“As far popularity goes, the original Airquake was one of the most respected Total Conversions that classic quake saw. Designed and made by the extremely talented Ikka Keranen, it struck just the right balance of realism and fun. Well, now that classic Quake seems to have gone along its merry little way many people asked the same burning question: “Would there be an Airquake for Quake 2?” It was only recently that I first hear of QUAARD (The Quake Advanced Aerodynamics Research and Development Team, now that’s a mouthful) and took a visit to their site. To put it simply, I was stunned. The sheer quality and speed at which these guys work is incredible. So it wasn’t long before I got my hands on a pre-alpha version and tried it out, here’s what I thought.
The first thing I noticed when I was downloading the .zip through my e-mail was the relatively small size of the archive, around 900kb. It unzipped without any hassle and within minutes I was in. Now this may seem a little excitable but I swear that this TC rocks my world. If the sheer quality and fun remains consistent and the versions each contain a similar amount of innovations then it’s my guess that this TC will be one that’s played for a long time yet. For a pre-alpha, the graphics are splendid, with most of the planes having good looking realistic skins. I might take a side-step here to point out that all the models of planes currently in the game are the original models from AQ 1 with new skins. However, the developers assure me that new planes will be added as they are modeled.
To help you navigate a stylish new HUD complete with airspeed, landing gear and speed-brake indicators is standard. Yes, that’s right, landing gear and a speed-brake are two of the new innovations that grace this new TC. Although these alterations are not visible at the moment I am sure that the team would not overlook including visible gear on the models. Included in this TC are two maps which are both relatively simple but allow you to fit in some stylish moves. The first, which is aptly named Airbase, is a simple affair in the same style as air1. The basic: ‘Take off, fly around, crash into a mountain and repeat ad infinitum’ style gameplay applies here. The second map, Enter Sandman, is designed for the yet included ground vehicles but still provides lots of fun. I played the alpha for about 2 hours and at the end of that I could do barrel rolls through the pyramids in sandman. This brings us to the final part of the game, barrel rolls… uh, I mean the engine.
The great thing about the quake 2 engine is that it allows for some cool new things that could never be done in the old classic Quake engine. To explain this, I’ll use a little scenario:
Airquake 1: You’re happily toodling along in your F16 when a nasty missile appears behind you. You pull into a sharp turn, but to no avail. *bang* says the missile and *splat* says your plane.
Airquake 2: You’re happily toodling along in your F16 when a nasty missile appears behind you. You pull into a tight loop-the-loop, even out behind your attacker and drop a planeful of explosive death onto their unsuspecting plane.
Now this certainly has the possibility for some truly astonishing teamplay dogfights.
Well, that just about sums it up for me. All in all, it’s a fantastic alpha that is more than worthy of your download time.
File: AQ2v01a.zip (842kb). You also need the new dll. — File: patch.zip (144kb)
For further information, please visit the Airquake 2 site at http://airquake2.vortexq.com/“