Quake Mission Pack 2: Dissolution of Eternity is the second expansion pack released for the first Quake. It was made by
Rogue Entertainment this time around and was released in 1997. Once again, it mostly concentrateds single-player, giving us more levels and new elements. It did have some new things for multiplayer, but eh, I doubt that anybody uses those. Probably all the stuff was ripped out when it comes to multiplayer.
So, as usual, music isn't part of Steam release. Somehow I am not surprised. You will have to find CD or ripped audio yourself. And then if you have WIndows Vista or up, you will have trouble making game loop track properly. Will have to use something like _inmm. Just check guides around.
It gives you choice between running in software or OpenGL mode. Software is superior. Not as muddy and gives better feel to dark world of Quake. And OpenGL has some trouble with lighting, like there is no such thing as "full-bright" textures.
Oh, and don't forget to write "+mlook" in console once you start playing. This will enable mouselook.
The story continues where Mission Pack left. You find piece of "Common Prayer" book from dead body, which explains thing that Quake wants to use time in some way or another. Meaning that you have to go and destroy time machine.
Errrr, kinda confusing manual story, it kinda means that Quake wasn't just codename that human gave for unknown enemy. It implies that Quake is somebody who you haven't met yet, not original's final boss. Or something. Confusing.
So, once again Quake's original atmosphere was thrown away. They didn't bring level design as realistical as in the first mission pack though. But it doesn't feel as great as in original Quake either. It has around 15 levels in total, divided into two episodes.
The first episode deals with generic medieval-like setting of original Quake. You know them. Brown stone. Brown bricks. Green grass in outdoor areas. It tries to combine abstract with more of boring-real-like, like fortresses. Well, hard to say, but while in theory layouts aren't just corridors, I have trouble rememebering anything from this part. It's just weak.
Second episode is where Mission Pack shows it's worth. You are sent through time and will have to visit Greece, Egypt, Mayan, some proper mediavel and elemental caves. It's like Hexen 2 before it was released, which even deals with same time periods. It's more memoriable and more interesting than the first part for sure, even if they still look quite dull. I do love Aztec level with those saw traps though.
And yes, it doesn't have atmosphere, doesn't have same darkness. Just you, monsters, action and rocking soundtrack. Which was written by same person and sounds like Mission Pack 1 music but weaker. So, it's kinda meh as well if you ask me.
And yes, it introduces some gameplay addition. The biggest one comes from the developers thinking "boy, I wish the most tough enemies would die in 5 seconds". Well, not exactly, but you can now collect additiona, stronger variety of ammo. Lava nails are just stronger, making Super Nailgun godlike. Helps with fact that mission pack has tendency to sometimes put you into corriodor with tough enemy in close range. Than there are multi-rockets. Kinda hard to use with Grenade Launcher, but once again kill stuff with Rocket Launcher. And Plasma Balls, or something, behave like splash damage mode for Lighting Gun. Kinda like what you expect from BFG.
So, while it's not bunch of gimmicky weapons like in Mission Pack 1, it's still not a good addition. Makes you too overpowered. Turns tough foes into crackers. It doesn't helps that in these level sets you are given much more ammo than needed, you can just circle between your strong weapons.
It also bring a many more enemies into Quake. On paper. In reality, most of them are either reskins or variations. It's not terribly interesting and is not gameplay-changer either. I do like the use of themed enemies, like mummies for Egypt levels, who behave like zombies but with more HP. But then, it got new bosses and tougher foes that are unique, more or less. The most important one is probably flying Reaper/Death thing. It's like Vore. But flies, faster. Not as much HP. But it shoots same annoying impossible-to-avoid explosive homing ball. And it's faster too. Good thing it's weaker, otherwise it would be quite horrible!
Bosses are pretty good this time around. It got boss for Episode 1, which is Reaper but tougher. Wait, that one sounds lame. But bosses of Episode 2 are nice. It got mini-boss Guardian, that you have to fight few times. And final boss is a huge flying dragon. They say that one was supposed to appear in the original Quake. This one is real tough. It's a proper fight that actually lasts more than a minute, even with expansion pack's new overpowered arsenal. I salute to developers for finally bringing good bosses into Quake.
It also seems to have some additions for multiplayer, but you know how it works: everything good probably was already spread around as mods.
So, Mission Pack 2 is something between Quake and Mission Pack 1, having neither strong points. It's quite a weak expansion, with some problems. And it starts to become interesting only in the second half. But eh, Quake lovers will still like it.