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Building a Retro Linux Gaming Computer - Part 25: Quantum Axcess

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Return to Part 1: Dumpster Diving

Continued from Part 24: Mother Knows Best

Back when I first played through Quake: The Offering I found that I enjoyed the two mission packs even more than I did the original Quake campaign, and while Scourge of Armagon and Dissolution of Eternity were the only official sanctioned addons sold for Quake, several third party expansions and total conversions exist that also had retail releases. Two of these, Shrak and Malice, were published on CD-ROM in 1997 by Quantum Axcess. 

While neither came with Linux specific instructions, the readme.txt file for Malice does at least describe how to get the game working under MacOS, which follows much of the same procedure. After inserting the CD-ROM you need to copy over the malice directory to your Quake installation, which by default can be found at /usr/local/games/quake on Linux. Once done all you need to do is launch Quake using the "-game malice" argument.

Setting up Shrak is more problematic, as the 16-bit MS-DOS application ST.EXE was included with Shrak to combine textures due to concerns over distributing id Software's intellectual property. On Linux this can be dealt with through DOSBox using the manual install instructions found on the Shrak FAQ page. An official update patch is also available for those owning the first CD-ROM pressing of the game. Once all is applied you can launch Quake using the "-game shrak" argument.

Malice does introduce some new features that need to be bound to the keyboard using the console, a complete list of which can be found included as part of the MacOS instructions. If you are using OpenGL acceleration you should also delete your old meshes by removing the id1/glquake directory before launching to avoid artifacts. You must also ensure that you give write permissions to the malice and shrak directories to have save files work from your user account.

In addition, a lethal goof exists in Malice where the developers forgot to pack a parachute in the "The Underwater Base" level well into the campaign. The original suggestion from Quantum Axcess was to just to use the fly console command to cheat the level. A patch was later released that provides an alternate D8B.BSP map file, but this needs to be loaded from the console, and oddly enough provides a hoverboard rather than a parachute. It does still do the job at least.


Like with the official mission packs, these total conversions show off a great deal more variety and inventiveness than was found in the main Quake campaign. Of the two Shrak is the more pedestrian, fitting in well alongside the other expansions, introducing a new villain much like Armagon. Even innovations such as the grappling hook and the friend maker are in line with experiments such as the "Horn of Conjuring" or the "Anti-Grav Belt" found in the sanctioned packs.

Perhaps this is why Shrak is the more forgotten, with it not even having all of its secret areas documented online until I put in the effort myself. It also has a number of rough edges, with Shrak reverting to showing the final briefing text from Quake at the end. Malice, on the other hand, is something else. Malice feels like if SiN were developed on the original Quake engine; ironic, considering Scourge of Armagon was the first retail product Ritual Entertainment produced.

You play a similar if more brain damaged protagonist, fighting the forces of a large megacorporation in a cyberpunk future. The maps are more dynamic than found in Quake, featuring scripted set pieces and even pilotable vehicles and probes. The enemies are largely hitscanners, most of your weapons now need to be reloaded, and both Malice and SiN even have pistols that can serve as your main reliable. All of this, as well as the bugs brought on by bloated ambition.

By abusing the demo feature in Quake they were even able to add cutscenes to Malice, although the CD music would often overwhelm the dialogue; both total conversions feature all new soundtracks which lean heavier on electronica. I also found while playing either Malice or Shrak that many of the switches would appear too dark when rendered through glquake.glx, but would look fine in software mode. Malice spouts garbage to the console when using OpenGL as well.

Quantum Axcess were far from the only distributor to dip their toes into the waters of unofficial Quake expansion content, with even the sequel Quake II seeing a number of companion CD-ROMs released for use alongside it. Some of those I intend to cover at some point, but I think I have had my fill of Quake again for now. Instead, I have found an old CD-R disc which I am curious to see if it can still be read after all these years. Time to move from rocket jumping to distro hopping.

Carrying on in Part 26: Coming to You Live

Return to Part 1: Dumpster Diving

Article taken from
Tags: Action, Editorial, FPS, Mod, Retro, Review | Apps: QUAKE
About the author -
author picture
Hamish Paul Wilson is a free software developer, game critic, amateur writer, and farm labourer living in rural Alberta, Canada. He is an advocate of both DRM free Linux gaming and the free software movement alongside his other causes, and more information on him can be found at his homepage where he lists everything he is currently involved in:
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Hamish Feb 13
The Shrak FAQ can be found here:

The Malice website is archived here:

The list of secrets I compiled for Shrak can be read here:

All of the official patches for Shrak and Malice can be downloaded here:

Last edited by Hamish on 13 February 2023 at 10:12 pm UTC
rea987 Feb 13
Hah, I remember the name of Malice from somewhere. I am delighted to see both Malice and Shrak works fine with modern source ports such as QuakeSpasm Spiked.

Malice was awesome for its time...... I actually have that on CD still....... I remember first playing it and being blown away by the opening "cutscene"........ It has been a super long time since I have played it.....

Thanks Hamish...... Now I have to add another game to the list of games I need to play again....... At this rate I will need to become immortal to complete the list.......

For those wondering who have not seen it...... Here is the Malice Intro Cinematic......

Last edited by StoneColdSpider on 14 February 2023 at 1:59 am UTC
gbudny Feb 14
Thank you for the article.

I didn't know about these mods for Quake.

However, Malice looks similar to Sin, which is something interesting to me.
slaapliedje Feb 14
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Did you get an old Joystick for the retro build? I'm thinking Heavy Gear II (I'm not sure if you've done one on that) had a Linux native release by Loki. Would be great to see that working with a flight stick, etc. (I have it buried somewhere).
HxE Feb 15
try modern quake sourceports
Hamish Feb 15
Quoting: slaapliedjeDid you get an old Joystick for the retro build? I'm thinking Heavy Gear II (I'm not sure if you've done one on that) had a Linux native release by Loki. Would be great to see that working with a flight stick, etc. (I have it buried somewhere).
I do indeed have Heavy Gear II in box and I do intend to cover it at some point, although I do not have a joystick I could pair with it at present. I do have a USB racing wheel I hooked up for use in a later article, but I would be curious to see if I could get something going with the game port on my SoundBlaster 16.

I grew up playing everything keyboard and mouse only, and I am now only passable at using an Xbox controller, so I may have a steep learning curve ahead of me. Not that Heavy Gear II is easy to learn in the first place.

Quoting: HxEtry modern quake sourceports
I mean, of course I have. Kind of missing the point though.

Last edited by Hamish on 15 February 2023 at 12:32 am UTC
Ivancillo Feb 15
I didn't know about these mods.

My first gaming approach to Quake on Linux was out of the X :

It used SVGA lib.
slaapliedje Feb 15
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Quoting: IvancilloI didn't know about these mods.

My first gaming approach to Quake on Linux was out of the X :

It used SVGA lib.
Yeah, I think these were the only id Software games' expansions done by third parties? I want to say there may have been two for Quake II as well, but I need more coffee before those memories are unlocked in my grey matter.
Hamish Feb 16
Quoting: slaapliedjeYeah, I think these were the only id Software games' expansions done by third parties?
Nope, there was X-Men: The Ravages of Apocalypse for a start, although the less said about that game the better, or so I have been told. And there were a number of custom map compilations released such as Aftershock and Time of Reckoning, but those are more like D!ZONE was for Doom.

It turns out my brother actually picked up a Microsoft Sidewinder Precision Pro while thrifting for only $6 CAD, so I can definitely pencil in trying it out with Heavy Gear II once I have a few less pots boiling on the stove as it were. Still have a number of articles lined up for the next few weeks.
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