Activision

Quake Pack 2

ID Software

Review by Richard Brindley

Name:         Dissolution of Eternity
Publisher:    Activision
Format:       CD-ROM
Available:    Now

Requires:

O/S:          MS-DOS 5.0+ / Windows 95
Processor:    Pentium 75Mhz
RAM:          16Mb
Graphics:     VGA/SVGA
CD-ROM:       2x
Soundcard:    SoundBlaster compatible

Tested on:

O/S:          Windows 95
Processor:    Pentium Pro 200
RAM:          256Mb
Graphics:     Matrox Millennium 8Mb WRAM / Orchid Righteous Pro 3D
CD-ROM:       TEAC 8x
Soundcard:    AWE64 Gold
Controls:     Keyboard + Mouse

Dissolution of Eternity

Quake Mission Pack No. 2 - Dissolution of Eternity

Quake Mission packs are a bit like number 65 buses; you wait ages for one, then three come along at once. The three in question are Aftershock, an unofficial yet still worthy add-on to Quake, and the official ID software endorsed Quake Mission Packs 1 and 2, each written by a different team, yet each proving themselves to be worthy additions to the ID/Activision product line.

The Story

No.

Oh, go on.

Absolutely not.

Go on, go on, go on, go on, go on, go on, go on.

Oh, alright then, for God's sake.

The Story

You're alive, and aware, and in one piece. "Be grateful for small mercies," but... "What happened?". Ages ago you defeated Armagon; yet it seems as if it happened in the last instant. The Rift Portal was sealed and the slipgate effect deposited you back at HQ...dead grunt...book of common prayer...scrap of paper...Ancient Guardians...Chain of time...Master Quake....Day of Dissolution...another slipgate...through you step...WHAMMY!!!

Happy?

Goal of the game

This page deliberately left blank.

Stuff

Needless to say, you get into this very quickly if you've played Quake before, I mean, it's Quake, right? Right! In fact, I must admit to being somewhat disappointed when I first started playing Dissolution; with Armagon (Quake Mission Pack #1) you were thrust almost immediately into "new monsters, new weapons" territory. It was a real case of "Wham, bam, thank you, ma'am". Now Dissolution, however, is a more gentle lover, it reacts to your touch, slowly undulating and moving towards it's goal, gently building with wave after wave of exquisite pain until you are finally overcome and climax with an explosion of squelchy gibs. Or something like that, anyway. What I mean to say is that Dissolution doesn't lose it's wad anywhere near as quickly as Armagon. New weapons and new monsters are gradually introduced, mostly at the most effective time. It's tougher than the original, too. Remember being scared s**tless at your first Shambler? You can now spit on its grave, as you take on in one fell sweep (count 'em) two shamblers, two fiends, a couple of scrags, three ogres, and a hellknight or two. Oh, and a couple of new friends thrown in for good measure.

Luckily, there's just about enough health and armour power-ups around to survive until you realise that head-butting that jagged stone on the right as you came in the door would have given you the red armour, a Power Shield, and a box of multi-missiles. Oh well, that's just the way it goes, sometimes.

Scenario

Unlike Armagon's Sci-Fi orientated mission pack, Dissolution puts you firmly back into the medieval, with additional Egyptian and Mayan influences. I don't have a problem with this, but it's a bit surprising to find grunts and enforcers here, although in small numbers. The level design is once again fantastic, with some very talented level artists being employed to good effect by Rogue Entertainment. Although not all of the environmental additions of Armagon are here, such as rotation and wall-damage for weaponry, a couple of new environmental effects are present which I'll expand on later.

Graphics

Good with SVGA, superb with 3DFX. As with Armagon, it looks like the graphics have been washed separately with Ariel Colour, rather than all in the machine together with Happy Shopper biological. The browns have gone out of your wash to be replaced with lovely blues, reds, and greens. Once again, more of an emphasis has been placed on good outdoor areas, and large, warren-like indoor deathtraps. Puzzles abound in Dissolution, and are used effectively to significantly enhance the gameplay.

New Weapons

Lava Nails:
Lava nails are armour-piercing "hot shots" from the Nailgun. They inflict more damage than regular nails, and are especially effective against armoured monsters such as the Hellknight. Avoid deathmatch opponents with lava nails!
Multi-Grenades:
Fired like regular grenades, when they hit the floor they divide into five separate grenades which split up into a "starburst" effect for a much increased radius of damage. Drop this into a pit of ogres, and watch the gibs fly!
Multi-Rockets:
Fired like regular rockets, they split into four rockets, which then seek separate targets. While not as effective as the regular rocket against a single opponent, they are very useful when being attacked by a flock of scrags.  
Plasma Cells:
These are an additional mode to the Thunderbolt, which fires a plasma energy ball. The shot "grounds out" in it's target, impacting with powerful tendrils of lightning.

