Codex Gamicus

Quake II, released on November 30, 1997, is a first person shooter game developed by id Software and distributed by Activision. It is, to an extent, a "sequel" to Quake. Background music was provided by Sonic Mayhem.


The action takes place in a sci-fi environment. In the single-player game, the player is a human soldier taking part in Operation Overlord, a desperate attempt to protect Earth from alien invasion by launching a counter-attack on the home planet of the hostile cybernetic Strogg civilization. Most of the other soldiers are captured or killed almost as soon as they enter the planet's atmosphere, so it falls upon the player to penetrate the Strogg capital city alone and ultimately to assassinate the Strogg leader, Makron.

Unlike Quake, where hardware accelerated graphics controllers were supported only with later patches, Quake II came with OpenGL support out of the box.

The latest version is 3.20. This update includes numerous bug fixes and new maps designed for multiple players deathmatch. Version 3.21, available on id Software's FTP server, has no improved functionality over version 3.20. It's simply a slight repackaging to make compiling for Linux easier.

Quake II uses an improved client/server network model introduced in Quake.

The game code of Quake II, which defines all the functionality for weapons, entities and game mechanics, can be changed in any way because id Software published the source code of their own implementation that shipped with the game. Quake II uses the shared library functionality of the operating system to load the game library at run-time - this is how mod authors are able to alter the game and provide different gameplay mechanics, new weapons and much more.

The full source code to Quake II was released under the terms of the GPL on December 21, 2001.

Since the release of the Quake II source code, several 3rd party update projects to the game engine have begun; the most prominent of these is known as Quake2maX, followed in popularity -- if not improved features -- by Quake II Evolved. Generally, such source upgrades improve things like the maximum resolution the game may be run at, the quality of the lighting engine, adding things like shaders or decals in order to generally update the look of the game and prolong its lifetime. The source release also revealed several critical security flaws which can result in remote compromise of both the Quake II client and server. As id Software no longer maintains Quake II the use of a modified engine such as R1Q2 is recommended over the 3.20 release.


There are two official Addons:

  • The Reckoning - released on May 31, 1998, developed by Xatrix Entertainment
  • Ground Zero - released on October 31, 1998, developed by Rogue Entertainment
  • Unseen - cancelled, developed by Tequila Software (Download Link)

Why Quake II is not a true "sequel"[]

Despite the title, Quake II is a sequel to the original Quake by name only. Aside from somewhat similar weapons and items (notably the Quad Damage pickup), the scenario, enemies and theme is entirely separate and as of this time does not fall into continuity with the prequel. id Software had initially wanted to set it separately from Quake, but due to legal reasons (most of their suggested names were already taken), they were forced to stick with the working title.

Paul Jaquays, as quoted from PlanetQuake's Quake II FAQ, puts it as such:

"I've had a request (which means that there's a lot more of you out there who don't write) to explain why I'm saying that Quake II is not a sequel to Quake. The word 'sequel' implies a continuation of what has gone before. In this case, a continuation of the battle against Quake, the mythical overlord of evil, by soldiers fighting in an undefined army in undefined places. Although many of the features of Quake II will be similar to Quake players (such as a 3D environment, some weapons that function similar to those of Quake, lava, slime and use of game's logo in certain special game powerups), it is not a continuation of the Quake story.
"With Quake II, id has chosen to follow a different story line (and they did this before I got here). Instead of a vague 'Kill the minions of Quake' sort of imperative, we have created a brand new story with a solid, homogeneous, entirely futuristic, totally militaristic story line. In Quake II, you are a soldier in the TCM (Terran Confederation of Man) army, a combined force put together from the surviving armies of nations on the planet Earth and those of Earth's colonies on the Moon and the new independent nation of Ares on the planet Mars. Humanity is committed to what we hope will be the terminal battle of an ongoing war to not only repel alien invaders from our system, but to destroy their ability to make war of any kind. The battle (in this episode) takes place on the planet Stroggos, the alien homeworld, the core of their barbaric "civilization." Levels are designed to be played in a logical, sequential progression. And here, your mission doesn't end until the big guy, the core of the problem goes down for the long dirtnap.
"OK, now WHY are we calling it Quake II, when it's not really a sequel to Quake? Several reasons. Trademarking. The names we were going for, the ones that to our thinking, really expressed the concept and theme of the game were owned by someone else (when it appears that you may have money to actually cover real or imagined damages, 'foxxing' really gets ugly. They don't just tell you to cease and desist). We kept putting forward names to our copyright attorneys and they kept telling us 'You're not safe from liability with that one.' The deadline for having our real and true name in time for E3 came, and our hands weren't grasping that one great name. And there it was waiting for us like an old lover ... our working title ... Quake II. It knew we'd come home to it at last. It should have been obvious. We've built up a great deal of name recognition with Quake. We shouldn't just throw that away."

PlayStation Version[]

Several of the PC version's objective-based levels (units) were omitted, as well as a handful of enemy types. A new enemy (a gigantic human-spider cyborg with twin railgun arms) was added, and many short air lock-like corridors were added to maps to provide loading pauses inside what were continuous areas in the PC version.

The music of this port is a combination of the Quake II Original music score and some tracks from the PC version's mission pack.

An advantage over other console ports is that it used the PlayStation mouse option, making the gameplay closer to the PC version.

External Links[]

Game Mods[]

Modified Engines[]