Brace yourselves, you chaingun-wielding, imp-decimating, BFG-blasting Doomers (not to be confused with average viewers of YT channels entitled Lord Wojak, Prince of Zimbabwe and Low Budget Stories), as well as nailgun & railgun-popping, strogg-obliterating, quad damage-(ab)using Quake fans, aficionados and maniacs out there. The ultimate clash of classic FPS titans is about to commence before your very eyes.
Two franchises – almost synonymous with the term FPS – threw in a lot to the widespread perception of the genre’s 90’s traits and features, whose modern incarnations still hold in awe and inspire hundreds of developers to create and thousands of gamers to play first-person shooters.
What are the criteria for the final showdown between Doom and Quake? Two confrontations between arbitrarily chosen installments of both franchises. And now, let’s decide upon the undecidable once and for all, which id Software’s franchise may be hailed as its no. 1. Let’s rock!
Doom I vs Quake I
id Software really came into their own thanks to the 1992 release of Wolfenstein 3D, but when first Doom hit the shelves one year later, it literally had the Texas-based studio skyrocket into the stratosphere of game dev wizards.
Doom I was divided into 3 episodes with 9 levels each (in 1995, the fourth one was added in the re-release of the game called The Ultimate Doom).
Thanks to 8 weapons – from brass-knuckled fist to BFG9000, two times more than what B.J. Blazkowicz had at his disposal – which had distinct sounds and range, for the first time in the gaming history you could go absolutely medieval on a hellish pandemonium of abominable monsters and demons.
It’s worth mentioning the map design was groundbreaking, too. Crushing ceilings, toxic waste pools, elevators, and teleports quickly overshadowed the labyrinthine flatland levels of id Software’s previous smasher.
But there was more. Maps were easily modifiable, thanks to the WAD files which stored all the level design data irrespective of the engine code. This enabled players to create user-generated maps, and WAD editors sprung up like mushrooms in no time.
Soundtrack-wise, Doom delivered as well. Bobby Prince composed a little MIDI masterpiece. Inspired by heavy metal, almost all tracks are memorable and easy to hum under your breath. There may even be a chance that you know a song or two, even if you have never played the game – that’s how recognizable Doom OST is.
There are also loads of miscellaneous trivia from the development process, in the like of two id Softwareans John Romero and Kevin Cloud coining phrases “deathmatch” and “fragging”, respectively, which have since been used on a daily basis by the gaming community, and found their place in everyday language as well as dictionaries.
Quake I, a supposed successor to the Doom franchise, was also a milestone in game dev. The then state-of-the-art game engine rendered the 2.5D graphics obsolete for all FPS games in less than 1.5 years. Just as the Doom’s graphics turned out to be a scaffolding for all the lookalike games made by copycat devs in the mid 90’s (excluding Build engine hits like Blood and Duke Nukem 3D), Quake graphics served more as an inspiration or simply a foundation for new and original projects.
The full 3D environment, with real-time 3D rendering and OpenGL 3D acceleration support, as well as the ensuing freedom of movement, which offered unique capabilities like bunny hopping, strafing and rocket jumping – all of this cemented modern FPS maneuvering.
Yes, if you think contemporary FPSes, Quake isn’t this crazy grandfather who speaks weirdly and smells funny but is a Dad who may look a bit old-fashioned and rough around the edges, but has retained the vitality of a frisky teenager. Any proof? To this day, there are whole communities of gamers who use Quake I for breaking speedrunning records.
The main goal of id Software’s second wonder is to walk through maze-like levels – 30 of them in total – divided into 4 episodes. Again, we take the role of a nameless soldier – later called “Ranger” – who is bound to slay all the monsters – code-named “Quake” – along the way. That’s it. Back in the day, nobody needed more.
Heavily inspired by Lovecraftian motifs and medieval times, Quake is a very dark game. Visually, the main color of the game is brown, and all shades of it comprise the surroundings. Dark-lit halls, gloomy passageways, ominous corridors are at every step, full of entities which are hell bent on beheading us or tear us to pieces.
Perhaps not as diversified as Doom’s bestiary, bloodthirsty rottweilers, death knights, ogres, and the eyeless white beasts called Shamblers, resembling a lovechild of Rancor and Wampa, these are only a fraction of monsters that await us in the game.
Not only does Quake I chill you to the bone with numerous beasts roaming the levels, but its soundtrack also stops your heart.
Drone-driven ambient soundscapes produced by the one-and-only Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails (logo of NIN has been famously featured in the game on every Nailgun ammo crate), suit perfectly for in-game action, and spice up the already haunting atmosphere. Luckily, it does not turn Quake I into a straight up horror. It keenly enhances its overall darkness, though.
