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Video Game: Quake I

Quake is the first game in the eponymous Quake series, and was released in 1996. It began development as a free roaming RPG, but it switched to a First-Person Shooter, like Id's previous series, Doom.

The game has the Heroic Mime Protagonist (called "Ranger" in Quake III: Arena) going through 4 worlds collecting lost runes in order to fight against an Eldritch Abomination after a military experiment into teleportation went awry and caused an interdimensional demon invasion. The player, now the last surviving member of his unit, must single-handedly blow them all to bits. Of course, the story was once more than just a basic framework for an adrenaline-packed onslaught of vicious monsters to be blown apart.

As id Software's follow-up to Doom, this game is another big step forward in their graphics capabilities. The game's engine was renowned for its ability to create a fully polygonal three dimensional world, populated with enemies and objects constructed using the same polygons and all animated smoothly, at a time when most games still used sprites in some fashion, such as for enemies or pickups. Built for modding, id freely distributed scripting, design and mapping tools that spawned a practically infinite stream of fanmade content (including, notably, Team Fortress, which went on to spawn two sequels). Quake is also notable for jump-starting the phenomena of speedrunning and machinima (Diary Of A Camper).

Coming on the heels of Quake was QuakeWorld, a mod which contained basically the first networking code designed specifically to combat the types of lag caused by Internet play and pretty much created online gaming as we now know it. All of this put together has made Quake one of the longest-lived games ever made.

Two mission packs for the game, Quake: Scourge of Armagon by Hipnotic Entertainment and Quake: Dissolution of Eternity by Rogue Entertainment, were released.

This game named the following tropes:

This game and its Expansion Packs provide examples of:

