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Quake III Arena

Score: 80%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Activision
Developer: id Software
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 -32
Genre: First Person Shooter

Graphics & Sound:

Wow, wow, wow. Compared to its predecessor (and every other first-person shooter on the market today), Quake III Arena's graphics are simply mind-blowing. The dazzling weapon effects, gorgeous dynamic lighting, and incredibly detailed textures just have to be seen to be believed. And my God, the MODELS! Thanks to the amazing work of id Software's 3D modeling guru Paul Steed, the models for the 30 playable characters in Q3A are completely breathtaking in every aspect. I remember watching demonstrations of his Orbb, Mynx and Klesk models at his workshop at QuakeCon '99 and thinking to myself, 'Well, he's done it. There's no way Unreal Tournament can top this.' And believe me, I was right.

The sound and music in Q3A are top-notch as well. With enhanced A3D support, you'll always know where your opponent is if you keep your ears open, and the stellar weapon sound effects really give deathmatch an extra kick. The soundtrack, courtesy of Sonic Mayhem (the guys who did the music for Q2) and gritty electronic musicians Front Line Assembly, fits the fast-paced action of Q3A's deathmatch perfectly, completing the ideal DM setting for almost any hardcore frag-addict.


To be honest, there isn't a ton of variety in Q3A's basic structure, but it sure it a hell of alot of fun to play. The levels, while limited, offer some nifty features like jump pads, floating platforms, some very creative teleport setups, and an array of powerups, ranging from Flight and Haste to Regeneration and the infamous Quad Damage.

It isn't hard to see that id Software designed this game with one thing in mind: deathmatch, deathmatch, deathmatch. While the single player mode (seven tiers of increasingly difficult bot matches) is innovative and quite enjoyable, it only takes a few hours to beat. Then what? That's right, you go online and frag some actual humans. Conveniently, Q3A has its own built-in server ping tool, so there's no need to go looking for net games with third-party software like GameSpy anymore. While it may not be nearly as attractive or useful as Unreal Tournament's, the multiplayer interface in Q3A is effective enough to get you where you need to go.

The intense action in Q3A deathmatch is really something every gamer should experience. The controls are seamless, the physics are just right, and the weapons are some of the most balanced I've ever seen in an FPS, with the exception of the almost useless Grenade Launcher and the nearly unstoppable BFG. At least the latter's been toned down and completely revamped since its previous incarnation, so things are a bit more fair and alot more interesting.


Q3A's got five levels of difficulty: 'I Can Win!', 'Bring It On,' 'Hurt Me Plenty!', 'Hardcore,' and 'Nightmare!'. As you can guess, 'I Can Win!' is ridiculously easy -- the bots barely even move around and shoot - but 'Nightmare!' will have you screaming at your monitor in no time, I assure you. Nothing like a good bot match where you get railed every time a pixel of your body comes within your opponent's view to get the ol' adrenaline pumping, lemme tell you.

Game Mechanics:

Thanks to the divine hand of programming deity John Carmack, Q3A is a technological marvel. The game's engine is completely astonishing in countless respects, and the gameplay really reflects all of the hard work put in by the id Software crew. The AI is incredible, the level design (while not as varied as that of Unreal Tournament) is clever and inventive, the weapons are amazing, and the action is FAST. What more could you ask for?

Well, honestly, the game does fall short in a few categories. I gave Q3A an 8 out of 10 because of its one-sidedness, mostly. If you're really not too interested in Internet deathmatching, this might not be the best game for you. As previously stated, the bot matches are loads of fun, but they tend to get stale fast. As far as the most superior DM gameplay of 1999, though, Q3A takes the crown.

-Ben Monkey, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ben Lewis

Minimum System Requirements:

3D video card with Open GL support, Pentium 233 MMX with 8 MB video card OR Pentium II 266 with 4 MB video card, 64 MB RAM, Windows 95/98/NT, 70 megs of uncompressed HD space, 4X CD-ROM drive

Test System:

Pentium II 350, 128 MB RAM, Viper 770 Ultra (32 MB Riva TNT2 Ultra video card), Windows 98 Second Edition, 32X CD-ROM drive

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Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated