Surely most gamers know of, or have heard of, ID software's Quake series. Most who do realize that is was, and is, one of the huge steps to Multi Player FPS games. And Quake III Arena symbolizes a huge step in that area. With things like 3d characters, 3d weapons, enhanced lighting features, and best of all Multi Player Online play.
The gameplay of Quake III is not as unique as most would want, but it's definitely a leap from the earlier games in the series. Things like bounce pads, bottomless pits, deadly fog, and other atmospheric enemies in the game make the gameplay much more interesting compared to a character running around with a gun and shooting.
Although the environment isn't all that interactive, it has its plusses. For example, there are spots in each level where you can wedge your character in and ambush your enemies from above or out of sight. The lack of interactiveness is often still a doubt point to the game.
The amount of weapons, characters, and power ups make up for the lack of interactivity however. With over 25 levels and characters there's plenty to keep you occupied while playing.
Single Player Mode
Single Player is not new at the least, it's the same as most games in the genre, "Kill this many people in this many arena's and you win!". Not the best of things to do unless you enjoy killing things that fight back about as much as a dog with no legs.
with 7 tiers to conquer it's definitely a good way to hone your skills though, the last three tiers give you some real good training into the intensity of battle in Q3A.
My recommendation for anyone who has played and knows how to win, play Single Player on Nightmare mode. It's harder but you get better training towards the gameplay you will encounter on Multi Player.
The one good aspect of Single Player mode would be the bots are very interactive. How? talk to them and see. for example if you say "This is boring." the bots will respond with a number of responses such as "Yeah, it wasn't until you got here!" and "You should have been here 3 hours ago!".
Especially for "Team Deathmatch" or "Capture The Flag" game modes, this is something that keeps you entertained while you're playing. Having bots chatting with you, insulting you, or congratulating you, as well as taking your commands. It's quite the improvement over the earlier in the series, and a real thumbs up towards this game as it makes up for the lack of environmental interactivity.
Multi Player Mode
Ah yes, the crown jewel of Q3A. No people, not two controllers or keyboards. This is Multi Player Online Mode, meaning, People from all over the world are just itching to frag. with a few more arena's then Single Player, and very skilled players from everywhere globally, it provides for some intense gameplay that will keep you going until you climb the ladder and rank first!
Compared to fighting bots all day it's pretty exciting for most gamers. You have people who have been playing for a long time, meaning you're not just getting a match, you're getting someone who will give their all. Making sure you get the best out of your gameplay!
It's also fun inviting your friends, just go to Multi Player and create a room. Invite some friends, and have a frag fest! (I use this to decide arguments, whoever wins, wins!). I guarantee you will not get bored of this game mode, as you never know who you will fight! There are usually at least 100 servers online with over 500-1500 players a day, so it shouldn't be hard finding some intense battle.
The graphics are pretty nice for the Q3A era, nice textures, shader induced lighting, and visible projectiles set away from the original Quake. No more flat levels with image based lighting here! and yes, you can actually SEE the projecting from the weapons, from all views!
There is also a certain command that lets you switch between first person, and third person views. What is it? Check VERY carefully through the website, it's in there ;)
Overall the graphics aren't the best, but they're pretty impressive compared to the games of that year. And are really pretty addicting coming from playing Quake 2.
The audio is pretty nice, characters have their own, the environment has its own, so do weapons, and a kick ass soundtrack. ID Software really knew what they were doing when they worked it out, and they realized that sound makes the game in a lot of ways.
The soundtrack was the first to support high quality multi channel music (.ogg format) in the series. It really enhanced the gameplay, and at points made you wonder "Where's that sound coming from?". The music itself is indeed, frag music. You can definitely move to it, and most FPS players would agree it's worth popping it into your car on the way to work!
Well depending on how you play, you use different methods of input. Keyboard, mouse, controller, joystick, etc. And to your luck, Quake III Arena supports them all!
The controller support is fairly poor, as it's based off the joystick axis. But it's a lot better then nothing. Most pc game controllers work just fine, and compared to a mouse and keyboard that gives you a huge advantage in Online Play.
Graphics: 3.5 of 5 stars.
Audio: 4 of 5 stars.
Gameplay: 3.25 of 5 stars.
Selection (Maps): 4.5 of 5 stars.
Selection (Characters): 3.75 of 5 stars.
Selection (Weapons & Power ups): 4 of 5 stars.
LAN Play: 5 of 5 stars.
I highly suggest that those who are fans of the FPS genre, buy this game. It's a classic and really worth the time and money, plus it's pretty cheap now. You can get a copy for around $5 or less in places like Game Stop or EBay.
Is It Worth It?
Yes. It is worth it. Because for the era, for the price, for the genre, you will not get a better game. It provides countless hours of gameplay, and a lot of extra fun. Like downloadable maps, characters, and weapons upgrades and additions to keep it fresh.
In The End
The overall game rates about 4.75 of 5 stars, for being a revolution to the era it was in, and overall a gift to gamers of the genre. You simply can not find a game like this from the era. And it's truly something you will keep going back to over the years. Give a thanks to ID Software for another great release. And don't forget to check out http://www.idsoftware.com/ for new games and events.