  • Action Bomb: Spawns, annoyingly fast globs of purple goo that would like to mate with your face. Killing them triggers an explosion as strong as a direct hit with a rocket. Ouch.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: With spikes!
  • An Axe to Grind: The player's Emergency Weapon.
  • Armor of Invincibility: The Pentagram of Protection makes the player invulnerable (the health meter in the console just reads 666).
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: Lava nails in Dissolution of Eternity. Against players, armor absorption is halved, but it does the same amount of damage. Monsters take extra damage instead.
  • Ascended Glitch / Good Bad Bugs:
    • The Strafe Jump, also called "bunny hopping", which was a glitch in the game's multiplayer. To the point of including a tutorial about it in Quake Live. Along with the Strafe Jump, more abilities were there to be discovered by the player. Not really an issue that divides the Quake fanbase: they've accepted it, unlike the members of similar games or spinoffs.
  • Astral Checkerboard Decor: The Wizard's Manse has this.
  • Attract Mode: Demos of many levels start playing in the menu screen.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Thunderbolt. It's the game's most powerful weapon by far, but it's hard to aim properly, ammo is very scarce, and in spite of its mass-kill of underwater beings, doing this shorts out the weapon, killing even the player if he's not invulnerable. Even if he survives, all the ammo is gone.
  • A Winner Is You: Like the original Doom games, the ending is pretty much just a congratulatory text crawl.
  • Beeping Computers: in the high tech "base" levels are constant technological beeping noises
  • Beneath the Earth: Several levels are underground, including one called The Underearth, as well as the game's final level.
  • Blatant Item Placement: Health packs, ammo and weapons abound for no reason at all.
  • Blob Monster: The Spawns are a particular annoying version.
  • Boring, but Practical: The double-barrelled shotgun. Not only is it very powerful at close range (it can even gib certain enemies) but ammo for it is plentiful and it's available in almost every level.
  • Boss Arena Idiocy: The first chapter boss completely immune to all damage apart from two adjustable columns that can shoot lightning between them. The final boss is impervious to everything except a floaty teleporty doohickey. Neither of these unique architectural features can be found anywhere else in the game.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Shamblers and Vores. Both appear at junctures in the game where a boss would be expected (the end of an episode) and are quite deadly.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: The Underearth and The Nameless City are extremely difficult (the latter has something like 95 kills) and will probably eat up all of your ammo by the time you finish them.
  • Call Back: The vores appear as bosses in the second episode, and then as regular mooks in 3 and 4. This is similar to the Barons of Hell, the bosses of the first episode of Doom.
  • Cherry Tapping: The Shotgun is weak, but accurate. You can take down a Shambler with it from a distance if you're patient enough.
  • Chunky Salsa Rule: Zombies aren't normally killed by bullets or nails (since they're already dead, natch) and must be blown up with grenades and rockets. The Quad Damage also splatters zombies as well.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Green armor is the weakest kind, followed by yellow (medium) and red (strongest).
  • Convection Schmonvection: There's lava all over the place, which is deadly if you fall into it, but simply walking over it on a grating is fine.
  • Cool Versus Awesome: Quake did this before it was even a thing, as an unintended result of its somewhat disjointed development history (half the team wanted to do a A Space Marine Is You game, the other half wanted to do a fantasy RPG, and they ended up just mashing the two ideas together). You've got a space marine running around blasting medieval knights with a shotgun, blowing up zombies with grenades, and fighting Lovecraftian horrors in an alternate dimension.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: It's never explained why Shub-Niggurath wants to exterminate all of mankind. She just does.
  • Creepy Cemetery: One level has a cemetery full of (what else?) zombies.
  • Creepy Cool Crosses: So much it borders on Sigil Spam. One in the original campaign actually features Jesus on it (albeit obscured by darkness), and several have zombies pinned to them in the main campaign.
  • Dark Fantasy: Eldritch-possessed knights, vile creatures, dark magic, dark castles, lots of gore. What's not to like?
  • Death Trap: Many levels feature spike shooters, crushing blocks, trapdoor floors etc.
    • "Claustrophobopolis", one of the Deathmatch levels, is the home to several Beginner's Traps involving switches, lava, and teleporters.
    • One of the final levels of Scourge of Armagon traps you between two Advancing Walls Of Doom.
  • Dead Character Walking: Typing "give health" into the console will cause the player to assume a bizarre undead state where they're lying on the ground as a corpse, yet can still jump, look around, shoot and even kill enemies.
  • Death World: The entire universe. Lava, chemicals, explosives...
  • Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: Dissolution of Eternity adds lava nails.
  • Descending Ceiling: Several times. In one level, it is played straight with the ceiling moving to crush, then subverted where the ceiling descends, splits into two parts and retreats into the walls before the elevator brings you to the exit.
  • Degraded Boss:
    • Vores first appear as a Dual Boss at the end of the second episode, then as regular enemies in the latter two episodes.
    • The Fiend also appears with boss-like drama the first time it shows up, but becomes a regular enemy later. As little as a few seconds later on 'Hard' or 'Nightmare' skill, though, two more will oh-so-generously make themselves known and teleport in the moment the first one kicks the bucket.
