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    Quake III: Arena

    reviewed by Brett "MystikaL" Guarnieri

    Developer: id Software
    Publisher: Activision
    Genre: First Person Shooter

    Date: December 26, 1999

    Introduction

    Click image to enlargeSo, you don't have the internet, but you've heard of Quake 3 and you have worked your way through all the missions from the previous Quake series, ( including the mission packs ) and you want more. You then hear rumors that it's "multiplayer only" and you need the internet to use it. Well, what can I say, this is where we are heading, but is this true? Absolutely not. When creating Quake 3, the main developers, including head honcho John Carmack, made sure that users with slow internet connections or no internet connections can still enjoy Quake 3. Instead of connecting to the internet, you can setup skirmish matches or tournament modes, where you fight computer controlled opponents. It's just like Multiplayer, except its faster, more intense at times, and its fun as hell. So, if you liked the previous versions of the Quake series, this is definitely a good choice, even if you don't have an internet connection.

    I've been waiting for this day, waiting... waiting for the final release to hop into my hands out of its beautiful Christmas wrapping paper, with the box saying Play me! Play me! as loud as can be. I've been following this game ever since it was announced way back when PC GAMER revealed an interview, with screenshots. So what happened to those levels? I'm not sure. I think one of them was changed a bit that made it into the final game. Anyhow, here it is. The QUAKE 3 ARENA REVIEW. DID id MAKE IT OR BREAK IT? FIND OUT TODAY!

    Gameplay

    Click image to enlargeThe Gameplay is great, offering an intense fast action packed game all the time, every day, every minute, every hour. No restrictions apply. The Gameplay is excellent, especially in overall Deathmatch when you have so many characters and maps to choose from. The one big thing that id software should have made sure of was this. Always have balance!!! The Deathmatch arenas equal over 20 where capture the flag is only four. 

    Deathmatch
    The Deathmatch is the best ever, no question. The only game that I can think of that challenges it would be Unreal Tournament, but the design of some of the maps are very good, though sometimes lacking originality. They could have done better on the way the bots improve from skill level to skill level. They seem to just aim better, as noted by Mugwum from 3dActionPlanet. This is an issue, because I can literally walk up behind a guy if he doesn't notice me from the beginning and cap him with a shotgun in the back of the head on ANY skill level. Maybe some kind of better ability to predict where you are going. Maybe they did and we haven't noticed it because of the design of levels. Who knows, all I know is the AI certainly doesn't shine when coming to complexity. Overall Deathmatch is great, but the AI brings down its score.

    Team Deathmatch
    Team Deathmatch doesn't flow very well in most of the maps. The design is built more towards a free-for-all type. The Q3dm2 test map was good for teamplay and was noted for it by having many servers turning teamplay on. Also, the bots don't work in groups like they do in games like Opposing Force with the Jumpbot and Unreal Tournament. Epic really shined on this area with UT.

    Capture the Flag
    Capture the flag is great in Quake 3 except for the fact of so little maps. 4 aren't enough to handle a capture the flag enthusiast like me. I got bored of the maps rather quickly after figuring out where to go and how to capture and defend at the same time. In the level with all jump pads you can camp with a rail gun on the platform up high and zoom and shoot all day long. The bots don't even have a chance. I had 184 points with the next player (my team mate) having only 50. It was on a medium skill level. The Jump Pads, eliminating lifts unlike in UT, really prove to be where Quake 3 shines in CTF. I can't exactly say its the best I've seen, in fact, if id software would have included a measly 4 more maps to make it 8, we would have been all fine and dandy with it.

    Tournament Mode
    In tournament mode, I am not sure how to rate this, mainly because its just Deathmatch except 1 on 1. On large maps its just plain stupid, but on smaller maps, it shines. The reason? The ability to have spectators on-line is great, people comment on each others frags. Its really really fun! I haven't seen a feature like this yet, and once again id shines here.

    Graphics

    The graphics are stunning, especially when looking at the ability to have curvy surfaces and high resolution textures. The graphics are completely adjustable and will be taken down to however crappy you want them so you can run the game, something unlike previous versions of the Quake series games. You can see clearly and far down through an alley, realistically! The engine is amazing and id definitely did a very good job on this. I guess the graphics are almost Riven like in realism and detail. The animation of the fire and smoke effects, along with the realistic lighting are amazing also. So which is better? Unreal Tournament  or Quake 3 Arena? Well, Quake 3 Arena's textures are a lot darker and rustier than Unreal Tournament, which has a lot of more blue and platinum. It really depends on what you favor more, sci-fi or hell like textures.

    Sound

    Click image to enlargeThe sound is stunning, especially while launching yourself from a jump pad you just hit and going soaring through the middle of an ongoing battle. You hear the guns and sounds from the players coming from the directions their actually at. It's realistic and smooth, not slowing down your system if you have a medium or high end system. The weapons sound adequate in realism but the shotgun is a tad off. It sounds clumped out or something, very hard to explain. I'm not sure if its my sound card, my speakers, or it's happening to everyone. Let me know what you think!

