The Deathmatch Zone: Quake 2 Player’s Guide

The Deathmatch Zone: Quake 2 Player’s Guide


Does the soldier named “Player” who won’t stop asking how to switch weapons keep gunning you down with the blaster? Do you repeatedly get railed by people with pings higher than 800? Do YOU even know how to switch weapons? Whatever your trouble, never fear… this guide has everything you need to know. Why buy a book when you can get the same information for free?

Quake 2 was released early in 1998. Quake 2, like many other id Software titles, revolutionized the gaming industry by offering the first fully functional OpenGL engine ever seen in a first person shooter. This chiefly single-player game offers a multiplayer mode, although – much like Quake 1 – it’s lacking a little. Despite this, it remains popular even today.

It should be noted that this guide only covers the multiplayer portion of Quake 2, not the single player episodes.


Quake 2 was somewhat of a disappointment in the weapons department, because most players were used to the fast a furious Quake 1 arsenal. Quake 2’s weapons are a little more single-player oriented, but they still work fairly well for deathmatching – they just aren’t quite as powerful as they could be.

Each weapon is rated for how powerful it is against opponents (effectiveness) and how easily the weapon can be avoided (avoidability). The ratings are Awful, Poor, Average, Good, and Excellent. They are both taken from the user’s point of view.

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Well, it’s better than Quake 1’s axe, but it’s also worse than a peashooter – you just can’t win. It hurls a little blob of compressed gas really slowly towards a player, is almost impossible to use if you’re in a laggy situation, and deals very little damage considering how difficult it is to use. However, it does actually fire something, so it’s better than a weapon that requires contact… however, it’s doubtful you’ll be getting many frags with it.

If you have nothing besides the blaster, you should probably consider running, especially if your opponent has a better weapon – a.k.a. anything besides the blaster. However, if they also have a blaster, then there’s a halfway decent chance that you can actually frag them, so you should at least try. Try jumping while firing. Blaster shots from above seem to be harder for opponents to avoid, especially if you can get close to them. Similar to the gauntlet in Quake 3, it’s always fun to pull out the blaster when you have a better weapon. Once you’ve tricked your enemy into a false sense of security, nab ’em with your chaingun.

If you actually find yourself in a situation where you have to defend yourself against this thing, then you should primarily jump and strafe. Those two things alone should be enough. Most players using the blaster aren’t going to be hard to frag, so your chances of scoring are very good. Don’t let these people get away, because they’ll probably try running if they see that you have a good weapon.

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What first person shooter would be complete without a shotgun? This is a pretty solid weapon, comparable to the shotgun in Quake 1. It’s aiming is very tight, so it’s fairly easy to hit players – but it doesn’t deal a whole lot of damage. The shot radius is small, so it works for a pretty wide range of combat situations.

When you’re using the shotgun, keep as close to your opponent as possible. This weapon deals the most damage at point blank range, and is not good for distance fighting. Jumping and strafing will help you avoid other attacks while not affecting your aim too much.

When defending yourself against this weapon, make sure you jump a lot – just strafing won’t help much because of this weapon’s tight nature. It’s pretty easy to hit a player on your level regardless of how much they’re moving around. As nice as it is, the shotgun is still a comparatively weak weapon, so just let them have it if you have anything better.

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Double-Barreled Shotgun

This weapon deals a ton of damage – close up, of course. At long range it’s nearly useless – you’d probably be better off using the blaster.

As with the normal shotgun, stay close to your opponent. Don’t even think about your crosshair, judge your aim by the barrels of the gun. If the point between them is pointed at the player, then you will deal them the maximum amount of damage. If you are off center, then you will only deal about half. Don’t jump, don’t strafe, just lay it on. It’ll be quick enough; a couple of well-placed shots will take down just about anyone.

Jumping really helps in defending against this weapon, but the first thing you need to do is get some distance between you and your aggressor if you don’t think you can kill him in one or two shots. You have got to strafe jump in order to get away, because anything else is too slow. If you can do this backwards, you’ll be in great shape because you can get some shots in… however, if you make a mistake and run into a wall or something, he’ll probably catch up and that will basically be the end of you. If you think you’re in a heap of trouble, you want to get away as fast as possible, because it may discourage a hunt. Hide if you can. You have probably seen people duck behind walls in movies – well, it works. If you think you can deal some damage, attack them while they’re looking for you… just make sure they don’t see you first.