  • Drone of Dread: The very creepy soundtrack of the first game, provided by Nine Inch Nails.
  • Easter Egg: Everywhere among the secrets!
  • Eldritch Abomination: Shub-Niggurath.
  • Eldritch Location: The parallel universe where the game takes place.
  • Elevator Action Sequence: The final part of E2M6 - The Dismal Oubliette, features one of these.
    • The level "The Haunted Halls" has one too where you ride a series of floating platforms up and around the level, shooting rockets at switches and killing ogres.
  • Elite Mooks:
    • Grunts are human soldiers who are possessed and try to kill you. They aren't dangerous, but the Enforcers (Grunts wearing full suits of armour and firing laser cannons) are.
    • Knights are fast, but not deadly. Death Knights are much harder to kill and deal more damage as well as having a ranged attack (fireballs).
  • Enemy Mine: The Horn of Invocation in Scourge of Armagon, which allows you to invoke a random enemy to fight for you.
  • Everything Fades: One of the early attractions of Quake's polygonal graphics was the prospect that you'd now be able to look at corpses and guns from different angles (which was new and incredibly cool back then.) Unfortunately, the rapid increase in performance requirements brought on by Quake-style graphics would ultimately bring about the ubiquity of Everything Fades.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Except for the health and ammo packs, there is nothing but monsters and booby traps as far as the eye can see.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: Many levels have and/or are one.
  • Exploding Barrels
  • Eyeless Face: Many of the enemies.
  • Faceless Goons: The Enforcers from the Earth base levels.
  • Forged by the Gods: The Mjölnir hammer in Scourge Of Armagon.
  • Freemium: The first episode was available as shareware, but the latter three had to be purchased.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: The Enforcers fire them.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: The Thunderbolt explodes if discharged into the water, killing the player. This is a problem in an early version (1.01), where a player would enter a non-respawning zombie state if he wasn't gibbed by the explosion (e.g. 6 cells with 100 health). In a multiplayer game, you needed to disconnect from the server. While it was fixed in version 1.06, the expansion packs (1.07 and 1.08) re-implemented this bug with the new but similar weapons.
  • Game Mod: Trope Codifier in the FPS Genre. Doom was designed with a few features that allowed user made levels, but Quake was probably the first major game purpose built for modding, especially with its "Quake C" scripting language. In fact, many modern games owe their roots to mods developed for Quake. Several of the mods (Capture the Flag, Rocket Arena) have also became standard modes in subsequent games. Team Fortress became its own game series.
  • Gatling Good: The Super Nailgun's barrels spin just like a Gatling's. Its rate of fire isn't any faster than the Nailgun's, but it fires 2 nails at a time.
  • Giant Mook: Shamblers. Death Knights and Ogres are also quite intimidating.
  • Giant Spider: The Vores are a cross between this and some sort of demon.
  • Glass Cannon: The Scrag doesn't have a lot of health, but its spit attack can hit targets from a good distance and it fires repeatedly at you.
    • The knight also doesn't have a lot of health, but its sword is downright lethal once you get into swinging range of it.
    • The Grunts, Rottweilers and Enforcers also count.
  • Gothic Horror
  • Grenade Launcher: The Trope Codifier for the "bouncy grenade" type.
  • Guilt-Free Extermination War: The entire premise of the game.
  • Haunted Castle
  • Have a Nice Death: By way of death messages:
    "Deathbringer rode Fluffy's rocket."
  • Harder Than Hard: Interestingly, it can only be accessed via a secret area in the new game loading area, even on the expansions.
  • Healing Spring: There's a very convenient one in "The Palace of Hate", one of the hardest levels.
  • Helpful Mook: Zombies. By themselves, they're an annoyance of variating level; however, they'll only stop being a threat if gibbed, something only a few high-level mooksmore  can do, and zombies are pathetically easy to draw into infighting with their slow movement speed and quirky attack pattern. Anything lesser than a Fiend will lose in a battle of attrition, and Fiends will be permanently distracted with hacking at the immobilized prone zombie at their feet.
  • Hero Tracking Failure: Played straight with grunts - their Hit Scan attacks are forced to aim a bit behind a moving player. Non-instant hit ranged attacks only focus on the player, allowing a simple dodge by moving forward. The sole exception is Ch'thon on hard difficulty, who leads with the attacks.
    • Averted with Armagon in the first expansion pack, which makes him extremely difficult unless you use cover, as his rockets can kill you in just 1 or 2 hits and travel fast enough that it's very hard to change direction fast enough once they're launched.
  • Hit Scan: The Shambler's lightning attack is particularly annoying (and deadly), since it's impossible to dodge. It is, however, telegraphed, like Video Game/Doom's archvile - the one problem is that there's not a lot of cover in most of its encounters. Thankfully, you can turn the tables with your very own lightning gun, which replicates the Shambler's attack.
  • Homing Projectile: The Vores throw exploding spikey balls that track you, but they can be avoided by getting them to smash into obstacles and walls.
    • Particularly hilarious if you can position the Vore so it keeps throwing the spikey balls into a nearby wall or column. It won't realise the splash damage is hurting it and end up slowly killing itself.
  • Hub Level: The difficulty selection map, which can be used for deathmatches.
