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Shortly after landing on an alien surface, you learn that hundreds of your men have been reduced to just a few. Now you must fight your way through heavily fortified military installations, lower the city's defenses and shut down the enemy's war machine. Only then will the fate of humanity be known.

—id Software overview[1]

Quake II or Quake 2 was released on December 9, 1997. It was developed by id Software and distributed by Activision. Quake II isn't a direct sequel to Quake, it merely uses its name due to id feeling the game’s fast-paced, tactile feel felt closer to a Quake game than a new franchise. It also has two official expansion packs: The Reckoning and Ground Zero. These two expansion packs contain new levels, weapons, and enemies.

On August 10th, 2023, id software released a remaster for Quake II. Similar to the Quake Remaster released two years prior, this was a free update to those who owned the game on online platforms such as Steam or GoG. The remaster included updated graphics, improved AI, restored cut content, access to the two official expansion packs and the previously Nintendo 64 exclusive Quake II (Nintendo 64) campaign, and a new expansion called Call of the Machine. A longer summary of gameplay changes applied in the 2023 remaster can be found here.

The Story

Main article: Quake II Story

Three Quake II logos are shown above the entrance to the Makron's palace, suggesting that the logo is somehow of importance to the Strogg.

Quake II takes place in a futuristic sci-fi environment. During the single player campaign, you take the role of a Marine called Bitterman, taking part in "Operation Alien Overlord", attempting to save Earth from the Strogg invasion by counter-attacking their planet, Stroggos. During the first attack on Stroggos, the Big Gun strikes down most of the Marine pods with a powerful EMP blast. This causes most of the pods to crash land (many miles from their target landing zones). Most of the Marines are captured or killed, but Bitterman is one of the lucky few to survive. He finds himself many miles from the Big Gun in a Strogg base on the outskirts of the city.

Operation Alien Overlord has 4 key objectives that Bitterman must complete over the course of the game.

The player will complete other smaller objectives in between these four main objectives, such as destroying the Security Grid to gain access to the Big Gun. These objectives are spread over 10 Units. Bitterman starts off by establishing the communication uplink. This allows him to receive objectives deeper in the alien complex. Bitterman then reaches the Warehouse, and destroys the logistical train before walking through to the Jail. Here he completes one of the major secondary objectives, destroying the Laser Grid that protects the inner city from ground assault. Bitterman then makes his way to the Mine in order to reach the Factory. Bitterman disables the Strogg productions and then makes his way to the Big Gun. Bitterman destroys the Power Plant Reactor, granting him access to destroy the Big Gun. Thus completing the second main objective.

Bitterman travels to the Hangar to close it, and destroy the Black Hole Generator, completing the third main objective. He then walks over to the City Palace where the Makron resides. After destroying the Makron's communications, Bitterman chases the Makron through the Inner Chamber to the final showdown where Bitterman defeats the Strogg Leader, completing the fourth and final objective.


Quake II is a First Person Shooter, meaning the player must interact with the environment and fight the various enemies from the perspective of the main character. The game retained most of the original Quake features, including fast paced action, large quantities of enemies, and some of the weapons from the original game along with newly introduced ones.

Single Player

The single player game features a variety of "levels" and "secret levels" that lead to the completion of the "main objectives" (usually destroying important Strogg structures). After the completion of every "main mission" a CGI cutscene introduces the next one. The player must fulfill various tasks including stealing a Strogg commander's head and blowing up the strongest Strogg piece of artillery: the Big Gun. The missions will lead the player to a space station, where the player will have their final showdown against the Makron. Even though a few marines survived the Big Gun at the start, the only ones you can see have been captured. You can also hear the voices of other marines on Bitterman's radio.


Quake II can be played across the Internet. It features various modes, from the free-for-all Deathmatch, to the single player Cooperative. Prior to the release of specifically designed Deathmatch maps, the players had to play their free for all games using the single player maps, which were not designed for multiplayer. The Quake II multiplayer mode retains some of the Quake mechanics like the improved speed, and the possibility to customize the player names and models. Quake II still has a large fan base and community, that provides the possibility to play Multiplayer matches even after 26 years from its first release.


List of Units

The single-player levels of Quake II are grouped into 10 units. The maps within a unit are interconnected, and the progression through the unit can develop in a non-linear fashion; the Units are essentially large levels that consist of a few separate parts. Each unit takes place in a different part of Stroggos, starting from the Outer Base and ending in the Inner City. The Units take place in important Strogg locations, where key objectives to Operation Overlord are completed.

Multiplayer Maps


Note: The 2023 Remaster Edition also includes deathmatch maps from The Reckoning, Ground Zero, and Quake II (Nintendo 64). The 2023 Remaster Edition also includes Team Deathmatch with these maps.

Capture the Flag

*Incorrectly named as Zorigomi in the "Start network server" menu.
**Incorrectly named as Boxed In in the "Start network server" menu.


In Quake II, there are 4 difficulty levels: Easy, Medium, Hard and Hard+. The first three are chosen from the Singleplayer menu, and choosing one will begin a new game in that difficulty.

In Quake II, Easy mode is the only difficulty setting where the enemies will not try to shoot at the player when incapacitated.

Hard+ (the equivalent to Nightmare in Quake) is again hidden and can only be selected by typing "Skill 3" and then "Map Base1" in the console. This will put the player in the very first level with the difficulty of Hard+. Hard+ makes the enemy's attacks faster and causes the enemies to never flinch when shot.

In the 2023 remaster, Hard+ is renamed Nightmare and is freely available when starting a new game or selecting a level.


