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This mod turns Quake into a top-down shooter

Top-Down Quake
(Image credit: id Software)
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Have you ever thought to yourself, "Yeah, Quake is great, but it would be even better as a top-down action game?" Probably not, I'm guessing, but if you have—or if you're just curious, now that I've brought it up—then this new mod is worth a moment of your time. It's called Top-Down Quake, and that's exactly what it does.

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As with all good mods, this one requires a little bit of effort before you can make with the shooting, although it's quite simple to install compared to some I've played with. You'll need Quake, obviously, and the FTEQW engine, which supports the features required by the mod—get it here and extract the executable into your Quake directory. Put the mod's "topdownquake" directory into the Quake directory as well.

Once that's done, right-click the FTEQW executable and create a shortcut, then right-click the shortcut, select "Properties," and add "-game topdownquake" (without the quotes) at the end of the Target field, so it looks like this:

(Image credit: Future)

(You can also just run FTEQW.exe with the "-game topdownquake" launch arguments if you prefer, but making a shortcut is worth the slight extra effort if you plan on running the mod more than once.)

When you run Quake with that shortcut, it will initially appear in first-person, but right-clicking will change the game to the top-down perspective. Default movement controls are the same as they are in first-person, and the map can be rotated with the Q and E keys. All told, it actually works really well: There's no getting around the inherent limitations of such a dramatic change of perspective (you're occasionally going to get shot by things that are out of your field of view or hidden behind architecture) but that also forces a slower, more deliberate approach to the game—at least until you're practiced enough to effectively run-and-gun from this new viewpoint.

And if you find yourself stuck somewhere, there's an escape hatch: Holding the right mouse button will temporarily put the game back into first-person perspective, so you can blast your way past whatever's troubling you the old fashioned way.

Top-Down Quake is compatible with other Quake mods, according to mod creator Shpuld—you can find out how to make it work on concert with others, and dig into the source code if that's what you're into, on Github.

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.