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Malice (mod)

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Malice is a total conversion for Quake, developed jointly by Team Epochalypse (which would go on to form Ratloop) and Quantum Axcess. Malice was published by Quantum Axcess in October 1997 and sold as a stand alone item. It would also later be available bundled with Q!Zone and the original Quake in the form of the Resurrection Pack for Quake, distributed by GT Interactive. The game requires a full version of Quake to run.

Background

Set in the 23rd century, the player assumes the role of a bandana wearing mercenary named Damage. Working for Colonel Bossman and his underground crime syndicate, the player is pitted against Bossman's main rival, Takahiro Industries. Takahiro industries has its own security too, with a small army of guards as well as various sophisticated robots. It is these, that Damage has to fight against, through various futuristic environments in order to assassinate his goal, Takahiro himself. However, as things progress, the Bossman seems less and less likely to pay Damage for his wares, it seems like someone is being double crossed...

Gameplay features

Featuring totally new weapons, models, artwork and locations, Malice was almost totally unrecognisable from Quake the game on which it was based. Some of features in Malice include:

  • 25 new maps – This included 16 regular single player maps, 2 secret levels, and 7 deathmatch only maps.
  • 10 new weapons – Some of these weapons had to be manually reloaded by the player, although this has become the norm with first-person shooters nowadays, Malice was one of the first games ever to have this feature. Other weapons could set enemies (and the player) alight, both hurting the enemy and reducing their vision.
  • 13 new enemies – Not a single enemy was recycled from Quake. This, coupled with the other new assets made Malice feel like a totally different game, and not just a mod.
  • New soundtrackMalice featured an entirely new soundtrack, with 9 new tracks composed for the game. Unlike the low-key ambience as heard in the Quake game, these tracks were higher tempo electronic rock tracks.
  • New equipmentMalice introduced various equippable "toyz" in the game. Amongst them, included a parachute, hoverboard, spy drone, and a drivable minisub which could fire heat seeking torpedoes. Items like the hoverboard, which would increase player speed, give the player the ability to boost upwards and negate fall damage, would also give an extra dimension to deathmatch, making Malice into an even quicker and more frantic game than it already was in the singleplayer.
  • In-engine cutscenes – In between levels, the story was conveyed via cutscenes with full audio rendered in the game engine. Although cutscenes rendered within the game engine have become prevalent in current first-person games, Malice was one of the first to successfully implement this.
  • Game enhancementsMalice added many new features. Although these features have now found themselves into the majority of modern first-person games, Malice should be noted for being a pioneer in this regard.
    • Destructible Objects – Objects could be destroyed or blown up, including lights which could be shot out and walls which could be destroyed to reveal different routes.
    • Movable Objects – Objects like crates could be pushed to reveal blocked paths or moved to enable a player to jump to a higher area.
    • Weather Effects – Effects like rain, thunder and lightning were added to the game, giving a more immersive realistic atmosphere to the game.

Critical reaction

Press reactions to the game were generally favourable, with the game earning positive reviews from all publications featured. Online publication Adrenaline Vault gave the game 4.5/5 and it won their "Best Addon Award" in 1997.[1] PC Gamer UK gave the game their "Game of Distinction Award", also in 1997. PC Zone also praised the game, noting favourable how well Malice managed to get away from the original Quake and awarded the game 80%.

Easter eggs

Within one of the game system files (PAK2.PAK) contains six bloopers of actor Dan Janis getting his lines wrong with humorous consequences.

Bugs

The original release of Malice had a particularly bad bug, where the developers had forgotten to include a parachute in level 8 which was required as player needed to go down a very deep shaft. This made it impossible to complete the level and therefore the game. The developers admitted the mistake and advised players to use the console 'fly' cheat command until they were able to release a patch.[2]

References

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