Ranger from Quake (Quake Champions promo art)


(Quake video game marine)


Quake was a landmark video game released in 1996. Made by the same company as Doom, it was essentially a different version of Doom with better game technology and a slightly different back story and monsters.

Thus, it’s about fighting in awful mazes full of monsters while toting a shotgun, a rocket launcher and other weapons.

For a larger version of the main picture, click here.



  • Other Aliases: Ranger (possibly).
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed.
  • Known Relatives: None (though we suspect that “Doomguy” is his brother).
  • Group Affiliation: Presumably a Marine Corps.
  • Base Of Operations: Unrevealed.
  • Height: 6’2” Weight: 230 lbs.
  • Note: Quake 3 arena has him listed at 6’5″, which seems oddly high for his weight given his build.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Brown

Powers and Abilities

The Quake Marine is a big, beefy leatherneck with a “Never say ‘Die’ when you can scream ‘Kill! KILL!!!’” attitude. He’s one of Earth’s finest soldiers, hard-bitten, tough and heavily armed.

His coolness under fire, durability and coordination are nearly unbelievable (as will be the PTSD once the invasion’s over). The Quake Marine’s ability to not only move but also kick serious zombie/demon ass in close quarters while carrying an armory is mind boggling.


An axe to grind

It might surprise many that the shotgun- and rocket-launcher-toting marine is also carrying… a medieval battle axe. There are reasons, though.

This axe is the mythical Golden Axe used to defeat Death Adder , an extraordinarily powerful Death Knight who led Shub-Niggurath ’s forces during the incursion in the medieval era. Death Adder could only be permanently killed by an attack from the Golden Axe.

When the Dwarven warrior Gilius Thunderhead boarded Death Adder’s flying platform and slew the Death Knight with the Golden Axe, the resultant explosion vaporized both warriors, severed Shub-Niggurath’s connection to the Earth (until the Slipgate device opened our universe to him once more) and cast the axe far away.

The axe was eventually recovered by Kain Blade and Milan Flare (descendants of Sternblade and Ax Battler & Tyris Flare, all compatriots of Gilius Thunderhead) in a duel with other fighters  seeking its power. Though the charred Axe’s power was partially consumed by the destruction of Death Adder (it originally had a -3CS Bonus), it still had some benefits against the Elder Gods and was passed down through the generations in case it might be needed again. The Quake Marine used this family heirloom to finally destroy Shub-Niggurath.

Quake 1 marine texture

Texture file produced by the Quake Wikia .

Continuity note

The tie between the Golden Axe games and the Quake Marine in this article is not official at all.

It’s merely a bit of fanciful speculation that arose on the list during the writeup’s creation based on the resemblance between various antagonists in both series, the roughly similar appearances of the titular weapon of the Golden Axe games and the marine’s weapon.

Another bit of speculation that the humanoid appearance of certain enemies was due to Shub-Niggurath subverting ancient humans during a previous invasion attempt as it had subverted the modern-day soldiers that entered its realm before the Quake Marine did. See the individual monster profiles for this.

Other weapons

  • Pump-action shotgun. Apparently the standard weapon of the guards at the base, to fight at close quarters. Given the times it likely was a Remington 870 variant – though the world model looks like some large blaster rifle that has nothing to do with what is seen from a first-person perspective. Spare shotgun shells are easy to find throughout the game, and the range is fairly good since the action generally takes place indoors.
  • Side-by-side sawed-off shotgun. What it’s doing there is a mystery – perhaps it was a personal weapon brought in by a guard. Since the Quake marine reloads like greased lightning — both barrels are loaded and cocked before you can say “Shub-Niggurath” — it is a devastating close-quarter weapon in his large, callused hands.
  • “Nailgun”. Some sort of experimental fléchette  sub-machinegun with two barrels that fire alternatively. The ballistics and accuracy are excellent, and though each projectile inflicts modest damage a sufficiently long burst will do the job. Ammunition can be scarce, though. Said ammunition is referred to as “Nine Inch Nails”, a joke about Trent Reznor  having composed the music of Quake.

Ranger model in Quake 3, representing the Quake 1 marine

“Ranger” model sheet in Quake III.

  • “Super-Nailgun”. A larger version of the “nailgun”, with 4 rotating barrels and propelling fléchettes at a much greater speed. Though this weapon is remarkably powerful and accurate, it eats through ammunition at an alarming rate.
  • Some sort of semi-automatic, high-capacity offensive grenade launcher. The grenades are inert for a few seconds then detonate, making it possible to ricochet them off hard surfaces to blow up enemies around a corner.
  • A “rocket launcher” which actually seems to be firing grenades at a higher speed, on a much flatter trajectory and without a delay when arming the projectile. The impact on a direct hit is significantly harder than the slower grenade launcher.
  • The “lightning gun”, properly called the Thunderbolt, is the pinnacle of the experimental weaponry research that was going on at the base. The big arcs of lightning it shoots can fry most everything within seconds, if that. But of course there are never enough energy cells to keep it fed – and firing it while standing in water would be a bad idea.

