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Quake Flash

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Rating: 4.4/5 (64 votes)
Comments (25) | Views (17,067)
QuakeJames FrancisStupid scientists. They opened a slipgate and other-worldy monsters have leapt through, using their death squads to take over military bases. As the lone survivor you have to return the favour — clearing those facilities and then taking the plunge through the veil, ending your journey with a battle to the death against the arch-fiend himself, Quake Flash!

Or something like that. When id Software created Quake back in 1996, they were not big on story. Much like the previous first person shooters they created — Wolfenstein and Doom — id made a kick-ass game and worried about the raison d'etre afterwards, usually settling for anything that could fit on a cocktail napkin (presumably after a few cocktails). The more astute reader will note that Quake's storyline is pretty much the same as Doom: someone opens a portal, nasty stuff stream in, single soldier has to fight back. The most astute reader will note that you don't even fight anything called 'Quake' in the game. But back in the 90s (and, for that matter, most of gaming's history), the WHY did not matter as much as the HOW. Shoot these things? Sure. No explanation required.

Before kicking into this, let's ask a question: who here, thanks to a misspent youth playing the original game, knows what Quake is? You? Well, a programmer named Michael Rennie ported it into Flash. Yeah, I can't believe it either. Quake! In Flash! You're excused, here it is, go have fun.

Now, for the uninitiated... Quake. There are two possible reasons why you don't know this game. You either spent the middle 90s involved in more wholesome activities than playing games (like Grunge and Winona Ryder movies) or you were too young to know anything about it. Quake was an amalgamation of "what's cool?" ideas. Cthulhu monsters? Cool. Zombies? Cool. Gloomy gothic decor? Cool. Rottweilers? Cool. Nailguns and a soundtrack by Trent "Nine Inch Nails" Reznor? Cool. And while many games have mashed up various interesting concepts to make weird experiences, Quake isn't just a game, it's a pedigree, one whose bloodline remains strong through today.

QuakeAnalysis: It seems unfair to criticize the game, because that would be akin to writing a critique of the Mona Lisa recreated in condiments. The mere act alone justifies the need to experience this game. That said, Quake Flash is 100% vanilla Quake in all of its glory. You can experience the entire first chapter (released for free as shareware back in '96). Even the cheat codes still work. Unfortunately the multiplayer does not, but if it did and I could co-op the game online with friends, I'd have probably lost my mind.

The experience is as visceral as ever, though that might be my nostalgia talking. The game has indeed aged a lot and it is easy to denounce id's ability to use more shades of brown than what was thought possible. Yes, Quake is not a colourful game, but all things considered it has aged pretty well. You still twitch when you hear a landing grenade's hollow metal sound nearby, lock 'n load the grenade launcher when a zombie moans and few things are as intimidating as a fiend leaping towards you. None, of course, quite beat the moment when you realise you are stuck in a small area with the Shambler, a towering white beast with a knack for shooting electricity (when it's not simply mauling you with its claws).

The move to Flash did make for one unfortunate change: the mouse only works by holding in the left-button, relegating the fire action to the Control button. This is a shortfall of Flash itself, not the game, and establishes the one stumbling block between seeing more first person shooters appear in Alchemy, but still counts as a pretty big one. At times you lose sideways movement because the mouse has strafed too far off the screen — this does not happen often, but is hardly what you want when you are facing off against a Shambler's lightning or dodging grenades from an ogre.

But that might make you miss the point: Quake has arrived in Flash. In my non-technical mind, at least, this makes it possible to port nearly any game made before the advent of hardware-accelerated 3D to browsers and shows that there is a lot more potential hidden in Alchemy than most of us might think.

Play Quake Flash


First. Also, Quake is awesome. The real reason it was awesome, though, was its multiplayer (like the original Team Fortress). Recreating the single player is an exercise in nostalgia. Not that there is anything wrong with that. I love a slice of nostalgia cake now and again. Keep it right next to the humble pie.


It looks great, but I ragequit because the controls were so awkward. I want the view to change as I move the mouse, but it felt more like dragging myself through mud. I suppose I could play entirely with keyboard...

Sonicloon January 4, 2010 10:22 AM

I played entirely with the keyboard, setting the up arrow key to fire (because I'm using a mac, and it's really annoying when you accidentally press some random key combo which you didn't know existed!).

Roseate Spoonbill January 4, 2010 11:17 AM

For some reason it kept forcing me to go forward when I didn't press the key, and the key wasn't stuck.

