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Quake 3 Arena

8/10

PROS : Graphics are absolutely superb and will leave you breathless. Player models look awesome! The levels are rich, varied and original.

CONS : No single player (mission based) option. The single player option can get tedious once conquered a few times. More gameplay options should have been implemented.

THE LOW DOWN : Quake III offers a new experience in multiplayer. But single play leaves a little to be desired. ID have some work to do to keep up the replay value and variety of single play.

REQUIREMENTS : PII-233Mhz, 64MB/RAM, 4MB openGL based 3d accelerator

MY SYSTEM : CELERON 466Mhz, 64MB/RAM, 12MB 3dfx Voodoo 2 3d accelerator

TO QUAKE OR NOT TO QUAKE?

After one of the most outstreched waiting periods.. the third installment of the Quake series has been released by the now infamous ID. With fierce competition in the way of Unreal Tournament, the fight for supremecy in this new breed of 1st person strategy has begun. ID have allways been the leaders in the first person genre. As was the past, is the future.

DEJA VU?

One of the biggest questions I asked myself when I played Q3A was "is this really a new game? or is it a revamped version of Q2 with bots". The answer YES, it IS a new game. People who are familiar with quake 2 should be prepared to discard all prior "knowledge" as this game is NOT quake 2, and is a completely different ball park.

However, there is also a flip side to that coin. The new way of play is not so unfamiliar with online players, and it can make Q3A feel like familiar ground. In a way, I must say that I myself missed the single player, mission based game of the series and I feel that ID should have included it. However, concentrating on the "arena" play gives them more time and effort to make it better. Sometimes it made me feel like i was playing the same game, but in a new way. With this being such an anticipated game, I couldn't help but wonder if ID could have done a better job. And in this I say yes, they could have. But I have a feeling that ID wanted to meet the release of UT. There will be patches, and there will be addons. We will just have to wait

IT'S SO BEAUTIFUL (DROOOOOOOL)

The graphics in Quake 3 are deservingly astonishing. The first time you play Q3A, you will notice the big differences between it and Quake 2. Textures are rich, well blended, and can sometimes scare you. I think that the texturing of quake 3 has definately made it a more fun game to play. Quake 3 takes advantage of current 3d accelerator technologies and has been coded amazingly well. The graphics are smooth, and lush. The effects will blow your mind. Attention to detail is the key feature with Q3A. Everything has been looked at, and looked at again. The explosion effects look excellent, the fire trails, bullets rococheting off the walls and ground, it all looks brilliant! The curved surfaces are something that will make you observe a simple wall with pure admiration for the level designers. The fog was a certainly beautiful touch, and turns a level into a much more evil and eerie place. The atmosphere is amazing. But it must be said that a relatively powerful PC is required for this game to run well, or at least how it "should" be played.

Basically, if you have ANYTHING less than a 300mhz pentium mmx system, don't even TRY to run the game.

DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR?

ID have done a brilliant job with the audio in Quake 3. The sounds are rich, loud and down right evil. Some games sound like the sounds were created in a backdoor garage with a cheap microphone and scrap metal. Quake 3 breaks new ground in in-game audio. The commentary in the game is quite scary, but a VERY nice touch by ID. The demonic voice suits the game to a tee. If you have played the Quake 3 test, you will still not be prepared for the release version. It will blow you away.

THE MODELS AND BOTS

The models in the game look fantastic. ID have included a vast range of models in the game and there will most definately be a model in there for everyone's tastes. The bots themselves are well varied, and are a heck of a challenge. I had problems beating them in mid difficulty setting, and I think I'd be completely insane to attempt this game in NIGHTMARE mode. The difficulty is definately well configured, and the bot AI is astounding. This game suits everything between the stranger who has never played, to thresh. All players will be able to find this game a formidable challenge. The bots will commend you on good shots, offend you and taunt you. Each bot has it's own "personality". But don't try to get attached, as there are great pools of blood splattering when you blow a corpse apart. Yes, wasting ammo on a corpse has never been so satisfying!

