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REVIEW : Quake 3 Arena
By: Marty Dodge

After much humming and hawing I finally got a copy of Q3 for the Mac. I was doing a review of online gaming for my day job, MacFormat and I managed to snag a review copy of this much anticipated game. For some reason or other there seems to be an online contingent that thought I hated Q3. Not true, I was not very impressed with its 56k performance in demo-test and demo, this might be due to the fact I could not play it at all with my line. Quake 3 is final game in the Quake series and it concentrates on tournament style multiplayer play with no plot or solo adventure, much like UT.

ID managed to fix these problems with the full release. While Quake 3 is not as good as UT for 56kers, it is possible to play Q3 online if you manage to find a decent server near you. I just got finished with a cracking CTF game using one of the CTF map packs out there. I was not the best, you wont be with a 56k ping but it was fun. If you go into a Q3 game with that kind of attitude it is a hell of a lot more fun and sometime you actually do fairly well. Online Q3 DM is pretty damn good, the best DM there is on the Mac. CTF with the maps included in the game is pretty pathetic. These maps seem to be an afterthought that ID threw in so as not to make Q3 look like a straight DM game. I still think that Q2 is the best for CTF out of the there, although it doesn't handle lag as well, there are such good Q2 maps it is hard to beat.

The only trouble with Quake 3 is that if you hate DM, you are pretty much sol, right now. Q3 is a DM game period. That is all it does, but it does it really well. If you want variety with your game, go for UT.

Q3Arena is a multiplayer game with a solo section thrown in for practice. If you have any sort of connection to the net, you will play the solo game just long enough to get hold of the controls of the game and then never try it again. The bots are either too easy or too hard and become very boring very quickly. Unlike in UT there is no variable setting for Q3 bots, so they don't get better with you. They either cant hit a barn door or can hit a pimple on a knat's bum. In the solo game you progress through six (not counting the Xaero level and the training level which both have 1 map) tiers of 4 maps each, defeating harder and more numerous opponents till you meet the big guy bad Xaero in the grand finale. The only good thing about going through this tiring process is that it gives you an opportunity to see all the levels before you see them online. Of course you can do this via the skirmish function in the game as well. What is helpful is that there is a mods section in the menu that allows you to use your mods and see what you have in your collection. As with Quake 2 mods, skins and new maps are very easy to use and can be running as soon as you download them.

Q3 is no where near as good on 56k as UT. During high traffic, you can suffer from a lot of jittering and frame loss. If and when you get a Q3 game with as little lag as possible it is great fun. If you are lucky enough to get a really good server at the right time, you will find your hpb skills come in really handy. Being an hpb is great training for Q3, forcing you to learn how to aim precisely and accurately. Of course at most times of the day you have no hope of getting yourself out of the bottom half off the frag table, unless you play all the time with total newbies. Stay away from lpbs who play when hosting, or you spend most of your time dying and being reborn. Good hosts when playing with all hpbs will handicap themselves to make it more fun, but this can be rare. If the host is being a jerk about it, leave because its no fun for them to play by themselves.

Graphically Q3 is impressive, eye candy galore, with levels that are amazing to look at, if small for lots of people. When you first start playing you find yourself getting fragged while checking out some of the scenes. The goth scheme still exists, so expect to see a lot of skulls and demons on the walls. The skins are pretty impressive as well, providing the player with a large number of choices straight out of the box. Some of them are amusing, the walking eye being my personal favourite to shoot at, and I like TankJr to play. Although all the skins look to vary in size, none are easier to hit or miss, as their hit area is the same. It would have been nice to seem some of the bots with abilities depending on their size and speed. ID have managed to make the skins lot enough different so you think they are able to do different things. The most notable example of this is skateboarder on an anti-grav board that floats along the level.

I still think UT is a better game but Quake 3 is pretty good. I would recommend that you buy both games. Have Q3 for DM/CTF and UT for the other types of multiplay. (A lot of the TCs that were made for Q2 (Action, Strike Force amongst others) are now being ported to UT instead of Q3, so you might want to keep this in mind when you are buying). Both of these games deserve a place in Mac gamers library of games. If you are a deathmatch junkie then Q3 is the game for you.

Test ComputerRequirements
  • B&W 400 mhz
  • OS 8.6
  • 128 RAM (total 150)
  • Power PC 603e 200mhz
  • 120 Megs of Free HD space
  • OS 7.6
  • CD-Rom
  • 64 Megs of RAM
Retail PriceDemo
  • Around $39.95 (online)
Related LinksRating
    (1-5 where 5 is the best)

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