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  Quake II: Ground Zero
First Impression
Quake 2 turned out to be one the most popular multiplayer games in history. Its deathmatch (after some patches) was one of the most played online games to date. It's over a year old now but gained some added life from the addition of a second add-on pack. Those who are expecting a totally different game this time around will be disappointed. Otherwise it's a nice addition to the Quake 2 collection.

What's new?

So what does this mission pack have to offer? Well how about 14 brand spanking new levels as well as 10 new deathmatch levels. The single player levels aren't all that much new in design compared to the original levels, but then again who cares, it's QUAKE 2.

There's a bunch of new weapons that add to the original Quake 2 arsenal. For some reason they didn't make the weapons all that great. The Tesla mines bounce around and usually end up not where you wanted them, plus in multiplayer they are very easy to see and avoid. There's the weapon called the ETF Rifle. This weapon reminded me of the hyperblaster, and other than a different look it's basically the same weapon. You could also compare it to the nailgun from Quake. Then there's the Plasma Beam, hmm yet another very familiar weapon. Anyone remember the Lightning gun from Quake? Well this is basically it. One weapon I really enjoyed was the Chainsaw. Last time I there was a decent chainsaw in a FPS was in Doom. The cool thing about the Doom chainsaw was that you stuck it forward in your enemy and he'd get all chewed up. But this time you swipe it at the enemy, not doing all that much damage, nothing major disappointing but a yet a minor flaw. My favorite is the Proximity Mine launcher (an upgrade of the grenade launcher). When you fire, a prox bomb will stick to whatever surface it hits. Very fun for deathmatches.

There's some new enemies as well as some powered-up originals. I must say this, those new gun turrets are bloody annoying. Sure they were neat at first but they're everywhere! They seemed to always pop up after I've been in a big battle and my life is down to nothing. These are the machine gun turrets I'm talking about, later levels had rocket turrets which can change your mood from "entertained" to "furious". The stalker is a cool new enemy, it dodges, fires lasers and even slashes up close. The bio-vats are boring, nuff said.

The medic commander and the daedalus have been enhanced. The medic commanded will now revive fallen comrades within a certain range, that is unless you have completely destroyed the remains. The daedalus now sports twin blasters, but is still weak.

The artificial intelligence has definitely been tweaked. Unlike Quake 2, the enemies will follow you around the level and hunt you. A rocket or two in the face will remedy that, but none the less it's a MUCH needed improvement to the mindless enemies of Quake 2. Even when you hide they'll find a way to get at you.

The new bosses are both pretty neat, as well as very powerful. Newbies will have a tough time with them, while veterans will have a mild challenge.

Storyline

Um, well let's see there's not much to say. Your part of an earth fleet attacking the planet Stroggos. You end up landing on the planet in a pod, while the rest of the fleet ends up stranded in orbit when the Strogg put up gravity well. You mission: destroy the gravity well.

What else?

To start with the opening intro was lame, cheesy voice acting, and ugly graphics. There's really not that much new in terms of game play. To much of "find the switch" or "find the key" etc. The 14 levels will take you various warehouses, hangars, and storage depots (much like in Quake 2). Funny thing is that during the game you find yourself doing tasks that have nothing to do with your mission which is to find the gravity well and destroy it.

Installation automatically updates your copy of Quake 2 to version 3.19. This can be a problem if you've already installed the 3.20 patch. I had to reinstall Quake 2, then Ground Zero, then patch it up to version 3.20. Other than that things went perfectly. Basic manual with info on items, weapons, enemies etc.

At its time Quake 2 had excellent graphics, but over time players became bored with the red and brownish textures appearing in level after level. Ground Zero attempts to expand the graphics by adding some colored lighting, but otherwise its the same old boring looking textures. A year ago the the graphics were considered "excellent" as of today the graphics are "good". As in Quake 2, the graphical experience all depends on your video card. If your equipped with a 3d accelerator that can do Glide then your in for a much more visual treat than the standard software version. While not up to the graphical standards as Unreal or Half-Life, Quake 2 - Ground Zero holds its own against most of the competition.

Not much to say here. Basically the same as Quake 2. Although the new music tracks are nice to have. The heavy metal music seems to work very well with this game, but you still have the option to put your own music cd in the drive.

Quake 2 is still my favorite multiplayer game, so the more levels to play on the better. Ground Zero adds 14 new levels designed for multiplayer. These maps are HUGE, which is great for giant internet frag fests, but is down right stupid when its only 2-6 players. You end up running around most of the time just trying to find the other players. But in general the levels are very fun and make for great deathmatches. Another big plus is the new weapons which I'll talk about below.

I must say though, with all the lows this game is still highly enjoyable. Any Quake 2 fan should add this to their collection.

Review ID Number: 209
  Product Details
ID Software
Review Date: 2001-04-19
Reviewer: Nick Sardy
Rating: 8 out of 10
 
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