Retrowatch: Quake: Dissolution of Eternity - A Final Helping of Classic Quake
Welcome to another edition of Retrowatch -- a weekly series where we take a look at a good game from years long past. In order for a game to be covered on Retrowatch, it must be at least 15 years old. And most of all, it has to be good. Any game that scores below a 7 out of 10 will not be covered.
This week we're taking a final trip to the original Quake with the second expansion, Dissolution of Eternity. This expansion was developed by Ritual Entertainment and published by Id Software. It released March 31st, 1997 on Windows and MS-DOS. It was ported to Windows Mobile, then some time later released on both Steam and GOG.com with modified versions allowing the game to be run on modern systems.
The expansion offers a few new additions of its own to the game, such as new enemies, variations of ammo, and level textures. But suffers from imbalance and concludes with a flimsy and underwhelming boss fight.
A final confrontation
Having defeated Armagon, Ranger once again returns home. Upon arriving home, however, he finds things are anything but back to normal. With the defeat of Armagon, Quake initiated yet another scheme to destroy humanity, and has changed the course of time.
Determined to finish things, Ranger makes one last trip to the dark realms to end the hellish nightmare once and for all before evil shrouds the universe for eternity. And that is the plot of Dissolution of Eternity.
Compared to the original game and the first expansion, the plot to Dissolution of Eternity is the smallest and simplest of the lot -- and that isn't exactly saying much. With that said, in any other type of game this would be a problem, but this isn't played to be told a story but rather for the action. If action is what you are looking for, Dissolution of Eternity has it, if it is plot you are looking for, it doesn't.
Same old-school action, but new additions to play with
You can expect to find the same old-school fast-paced action of the original game along with the first expansion in Dissolution of Eternity. The differences between this and the others, however, are the new additions. While none of the new features from the first expansion are carried over, the game has more than enough of its own to make up for it.
First up is the new level designs. While the first of the two episodes has a more familiar design to it, the second episode introduces a more Egyptian theme. It gives the later levels a breath of fresh air to them, just as the general medieval themes begin to get a bit tiresome.
Unlike in the first expansion, Dissolution of Eternity adds in a large host of new enemies to face off against, including electric eels, fire elementals, ancient Egyptian guardians and more. Each of the enemies has their own unique appearance, attacks and behavior. Much like the new level design, the new enemies bring a much-welcomed refreshment to the expansion.
This expansion also boasts various ammunition types like Lava Nails, Multi-rockets and Plasma. Each of the new variations offers more firepower with their respective weapons, allowing you dish out massive damage to your enemies.
While these new ammo types are fun to play around with, they are massively overpowered. As you progress through the game, they become quite common pickups. Mix that with their high power, and you have destruction that would make even Arnold Schwarzenegger scream like a little girl.
Aside from the overkill of the new ammo types, the new additions to Dissolution of Eternity are all very welcoming and enjoyable to play. If you love Quake, you are going to adore this.
A disappointing conclusion
While it is a very enjoyable game, there is no mistaking the disappointment that is the conclusion of Dissolution of Eternity. After the creativity that went into all the new enemies for the expansion pack, the end boss was anything but imaginative.
It is nothing more than a dragon. I don't have a problem with dragons in video games, but for an expansion for Quake it feels like they had run out of ideas and just threw in the first thing they could think of. I was expecting something a bit more grotesque and Lovecraftian.
If that wasn't bad enough, it wasn't a well-designed boss fight either. The dragon uses a fireball attack that is massively overpowered -- killing you instantly with one direct hit or two from splash damage. The only way to actually kill it without massive frustration is to use the entranceway as a shield. You need to side-step out and get a few shots in before running back to cover and hoping you don't get hit by the splash damage.
It is just a tedious and underwhelming end to a game that was largely well designed up to that point. I just wish that they had put a bit more thought and time in the final confrontation, as it left me with a bit of a bitter taste right at the end of the game.
Flaws aside, another great helping of Quake
There are a few hiccups here and there with the overall design of Dissolution of Eternity, but it is still another great helping of Quake. The level design is good and intuitive, the new enemies are awesome, and the new ammo variations are fun despite their flaws.
It is definitely a step up from Scourge of Armagon and certainly not far from the experience you would get with the original game. If you are looking for a final helping of classic Quake, before it went sci-fi with the sequel, then Dissolution of Eternity is worth giving a go.