As much as I love the mod scene for old PC games, I realized I haven’t touched Quake‘s mod scene that much in the past few years. The last mods I played for Quake was stuff made for speedruns, like Quake Done Quick with a Vengeance. So for today, we’re gonna tackle some Quake mods that tried their best to be more like tactical shooters before that was even a popular thing. Both of these were released around the same time, and share a few similarities but both have their own unique quirks.
First on our list is a mod called Navy Seals Quake. This mod features a bevvy of new weapons such as the Mark 23 SOCOM pistol, the MP5 (and its silenced variant), a Mossberg tactical shotgun, even an M16 assault rifle with grenade launcher. There are three unique levels made for Navy Seals Quake, though selecting New Game oddly takes you to the default Quake start level. The levels all feature you going in and killing everything while completing objectives like destroying a jet and disarming “RADEK” bombs. You can also play through regular Quake with these new weapons, giving you a different taste of the game, but only a handful of characters were replaced, leaving you with custom marine models mixed in with default Quake enemies like Ogres and Scrags.
In a unique twist, Navy Seals Quake features weapons that reload, realistic ammo management where partial-ammo reloads remove the bullets inside, the option to use flashbang grenades, even allowing you to headshot enemies and gib their heads. This was pretty advanced for its time, and it’s quite impressive.
There is one interesting thing about Navy Seals Quake – it was made by a guy named Minh “Gooseman” Le. He would later go on to help make Action Quake II and a little fun multiplayer FPS you might’ve heard of called Counter-Strike. Yeah, he was one of the co-creators of the mod, who later worked with Valve up until Counter-Strike: Source. Le is now working on a CS successor called Tactical Intervention, which has some of the same features as Counter-Strike but with some new twists. Nothing much has been heard about the game since April, though, but I totally can’t wait to play it when it comes out. It’d be a funny-ass coincidence if it popped up on Steam, too.
Originally I was going to feature just Navy Seals Quake in this article as a subtle tie-in to the forthcoming Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, even though Gooseman hasn’t been at Valve for several years. But then somebody introduced me to another tactical Quake mod, and I had to give this one a try as well.
The other tactical mod on my list today is Special Forces Quake, and it shares some elements with Navy Seals Quake. Both have human enemies, realistic weapons and a level set that tries to be tactical. However, Special Forces Quake feels more fleshed out, and it has a few unique features of its own.
In this one, you’re given a unique episode set to play with, all of which give you new guns to work with – the MP5 that reloads, a generic shotgun, a sniper rifle, gas grenades, C4, a machine gun and a mine launcher – along with a large amount of the enemies reskinned for the mod. There’s a few new bad guys, ogres look more like tough guys, small helicopters that fire rockets, toxic blobs, and the knights have been changed to ninjas (!?!). There’s even hostages to rescue, but the dialog for them and other characters repeat way too much. Expect to hear “POP QUIZ, HOTSHOT” from the bad guys constantly, which I found grating after hearing it the first few times.
Not only is there realistic weapons, there’s a flashlight for the MP5, a grappling hook, a zoom in feature (usually for the sniper rifle but available for any weapon), even crouching. It feels considerably more fleshed out than Navy Seals Quake, but just as incomplete as that mod. Gooseman even contributed to Special Forces Quake by giving the mod unique MP5 and shotgun models, which look similar to their Navy Seals Quake counterparts but clash with the look of everything else. Outside of that, I don’t think anyone else who worked on Special Forces Quake works in the biz today, but it doesn’t mean you still shouldn’t play it. The mod team even announced making they were making a sequel called Special Forces ][: Deadly Force Authorized which would’ve added items like infrared goggles, dirt bikes and even class selection. Would’ve been pretty ambitious for a game made around 1998.
Games such as Counter-Strike, Soldier of Fortune and even Call of Duty have to take some credit for these mods spurring interest in these kind of action/tactical sort of games, even if it was back when PC gaming was hitting its stride. Despite the age of both mods, they’re still hella fun today, though they are pretty hard at points. God damn hit scan enemies…
You can find Navy Seals Quake here, while Special Forces Quake can be found here, both
courtesy of Shacknews courtesy of Quake Terminus. Both require version 1.06 of registered Quake or higher, and a source port is highly recommended to play this, such as DirectQ or Quakespasm. Using any of the default id software engines such as GLQuake are not recommended.