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Ratings (0.0-10.0): -Controls: 9.2 -Graphics: 8.7 -Sound: 8.8 -Fun factor: 9.1 -Replay factor: 8.8 -Overall: 8.9

Midway's previous id Software conversion to the Nintendo 64, Doom 64, had a much lesser challenge in its port: There was no way classic Doom could compare to the slick analog controls and lush polygonal environment provided by the Big N's SGI impersonator. It's a whole new story with Quake, however-- PC gamers have been spoiled by the riches of GLQuake and the proliferation of 3D accelerators, as well as multiplayer enhancements, skin editing and, heavens to flesh chunks, the amazing Quake II. And then there's the behemoth shadow of N64's GoldenEye, one of the best 1st-person shooters ever... so how does the highly-anticipated N64 Quake compare? Technologically, not very well: This Quake's often blurry visuals are inferior to its PC progenitor, as well GoldenEye. Its split-screen mode doesn't provide the quad-screen action of 007, either, nor are its levels as ingeniously devised. Its sound isn't as crisp, or as engaging-- there's no music at all during gameplay-- just an ominous, whispering ambiance. It's also missing a radar for multiplayer matches and, finally, it re-hashes the classic Quake levels so that PC gamers won't have a particularly new experience. None of this, however, takes away from the fact that Quake 64 is a damn fun game to play. The winding gothic levels were an eerie hoot the first time around, and they're even more exciting with the improved controls offered by the N64's trigger button and analog stick. Imposing, intelligent infantry and grotesque monsters patrol the hallways, and a plethora of Quake-standard weapons, from the nailgun to the rocket launcher, are ready for carnage. Unfortunately, the multiplayer function misses its target in a few key areas. As mentioned earlier, the worst offense is a lack of radar. Some of the areas are immense, and, with only two players, you may spend five minutes searching for each other, then shoot for 20 seconds. This just isn't fun, and its doubly frustrating when taken into account that the game fails to provide a 4-player option (and 2-player mode only provides a viewing area slightly larger than quad-screen anyway). In all fairness, however, Quake's frame rate and control performance during head-to-head is excellent. Despite Quake's sharp gameplay, it simply isn't an alternative to its PC counterpart's superior visuals, multiplayer options and customizing functions, or GoldenEye's superior design and intensely strategic head-to-head mode. This is a comfortable silver medalist to GoldenEye, but, finally, the conversion seems rushed and the franchise's console potential lies yet untapped.

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