New Powerups

Anti-Grav Belt:
The theory is simple here; it counters the force of gravity and allows the player to make difficult jumps. In reality, it's often more of a hinderance than a help, and should only be used when you REALLY must get to that ledge up there.
Power Shield:
This shield significantly decreases the damage you receive from most enemy attacks. This can be used as a very effective weapon in Deathmatch, to ram your opponent.

New Monsters

Phantom Swordsmen:
The first time I saw these, I nearly pissed myself laughing. Until they sliced me to ribbons, of course. These disembodied spectral swords chase after you like something out of Bedknobs and Broomsticks.
Electric Eels:
Far worse than the Rotfish, these underwater pests can fry you from many feet away as well as give you a nasty bite.
Statues:
Some of those statues are not what they seem to be. Walk past without being careful, and you could have a bunch of Knights or Hellknights knocking at your back door.
Hell spawn:
An upgrade to the original Quake Spawn, this is a much quicker and deadlier adversary.
Multi-grenade Ogres: You thought you had it all your own way, didn't you, blasting all those poor, defenceless monsters with your multi-grenades. Well, Quake get's his own back here, doesn't he? Eat a bunch of pineapples, punk!
Wrath:
These are the Overlord's evil minions. They're like a Scrag on speed, and fire plasma bolts at you.
Overlord:
This robed skeletal figure ominously floats around the environment, attacking you with a player-tracking ball of energy which explodes on impact

There are two other monsters, the Guardian, and the end-game boss. If I told you too much about these, it'd just spoil the surprise, wouldn't it?

New Environmental Hazards and Effects

Pendulums:
These razor-sharp blades swing from the ceiling when you're least expecting it. Don't get cut-up about it.
Lightning Shooters:
These, er, shoot lightning. They can be directed at any angle, and may move about, so make sure you're wearing your rubber underwear.
Lava Nail Shooters: Avoid. You just don't want to know. Use someone else as a human shield if necessary.
Buzz Saws: Someone decided it'd make things even more fun if the ogre's gib-o-matic chainsaw had a life of it's own. Be careful when you turn your back on that dead ogre, now.
Earthquakes: The older, and more violent, brother of Armagon's earthquake. Tend to hang around lava traps at the most inopportune moments.

Multiplayer Games

As well as the ubiquitous Deathmatch and Cooperative settings, Dissolution also offers some excellent new Teamplay options. Teamplay is an interesting combination of co-op and deathmatch. As players join the game, the computer places them on teams, with different colour uniforms. Here are the various, er, varieties which are available.

Tag: It's the game you played as a kid, with a few unimportant differences; Weapons of mass destruction. Lava pits. You get the idea. Grab the Tag Token and you'll be awarded with three frags for every subsequent kill. Do it five times, and the Quad Damage is yours.

Capture the Flag (CTF): Popularised by paintballers, this variation on a theme is the one being most played on the internet at the moment, and damn good fun it is too. Capture the enemies' flag, and take it back to your own base to score. Be careful to defend your own base properly, though, as your opponent is trying to do the same thing. At last, find a use for those annoying snipers in your clan- put them in defence.

One Flag: Two teams, one flag, all-out gib-fest. Find the flag, grab the flag, head for the enemy base.

Three Team: This CTF variation adds a third team into the mix. The grey team can grab either team's flag, but they must take it to the opposite team's base to score.

 

 

In addition, there are a number of new features only available in multi-play.

Vengeance Sphere: Get one of these and you are the lucky one. Come up against one, and you're not. Reminds me of all those old Hammer films.

Random Powerup Respawn: At last! The lurkers are finally defeated. They can hang around waiting for that quad damage for ever now!

Grappling hook: The unofficial "best new weapon" finally becomes official. You can fire the grappling hook into a wall or ceiling, then reel it in to be dragged to where it's stuck.

Conclusion

A worthy addition to the Quake family. While it may not be as original and innovative as Armagon, the gameplay and variety is far better. If you love Quake, buy it.

Score - 9/10

Richard Brindley for Game-Over!

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