Why You Should Be Playing These id Games on the Mac

written by Jon Carr on August 2, 2013 in Buyer's Guide and Special Feature

Quakecon logo

With the annual Quakecon event upon us there is no better time to revisit id Software’s last three games and explain why shooter fans should be playing them. Whether a newcomer or a veteran to id’s world of gaming, read on to find out what makes them so good for the first time or to play them again. 

Doom 3

Doom 3 Mac iconAspyr brought us Mac gamers Doom 3 all the way back in 2005. I’m not even sure there was a Mac capable of running it on maximum settings at the time. I know I struggled to run it on medium settings on my laptop but I still had a blast. It may be dated, but the game still looks and plays well. 

Why you should play it: 

Even if you aren’t a fan of the earlier classic Doom titles, Doom 3 is great for a number of reasons. While most games start you off blasting from moment one, it takes its time to setup the story and setting, introducing you to the Mars UAC facility and characters. This pays off well by the time things quite literally start going to hell. You’ve had some time to explore, talk to fellow marines and get a peek at the UAC’s technology before everyone turns into a shambling corpse or mutated monster thats trying to kill you. 

Doom 3-1

While it has plenty of atmosphere, it wouldn’t be much without solid shooting. Fortunately Doom 3 has a plethora of satisfying weapons to lay waste to the minions of hell with equally satisfying animations when you kill the monsters. Nothing is more satisfying than blasting an imp with a shotgun and watching his body fly through the air and tumble into the darkness. You just have to experience it for yourself. 

Doom 3 works hard to not just be creepy, but scary. While some of the scares and thrills are obvious, there is a lot of tension and genuine scariness to be had while playing. Whether its the atmosphere, music, sounds or a new monster being introduced, Doom 3 keeps you on your toes. My most frightening moment? I had just climbed up a ladder and in the flickering light against the wall ahead I saw a shadow slowly rise behind me. It turned out to be a Cacodemon, but its unexpected and sudden appearance behind me in the darkness and shadows made my heart literally skip a beat. Play it at night with the lights out and a good pair of speakers or headphones to get the full experience. 

Why you should play it again: 

Even if you have already braved the scares of Doom 3, there’s a good reason these days to revisit Mars. Think you are good at the game? Try beating it on Nightmare mode for the ultimate challenge. If that’s not enough for you, there are mods. Lots of them actually, and most work on the Mac. Whether its a simple flash light modification for your shotgun, or one that allows for significant graphical enhancements such as Sikkmod, you should install some mods and play again. Want different game modes, or even coop in the campaign? Try Last Man Standing which allows you to play with a friend in the campaign, or fight against horde style waves in new maps. 

Quake 4

Quake 4 Mac iconThe long-awaited sequel to Quake 2, Quake 4 is a direct continuation of the events following Quake 2. But you don’t have to be a fan of the earlier games to enjoy Quake 4. It stands strongly on its own, read on to find out why.

Why you should play it: 

Not many modern FPS games on the Mac have a good story, or any story at all. While Quake 4′s story isn’t amazing, it is pretty good and will invest you in the ongoing war between humans and the Strogg. Usually earth or humans are the one’s being invaded. This time the tables are turned while you invade the Strogg home world to end things once and for all. It also does an excellent job of making you feel like you are in a war. Whether its the ambient action, things happening nearby or assaulting bases and trenches with your Rhino squad, Quake 4 can be intense. While having a number of larger set pieces or daylight action, there is still time for plenty of pervasive creepiness to be had indoors.

Quake4_ss_2Unfortunately the big twist is given away in trailers and on the box, but at one point in the game your character (Matthew Kane) becomes a Strogg. Knowing it is coming makes it less surprising but your transformation still remains one the most gruesome scenes in gaming that will make you squirm and flinch. Kane was a badass as a human. Now he’s doubly so as a Strogg. 