  • Hyper Destructive Bouncing Ball: Spawns, again.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Nearly all the level names have a dark fantasy/horror theme.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The ogres are "cannibal monsters", apparently. In Scourge of Armagon, Gremlins will try to eat you, and will happily munch on fallen human(?) foes, as well.
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons: The Final Boss in Dissolution of Eternity.
  • Invisibility Cloak: The Ring of Shadows, which renders you invisible save for your eyes. You can slip past monsters undetected, but ones trying to track you down still know where you are.
  • Kill 'em All: The game keeps track of how many monsters you've killed per level, with the ideal being 100%.
  • Killer App: It was already this to begin with, but when GLQuake was released, 3dfx Voodoo Graphics accelerators started flying off the shelves, now that people could suddenly play it at 640x480 resolution (at a time when people were content with 320x240 on the software-rendered version because higher resolutions were too demanding) and still maintain a liquid-smooth 60 frames per second!
    • Note that VQuake for Rendition Verite cards predates GLQuake, but did not result in massive success for Rendition like it did for 3dfx.
    • GLQuake was allegedly developed to run on id Software's workstations with no intentions of running on consumer PCs, but by coincidence, the 3dfx Voodoo Graphics card handled it very well, and so they made it available to consumers anyway. The rest is history.
  • Lava is Boiling Kool-Aid: Magma in this game is essentially orange water with a very high damage-per-second trait. Mods like DarkPlaces make the Lava look more, well, like Lava.
  • Lava Pit: Several instances, often under retreating floors.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Shamblers are a lot faster than their huge size might make you assume. Their surprising speed can make it difficult to dodge out of their line-of-sight in order to avoid their hitscan ranged attack.
    • The Fiend looks like a Fragile Speedster at first, but it has 300 hit points on top of its extreme mobility and deadly melee attack.
  • Lightning Gun: The Thunderbolt. It drains batteries fast, but kills enemies even faster. Just don't fire it underwater.
  • Lock and Key Puzzle: Many levels, although they're quite simplistic, with only two keys to find at most.
  • Lovecraft Lite: Many of the levels and enemies are designed as Shout Outs to his works, and the artifacts you collect often assault the Ranger's brain, much like Lovecraft's creatures were wont to do. The "lite" bit comes from the fact that you're playing as a tough as nails Action Hero with a Hyperspace Arsenal that can make mince meat out of any abomination you face in literally less than ten seconds, and destroys Shub-Niggurath, Chthon, and their goons with little more than a human arsenal.
  • Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: In Dissolution of Eternity, the Power Shield powerup significantly reduces damage if you are facing its source (damage from lava is treated from the origin point in the map). If you're hit from behind, it's just a minor damage reduction.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Whenever enemies are blown up with the rocket launcher or telefragged. Explosives are actually required to kill zombies, as attacks must inflict a minimum amount of damage to kill one.
  • Malevolent Architecture: Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom covered with Spikes of Doom? Check. Descending Ceilings? Check. Floors that open into inescapable Lava Pits? Check. And there's a lot more than that.
  • Meaningful Name:
  • Mighty Glacier: The Orge can take 200 points of damage and is equipped with both a Grenade Launcher and a Chainsaw, but isn't really fast.
    • The multi-grenade Ogre doesn't have anymore health or move speed, but it fires multi-grenades that split into 5 mini grenades when they explode without hitting a lifeform.
    • The Death Knight isn't very fast either, but it has 50 more health points then the Ogre and its sword can launch several energy bolts with each swing.
    • The Zombie can be this without explosive damage: they are very slow, but when hit with an attack that deals less then 60 damage, will get up eventually.
    • The Vore has twice as much health as the Ogre and moves even slower. Its exploding pod attack, on the other hand...
  • Milestone Celebration: For Quake's 10th. anniversary, Id released the source code for the maps themselves under the GPL license.
  • Muck Monster: Spawn. The expansion pack adds a variety that can duplicate itself indefinitely.
  • Nail 'Em: The Nailgun and the Super Nailgun.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Most of the enemies. The Fiend, Shambler, Vore, Death Knight...
    • The levels themselves are given rather ominous appellations: "The Dismal Oubliette", "Chambers of Torment", "Satan's Dark Delight", "Azure Agony", etc.
  • No Sell: The Wetsuit negates any and all electric damage, from Shambler bolts to your own Thunderbolt fired underwater.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: In Scourge of Armagon, the Gremlins can't steal the Mjolnir.
  • Palette Swap: Aside from Player Characters, not used until Dissolution of Eternity. The textures used on some monsters indicate that they are slightly different; yellowish ogres may throw multi grenades, green spawns will split apart, and a mummy (a white-colored zombie) is a damage sponge rather than being Immune to Bullets.
  • Playable Menu and Hub Level: The non-standard difficulty and episode selection, which was slashed away in the console ports (N64, at least).
  • Point of No Return: Levels are usually designed so that you can backtrack anytime, but there are a few exceptions, such as one part of a level in which the lights behind the player turn off, somehow blocking the path.