There are also hundreds of detailed stories regarding Quake’s making of. The most prominent one is the firing of John Romero – one of the four founding members of id Software – after the lengthy period of absolute grinding all team was experiencing in 1995 and 1996. Go check YouTube. Getting all the behind-the-stage info on the subject is really riveting!
Doom 2016 vs Quake Champions
Fast forward twenty years. Doom 2016 is out and it employs id Tech 6 game engine – an absolute blast of graphics and playability. The gameplay is exhilarating, the story, though, not so much, but – funnily enough – even our Doom Guy doesn’t care. Here and there, he blatantly disregards the plot by e.g. flinging away touchpads with info about what the hell happened. After all, he is a soldier, not a screenwriter or a nosy gamer.
The beasts and demons are our good old adversaries from the first three installments of the series, although, visually, they have been greatly enhanced. Possessed humans, imps, cacodemons, barons of hell, they are all here. And they are all going to die.
Since Doom 2016 is a reboot, the arsenal also looks really familiar. A shotgun, plasma rifle, and, last but not least, the BFG9000. The only novelty is the Gauss cannon. Its firing modes resemble a combination of those we find in the ASMD rifle in the Unreal series as well as Railgun from Quake. To shortly recap Doom’s weaponry: familiarity wreaks havoc best.
The most badass thing about Doom 2016 is a so-called glory kill. It’s a finishing move, something in the vein of Mortal Combat fatality. Extremely graphic, brutal, over-the-top, neck-breaking, head-smashing, limb-tearing, eyes-gouging, gut-ripping fun. Up to five different glory kills may be performed on each enemy, so… we sincerely hope you like the color red.
On early access from 2017, Quake Champions is a 2018 free-to-play multiplayer mayhem. It employs id Tech and Saber3D engines, whose visual effects look razor-sharp on the screen. Or, rather, chainsaw-sharp.
A strictly multiplayer incarnation of Quake and the fifth official installment of the series, Quake Champions offers plenty. It combines classic multiplayer game modes like free-for-all, team deathmatch and capture the flag with more restrictive ones which e.g. limit weapon types at your disposal (our favorite is Hot Rockets – you spawn with just a rocket launcher, but it has infinite ammo and is boosted by quad damage).
Character-wise, Quake Champions is truly a champion den. Doom Slayer, Death Knight, B. J. Blazkowicz, and a bunch of other protagonists and antagonists form other id Software’s games, comprise the pantheon of characters we may choose from.
Each one of them has one passive and one active individual ability, which help them obliterate opponents. For instance, the mentioned Death Knight is invulnerable to lava and fire attacks, and Doom Slayer can double jump around. Very convenient, indeed.
Maps, as in every multiplayer, play a pivotal role. We have 19 of these in Quake Champions, and they pretty much deliver, although their architectural leitmotif is pretty one-dimensional – Gothic.
Abandoned citadels, ghastly monasteries, derelict churches, etc. with soaring towers and staircases, provide nice vantage points. On the other hand, we also have portals, which teleport us around to further diversify the tactics we may use to frag our adversaries.
For dessert, let’s talk weapons. 11 of them in total (4 starters and 7 pick-ups) create a memorable arsenal. This is due to the skins we may use, which change the weapon’s style, reload and shooting sounds, as well as its overall design. We quickly discover, with a wide grins on our faces, that we may now nail our enemies with a nailgun from Quake I, or blast someone’s face off with the modernized Quake 2 shotgun. How splendid!
Honorable mentions & the verdict
We know we have missed a lot in this showdown. From the team Quake: an absolute guitar-driven perfection of a soundtrack of Quake II produced by Sonic Mayhem, epic playability of Quake III Arena, the horrifying stroggification scene in Quake IV, or QI and QII mint remasters from Nightdive Studios.
We have also sinned by not revealing the horror atmosphere of Doom III, freezing grenades and bullet-time kills from Doom Eternal, and so on, and so forth.
Ignoring said omissions, we firmly believe that Doom wins, although, by a hair. There are some installments of Quake which clearly dominate Doom, e.g. if we compare the second installments of both series. Nevertheless, Doom has an upper hand with its undeniable epicness and a somewhat one-of-a-kind charisma.
It’s like the motive of associating things: saying certain words immediately triggers an association in our mind. To many, saying “classic FPS” immediately evokes not Quake but Doom, no matter which one. All in all, regardless of the verdict, it’s a win-win situation for id Software, isn’t it?