Quake 3 Arena

a game by id Software
Platform: Dreamcast
Editor Rating: 7.3/10, based on 2 reviews
User Rating: 5.0/10 - 2 votes
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See also: Quake Game Series

Overview

Enter the Arena. Ancient gods and terrible powers have created the Arena, a spectacle of warfare and bloodshed. This game has no end, it has no winner, it only has combat. Playing the part of a gladiator in this arena, it is your goal to crush, maim, and kill your way to the top of the list, no matter the cost.

To put it simply, Quake III is the most advanced first person shooter created by Id Software, the great grandfather of modern first person shooters. Id Software has taken most of the technologies developed in Quake and Quake II, and put them to good use in this sequel. However, the question that begs to be asked is whether or not the lack of gameplay improvements can be outweighed.

Quake III Arena made an impressive showing in the PC market and now that it’s been brought over to the Dreamcast, it will get a chance to do the same. With multiplayer features never yet exploited in a Dreamcast title, Quake III may have a lot to offer.

Gameplay

Gameplay is the first and foremost problem facing any console based first person shooter. When it comes down to it, the movement and combat features of a controller, even one as advanced as the Dreamcast’s, pales in comparison to the control and utility provided with a mouse and keyboard. However, with what little they’ve been given, Id Software has made lemonade out of lemons, using the Dreamcast controller to its full capability. The analog stick is used to control aiming, and movement and fire control are easily handled with the thumb and forefinger buttons.

The game itself revolves around moving throughout a level, bearing any number of nasty weapons, while collecting the firepower, ammunition, items, and armor necessary to deal death to your opponent. Essentially a one-on-one deathmatch, you win by collecting frags, which are earned after killing your opponent. Of course, those same ancient beings that brought you to the arena also resurrect you after each death to prolong their amusement.

Graphics

By far, the graphics for Quake III Arena are its strongest point. A slightly lower grade than the PC version, they are nonetheless still very impressive. Colorful weaponry effects and luscious textures make each arena seem more an art show than a game, with amazing scenery and bizarre architecture. Id Software hasn’t skimped on the lighting and special effects either. With an almost uncanny sense of what weaponsfire should look like, anyone who lights up their target with a stream of machine gun fire won’t be disappointed.

The only flaw in the design of Quake III Arena’s visuals is the lack of real Level of Detail programming. Based on the concept that distant items don’t need to be given as much detail, this technique can greatly reduce the strain on the console, and greatly improve the games performance. Sadly, this element is missing from Quake III Arena.

Audio

Once again, although they aren’t much to write home about, Quake III Arena’s sounds are a near perfect replica of those from the PC game. When the bombast of rockets explode around you, you’ll come to appreciate the quality of this sound.

Multiplayer

As an added bonus, Quake III Arena is fully compatible with Sega.net, the online service that supports Dreamcast players. With the built-in modem, area for four controllers, and a large enough television, you could participate in quite an interesting multiplayer experience.

Bottom Line

Quake III Arena is close enough in quality and composition to the PC title to be considered a very faithful transition. The graphics, audio, and gameplay stack up to the original version, with the only flaws being evident in the control style, and lack of variety in gameplay (unlike games such as Unreal Tournament). With the added element of multiplayer support, Quake III Arena is one of the best first person shooters I’ve seen on a console system. If you’re a first person shooter fan, it is definitely worth buying, and even if you're not, it's worth renting a few dozen times.

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Game Reviews

What's the deal?

Oh, you can play Quake III Arena with three buddies on one TV in split-screen mode. We promise we won't point and laugh at you (although we can't make the same guarantee for Hsu and Chan). But damnit, man--this is one of the first full-blown network games optimized for SegaNet (which also launches in September). Qlll Arena is meant to be played over the Internet, against 15 human opponents. And despite some initial concern from developer Raster Productions that it couldn't be done, Qlll Arena will support deathmatching between owners of the DC and PC version. PC users will just need to download a patch and play on special servers that are running with the Dreamcast version's maps. "This is especially interesting because it's the first time PC and console users will be able to play head-to-head online in real-time action," Qlll Arena senior producer Scott Hawkins told us. "It'll allow users to answer the question: Which type of gamer is the ultimate online fragmaster--PC or Dreamcast players?" DC gamers need not fear losing their competitive edge because they're stuck with awkward joypad-only control; Sega is shipping the DC mouse in time for the game's release.

So why is it a must-get game?

It's about gosh-darn time we got to use the Dreamcast's modem for more than just clunky Web browsing and the occasional Chu Chu match. Qlll Arena--like NFL 2K1 and a few upcoming third-party titles--will prove once and for all whether the DC and its 56K modem can pump out a lag-free online-gaming experience. We really dig the game's new features, too--especially the way you unlock new characters by hunting and fragging them on the game's servers. Now that's the manly way to play Qlll. Forget about that split-screen stuff.

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