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This one makes its debut in Quake 2, similar to the nailguns in Quake 1. It’s a decent, well rounded weapon. It’s not great, but it’s not bad either – and it’s easy to find. It’s a good weapon for those large groups of people just dying to get you involved in their little quarrel. Of course, compared to the chaingun… well, it isn’t much.

Thankfully, it doesn’t kick back like it does in single player modes. Its shots are very spread out, though, so you don’t have much of a chance of getting them all in – especially if there’s any sort of distance involved. It does work for distances, but it’s much more effective at close range. As with any rapid-fire weapon, orbiting helps a lot. Strafing is also a good thing to do.

When avoiding the machinegun, just remember that running won’t work… you’re going to have to defend yourself, or at least stall your opponent until they run out of ammo. Although, be careful – they could have a double-barreled shotgun in their pocket, and that’s definitely something you don’t want to face on a Monday morning. Jumping and strafing are both effective, but jumping will help you out a little bit more.

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To say that this is a nice weapon is putting it mildly. It deals an absolutely insane amount of damage, but is has its drawbacks. For one thing, the spin up and spin down time is very long, so it’s not very responsive. Secondly, it chews up ammo like popcorn – but, then again, it’s all well spent. When do you use the chaingun? When you absolutely need 100 bullets right there this instant.

When attacking, stay in a straight line with your opponent. As long as you maintain a close range he won’t have time to kill you unless he has one heck of a good weapon. If he starts running, never let your crosshair leave him. You only have a few seconds worth of ammo, so you’d better use it wisely – you can’t afford to lose your lock on him, even for a second. It won’t take long at all as long as you’re not sloppy.

So what do you do if you encounter something who’s got one of these? Run like there’s no tomorrow – because, heck, there probably won’t be. Jump, strafe, orbit, or anything else you can think of… just don’t ever run in a straight line. The idea is to force your opponent to run out of ammo before he can kill you, because then you can let him have it. Even if you have a pretty good weapon, it’s not a good idea to go head-to-head with anyone who has a chaingun… it’s easy enough to make them run out of ammo, and it’s just not worth getting hurt that badly. If you have a good weapon, you want to stay alive to use it.

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Grenade Launcher

Mmmm, sluggish pineapples – yummy! This grenade launcher is just too slow and lazy to be very effective. It would have been a great weapon if the grenades had bounced more and fired faster, but unfortunately you won’t find it very useful for actually attacking people with. It’s more of a tool than a weapon.

You should use the grenades when you don’t want to be followed by someone – it discourages them from pursuing you, especially on stairs or other areas where they kind of stick to the floor. They’re also good for using against large groups of people when you don’t want to be involved, but you need to time it right or most of the people will have killed each other before your grenades explode. Just don’t get into one of these battles too late, and you should be fine.

Defense is as easy as pie – er, pineapples. Just run out of the way when they’re tossed at you, and avoid following the person if they leave a trail. If they hang around, stay close to them – they know better than you do where they fired their grenades and when they’ll explode, so if you want to be anywhere it’s probably wherever they are. Just remember that allowing them to run out of ammo is usually a futile effort, because if they have a decent amount of grenades it could take a very long time.

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Rocket Launcher

The rocket launcher is a weapon seen in just about every first person shooter you can buy. Unfortunately, the rockets are pitifully slow at both firing and travelling, especially if you’re used to Quake 1 or Quake 3’s faster versions. It still kicks some serious arse, though – the rockets will basically kill a freshly spawned player in one hit, and have a huge blast radius.

Obviously, you probably want to avoid shooting directly at walls. Unless, of course, you want to entertain your opponents rather than kill them! When attacking, aim at the ground and at the walls, using the splash damage to hurt them. Don’t try to hit the players directly; in Quake 2, this is a very hard thing to accomplish without a whole lot of practice. Firing at a person’s body makes the rockets very easy to avoid, because all they have to do is strafe out of the way – remember, the rockets travel slowly, so they are pretty easy to see coming.

