Newest Review: ... of Eternity has been released. So how does it measure up? Well, it's good. Extremely good in fact. Created by Rogue, the team behind sh... more
More Quake! More silly titles! Up next, Mission Pack 3: The MungySpoon of Fnurspittle.
Quake Mission Pack - Dissolution of Eternity (PS)
Member Name: Hannard
Quake Mission Pack - Dissolution of Eternity (PS)
Advantages: It's yet more quake. There are some great monsters.
Disadvantages: The enemies aren't too bright.
Officialdom - what's it worth? Are so called 'licensed' or 'official' products any better than their non-licensed counterparts? Take the horrendously tacky Power Rangers toys. Overpriced and understocked, they sold by the bucketload. And suddenly unlicensed copies with names like 'Super Ranger' and selling at a fraction of the price of the 'proper' toys popped up on market stalls everywhere. And surely kids wouldn't notice the difference. Wrong. Wrong wrong wrong wrong. Your average kid has the kind of detail-enhancing super powerful vision that would put a Terminator to shame, and can tell unlicensed from licensed product in a milli-second. And anything less than a licensed product will be rejected. Plus there's an extra hazard. As anyone who's seen a single consumer programme will know, unofficial toys are lethal to small children. That copied Power Ranger toy may look harmless enough but removing the head will inevitably reveal a six foot barbed rusty iron spike which could cause untold damage to Little Johnny. Anne Robinson says so, so it must be true.
But in the PC industry, things are slightly different. While out and out piracy is illegal, there's a fair number of unlicensed level CDs around, usually filled with levels pulled straight off the internet. Some companies aren't too happy about this, and take action against the publishers. Some don't. But the fact is that three quarters of the levels on these CDs are completely crap. In Quake's case, there have been a few of these CDs put out, and most of them have been, true to form, utter cack - with a couple of exceptions. Shrak from Quantum Axcess was way above average, which while being unofficial contained levels designed by someone who'd spent more than five minutes fiddling around with a level editor. And also worth of attention was Scourge of Armagon, the first of two Id approved add-on packs. Now the second official mission pack, Dissolution of Eternity has been released. So how does it measure up?
Well, it's good. Extremely good in fact. Created by Rogue, the team behind shooty-rpg type game Strife, it includes new monsters, new levels, power-ups and new weapons. The somewhat tenuous plot is that Quake, the evil entity whose minions you've been slaying of late, has been sending his drooling footsoldiers back through time in order to upset the temporal balance - in other words knacker everything up good and proper.
This is where you come in, once again. You have to maim, murder and blast your way through sixteen baddie filled levels to put paid to Quake's plans. But things aren't going to be easy; Dissolution's levels are harder than those of previous Quake outings. There's more baddies and much less ammo to go around, so kill sparingly or you could end up trying to club a fifty foot long dragon around the kneecaps with a garden gnome sized axe.
And aside from the aforementioned dragon, you'll have to deal with lots of other unpleasant creatures. On top of the baddies from the original Quake, you're up against nine new nasties. Well, seven new nasties, since a couple of them are modified versions of existing monsters. There's a phantom swordsman, who's invisible except for his sword, and flipping hard to take out. Then there are the electric eels, and some distinctly unfriendly statues. And I'm not talking about the kind that will happily sit still and accumulate a huge amount of pigeon poo. These statues stand incredibly still, and refuse to move no matter how much you hit them. Until that is, you trip a switch somewhere and find them charging towards you at a great speed. Help! There's the Lava Demons, who are mini versions of the first end of level boss in Quake. There are also Mummies, and the incredibly strong Guardians. These vicious gits not only take a hell of a lot of damage before popping their clogs, but generate weaker minions to help them kick your arse.
Finally, there's the four-armed floating Overlord and his servants, the wraths. These are the nastier cousins of Hexen's Dark Bishops. Except that they hurl homing energy balls. Talk about unfair. Do you get any super-accurate homing weapons? No. But these sods fire a projectile that can track you through the corridors of a labyrinth, follow you along the London Underground, leap into a taxi and chase you half the way across the world. Well, perhaps that's exaggerating a bit, but they're flipping accurate. If you don't take the Wraths out quickly, you'll find yourself on the receiving end of one of these. There's still a lack of any real intelligence on the monsters part though. And with the firepower that the baddies are toting, their stupidity could well be a good thing.
You do have some things in your favour, though. There are a few new power-ups and weapons to help you against the unfeasible vast hordes. You can pick up an anti-grav belt which will allow you to jump great distances, and a power shield which absorbs some of the damage the bad guys helpfully deal out to you. There are four new weapons, the lava nail gun, the multiple rocket launcher, the multiple grenade launcher and a plasma launcher. These are actually modifications of the existing weapons - to be able to use them you just have to pick up the specially modified ammo lying around the levels.
There are new deathmatch options and power-ups, too. There's a couple of new deathmatch modes; Tag, and Capture the Flag. In CTF , instead of blowing each other to bits, each player or team of players is given a base, where a flag stands. The opposing team must take the flag and make it back to their own base. It certainly makes things more interesting.. while you're creaming some poor space marine, one of his comrades could have nipped back to base and nicked your flag. A welcome addition to deathmatch play. You also get a vengeance sphere and a grappling hook, the latter of which can be used in Capture the Flag only. It's handy for climbing up to high places and lobbing rockets at people as they go past. Not that I'd ever stoop so low.
Dissolution also improves greatly on Id's original level design. The levels in Quake were okay for Deathmatch play, but in single player mode they weren't much cop. They were usually fairly uninspiring - fairly open with a couple of locked doors here and there, but nothing to write home about. And then there was the fact that they all looked like the inside of some dingy castle. Why? Dissolution's levels are different. While they can be used for Deathmatch play, they also provide a challenge in single player mode. Filled with twisty corridors, traps and obstacles, they're damn well designed.
Take the elemental levels for example. You have to battle your way through four different areas, all along the theme of earth, fire, water or air. You face different hazards in each area, such as wind-tunnels and teleports in the air region, and Lava Demons in the fire area. Plus the levels aren't just anonymous medieval areas. You get to visit a castle, a darkened cave, and even a pyramid. Yep, a pyramid - there are egyptian levels in Dissolution filled with mummies and sphinxes. Plus the levels have more decoration than Quake's levels had. Candles, pentagons and bookshelves can be found on various levels, giving the impression you're not just exploring an empty level. Plus there are traps, including swinging pendulums and buzzsaw blades. Additions like these make the game a joy to play. Not to mention quite violent. There don't appear to be any hidden levels, which is a shame, but the un-hidden levels contain enough secrets to keep you coming back for more.
Dissolution is the game that Quake should have been - bosses who can be defeated by sheer firepower, well designed levels, atmospheric music and more baddies than you can shake a pointy stick at. If you're a Quake fan this should be on your blood-soaked shopping list. Groovy.
(review by me, originally posted on GamesDomain)
Summary: A great expansion for Quake 1.
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