8 games we wouldn’t have without Quake
The arena games inspired by the multiplayer madness of Quake
Once positioned as the next big thing on the eSports scene, Shootmania Storm is the arena shooter reborn. This fast and furious first-person shooter took the classic Quake gameplay and stripped it back even further; each round kicks off with rocket launchers in the hands of every player, and that create a fair amount of chaos in the opening minutes.
Rise Of The Triad
A remake of Apogee’s 1995’s Dark War, Rise Of The Triad was seen by many as something of a relic from the early age of shooters. It’s entirely entrenched in outdated design ethos and mechanics – but that also makes it feel uniquely authentic. If you’re after old-school action, Rise Of The Triad offers a simple and enduring splattering of arena action.
You can’t really have a conversation about arena shooters without talking about Unreal Tournament. Despite being fundamentally different game experience, UT was always seen as a direct competitor to Quake by the late Nineties. Despite its age, Unreal Tournament still has a healthy player base online, thanks to its timeless mechanics and incredible level design.
Doom 3’s multiplayer offering wasn’t great at launch, but the community channelled the spirit of Quake and began modding it into shape. Once fans got their hands on it, Quake quickly found an active community as the multiplayer action was increased from four to sixteen players, new instant respawn game modes were added and plenty of crazy weapons arrived.
Tribes Ascend might never have found the audience it truly deserved when it went into open beta in 2012, but it did always try to do things a little bit differently. A free-to-play FPS that spun out of the Tribes franchise, it put a huge emphasis on fun new weapon builds, interesting map design and interesting ranking systems to keep people involved.
Ridiculous spelling aside, Toxikk is another one of those arena shooters tenaciously dedicated to the past. While Toxikk clearly owes a great debt to Unreal Tournament, there’s something about its considered movement and frantic combat that recalls fond memories of Quake. A focus on clan competition also keeps it fiercely boiling over on the competitive scene.
In essence, Reflex is a spiritual successor to the prominent Quake III mod Challenge ProMode Arena. Except everything has been tweaked to ensure it’s chaotically destructive. Everything from damage, to momentum, weapon swap and reload speeds have been tweaked to ensure gunplay comes fast and furiously. This won’t be for everyone, but Reflex offers a smart modernisation of old gameplay.
Xonotic feels like the arena shooter built for a modern, ever-insatiable audience. While its gameplay isn’t that unchanged from the foundation laid down by Quake or Unreal Tournament, it has put a wild emphasis on the mod community. It is open-source by design, which means if you want something new or a crazy new mode variety it won’t take much looking (and downloading) to get it.
Celebrate 20 years of Quake in the latest issue of Retro Gamer