I love Quake II. I like this game and this one of the first things I discovered when opened "old" games for myself. I evdn replayed it even with expansion packs, on software render how I love it. Thought, this love is irattional and from logical and objective side of view quake 2 is big dumb down from direction which previously made id games so great and sucsesfull. In mine opinion, it is because left of John Romero - from this time id as company will have a huge road for slow decreasing. They continue update technology but other important things that made their very simple games to something "beyound", something that made their games unironical madterpice if you see it as complex thing, but same time they remain simple.
Thing is, John Carmak was very interested in ultima underworld demos which he seen, which inspired him to make his own 3d engine, but more optimised and much more simple. This way borned things like hover tank 3d and catacomb 3d which was... almost not even a games. Raycasting engine he created was painfully simple - it allowed to make only same floor level, 90 degree walls. And at this first shareware games he not even hit potential of this games. Catacomb 3d is jusy you go and shoot one fireball, hovertank is something that kid trying first fime to make on unity in one day nowdays. However with wolfenstein 3d he polished this ideas and besides at least some level of actual artist involment in therms of textures and sprites, most important was some degree in gamepkay variaty and rules:
1.player have arsenal of one melee (knife) and three range weapons, which variaty in speed of shooting.
2.enemies divided on one melee that have low hp and go straight into close combat (dog), and range combat guys which have ranged weapons and variaty on speed of fire and amount of hp. Additional variaty provide speed of reaction. For example officer shoot very fast after spitting you and move fast as dog. Interesting not that there sas birth of one of most important core ideas of id formula: each enemy type have it's role and recognisable instantly. It have their unique spotting sound and very distict colors and sprites. So game not trying to make some "wat the fuck happening realistic shooter" but more like very simplified tabletop game like chess in real time. In this regard this why mutant enemy was unique - it has no spotting sound. It kinda broked already established by game simple rules and this why you fear them and count this rare enemies as number one threat in game. Other interesting addition - "pain". After hits on them enemies need time to recover which add some tactical element to the game.
3.Levels in game complex but you physically can remember layought of this labyrinths. While there is bonus objects - other pick ups like health in different variaty, aditional lives, hidden weapons that you may acces before they drop to you in future levels. But most interesting part is secrets. It hard to find most of them but this add at least some level of exploration to this game. There a couple of levels with really interesting secrets set ups - with labyrinth of secrets, where level build up from secrets, where secret pakman ghosts - this was very neat to find things like this in such small game. And secret levels of cource.
4.And of cource bosses. One giant enemy with memorable look and ton of hp that look always at you and neccecery to defeat to proceed on last level of every episode. They all unique but you can divide them on three categories: hitscan. Hitscan+projectale, projectale. And hitler - he is hitscan however memorable dude with his 2-stages and ghosts around level.
And there was addon spear of destity which is basicly set of levels without any new content exept skins for bosses. Instead of set of separate episodes it was one 32-map set (sounds familiar, aren't it?) with bosses every 5 levels. Thought for some wierd reason I love leveldesign of this more than original 3+3 episodes and it was first id game I completed from start to finish lol. Twist at the end with demon boss and hell like level with infity spawning ghosts was very impressive surprise to see in wolf 3d. And there was ending "cutscene" lol.
However even if wolf 3d evolved from catacomb 3d and hovertank 3d, it was still not "enough" for this formula to be ideal and absolute infinane classic. Here is cases: at first, raycast engine very much limited leveldesign. In such time simple gameplay this square-one gound level labyrinths like in classic turnbased dungeoncrawlers even with 100% freedom of movment was not enough forfps game. At second, there was not enough variaty in weapons. Just "shoot less shoot more" with useless knife is not something interesting to play with. Exept controlling ammo which is same for all weapons you has no any reasons to play with different weapons because they basicly same thing. And in third, variaty of enemies and their roles too limited. Exept doggo it just in real time gameplay just a number of hitscan that need only one thing - most simple speed of reaction. Bosses are same thing you just need to cover and shoot, they big ammo consuming sponges that requre you great amount of hits. There nothing complex about them. So even if we not count lost episodes - spear of destiny and wolf 3d is like... 92 levels? And after it you can show EVERYTHING this type of gameplay can offer and even too much. I can't name this game "dated" of cource but even at the time it was more like "small technological and gameplay experiment"
But this game was a hit still. Why? It have nuch less to offer unlike more asvanced in all ways ultima underworld. However:
1.it was game with sharewere 1st episode and whole game cost not ghat much
2.it not requre any manual and it is more like console and arcade game - simple game, simple rules, stright into action
3.very simple engine with most simple imitation 3d with free movment of player possible. Just castibg rays on lienar columns of pixels to render wals. This game was "like real 3d!!!" and with VGA 320×200 support which is very YOBA for time but can run on shitty 386 computer very smoothly - which was a real great ahcivment. There was a clone of doom with raycast engine that was ported by crazy funs on fucking commandore vic-20! https://youtu.be/Y7h3H-_8N_o
Computer with 3,5kilobait of free memory and with most shitty graphical support like it even has no proper graphical comnds in build in basic!
This is show how carmack did more great programing achivment without any hardware innovations.
Even thought this game is sequel by itself, there no way to make any remake for this. You can make other games with "nazi paranormal robots something something" and give it wolfenstein name. But how the fuck you can make remake of this most simple 3d labyringth shooting on reaction almist arcade game? This is not possible, and technological and gameplaywise sequel to this was Doom...