Quake III: Arena Review

Quake III is simply the greatest deathmatch-oriented game

When it comes to first-person shooters id Software has always innovated. The company has developed groundbreaking classics such as Doom, Quake and their respective sequels not only establishing a new genre, but also perfecting it in very meaningful and lasting ways. The year 2000 was very important as it saw the release of Quake III: Arena, one of the most influential and original games of the decade.

The main thing you’ll probably notice about the game is that it doesn’t feature the regular single-player campaign. Here, there’s no story and you’ll progress across various tiers instead, as if you were playing a fighting game like Mortal Kombat. In this mode, all set of tiers have various weird-looking characters and each one of these have a different characteristics: some have a tendency to duck more, others like certain weapons, etc. The bots do a great job of behaving like human players and on higher difficulties they master basic movements such as taking cover behind objects. They seem to be extremely familiar with the different maps and they act according to the situation, so for example, if one bot has just respawned near you, he’ll quickly start running away and he’ll frantically try to get a better weapon. Overall, the single-player campaign features 26 maps and each one is pretty distinctive as they include long jumps, flying platforms, traps, pools, wall of sand and so on. Some of these were designed to hold 8 to 10 players, so certain maps can get way too crowded if there is more than this specific number of players participating at the same time.

You’ll see castles, fortresses and then some more castles…

But even when the single-player campaign is quite good, the main core of the game can be found in Quake III’s multiplayer mode. Fortunately, this mode is really robust and although the game is pretty old, it still has a very active community that keeps updating servers and creating refreshingly unique mods. Because of this, you can find servers with low ping and start playing against others in no time, no matter where you live. Quake III: Arena includes many types of games and most of these are pretty standard: Free for All, Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag. In addition to this, the diverse weapons are quite interesting and really balanced, mainly because there’s a weapon for any given situation. Finding which one of these is better for a certain map is something that most players will need to eventually figure out and detecting their strengths and weaknesses is absolutely necessary, especially if you are planning on playing online matches. Additionally, if you want to create a server you should know that there are dozens of customizable settings and besides choosing a map and the number of players allowed you can do crazy things like alter the speed of the game or change gravity.

Graphically, Quake III: Arena looks really good and it’s easy on the eyes even by today’s standards. The game was one of the first to use curved surfaces and this provided a completely new dimension, as a result, combats felt much more realistic and immersive. Also, the game has many mirrored surfaces, flashy portals and many other special effects that were unique way back then. Level design is simply amazing and variety is a constant quality, as each map looks substantially different to all the previous ones. None of these resemble real places and most include futuristic places mixed with medieval settings full of neo gothic castles. Furthermore, animated textures are more than suiting and character-design is bizarre but in a really good way. While some of them resemble people, zombies or big eyes, others clearly make reference to games like Doom, Quake and Quake II.

One shot and you’re down!

Still, appreciating details like this is extremely hard when playing on regular matches, as the game is extremely fast paced. “id 3 Tech” was the name given to the graphics engine and the fact that modern game like Dark Salvation (2009) used it, proves how versatile and current it is. It should be taken into account that nowadays, the game can run on almost any computer and this is one of those perfect titles to install on a netbook to play quick matches on the go.

Aurally, the game is good too. The sound each weapon produces when shot is quite lifelike and adds intensity and realism. Music is varied and adjusts well to the fast-paced nature of the game, as it lets you focus on the action so you can clearly hear when there are others players around you grabbing nearby items. Most of the characters’ voices are also astounding and they add much more personality and identity, though there are some few exceptions. On the other hand, the announcer isn’t as good as all the other aforementioned characteristics as he keeps repeating the same lines over and over again (3 frags left… 2 frags left… 1 frag left) in a really monotone voice.

In conclusion, Quake III is simply the greatest deathmatch-oriented game. It represents one of the fastest, most addictive and entertaining multiplayer experiences that can be played on the PC. The fact that years after its official release there are thousands of servers still active shows how gracefully this game has aged. It looks great, it sounds really good, it’s fun (especially when playing against other people) and it can virtually run on any modern computer. The game also has a very active community and you can easily get hundreds of mods and maps to extend its longevity even more. If all this sounds good to you, Quake III will definitely not disappoint.