Anonymous January 4, 2010 11:21 AM

I'm not sure if it existed in XP (or if there's a Mac OS equivalent), but the Vista/Win 7 "Click Lock" feature helps with the LMB-clicking problem significantly by effectively holding the LMB down for you.

Then you just have to fight the instinct to left-click all the time when stuff jumps out at you...

And I too have had direction keys stick, as well as coming up against obstacles that aren't actually there (invisible boxes, essentially), and are only "solid" if you walk through them a certain way (turning left, for example).

Still, better than some of the flash Doom ports I've seen.

Bob Montgomery January 4, 2010 12:28 PM

Unfortunately the multiplayer does not, but if it did and I could co-op the game online with friends, I'd have probably lost my mind.

Prepare to lose your mind:


Browser-based, multiplayer free Quake. It is runs beautifully and has everything - chat, console commands, friend lists, multiple servers and game types, scheduled tournaments - it is unbelievably awesome.

Go play.

Tobberian January 4, 2010 1:44 PM

The way mousing is set up here is a joke, and keyboard is NOT an option.


may just be my computer but i get a demo loop when i try to play on the main link


Flash 10.1 (currently in beta) will enable graphics hardware acceleration... Imagine the possibilies then :)


"You still twitch when you hear a landing grenade's hollow metal sound nearby..."

Spot-on, James! The empty ringing, then the pregnant silence where you wait and hope you're not the one getting blown up...


may just be my computer but i get a demo loop when i try to play on the main link

Press enter and you'll get the main menu.


Quite impressed by this port, firstly as it really shows what flash is capable of - quite a lot of is processing needed to do 3D in software, and I've not had any noticeable time lag.

Looking through the commit history I was surprised about quite how quickly and easily the port was achieved. Adobe Alchemy did the heavy lifting for conversion to flash and he managed to get a basic runnable system in only two days. Hats off to Michael for doing this.


I never played the original quake, but I do remember trying it on my friends phone once. I could NOT figure out the controls. I wanted a simple engine where it was click to shoot and mouse look, but I had trouble geting used to it and took to the keyboard, which messed things up.


I'm also having some control issues. Got stuck walking backward for a while any time I wasn't holding down the walk-forward button, but getting shot by something seems to fix that. Then there's the mouse. I'll try redefining the keys, but I really need the full pan, tilt, zoom function that the mouse provides.

All that aside, I love these flash ports of the old FPS games. Much thanks to Michael Rennie.

nerdypants January 4, 2010 5:03 PM

I lost so many hours of my life to this game... I love it.


i looked at your DOOM review, why not make the controls the same for this one?


I also vouch for Quake Live, it is an excellent multiplayer experience.

And is it just me or does that creature in the screenshots look like a large, bipedal Headcrab?

kenneth detro January 4, 2010 6:15 PM

Dude... QUAKE!!!? man I loved that game. THe first truly immersive experience in gaming I had as a kid...

sonic hedgehawg January 4, 2010 6:19 PM

i noticed if i turn in one direction enough it stops and i have to pirrouete.
also i wonder when halo will be ported


Sonic hedgehawg... Halo for the pc is a very common game, and Bungie released no sharewhere for it. Doom and Quake are all just free trials released that were ported into flash. Also, Halo is a much more recent and more complex game, so it probable won't get ported anytime soon.


You missed a third reason why someone might have missed Quake--we were too old and had to have real jobs in the 90s, leaving little time for games like this. Then we grew up and realized life was too short to waste it cleaning house and returned to gaming just in time to get all the best stuff in Flash!

Roseate Spoonbill January 5, 2010 6:44 PM

Does anyone get how to save? I pressed ENTER on save game but it just made a sound and didn't offer a slot.

jan jørgensen January 6, 2010 5:17 AM

quake a game I member very well, and I wood like to play it agen haw ever there is a problem with the mouse set-up. It is not possible to use the mouse, to shout with, and the right mouse button cannot be oust at all in game.
If this problem is solved, it wood be easier to play the game. by using a combination with mouse and keyboard. else it is with the present setup very difficult to play.
i hope it is possibly to change it so more people cane enjoy the game.

GrolschHeerscht September 22, 2010 7:16 AM

I played it entirely like back in 96. The mouse is not a problem than... Left hand WASD, right hand arrows... Fire with control. Works perfect. Besides, up and down there's some auto-aim like back than, so it doesn't really matter. AWESOME! Finished it within 20 mins! Too bad the other episodes aren't there... I'd have liked to fight Shub-Nigurath.


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