|Publisher: Aspyr Media Genre: Action
|Min OS X: 10.6 CPU: G4 @ 1600 MHz RAM: 512 MB Hard Disk: 3000 MB DVD-ROM Graphics: 64 MB VRAM
While Apple basks in its newly-minted Intel-flavored glow and the rest of the industry awaits the next Apple product announcement with bated breath, Mac gamers seem to be suffering a drought of A-list titles nearly proportional to Apple's recent success. While it remains to be seen whether this is merely the tip of the iceberg as publishers leave it to Mac gamers to flex their newfound dual-boot muscles, or a brief hiccup in their respective product cycles, we have an exciting new title from id Software to play with while the industry makes up their collective minds.
Although I previously thought that I had hunted down and played nearly every classic first-person shooter (FPS), Quake 4 revealed a gaping hole in my personal experience with as much subtlety as a railgun slug to the forehead. Like many of you, I wasted at least a week or two in 1999 experiencing what people began to call "Quake vision" as I racked up as many accuracy and multi-kill awards as I could in Quake 3: Arena—that is, until I had played the game to death and began to loathe the very sight of that red, tri-pronged Quake icon. At that moment, Q3A became just a brainless twitch-fest that emphasized the speed at which you could run and shoot over just about every single other quality that made FPS games fun. While it doesn't make sense with 20/20 hindsight, I believe that I avoided the original two Quake titles because I assumed that they would all be the same. Luckily for me, Quake 4 tossed that false notion aside, which means two things: first, you should keep reading, and second, I'm going to have to find an old computer that will run Quake and Quake II in order to help me plug that gap in my gaming repertoire.
StorylineIn Quake 4, you continue the story of Quake II by once again assuming the role of Matthew Kane, a bad-ass marine veteran assigned to an elite marine unit dubbed "Rhino Squad." The story picks up as Rhino Squad is in the process of being dropped onto the planet Stroggos, the homeworld of the ghastly agglomerative race of flesh and machine known as the Strogg in a desperate attempt to avert any further Strogg attacks on Earth. Naturally, things become FUBAR almost immediately. The dropship, carrying Kane and the rest of Rhino Squad, is tagged by surface-to-space fire, forcing a crash landing that kills a large chunk of the squad. Left for dead, Kane must regain his senses and attempt to locate the remainder of Rhino Squad in order to continue their mission. That's a tall order; as an adversary, the Strogg are extremely nasty: nearly as sentient as the average marine and with most of their vulnerable organs viciously ripped out and substituted for less-vulnerable cybernetic implants, the Strogg prove both nauseating and hard to kill. The key to Kane's survival as Earth's forces attempt to breach Stroggos' planetary defenses lies in your ability to fight as a unit with marines that you meet along your way (the head-to-toe body armor doesn't hurt, either). As you trek through a wide variety of environments, you will receive assistance from numerous ground, air, and space-based vehicles (as well as get the opportunity to use them from time to time). Although the vehicular combat missions are incredibly easy, they provide a welcome diversion while serving to accelerate the pace of the tale in an enjoyable way. In all, Quake 4's story is engrossing and fairly dark—especially one level that kept me squirming and clutching various parts of my body for several minutes on end. By and large, not only did the story keep me rushing from level to level in order to find out what was to happen next, I am now being compelled to get my hands on Quake II to satisfy my curiosity about the events leading up to Quake 4.