TOOLS OF THE TRADE

As for the weapons, there are some oldies, and a few newbies. The melee weapon (GAUNTLET) is great fun for all the family and will kill someone in no time. I love the way a "humiliation" is announced if you kill someone with the gauntlet, it's a hell of a laugh. Each weapon is useful and have been balanced so that there are no "best" or "ultimate" weapons. It is all left to a player's taste. There were rumors of all kinds of weapons being in Q3A, but I feel that the finished mix is a great one. One of my favourite "rumored" weapon was a flame thrower. Now, wouldn't that be an interesting addition to Q3A? (do I hear MOD?)

-GAUNTLET
Great for close kills. Does moderate amount of damage and will kill an enemy quickly.
-MACHINE GUN
While this weapon isn't very powerful. It has an amazing firing rate and can chew through enemies in a corridor quite easily. A great weapon to have as default.
-SHOTGUN
I always wondered why I couldn't see a laser when I held the shotgun, but that will always be a wonder to me. The firing rate is slower than Q2 and is more accurate. This baby will grind through an enemy in relatively close range and can kill someone at a medium range in time.
-GRENADE LAUNCHER
This gun essentially is the Q2 launcher converted to Q3. Not much has changed. A great weapon to fire down walls and corridors. A perfect pest control device.
-ROCKET LAUNCHER
This weapon has been fine tuned to fire at what seems to be a perfect speed. ID have done a great job of this one. It feels natural. Rocket jumping height is affected by your model. Different models rocket jump at different heights. It is only a slight difference, but it is noticeable.
-RAIL GUN
This baby is good fun, but the accuracy required is much more difficult than in Q2. At first I thought it had splash damage, but I found out that it does not. It visually explodes on a wall, but it won't damage anyone unless the beam actually hits them.
-PLASMA GUN
I never thought that this Doom favorite would be resurrected in Q3A. But the transition is perfect and the gun is superbly fun to use. It is great for pest control and wipes out corridors full of people in no time.
-LIGHTNING GUN
This weapon was awesome in Quake, and is now even better in Q3A. This weapon has the ability to do damage to an entire "area". This can be achieved by moving the weapon fire over an area. The whole area will be effected.
-BFG (brilliant fragging gadget????)
This gun is very different from the doom or q2 equivalent. It fired quickly and in what seems like green rockets. But point it at a group of players, and watch the gibs fly as the ball of death flys through them. Also another great pest control weapon.

GAMEPLAY?

The single player side to Q3A will have you battling bots in "sets" of levels. At the end of these sets are "bosses" which you have a 1-on-1 deathmatch to decide the winner. Finally you will duel the biggest boss of them all, Xaero. He most definitely offers a formidable challenge if any! The single player experience can be slightly repetitive once you have completed the game. You will yearn for real multiplayer games. The bots will soon become somewhat similar and tiresome. Although, this will take some time of fun playing beforehand. Bots can be used in true multiplayer games too, even CTF!!!! The only problem that really had me annoyed was the need to press ESC and go to a submenu when you want to issue team commands. This soon becomes a hell of a headache. Multiplayer is the only way to play Q3A. There are four modes of play; Free For All, Team Deathmatch, Tournament, and Capture the Flag (Oh yeah, there's no hook. A bad move by ID). All of these modes are great fun and offer a seperate challenge. Unreal Tournament offers more play options, but Q3A offers an adequate variety in gameplay. Q3A gives those unlucky souls who don't play multiplayer a chance to experience a rush as close as possible as multiplayer gameplay.

BRING OUT THE VERDICT

For the charges of mind blowing graphics and brilliant level design, we find Q3A guilty. The graphics engine is the most advanced 1st person engine I have ever seen. And the levels are simply superb, they are the ultimate in fun fragging fests. For the charges of superb gameplay innovation, we find Q3A not guilty. The gameplay in Q3A is hardly breaking new ground, or soaring new heights. They are enjoyable, but we have all been there and done that before.

WHAT IS THE FINAL SENTENCE OF Q3A?

Q3A should be in every quake fan's collection. It is most definitely worth having and is an utter blast fest. This title will be updated and will have countless addons which will make the game last a very, very long time. I would have rated it higher than 8/10 if the cons were addressed. Until then, I stand on my verdict of Q3A. It is a great game, but not everybody will enjoy it.

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