Like Quake, Quake II has the player fighting a very diverse set of enemies from weak light guards to the powerful Makron. Click a link below to find out more about each of the Strogg.





PlayStation Version


2023 Remaster Edition

With the 2023 remaster, several enemies had their code updated. Cut attacks and animations were restored, and the updated difficulty from The Reckoning and Ground Zero were reverse ported to the base campaign. Additionally, it includes a new campaign called Call of the Machine with more bosses and enemies, including the Arachnid from the Playstation port, the Shambler from Quake, and the Gunner Commander, originally a cut Quake III Arena character.

Enemy Easy Medium Hard/Nightmare
Light Guard 133 151 161
Shotgun Guard 132 148 158
Machine Gun Guard 136 159 170
Enforcer 109 127 134
Gunner 171 194 210
Iron Maiden 39 49 56
Parasite 36 38 51
Berserker 102 123 148
Mutant 12 13 15
Barracuda Shark 33 33 34
Flyer 108 127 134
Technician 46 53 59
Icarus 61 77 91
Brains 15 17 19
Medic 10 13 15
Gladiator 41 49 59
Tank 31 32 33
Tank Commander 10 14 15
Super Tank 2 2 2
Hornet 3 3 3
Jorg 1 1 1
Makron 1 1 1

These statistics refer to the 2023 remaster of the Quake II single-player campaign, which differ from the original game on certain levels (for example, a Tank is added to Upper Mines and Big Gun). The Arachnid and Guardian only appear in the Playstation port, which differs again from the PC version.


Quake II is full of weapons that suit different situations. In order to survive through the alien installations, the player must master all the weapons, and find out which weapons work best against different enemies. Click a link below to find out more about each of the weapons and the ammo that fuels them.




Aq2Shell Aq2Bullet Aq2Grenade Aq2Rocket Aq2Cell

Power Ups

Quake II offers a huge amount of power-ups to help the player combat the constant threat on the planet surface. These range from health packs and armor to special items like environmental suits which allow the player to walk harmlessly across toxic slime. These items are the key to getting across Stroggos alive and well.


1q2Stim 1q2First 1q2Medkit 1q2Mega1q2Adren


Wq2Shard Wq2Flak Wq2Combat Wq2Body Wq2Energy


Quad Damage Invulnerability Bandoleer Heavy pack Envirosuit Breather Silencer


Main article: Quake II Soundtrack

The soundtrack of Quake II is composed by Sonic Mayhem , who offers a very different piece compared to Trent Reznor's Quake soundtrack. Whereas Quake's music is ambient and gives off the feelings of an atmosphere full of evil, ,Quake II is a very heavy metal sound with an emphasis on repetition of phrases. See below for a complete track list on the Quake II CD, which can be played on a stereo, or any CD player and ripped onto a computer.

When viewed using a computer disc drive, the disc contains 11 tracks although Track 1 is actually game data which cannot be played on audio players. The ten tracks listed start at Track 2 and go down to Track 11.

  • Operation Overlord
  • Rage
  • Kill Ratio
  • March Of The Stroggs
  • The Underworld
  • Quad Machine
  • Big Gun
  • Descent Into Cerberon
  • Climb
  • Showdown


Quake II was extremely well received by reviewers and gamers alike. It sold over one million copies. Quake II was the most popular online game for all of 1998.

Gamerankings rated the game a score of 87.31% [2] and PSM Magazine rated a full score of 10/10.

Version History

Main article: Quake II Version History

Several patches have been released, offering bug fixes, stability improvements and more.


Several ports of Quake 2 have been released for other platforms.

Source Ports

See: Source port


Three official single-player mission packs were released. Two of them (The Reckoning and Ground Zero) details the adventures of two other marines who landed on Stroggos at about the same time as Bitterman: Joker (The Reckoning), and Stepchild (Ground Zero). The third (Call of the Machine) details the adventures of six different marines who landed different places on Stroggos to collect a data disc to open up a secret portal.

There were also two unofficial expansion packs which came out on CDs.

A third pack, Quake II - Unseen, was developed by Tequila Software but ultimately never commercially released, while Quake II - Vengeance by Primitive Earthling Games has not been released in any form.


See: Console Commands


  • Quake II's engine was formally called the Quake II engine before id Software rebranded their game engines. Both the original Quake and Quake II engine share a common designation: id Tech 2. This is purportedly due to the fact that the engines used to make the two games share identical key components, with the difference between the two games' engines being only subtle and minor changes and additions.



  • Patch 3.24 - The unofficial patch by the developers which only can downloaded from Fan project modification website. Link
  • Compiled Patch 3.21 - originally released only as source code, can only be applied to Quake 2 version v3.20 - http://www.markshan.com/thesinraven/quake_II_v.3.21.htm
  • Patch 3.20 (with DM & CTF levels) - If you have an old version of Quake 2, use this patch to get it to the latest version. Note that there are three versions of this patch - one only includes the patch, another one includes DM levels, and the third one includes CTF along with the DM levels. Link
  • CTF v1.50 - The aforementioned v3.20 patch comes with CTF v1.02. Use this patch to install or upgrade to the latest version after you have installed v3.20. Comes with three new maps and new features. Link

Bonus Maps

  • 64 Player Deathmatch Pack - A pack of three maps released by id Software for 64-player servers. Link
  • Reckless Abandon - Another bonus map released by id on their FTP. Link
  • Outlands II - A bonus CTF map released by id on their FTP. Make sure you have the latest version of CTF (v1.50) installed to play. Link



External links