...is the id software successor to Quake (which came from Doom and, before that, Wolfenstein 3D, all of which were rather revolutionary and damn fun).
A first-class first-person shooter (FPS) game where you run around with various cool weapons blowing up ugly bad guys, as they try to blow you up. Mediocre artificial intelligence (not bad, mind you, just not the kind you'd play chess against). The game has very little problem-solving other than combat strategies, and multiplayer capabilities. http://www.planetquake.com/ has an excellent analysis of the AI, based on info gathered from the source code. The game is set up in a series of levels, trying to get to the various goals set by the "plot".
Requires Windows 95, Pentium 133MHz, 24 MB Memory, DirectX, and a decent (4x) CD-ROM, or better of any. The vast majority of people using computers qualify.
Basically a bunch of really nasty cyborg thingies called Strogg, who incorporate flesh into themselves, came through some hole in the space-time continuum and started eating people. You're a marine whose unit was (apparently) killed in a counter-invasion of their planet, and you're the only survior. So you have to kill, kill, kill! There are a few actual goals: destroying "the Big Gun", assassinating their leader, destroy their communications tower, and nuke the gateway which they used to get to Earth, but you're usually lead by the hand by the game.
Notes on gameplay:
The weapon balance is very good, on the whole. When I used to play Quake I, I was the master of the rocket launcher and I was very, very tough to kill unless I got put into a small room (and even then, it'll hurt you more than me if I hit you and I just get splash damage). The AI is better than in previous games, in that a certain amount of stealth is desireable when attacking, as making too much noise will alert the baddies, who call for backup. There are a number of ambushes, traps, and the like, making it very difficult to come out blazing every time. Still, at heart, this is a game about killing lots and lots of baddies.
Many people believe that few of these games (first-person shooters) are any fun unless you can blow up people you can actually talk to. 99% of all multiplayer games happen over the internet, but if you've never played, I would reccommend playing with friends. The Quake 2 source code has been released, meaning every imagineable cheat is being used, plus a lot of the people that don't cheat are, well, socially challenged and play 20 hours per day, and show no mercy. In some games, new players will last less than ten seconds before being killed (or "fragged"). If you play with friends or similarly-skilled players, however, this is great fun.
For information on setting up a multiplayer game, I reccomend http://www.planetquake.com/deathmatch101.
Extremely basic strategies:
- Jump, a lot.
- Always run (turn on the "always run" option in the menu).
- Remember that shooting is noisy, and that there are times when it's best to sneak by to get health before going in.
- Find your weapon. If you're a good shot, go for the railgun. If you're good at leading targets and know how to avoid close corners, go for the missile launcher. If you're not such a good shot, but can find ammo quickly, the hyperblaster will be of use. It is also good to become familiar with other weapons for when your favourite isn't available.
- If you're playing multiplayer, especially with people you see a lot (like friends), watch for habits and exploit them. Keep alert and be paranoid.
http://www.idsoftware.com/quake2/ (official site)
Quake II (the game itself)
Experience of being blown to bits many, many times
BadmanX's writeup was a meme to look for info garnered from the source on the web