Quake is a masterpiece, plain and simple.
Quake may be one of my favorite games, but I'll try to make this review as unbiased as possible. Created in 1996, Quake was revolutionary at the time. Following after Doom (Both created by the wonderful ID Software), Quake took all of what Doom did right and pushed it into the third dimension. The levels, music, and enemies all go beyond the call of duty and make this game a timeless classic.
Quake is heavily inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, creating a dark and medieval setting. The dark shades of brown, green and bright reds in later levels really play to this note. This is not just to play homage to Lovecraft, but it doubles up as a way to put the player into an uneasy, unfamiliar, and terrifying world. Playing the game in linear order allows you to slowly creep into these unfamiliar waters. The levels are easy to commute, and allow for minor exploration to find secrets and health/ammo packs. When you run into a group of enemies, you rarely feel unprepared. That's not saying that this game is easy, because it'll tear you a new one if you don't watch out. This game isn't about unfairly pairing you with hard enemies; it’s about a gradual learning curve that teaches you to manage ammo, health and enemies.
The enemies in Quake are also inspired by Lovecraft's novels. Otherworldly beings with a cameo appearance by the “Lord of the Wood” are just a sampler of what you are in store for. Like I touched on in my levels section, the enemies never feel too tough to beat. The first enemies you'll face are dogs and soldiers, gradually building up to Fiends, Shamblers, and Spawns (Seriously, ♥♥♥♥ these guys). You are introduced to new weapons semi-regularly, and are given a good amount of time to find out what to use on the different enemies. An example (and quick tip) are the Zombies. You can mow the Zombies down with your shotgun, but after awhile they will stand back up to fight. Then how do you kill them? When the level first starts you are given a grenade launcher. The first enemies you see? Zombies. With this new weapon already ready to fire, you unload on the group to find that you gib (kill) the zombies for good. From that point on you know how to dispose of them, and that you shouldn't waste your grenades on enemies other than zombies (with an exception for tougher enemies).
With this dark fantasy world coming together with the level design and enemies, there's one last piece missing. Music. The music in Quake was composed by Nine-Inch-Nails. I'm not sure that I can say much else than that. The music fits the game perfectly with eerie, yet appropriate tracks. Take a look at the nail gun ammo boxes for a subtle nod.
Nobody is perfect, and sadly this port isn't an exception to that rule. The Steam version of Quake comes without the classic Nine-Inch-Nails soundtrack, and the mouse is locked horizontally. This is quickly fixed however by downloading this fix from the community page - http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=113166739
All in all, Quake is worth the $5 price tag. The amazing level design, challenging enemies, and great music all come together to create one of video game histories greatest. Never think that you are finished playing Quake. While the main story may have been finished, the lively modding community is doing its job to keep Quake alive. Brand new stories, fun game modes (Team Fortress 2 has roots set in Quake), and many more changes make this game that keeps on giving. I cannot recommend this game more, you'll have to try it for yourself.