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Quake 3 Arena

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Quake 3 Arena Review

Me and my rocket launcher
Quake 3 Arena, ID software's multiplayer frag-fest is an outstanding quality piece of work. Using a brand new game engine that's vastly improved over it's predecesors, it delivers fast paced smooth flowing action.
Game modes include the obligatory death match as well as the capture the flag team game and standard team deathmatch. As well as offering multiplayer over the Net or Lan, Quake 3 has computer controlled bots built in. These bots are configurable in terms of the difficulty they play at. When selecting the upper levels of difficulty they are serious trouble and if you can beat them on nightmare then you are a true god of gaming. They are especially tough when playing one on one where you cannot pick them off while they are fighting each other. Some of the models used for these bots are bizarre, like ORB, an eye that runs and jumps about on it's hands, and Bones the skeleton that gibs when you frag it.
Quake 3 has done away with pace sapping elevators, in their place you get bounce pads and accelerator ramps. This makes for an incredibly fast paced game.
There are around 30 levels in Quake 3 including four capture the flag levels. They range from castle type enviroments to massive open arenas full of accelerator ramps where you spend half your time hurtling through the air usually while getting shot at.
Level design is of a generally high standard. Some stick out more than others though. One of my personal favourite levels is DM17 The longest yard, a large map full of accelerator ramps, bounce pads and teleports. The bots play this level with skill on the highest two levels. See the picture below.
There was much talk of curved surface architecture at the launch of Quake 3 Arena. The 'mouth' in the picture on your right uses this curved surface technique. The effect while good is not used very extensively in the levels provided in Quake 3.

Fighting with the plasma gun near the mouth in DM1

Flying through the air with a Railgun in DM17
Weapons in Quake 3 range from the machine gun (weakest) to the BFG 10k (strongest) in between you can pick up shotguns, railguns, rocket launchers, plasma guns and the lightning gun.
The BFG10k differs from the Doom & Quake 2 BFG. This version is like a super powerful plasma gun that requires you hit the target, not just get close.
Next to the BFG10k the railgun is the most devestating weapon in Quake 3, but only when you have developed the skill to use it effectively. It has a small delay in firing which takes some practice to get used to. The rocket launcher is also a very effective weapon as in previous first person shooters. This is an easier to use weapon than the railgun that does radius of effect damage. The shotgun is a little disapointing, while it packs a punch close up it is rubbish at any kind of distance and feels weak compared to shotguns in previous Quake games.

Plasma guns are effective but badly effect your visibility as you fire them and the lightning gun is powerful close up if you have the reflexes to keep it trained on an opponent. The machine gun does little damage but works OK if you have the quad damge power up, it has good range. Lastly there's the Gauntlet, this is a melee weapon that requires you to touch an opponent to get a frag. Tough, but if you do manage it the game shouts out humiliation to to the newly fragged individual and you get a gauntlet medal.
There are numerous powerups in Quake 3 including several different health pickups, quad damage, mega health (+100 health up to a max of 200),regeneration (constantly adds extra health until it time-outs), as well as several armor upgrades a yellow +50, a red +100 and armor shards that add 5 points each to your armor rating.

Quake 3 Arena SCORECARD

Graphics 9/10
Sound 7/10
Gameplay 9/10
Originality 5/10

Overall rating 8/10
Sound is quite good in the game, most weapons make suitable sounds. The music adds some atmosphere, but is usually not very noticable.
Quake 3 is not particularly machine hungry considering it's visual quality. You should get by with anything over a 450 mhz computer and a Geforce. I run it on a 1100 mhz AMD processor and a Geforce 2MX and get great framerates at 1024 x 768 resolution.
For many the high cost of getting a fast internet connection has limited the value they could get from a multiplayer title such as Quake 3. That's quickly changing now though with Broadband internet getting cheaper. Soon those high pings will just be a bad memory. Quake 3 Arena is a glorious multiplayer game, it's good however to see ID software working on a strong single player element in it's next DOOM instalment.