When avoiding rockets, jump a lot. Not only does it help you avoid the attacks, but it also gives you a chance to rocket jump your way out of trouble if one happens to hit the ground underneath you. Running helps, but a good player won’t let you get away when he knows he can frag you. Just keep a close eye on the rockets and try to strafe out of their path. If you want to get some distance because you have a weapon that works better that way, try to get into an open area where you’re not surrounded by close walls. Your best bet is to stay nice and close, though, because that way you know they’re hurting themselves. Even if the guy doesn’t end up killing both of you, you still have the satisfaction of knowing he might meet his fate to a blaster around the corner.

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Hyper Blaster

Don’t let the word “blaster” bother you, this blaster’s definitely better than its counterpart. This is the big daddy every little blaster wants to be like. If has a very fast firing rate and the shots travel swiftly, but it uses a lot of important ammo – ammo that you could be using for the BFG, or for your energy armor. Despite these drawbacks, it’s very effective.

Keep in mind that the weapon fires swiftly, but the discharges still do travel. Strafe and jump if you can, because this will make it hard for players to avoid the attack. Keep them in line with you whenever possible. If you are going down a ramp and they are below you, a nice jumping attack works well. Just try not to waste ammo, because you’re also wasting important resources you could be using for bigger and better things.

To avoid it, run like heck, but always do it backwards. As long as you don’t back into someone with an even better weapon, you’ll be okay. Strafe and jump, but try to make your moves opposite to your opponent’s. Fire at them, of course, because you have a chance of killing them as long as you have something halfway decent. It’s fairly easy to see exactly where they’re firing since the shots show up, so use that to your advantage.

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You’re looking at the mother of all railguns. Not only is it better than Quake 3’s, but it’s also… well… the mother of it. It has a very tight feeling to it, which makes it easy to use, especially at close range. Not only that, but the slugs deal a load of damage. The only problem with it is that it’s fairly easy to avoid and has a slow firing rate.

Keep your crosshair on players all the time, compensating for your lag, of course. Remember that the railgun has no travel time or limit on distance – if you can see the players, you can kill them. If they are pretty far away, don’t move around a whole lot. If they’re close, use the rocket launcher if you have it… it will deal about the same amount of damage, but it’s easier to use and reloads faster. If they are really, really close, switch back to the railgun… it’s very easy to use in face-to-face combat, and it won’t hurt you with splash damage.

While avoiding this weapon, move around as much as you can, and try to randomize your motions. A good player will quickly learn your patterns of defense and use them against you. Don’t ever let him look at you too long, because once he has set up his aim you’re sure to be dead. Orbit them if you can, strafing isn’t extremely effective. Any consistent movement like that makes it easy for your aggressor to predict where you will be when he fires.

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BFG 10k

Surprisingly, it’s not the best weapon in the game – but it is the hardest to avoid. It works great in a large room, and it looks kind of cool, but it should be kept only for those two situations. Pull it out when you’re in a large group of people, and pull it out when you’re all alone and you need something pretty to look at.

One important thing to remember: at 50 cells a blast, yours had better hit home. Of course, the nature of this weapon dictates that this is not a hard task. The more people the better, try not to waste that many cells on one person. It is not likely you will kill yourself, but remember that the orb of joy does explode when it hits something – in other words, keep your distance from players or walls when firing it. That big green ball will pretty much kill anything it comes close to, so just fire it straight down the middle of the room. If you can, try “charging” it (i.e. press the fire button) outside of the room, and then run into the room right at the point where it’s going to come out – this way no one will hear the charging sound, and it’ll be a big surprise for everyone.

Defense against something like this is tough, but it’s certainly not complicated: run, Quaker, run. Try to get behind a corner as far away from that green globule of joy as possible, and don’t ever look into the blast – it might hurt your eyes.




Quake 2 has a lot of flexibility when it comes to moving your character around, plus a lot of added features that previous games didn’t have. A lot of these features can be used to your advantage, but just remember that your opponents also get that advantage if they use them correctly.

Walking / Running

If you want to get any frags you should probably run most of the time. 90% of the Quake players you talk to will tell you they turn Always Run on – and although it’s personal preference, it’s best to do this. Keep in mind that in a game like Quake 2 where footsteps are audible, there are situations where you would be better off walking to silence yourself – which is why you should have a key like Shift available to make your character walk.