  • Puzzle Boss: Probably the Trope Codifier for FPS games. Both unique bosses (the end of Episode 1, and the Final Boss) are pure puzzle bosses that involve no shooting (although the Final Boss involves you having to shoot your way through several Boss In Mooks Clothing first). The expansion packs introduced several more traditional FPS bosses.
  • Ranged Emergency Weapon: The shotgun. It is half as powerful compared to its predecessor from Doom, needing two shots to kill even the weakest of enemies. It's more comparable to the pistol, given its higher rate of fire and that it's your starting weapon. It is, at least, fairly precise and hitscan, so it retains some use as a poor man's sniper rifle even after you get significantly more powerful guns.
  • Real Is Brown: The game's color palette is made up mostly of browns and dark greys, but it's not for the sake of realism; it adds to the dark atmosphere of the game. Believe it or not, but at the time it came out this definitely gave the game an instantly recognizable visual style, as the color palette of virtually every set of textures ranges from greenish-brown to reddish-brown, with the rare exception of some bluish-grey textures. Even most basic enemies are either dressed in some shade of brown or have brownish skin.
  • Reality Ensues: Firing the Thunderbolt underwater is as unsafe as you expect it would be in real life, even going so far as gibbing the player and everyone else around him.
  • Red Sky, Take Warning: In the few levels where the sky can be seen, it's a pale reddish colour with ominously drifting clouds.
  • Save Scumming: You can save and reload the game at any time.
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: The game's monsters are attempting an invasion of Earth and cannot be stopped except by exterminating them all.
  • Secret Level: The first game had one per unit, including the famous "Ziggurat Vertigo", "The Underearth", "The Haunted Halls" and "The Nameless City". Scourge of Armagon pushes this a bit far, with "Military Complex", "The Gremlin's Domain" and "The Edge of Oblivion". (A Deathmatch level turned as an SP one, with loads and loads of enemies).
  • Secret Underground Passage: Quite a few of them, which can be opened by hidden switches, or just hitting the wall with your axe until you find something.
  • Serious Business: Tournament play moved from a pastime to a career for some, among them "Thresh", who won John Romero's Ferrari in a tournament.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: One of the main features of the AI is how easy it is to get enemies to attack each other, which can save the player a lot of work and ammunition.
  • Shareware: One of the latest examples of this era.
  • Shock and Awe: The Shambler's main attack method is to cook up a stream of lightning and shoot it at you. There's also your own Lightning Gun, and several traps in the expansion packs are of the electricity-shooting variety.
  • Short Range Shotgun: The double-barrel shotgun has an incredibly wide spread which renders it useless at any distance beyond a few in-game metres. Averted with the regular shotgun, which fires a tight spread that usually does full damage even at long range.
  • Shout-Out: As mentioned above, many towards H.P. Lovecraft, such as the bosses being called Chthon and Shub-Niggurath, and a level called "The Nameless City".
    • Also, the Ring of Shadows that makes you invisible.
    • If you're squashed by the giant Boulder in the third level of "Scourge of Armagon", the death text reads "Player You've been Jones'ed!
  • Six Hundred Sixty Six: Appears as your armor count when you are invulnerable. You can't take damage when it is active, but your armor can still be stripped away.
  • Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom
  • Space Marine: id attempted to distance themselves from it in this game, calling him "Ranger" instead. Part of Scourge of Armagon plays this straight.
  • Spike Shooter: Many of the wall traps.
  • Spread Shot: The Death Knights fire several rockets at once, although they're relatively slow and can be avoided.
  • Storming the Castle: Every level is about getting into the fortress, killing monsters and making your way to the end.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Enemies in Quake ignore water, slime and lava, behaving essentially as though they were still in normal air.
  • Tech Demo Game: this game is the reason PCs now have graphics cards.
  • Tele-Frag: Sometimes two or more monsters will spawn in place and insta-gib each other. It's possible to do it in multiplayer as well, and the only way to beat the final boss, Shub-Niggurath. Monsters can never telefrag players - if you're in the right spot, you can avoid fighting a tough enemy.
  • Teleporting Keycard Squad: Several times throughout the game, particularly in the fourth episode.
  • Theres No Kill Like Overkill: All over the place. It's possible to take down Death Knights or Ogres with three rockets, and then there's killing the piranhas with the shotgun...
    • Overkilling zombies is required. They'll go down with standard firepower, but they'll recover and get back up again shortly afterwards. The only way to make sure they stay dead is applying enough damage to splatter them.
  • Title Drop: The final line of Dissolution of Eternity.
  • To Hell and Back: Episode 3 is designed with a hellish theme.
  • Visible Invisibility: The Ring of Shadows conceals everything but your eyes.
  • A Winner Is You: Each set of levels ends with a wall of text about the ancient knowledge you're getting from the runes. After Shub-Niggurath explodes, the game and its developers just congratulate you and thank you for playing.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Everywhere in the metatext.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Many levels are full of zombies, which are lots of fun to kill. Make sure you have rockets, however, because they won't die any other way unless you have Quad Damage and can splatter them with lesser weapons.

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alternative title(s): Quake I
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