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Then and now.

September 9, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

Since this is clearly the article bringing you all here, since all I see are searches for Sonic and Quake 3, why don’t you take a few minutes and check the rest of the blog out? You probably won’t regret it. I mean, at worst, you’ll look back on it with a ‘meh’.

Edit: Seeing as this is clearly becoming a multi-edit ordeal, I will likely update this post frequently (or infrequently).

It’s almost midnight, and I’m really bored and not quite ready to go back to I can’t see where the hell I’m going Hill, so I decided to take really old school games and compare them to their not-so-oldschool counterparts.

Now, I admit, I haven’t played ALL of the newer iterations of these games, so some of them I’ll just be pulling information together from shaky reviews and even shakier wiki articles. These are in no particular order, because having any sort of order would be too unlike me:

DOOM

Doom I / Doom 2 (1991-1993)

The revered granddaddy of FPS (Great Grandaddy is reserved for a later game in the list), Doom established the most crude of FPS conventions. Complex, multiroom maps, eyecatching scenery, gore to make your mother faint, etc. The original doom is still played often today, albeit in heavily updated source ports that have begun to take advantage of Quake-like basic 3D models and such more recent developments as mouselook. Yes, back in my day, you didn’t look but left or right with the mouse – any vertical aiming was done for you. Just a little tidbit of info for the Halo kiddies.

Doom remained dormant in the belly of the underworld for a decade, when out of the fires of hell came;

Doom 3

2004

Doom 3 could be described in one word on release – stunning. However, stunning could be switched out for horrifying, groundbreaking, unbelievable, and hyper realistic too. I guess that last one breaks the one-word budget, though.

Unfortunately, like a frail old woman, Doom 3 has lost a lot of it’s luster over time. Yes, it brought back the monsters that gave us nightmares in college in full, normal mapped 3D glory, but it felt very set apart from the original 2 games. The story took more precedence, the environment a bit less of a hellish joy to traverse (save for two very brief levels), and the pacing was noticeably slower. Encounters with monsters were less hectic and more intimate, you’d only take on one or two of the larger monsters at a time, and they were scattered sparsely. Personally, I was hoping to be blasting about a dozen imps and three hellknights in one room all in an adrenaline pumping, shit stomping battle against hell… But meh.

The lack of particularly satisfying action over atmosphere destroyed a lot of the replay value as well. Where I can still go take a round of Doom in Skulltag on higher difficulties just for the twitch shooting, Doom 3 had monsters all very deliberately placed, and not in any particularly exciting set up, so once you’ve gone through the game once, you’ve pretty much seen it all. The same zombie is gonna moan and swagger out of the same questionably lit corner the next time through.

While the multiplayer deathmatch mode and the expansion pack gave us a few more reasons to play, I still find myself booting up The Ultimate Doom 9 times out of 10 over Doom 3. It’s a good pony, but it’s sadly only got one trick.

Mario

Super Mario Bros (1985)

Mmm mmm, feel that nostalgia. I don’t feel I need to say much about this italian plumber and his reptilian adversary – some people truly need no introduction. Unless you’ve never touched a game in your life (and if you haven’t, why the hell are you here?), you should know who Mario is, and his significance to gaming in general. THE definitive father of modern platforming, the original NES Super Mario Bros (Kudos if you’ve actually played it, and sex for you if you’ve played it on an actual NES) remains to be a classic that still provides enough entertainment to keep me going for a while.

Still Mario.

Everything from then till now

He’s had a few downs (Here’s lookin’ at you, SMB2 and Sunshine), but for the most part, the chubby Italian has managed to keep his flair for over twenty years, making him perhaps the oldest, relevant, succesful video game character who will ever exist. Also, if you can’t appreciate the correlation between the old and new pictures I picked out, I hate you.

Sonic The Hedgehog

Sonic The Hedgehog, CD, 2, 3, &k (1991 – 1994)

Boy, the early nineties sure seems to have been the defining years for modern gaming, huh? 16 bit platformers, the dawning of the FPS, the beginnings of 3D… It’s like gaming mecca. This little furball with an attitude (Score one of you thought of the Saturday Morning Cartoon theme song. Aaaaand kill yourself.) was Mario’s main competition in the 90’s, and he was on speed. Fatal doses of it. Gamers got a whole new taste of ‘fast’ the first time they ended up loosing control and running headlong into spikes but, surprise surprise, they didn’t die in one hit! Unlike mario, who was prone to heart attacked by running in to turtles or something, Sonic was powered by rings. Where they came from and why they somehow kept him alive aren’t important, but they became perhaps the only (I’m not bitter) lasting positive staple in the series. If you hear that classic chime noise and don’t think Sonic, you haven’t played games much. At all. Unfortunately, glory years can only last so long, and though he made a slight comeback in the late 90’s…

He was destined to fall from grace. This is one classic critter who should have stuck to his 2D roots.

Urrrgh… Not Another Sonic Game

2001-2008(?)

In 2003, SEGA released Sonic Heroes, and Armageddon fell to full swing. Plagued by cheesy dialogue and, after the original voice cast was fired in 2005, horrible voice acting, as well as trademark bottomless pits in levels that seem to magnetically attract the player, ridiculous attempts at stories, and a plethora of needless characters with needless multiple appearances to the point of the company recolouring their own creations, Sonic has become something of a laughing stock in the gaming community, and my header there; “Uggh, not another Sonic game.” pretty much describes the attitude of the press, the public, and Sonic fans themselves (sadly) alike.

