After writing about Doom Eternal last month, I felt like I was kinda losing my touch when it came to offbeat, weird stuff. Struggling to think of something to write about, I thought of something. And it’s time to head back to the unofficial expansion mines once again.
I’ve been down this road countless times at this point, but this is one I had to come back to, since I mentioned it briefly before late last year. Since I covered one of the unofficial expansions — Zaero for Quake II — back in November 2021, I had to go back and look at another expansion for Quake II. And y’all, it’s a doozy.
Juggernaut: The New Story for Quake II – quite a mouthful – is an unofficial add-on for id Software’s space marine Strogg-killing shooter Quake II. The second of two unofficial add-ons, this came out around 1998 as a way to add more to your Quake II experience.
I became familiar of this thanks to Something Awful, back when they used to “review” video games of dubious quality. Much like a lot of internet writing of that era, it’s really hard to go back to reading, especially since its creator Richard “Lowtax” Kyanka was an absolute piece of shit. But I had been curious about this add-on, so I started looking for a copy. Turns out it was a bit tougher finding a complete copy than I thought it would be, thus I put it aside and wrote about Zaero instead. It wasn’t until after I published that did a friend come and help me find a copy.
Much like previous add-ons – official and unofficial – the game offers you to shoot and gib monsters, grab keys and have a fun time, right? I wish this was true, as this is not the case with Juggernaut. Problem number one is who published it.
Head Games was a fairly infamous budget publisher through the late ‘90s, alongside some of the more infamous ones like Valu-Soft. While they dabbled in publishing unofficial expansions like the previously talked about Aftershock for Quake, their bread and butter was the “Extreme” line they published from 1999-2000, like Extreme Rock Climbing, Extreme Boards & Blades, and yes, the infamous Extreme Paintbrawl games. They’re not known for a high pedigree of quality, so buying a Head Games product meant you had to put your expectations real low. And this was before Activision acquired them.
Though we can’t just blame the publisher: Developer Canopy Games has their own tale of making clunky games as well. For the most part, they were known mostly for budget-label driving games based on Harley Davidson, Hot Rod Magazine and oddly Initial D of all franchises; as well as Midnight Outlaw: Illegal Street Drag, a racing game clearly made to cash in on the Fast and the Furious franchise that Something Awful also covered back in the day. (This will be the last time I mention that site in this article, promise.)
They occasionally dabbled in other genres, including the then-lucrative market of hidden object games in the late-2000s, but from the research I did shooters were not really their thing. Juggernaut would end up being their only add-on for a commercially released game. So I don’t have high hopes for this.
According to what I gleamed through the cutscenes and the readme files, the story goes like this: In the far-flung future, a Juggernaut ship exported people from Earth to the two moons on Jupiter – Europa and Callisto, respectively. You’re a soldier named “The Defender” who lives on Europa, doing your usual mining business until you find out that settlers of Callisto are doing science experiments on people that turns them into mutated beings. The Defender must fly to Callisto and eliminate those mutated freaks before their demon stuff… spreads throughout the universe? It’s not really clear, the story is likely explained more in the manual or the intro cutscene than it is in-game.Continue reading…