One of those situations is when you are at a very low amount of health. If there are a small number of players in the level, footsteps will alert opponents of your presence, and they will probably come after you. Another good use of walking is in a 1v1 game where you don’t want the other player to either be aware of your presence or to know where you are and what your doing. If you do not want to completely cover yourself, but don’t want to stand out, walking down stairs instead of running is a good idea. Running down steep stairs causes your character to fall a short distance, resulting in a louder than normal thump. Walking cures this.


Backpedaling is not critical, but it is a useful type of movement. For those of you who don’t know what it is, backpedaling is simply walking backwards.

Backpedaling is mostly used to avoid weapon fire, but you will soon find that you are using it to pick up items without turning your back. The basic concept of movement in Quake is to never turn your back on an opponent – backpedaling helps you to avoid this and still be able to move around the level. Eventually, you can frag people without even stopping in the room. By memorizing level layouts and item placement, you can backpedal through doorways, teleporters, and onto items to pick them up.


This is what just about every Quake player will tell you is the most important part of the control system for you to learn. Guess what? They’re right. Strafing is basically walking from side to side, although there are more variations of this movement. It sounds simple enough, but it can get a little complicated when it comes to actually being used.

Strafing is useful for a variety of things, including picking up items and weapons. As mentioned above, keeping your eye on a player is critical. When you start learning the levels – a tough job for even the most experienced players – you can start picking up health and armor without even looking while in the middle of a battle. This obviously gives you an extreme advantage over an opponent who must turn around and look for such items.


Jumping is critical in this game – not only is it a great way to avoid attacks and confuse players, but it’s also necessary for navigating maps. If you jump a lot while you are being attacked by just about anything, the other player will have a tough time hitting you. Jumping is very useful when firing things like the rocket launcher because it will decrease the amount of damage done to you.


Hopefully this one doesn’t need to be explained. What you should know is that, when fighting on stairs, it is best for you to be higher than your opponent. It is much easier to aim, and you can utilize splash damage more easily than he can, since he doesn’t really have a floor to aim at. So, keep your distance and remember to stay on top. You can also use stairs to drop in with a surprise attack on an unsuspecting player standing near the bottom – if you descend a staircase in a couple of leaps, he will never see you coming in time.


These will transport you to another specified part of the map. They are very useful in escaping hairy situations. If you’re trying to get away, find the nearest teleporter and step through it. Once you’re in the new location, choose an unnatural path and run in that direction as fast as possible – in other words, if you’d normally turn right, turn left instead, and find somewhere to hide. Chances are your stalker will take his own natural path or the path he feels you would have chosen, so you can lose him fairly easily. You can also trick people into following you – they will almost undoubtedly assume that you will walk straight through and continue to go straight. Using this to your advantage, as son as you transport, run to one side or the other and keep your site on the destination. Within a second or two your opponent will run through, looking straight ahead. You can usually get in a couple of good hits before he realizes what’s going on.

Strafe Jumping

Strafe jumping is a commonly overlooked technique. A lot of players know what it is and know how to do it, but many of them seem to use it at the wrong times. Strafe jumping actually accomplishes two things at one time. First of all, it gives you a distinct advantage over players – you move forward and backward, up and down, and left to right simultaneously. If you have really good aim, you can do all of this while never taking your crosshair off of the player. Secondly, when done correctly, you get a significant increase in your forward or backward travelling speed.

For those of you who don’t know, strafe jumping is performed by jumping while staffing left, landing, jumping while strafing right, landing, and then repeating. Two things you must watch out for are the fogs of death and the void. They are your worst enemies while you are attempting this technique, and are probably the biggest reason it is not very widely used. You will soon find out for yourself that losing control of your character is very easy to do, which can easily result in a messy landing in dangerous areas. In safer areas, however, you can usually do no more harm than bumping into a wall. If this happens, the time that it takes you to recover your control is probably less than the time that you saved and certainly makes up for whatever damage you can avoid taking.

Rocket Jumping

This is a much more common technique. It involves launching a rocket into the ground or another player and using the force of the explosion to propel yourself in a desired direction while gaining extreme speed and altitude. To do this, you just fire the rocket and jump at the same instant as the explosion. Because of the resulting damage to your character, it is useful for little more than getting out of a heated battle or getting to high places with high payoffs.


Orbiting is performed by strafing in a circle around the player, especially while jumping. It makes you very hard to hit, and when done properly will never cause your crosshair to leave the player. It works best with rapid-fire weapons like the nailguns, although you may find other uses for it.