However, in 2008, Sonic Unleashed (Pictured above instead of one of the less desireable games) was announced which, after a half decade of utter shit, is beginning to seem like the light at the end of the tunnel. A new team, a new engine, a return to a more classic cartoony look, and Sonic as the only playable character – as well as 2D sidescrolling action, yes, on a home console, are making this shape up to be perhaps the beginning of a rise to grace for the once mighty furry. I personally just hope it’s not a temporary thing.

Quake Series

This is a fun once, because it’s not just a time span, it’s a game-by-game basis too. So, let’s start at the beginning.

Quake

1996

So, first came Doom, which basically defined the basics of FPS. What was next? The next evolution in First Person gaming for Id Software came in 1996 as Quake. Fully 3d, and cutting edge at the time, Quake took a decidedly different turn from DooM. Though both featured grotesque monsters and over the top weapons, Quake had a much more medieval feel to it, and made the protagonist the one hopping through dimensions, instead of the enemy forces. A sequel seemed inevitable, but it came in a somewhat unexpected form…

Quake II

1997

Funny thing about Quake 2… It actually has nothing to do with the original Quake, aside from sharing developers, names, and one weapon (the shotgun). Quake 2 took us out of the slipgate and put us on Stroggos, against the borg-like alien Strogg. Once again, you were a lone space marine against a huge alien horde, but this time, you were the invader. Quake 2 introduced the more perspective accurate weapon placing (to the side of the screen) and expanded on Quake’s fully 3d open levels by making them even more expansive and, to an extent, even pretty open ended when it came to exploration. They all connected, and you always felt like you were in an actual location. Again, the game was a success, and a sequel was certain, but again Id continued to just be full of surprises.

Quake III Arena

1999

1999… The dawning of the internet at large, and of course internet based gaming was sure to follow. Instead of a follow up to 1996’s Quake or 1997’s Quake 2, we got yet another complete reinvention of the franchise, based entirely around the popular practice of going online and blowing the shit out of other people. Enter: Quake 3 Arena, Id’s next evolution in graphics and game play, again pushing PCs of the time to their limits, but if you had an adequate machine, boy were you in for a ride. The game had some significant fanservice by including certain past characters (coughDoomGuycough) in full 3d form as arena combatants. Id gave us virtual manslaughter, and once we’d caught on, we never intended to give it up, and so we still haven’t. Quake3 is still widely played and popular, with a free browser based version called quakeLive debuting later this year. Be sure to keep an eye on that if you’ve never had the pleasure of playing quake 3 before.

So, Id had taken it all over the map with Quake, and for six years… There was silence. Where could Id take the series from here?

Quake 4

2005

To the past, was the answer. After nearly a decade, Id finally gave one of the Quake games a proper sequel. In Quake 4, which touted the same engine used to make the visually stunning Doom3 (See higher in the list), we were thrown back in to the struggle on stroggos, just after the ending of Quake2. The weapons and scenario were familiar, but Stroggos and it’s cybernetic inhabitants sported some spiffy new designs. Streamlined and yet even more gruesome, the organic and mechanic mixtures on stroggos were now rendered in glorious, high resolution detail. You could now see every pulsating vein, every bit of lose skin riveted to the metal parts that made up the menacing Strogg. In a way, the game managed to be every bit as creepy as Doom3, especially in a later level where you had to fight essentially zombies – rejected human to strogg conversion subjects.

However, Quake 4 also included a fully featured online mode highly reminiscent of Quake 3, so for anyone who missed the fast paced action, Quake 4 delivered, with the same familiar weapons and even a few map remakes. They even did us the favour of replacing the stupid little default blaster in multiplayer with the good ol’ gauntlet. Id loves us so.

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  1. January 12, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    A man who knows his stuff. Very nice work. Classics never die. 😀

  2. Kessler
    July 26, 2010 at 12:35 am

    Quake 2 has no nailgun… but it shares 2 shotguns, grenade launcher and rocketlauncher with the weapon setup from Quake 1. Maybe you confused it with Quake 4?

    • cynicwithagamepad
      July 26, 2010 at 2:25 am

      You’re correct. I remembered Nine Inch Nails’ logo being used for the nailgun ammo for one game, but it was in fact Quake 1. Much like how I managed to flub Doom’s release year a few times in this blog. With time, some facts have been lost, a lack of research on my part. Thank you for the correction.

  3. Quaker O's
    September 20, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    Your so awesome. I could not complain at all about your FPS choices. I love all these games.

    • cynicwithagamepad
      September 21, 2010 at 4:00 pm

      Thanks for the feedback! There’s a reason I chose to retrospect the games I did, in that they’re all generally good games (With Sonic being questionable).

      • Quaker O's
        September 27, 2010 at 8:04 pm

        Haha, I have never enjoyed Sonic. Have you played the Quake series?

      • cynicwithagamepad
        September 27, 2010 at 8:49 pm

        Lots! Though, evidently not enough seeing as I managed to screw up the weapons between 1 and 2 in the article, haha. But yeah, I own all four of the main Quake series.

  4. Mtzfire
    December 29, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    Yep, these were the big titles, classics for all time 🙂
    -Love them all! Id Software most, kings of FPS!!

  1. October 2, 2010 at 11:43 am

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