Story is all well and good, but as anyone knows the heart of a shooter is its weapons and how they feel to blast people with. Quake 4 delivers wonderfully from the  beginning machine-gun to what is possibly the best shotgun in an id game ever. How about that delicious railgun? If you want bigger and badder, look no farther than the the ball-of-death dealing Dark matter weapon to annihilate anything in front of you.

The multiplayer is still good. It may not have many servers running, but Quake 4 still offers some of the best classic multiplayer experience around. Basically an improved version of Quake 3 multiplayer only gameplay, its still undeniably fun to frantically leap around The Longest Day trying to avoid getting zapped with a railgun while doing the same to your foes. Even 1 vs 1 multiplayer is entertaining, and it just gets better with more players.

Why you should play it again: 

If you are tired of Call of Duty or similar style shooters, take Quake 4′s old fashioned shooter action for another spin. You won’t be disappointed and in a way, it is rather refreshing. See how many medics and engineers you can keep alive on highest difficulty! 

Need more? Mod’s again. High-res texture packs, weapon packs, coop modes, multiplayer modifications and more await you in the Quake 4 mods section. Pimp out your game for a new and (possibly) improved gameplay experience.

RAGE

RAGE Mac iconFirst shown off as an id5 tech demo at an WWDC event in 2007, RAGE debuted on an iMac with John Carmack speaking no less. Sadly we wouldn’t get the simultaneous release the initial id tech 5 engine promised, but Aspyr was quick to bring Mac shooter fans the game just a few months after the PC version came out.

Why you should play it:

id has long been charactered by its franchises of Doom, Quake and Wolfenstein. They feature classic shooting action, usually with grim settings, dark colors simpler stories and heaps of violence. With RAGE id was trying something new and quite different. You can still tell this is an id game from the gun mechanics, but outside of that its a whole new game style. They took a gamble and it mostly paid off. 

After a giant asteroid crashes into the earth wiping out most of humanity you awaken as one of the few survivors frozen in a protective Ark. The world has become a post-apocalyptic wasteland full of mutants, bandits, settlements and the ominous Authority. As you venture out you the game sees you helping out the various settlements around the wasteland, taking on gangs, mutant dens and eventually the Authority itself. There’s some spectacularly intense missions to be had at various parts in the game and these should not be missed.

RAGE_Mutants03

There’s a lot to be had in RAGE’s semi-open world. Racing, item crafting, side quests, and to just simply ogle at the gorgeous scenery and the id tech 5 engines megatexture technology at work as you zoom around in various vehicles. Visually speaking it really is like nothing else you have played, and you will wish every other game had this level of detail. 

Additionaly this is one of the few, if not the only game I can think of that actually runs better in OSX than Windows. John Carmack called the PC release of RAGE “Inexcusable.” (I pre-ordered the Anarchy Edition and paid the literal and metaphorical price, the game was unplayable in bootcamp at the time.)  

While lacking in multiplayer options, the Mac edition of the game makes up for it by including the Anarchy edition items and includes the bonus wasteland sewer missions for extra blasting and loot opportunities. Neither of these are huge additions to the game, but they are fun and worthwhile. 

Why you should play it again: 

Going through RAGE once is quite satisfying. But you know what’s even better? Going through twice!  Maybe you want to find all the bonus sewers for sweet loot or scavenge all the rare recipes like the Apophis infusions and authority augmenters. Perhaps you just want to cruise around the desolate yet gorgeous wasteland. Want action and cash? Take another run through Mutant Bash TV and see if you can survive the increased difficulty. If you’ve got a need for speed there’s always another exciting race to be had at the tracks, and most likely, upgrade points to make your rides look even more impressive. There’s a lot to do in RAGE, and unless you have explored every nook and cranny there’s definitely more to do and more fun to be had. Don’t miss it. 

 

In conclusion, any shooter fan should be playing these games. If you don’t have them already, GameAgent is making this very easy with a sale on all the id game goodness. Tell your friends, share your stories. Frag each other in multiplayer. Conquer the wasteland. This is what makes being a Mac gamer so great. Don’t miss out!