    Multiplayer

    The multiplayer is stunning, breathtaking, whatever you want to call it, its great. No need for any patches to fix anything here, because you don't fix stuff that isn't broken, mainly because you will probably brake it heh. This is what I live for, multiplayer. Make sure you read up on tutorials, grab binds from http://www.planetquake.com/thebind/ and grab the latest levels from the Featured Levels section over at Planet Quake. So does id still hold the medal for best FPS multiplayer game? The answer is yes. id still shines out ahead of games like Unreal Tournament where LBP's seem to rule. In Quake 3, even HPB's can do very descent. So why is everyone complaining about the Capture the flag scenario. First, id wasn't making that type of game. They wanted to include a bit of variety. The 4 maps aren't enough and they should have included more to fill that "variety", though they did a great job on what they do best. Deathmatch. The medal system is cool too. If you manage to score two frags in two seconds you get an "Excellent" and two consecutive kills with the railgun will land you an "Impressive". You receive a "Gauntlet" for every life you claim with the Gauntlet and an "Accuracy" award whenever you have a hit/miss ratio better than 1:2.

    Items

    Click image to enlargeThe items are very intriguing especially regeneration, which powers your health bar up to 200 until it reaches its peak. You are almost unstoppable during this time. Regular items including such things as ammo, health, armor, and quad damage. There are a few new ones including Regeneration, Cloak, Flight and more. Flight lets you fly, cloak lets you become invisible, and regeneration lets you add health as you run around. Super Health adds 100 health points even if your above 100. I am not sure if you can achieve 300 but I'm sure its possible.

    The personal teleporter is cool, randomly teleporting you to random points in the level, great if your stuck or in trouble. The med kit lets you heal yourself, a great new ability.

    Weapons

    The Gauntlet: If you are out of ammo, you are forced to use this. Somewhat like the fist or chain saw, you have to run into someone to get it to fire. It's very powerful though, killing with 1 to 2 hits.
    Machine Gun: A very good gun, but a little harder for using to target an enemy farther away and maneuvering fast. I would recommend this when only fighting a guy that's unarmed or has a machine gun or shotgun himself. If you have a better weapon, use it.
    Shotgun: Wow, this packs a punch. If you aim right to the mid chest area, your going to Frag them no doubt in 1 or 2 shots. Far away it's hard to use but mid range with the equipped red laser sight, its excellent.
    Grenade Launcher: A great weapon for surprises and rounding corners into rooms packed with foes, but other than that its useless. Spraying a carpet like trail around corners is very good though and is deadly if done correctly.
    Rocket Launcher: The rocket launcher is extremely deadly, especially if used correctly. Don't shoot at items or objects like walls in close proximity. You can rocket jump, but test in single player first before trying it in multiplayer, try grabbing a bind from The Bind.
    Plasma Gun: The plasma gun is good for mowing down closely packed foes in a small room. It shoots goo and is more deadly than the rocket launcher if used correctly.
    Railgun: The LBP's weapon, it's the most dangerous weapon in the game in multiplayer, especially in the hands of an LBP. When zooming in with it and using the scope, its deadly. Get some practice with it, because its hard to master.
    Lightning Gun: Hey, its back from the original quake. I remember this puppy. Try strafing while keeping the aim on the target, very hard to do, but recommended.
    The BFG: Well, you probably already know what the acronym is but if you don't its BIG F'ing Gun. This time 10K. It's rapid fire and can take down rooms of 15.

    Performance

    The performance can be tweaked so greatly, I have to give this an all out 10. Having trouble with your system being sluggish because of that old Voodoo 2 and Pentium 200? Enter a few commands in the console and your good as new! Here is my recommendations:

    HIGH
    Processor: P2 - 450
    RAM:128 MB
    GRAPHICS: TNT 2

    MEDIUM
    Processor: P2 - 266
    RAM:64 MB
    GRAPHICS: TNT 2

    LOW
    Processor: P1-200
    RAM:32 MB
    GRAPHICS: Voodoo 2

    Overall

    The game really shines especially in its tournament mode, and the one map in capture the flag with all the jump pads. It was a unique way of getting rid of the lifts, while also providing a sense of high flying action to it. I also really liked the amount of Deathmatch maps, though disliked the variety of CTF maps. The bots are very good, though they could have been improved by id. Looking at the editing tools, there is a lot more you can do with this engine which hasn't been done before. Kind of like what happens with consoles. Overall I definitely recommend buying this game right away if you like action games or liked the previous quake or doom series games. If you don't like action games or haven't tried them before, I would recommend trying the demo out from http://www.quake3arena.com.

    Gameplay: 8
    Graphics: 10
    Sound: 9.5
    Single player: 8.3
    Multiplayer: 10
    Performance: 10

    << Rating: 93 >>
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