This is very hard to pull off. In fact, it seems that the only thing harder than stacking is actually finding a situation where it is possible. Despite being hard to accomplish, it’s a simple process. All you have to do is find a player who’s standing still and jump onto their head. If the player doesn’t see you coming, he will never guess you’re up there. By the time he moves out from under you, you should be able to damage him enough so that killing him won’t be all that hard. Just remember to run for it if he looks up.


Sniping is exactly what it sounds like – hiding and picking off players from a distance. It is often confused with camping, but it is actually slightly more effective. The only disadvantage to this tactic is the lack of decent sniping spots in the packaged maps. To get a good spot, find an unusual place where you’re not very visible. Unusual means on top of a doorway or a ledge, not just an area anyone can walk to. You will probably have to rocket jump to get there, so keep some health in sight so you can get back up if you accidentally fall.

Pull out the rocket launcher (or another good weapon) and start shooting at people as they pass by. Once you snipe a player a few times he is bound to know where you are, so change places often. Also, if you are next to a wall, watch out for rockets.


Camping is the most controversial skill in Quake. Usually, the people who complain about it the most are the ones who simply can’t kill campers themselves. Good players can usually eliminate campers without much of a problem, because campers usually aren’t good at what they do. As easy as it is to get killed, and as unpopular as you will be, by camping the right way you can get a lot of frags.

First, find a place that not only has health, but also one entrance. A good item or weapon helps lure people in, so don’t pick them up unless you need them. As people come, shoot them. In most cases, they will never learn and just keep coming.

Eventually, however, good players will catch on and there is a large chance you will be killed. The solution is simple: leave your campsite every once in awhile. They will think you moved to another location or just gave up. After a couple minutes, go back. You can actually spend your entire game hopping from one camping place to another and never have to actually fight. It gets boring after awhile, but if you’re desperate for frags, it works.

Item Raping

Cheap? Some will tell you yes, however most skilled players don’t really mind if you do it, because most of them are doing it themselves. This is especially effective in a 1v1 game. In Quake 2 this is very hard to pull off unless you get to the item first – if you pick up a Quad, for example, make sure that you get back to that spot when the Quad is supposed to respawn. It’s hard to get started, because there is no indication that someone picked the item up. It does work though – because, obviously, if you control the only item on the map you’re going to wreak carnage on everyone else. Just get ready to hear some whining!


Quake 2 Map Reviews: Community Maps

These maps are listed in order from newest to oldest, so if you’re looking for any older maps please look at the last page. You can click on any screenshot to see a larger version of the image.


DM – Demon Dragon 77.8 KB
This is a fairly tiny maze-like map that feels quite a bit larger than it really is. It has plenty of powerful weapons, so it’s good for a lot of players or just a hunt-and-kill 1v1. It reminded me of Quake 1.

DM – The Cubicle 335 KB
This is a pretty unique map… it’s just as the name suggests, basically a giant cubicle. Vertical fighting becomes an important part of the map, which features a lot of large, wide-open spaces with plenty of areas to fall. Good for a larger number of players.

DM – Children of the Night 205 KB
This is also a very original map when it comes to environment. The tight halls with an ambient blue light really give this map an original feel. It promises fast flying action with many players, and a great game with only a few. The weapons are easy to get to and spread all over the map.

DM – Return of the Elder God 866 KB
This is a fairly smal map, but good for a larger number of players. I was expecting a remake of the Elder God Shrine from Quake 1, what I got was a great map centered on a BFG for fast flying action. Give it a shot (no pun intended, of course)!

DM – 9th Chamber 465 KB
This is definately original on the environment aspect. It is focused on what seems like a volcano, mane deep caverns surrounded by lava. The rocket launcher is tough to get to but it will also greet you with a megahealth. This map is a pretty good one, I haven’t seen anything like it yet.

DM – If You Can’t Beat Them (Arrange to Have Them Beaten) 399 KB
I don’t know why, but I couldn’t stop thinking of The Lost City from Quake 1 while I was playing on this map. It is based in a city, and slightly similar. There are some small halls but most of the map feels more open. Overall, a good choice.

DM – Vermicious Knids 1.00 MB
This map is fairly large, obviously meant for a larger number of players. The weapon placement is great, the better weapons require more work to get to. The map is a good combination of tight halls and wide open outdoor areas.

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