It started with Doom, but now the first-person shoot 'em up has evolved into the all-conquering monster that is Quake II. The game casts you as a member of a secret assault force sent to a planet to exterminate some alien aggressors. Your chances of success are slim, and, to make matters worse, you discover that most of your comrades have already been wiped out.

From the moment the intro starts to roll, you know this game is going to be something special; sweeping shots of an alien city and some garbled distress calls set the scene and then the action begins. And, once it begins, it doesn't stop. There are a lot more enemies than in the first game, and they all have artificial intelligence, making them much more difficult to kill than your average baddies. The graphics are absolutely superb, and the sound of spacecraft flying overhead and spoken messages from your remaining team members give you a genuine feeling of being in the midst of a battle.

Now a word of warning; if you don't like heavy metal, which is to say you enjoy a full and active social life, then you might as well throw away your soundcard now, because there's loads and loads of metal in this and it's very, very heavy. It's a testament to the game's playability that you can still enjoy it despite the atrocious soundtrack.

There's an awful lot more which can be said about Quake II, but no more room to say it. Suffice it to say that this is one game you should not be without.

On release, pounds 39.99