Runes quest

In the course of his battles, the Quake Marine acquired four mystic sigils, their purposes and origins a total mystery. Each of these Runes are made of a metallic-purple rock that is nigh-invulnerable to physical damage and are also immune to all but the most puissant of mystical attacks.

Their game stats above are mostly speculative, though the Runes are specifically noted as increasing the owner’s mystic knowledge and in the case of the Elder Magic Rune allowing the user to travel between realms. These sigils are likely to have many more as-yet unknown additional abilities.

It may well be that the mystic heritage passed down from Ax Battler allowed the Quake Marine to access some of the sigils’ abilities more easily than a normal human, and thus an even more mystically-talented individual might be able to put the sigils to even better use.

Other mystical artefacts are found (quad damage talismans, rings of shadows granting invisibility, pentagrams of protection granting invulnerability) but these relatively minor gris-gris  will burn themselves out after 30-ish seconds.


Here are the first two levels of the game. Ignore the gameplay, I hadn’t touched Quake in years.

This is using a *heavily modified* version of the game with a redone engine (namely Dark Places), so the graphics are… different from the vintage Quake, obvs.


(Mostly from iD Software).

You get the phone call at 4 a.m. By 5:30 you’re in the secret installation. The commander explains tersely, “It’s about the Slipgate device. Once we perfect these, we’ll be able to use them to transport people and cargo from one place to another instantly.

“An enemy codenamed ‘Quake’, is using his own slipgates to insert death squads inside our bases to kill, steal, and kidnap…

“The hell of it is we have no idea where he’s from. Our top scientists think Quake’s not from Earth, but another dimension. They say Quake’s preparing to unleash his real army, whatever that is.

Quake 1 entrance (via Dark Places)

“You’re our best man. This is Operation Counterstrike and you’re in charge. Find Quake, and stop him … or it … You have full authority to requisition anything you need. If the eggheads are right, all our lives are expendable…”

While scouting the neighborhood, you hear shots back at the base. Damn, that Quake bastard works fast! He heard about Operation Counterstrike, and hit first. Racing back, you see the place is overrun. You are almost certainly the only survivor. Operation Counterstrike is over. Except for you.

You know that the heart of the installation holds a slipgate. Since Quake’s killers came through, it is still set to his dimension. You can use it to get loose in his hometown. Maybe you can get to the asshole personally. You pump a round into your shotgun, and get moving.

(End of iD text)

Into the mystic

As the marine works his way through Quake’s domain he discovers that “Quake” is in fact the Elder God Shub-Niggurath. Killing his way through Shub-Niggurath’s realm, Our Hero gathers the mystic runes of Earth Magic, Black Magic, Hell Magic, and Elder Magic.

Early level in Quake Dark Places

A very early level in Quake (Darkplaces remaster  with HD pack). Click for a larger version.

Using these dark sigils, he finally penetrates the fiendish God’s lair and ends the battle with a bloodbath that Quentin Tarantino would take pride in.

The Quake Marine brings the invasion to an end when he uses a teleportation device to enter Shub-Niggurath’s very body and apply the killing stroke with his battle-axe (“From Hell’s heart, I stab at thee by Pressing a Devastating Attack”).

Quake 3

Referring to a man who seems to be the Quake Marine, a bit of fluff text in Quake 3 later tells us that “after saving the Earth during the Slipgate Affair, Ranger embarked upon an endless travelogue of blood and destruction.

Now that he’s ended up in the Arenas, he is resigned to his future of eternal combat. He enjoys a good challenge and becomes nasty if his opponents are weak.


Our hero is a beefy, laconic fellow with full-body combat armor and a riot helmet (in an unlikely mix of urban cammo grey, brown and dull yellow), and pretty much bristling with weaponry (and ammo – lots of ammo). As required by the comic-book action genre, this description must include a note that the Quake Marine’s speed belies his bulk.

His aptitude for shooting while reloading his weapons in a heartbeat and dodging fire is quite impressive, though not quite the Kodak moment that seeing him explode out of an Elder God’s body while waving a battle-axe is.



Anybody who’d step over the slaughtered corpses of a bunch of his fellow troops and into the heart of an alien invasion from another dimension carrying nothing but an axe and a shotgun has got balls so hard they clang when he walks or not a lot going on upstairs.

Possibly both.

DC Universe History

Why not ? Just scale down the action a bit, and make him an ex-member of the USMC or French Foreign Legion or Royal Marine Commandos working security for S.T.A.R. Labs.

The Quake incident happens on a super-secret, oddly sinister (we all know S.T.A.R. Labs have an hidden agenda, right ?) S.T.A.R. Labs facility in a remote corner of the world, and something like the full Quake events has yet to happen, preferably involving the PCs.

The Quake marine (aka “Little O’Dare”) is the brother of the Doom marine (aka “Big O’Dare”); both are members (or descendants, depending on the period) of Opal City’s clan O’Dare. Little O’Dare was on Phobos when it disappeared, and thus encountered the interdimensional invasions hours before his big brother did.

