Quake 4 is a new offering from our friends at Aspyr, and offers a lot of what we saw from Doom 3, but the technical improvements help to make the game much more enjoyable, and a cleaner experience on the Mac, where previously only our PC brothers could have fun playing. And, as frosting on the cake, we have Universal Binary support! I was disappointed with Doom 3 when it came out on the Mac, as it was mostly loading for 2 minutes, followed by shooting, having no idea where you are, then dying, which meant more loading…
Raven software has worked with id to make a sequel to the Quake games that we know so well. And they’ve done a fairly good job at improving the graphics (and the load times), and making a story that is interesting enough that players remain interested in the game.
The game begins with you crash-landing on the homeworld of the aliens against whom you’re fighting (the “Strogg”, a race that uses the body parts of the people they kill as a way to build new warriors). Your ship was shot out of the sky, and your buddies killed. You’re alone at the beginning, and must find out where you are and get moving… You are forced to dust yourself off and find your way to the command post. Other non-player characters guide you along the way in person and over the voice communicator. You rescue essential people, and help to take down the Strogg (that’s the name of the baddies).
There are the typical health and gun pickups. You start with a pistol that has unlimited ammo, and you can pickup a machine gun as well as grenades and rocket launchers along the way. The machine gun is the one you’ll probably find yourself using the most.
There are also a few spots in the game where you ride along, and shoot at enemies on the road, something which we rarely get in good FPS games. Other places in the game provide opportunities to use tanks and vehicles.
If you’ve played UT and Quake-style FPS games before, you’ll get the hang of the game pretty quick. The default keys are easy to go with, and the default video settings for the game are pretty good on my Dual-proc G5 with 1.8 GHz and an ATI 9600 XT. The game didn’t lag nearly as much as Doom 3, which is great (Did I mention the improved load times?). It’s either due to a refinement of the engine (to make it require less power), or they’ve done a better job of detecting my machine’s power. I’m running with 1.5 GB of RAM, and I wouldn’t recommend anything less.
Multiplayer in Quake 4 is typical for a game of this type, nothing special. If you’ve played Quake 3, there isn’t much here to discuss. There’s deathmatch, teams, capture the flag, and so on. Punkbuster is an option that can be turned on and off in the game as well.
Oh, by the way, the game is a Universal Binary and will run on your Intel Mac out of the box. Aspyr is the company distributing this title for the Mac, for about $45 (you can get it at Amazon.com), which is a pretty good deal. Quake 4 is rated “M”, for the blood, violence, and cursing. If you’d like to see the original Quake 4 site, you can find it at Quake4game.com.