Chhhhing. It’s a noise that would give pause to anyone ice-skating around an avant garde techno-medieval castle—an act better known as playing Quake. The sound of sword leaving sheath, it heralds the arrival of the Death Knight. Wearing a horned helmet and a suit of armour flecked with the blood of previous Quakeblokes, the Knight quickly closes the distance, swinging his blade with shocking speed.
It’s natural to want to step back. Pull away too far, though, and the Knight hurls a cluster of fireballs, which sweep outward as bullet hell projectiles. The best thing to do is keep him at midrange with the Super Shotgun, blasting both barrels during opportune moments. Sound familiar?
Doom Eternal’s Marauder quickly became notorious after the launch of id’s sequel early this year, with some players complaining his chase behaviour and attack patterns broke the game’s combat rhythm and were a poor fit for the series. I’m here to tell you that the Marauder’s been here all along—hiding out in 1996.
Quake was always a de facto sequel to Doom—1994’s Doom II being more of a level pack—and as such it shares quite a bit with Eternal, not least its focus on resource management. Success in Nightmare mode is determined not just by speed and accuracy, but by which health packs you decide to leave on the ground and come back to when you’re really bruised.
The dance with the Death Knight definitely triggers Marauder muscle memory for me. The latter knocks you back with his shotgun if you come in close, but flings spectral axe projectiles from a distance, and so the same midrange tactics apply. I’m not saying the influence is necessarily conscious, but then again: just look at that silhouette.
I rest my case.