However, the slipgates sundered the very fabric of Hypertime (thus making Phobos disappear) and the brothers ended up facing similar, yet *different* alien invasions from the same triggering events.

They are now separated and exist in 2 divergent realities. The Quake Marine may be able to exploit the magic of the runes collected during his battles with Shub-Niggurath to reunite with his sibling, having already demonstrated some proficiency at interdimensional travel.

Other Universes History

Quake appears to have had chaotic development process, and to have broken Rule #536 of game design (“Sandy Petersen  is probably right”). The end result is not particularly coherent.

Since the background is so minimalistic — nothing is identified — a tempting explanation is that the world invaded by Quake isn’t Earth at all, though it has some human or near-human persons on it.

Rather, it is a world where it is normal for soldiers to have bright orange uniforms, a battle ax, guns that shoot nails and shotguns that look like blaster rifles (but only when seen from the outside).

Perhaps this planet is covered in giant jungles with bright yellow and orange foliage. And thick vines you need a hefty axe to hack through. The weaponry and uniform used by the Quake Marine would make (some) more sense in such an environment.

Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG

Tell me more about the game stats

The Marine

Dex: 06 Str: 04 Bod: 06 Motivation: Responsibility of Power
Int: 05 Wil: 03 Min: 06 Occupation: Soldier
Inf: 05 Aur: 03 Spi: 06 Resources {or Wealth}: 002
Init: 018 HP: 050

Acrobatics (Climbing, Athletics, Dodging)*: 06, Martial Artist (EV): 06, Medicine (First Aid): 04, Military Science (All but Tracking): 05, Weaponry: 08

Familiarity (Military equipment and protocols), Iron Nerves, Lightning Reflexes (if you play properly…), Rank (Unrevealed, probably a NCO), Scholar (Packhorse — how else could he carry all that equipment and still move ?), Schtick (Fast reload).


  • BODY ARMOUR [BODY 08, Damage Capacity: 10, Skin armour: 01, Drawback: Real Armour, Note: often discarded and replaced by body armour with a better Current Damage Capacity Condition].
  • Battle-Axe [BODY 10, EV 05 (07 w/ MA), Advantage: Elder Gods suffer a -2CS Attack Vulnerability when assaulted by this axe (10 points), Cost: 44].
  • Pump-Action Shotgun [BODY 04, Shotgun Blast (Range 03): 06, Ammo: 07, R#02, Drawback: Very long reload time].
  • Sawn-off side-by-side shotgun [BODY 04, Shotgun Blast (Range 02): 07, Ammo: 02, R#02, Drawback: Long reload time, Note: By giving both barrels, the EV rises to 08 but both Ammo are expended at once].
  • Nine-Inch-Nailgun [BODY 05, Projectile weapons: 07, Ammo: 10, R#02, Advantage: Autofire].
  • Super Nine-Inch-Nailgun [BODY 05, Projectile weapons: 08, Ammo: 10, R#02, Advantage: Autofire].
  • Grenade Launcher [BODY 04, EV 07 (Area of Effect 1 AP), Range: 05, Ammo: 06, R#02].
  • Rocket Launcher [BODY 05, Projectile weapons: 09 (Explosive Radius within 2 APs), Ammo: 04, R#2].
  • Lightning Gun [BODY 04, Lightning: 09, Ammo: 06, R#2, Drawback: If fired underwater the lightning gun’s power packs explode — EV: 13 to everything in a 0 AP radius (-10 points), Cost: 21].


  • Earth Magic Rune [BODY 30 SPIRIT 20, Awareness: 12, Limitation: Awareness only functions for events affecting Earth’s dimension].
  • Black Magic Rune [BODY 30 SPIRIT 20, Occultist (Occult Knowledge): 12].
  • Hell Magic Rune [BODY 30 SPIRIT 20, Magic Sense: 12].
  • Elder Magic Rune [BODY 30 SPIRIT 20, Dimension Travel (Travel Only): 12].


  • Quad damage talisman [BODY 01, Enchant (EV of any weapon wielded by the user): 03, Ammo: 01 (one Ammo lasts for 5 Phases, and the Artefacts is Not Reloadable In The Field].
  • Pentagram of protection pendant [BODY 01, Force field (Self-only): 05, Ammo: 01 (one Ammo lasts for 5 Phases, and the Artefacts is Not Reloadable In The Field. When we say “self only” we mean it – the Marine’s BODY ARMOUR will still get damaged by hits as the Force Field is “under” it].
  • Ring of shadows [BODY 01, Invisibility: 05, Ammo: 01 (one Ammo lasts for 5 Phases, and the Artefacts is Not Reloadable In The Field, Limitation: the eyes of the user are still visible (presumably so they can see around them), but spotting them is an OV/RV 06/06 Perception Check].

By Roy Cowan and Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Quake (PC game), the Battle-Axe’s history is from Golden Axe, GA2: The Return of Death Adder, and GA: The Duel, with some extra speculation (arcade games).

Helper(s): Darci.