy of Q2's mod legacy is Action Quake 2 (AQ2) which implemented a realistic setting and modern day weaponry, it also introduced bleeding and the ability to cripple enemies so that they need to bandage themselves.
Rocket Arena 2
Returning from the original Quake, Rocket Arena 2 (RA2) is a mod which pits players against each other in a round based game mode with all weapons and full armor, there are no item pickups.
|Track Number||Song Title||Length|
|4||March of the Stroggs||2:55|
|7||Enter Big Gun||3:08|
|8||Descent into Cerberon||2:41|
Quake II - The Reckoning
|Track Number||Song Title||Length|
|4||Crashed Up Again||2:56|
Quake II - Ground Zero
|Track Number||Song Title||Length|
|4||Pressure Point 2||2:28|
|5||Ground Zero Theme||4:33|
- Pentium ® 90 MHz processor (133 recommended) or higher or Athlon ® processor
- Memory: 16MB required for Windows 95/98, 24MB required for all other operating systems
- 25MB of uncompressed hard disk space for game files (Minimum Install), plus 45MB for the Windows swap file
- Quad-speed CD-ROM drive
- Supports network and Internet play via IPX and TCP/IP
Playing Quake II on modern systems
It is recommended to use a source port when playing Q2 on modern hardware and operating systems.
- R1Q2 - Multiplayer port with anti-cheat module, it is outdated but still used by many players and is required on some servers.
- Q2pro - Multiplayer port with many modern features and optimizations for competitive play.
- Yamagi - Singeplayer port that remains true to vanilla Q2, supports music playback via OGG files.
- Quake II Starter - community made installer which offers a quick setup for new players, it offers a free, stand-alone and multiplayer enabled version of Q2 (demo + latest patch).
Note: In order to play the single player component, you will need the "pak0" file from the original Q2.