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Quake 3: Team Arena

by Sephiroth.

What's this? An expansion pack for the greatest deathmatch FPS ever made?! As Homer would say, "WOOHOO!". I'm always excited to see games from ID, because all the games they've made are kickass. Ever since Quake 3 debuted about a zillion years ago (Exaggerating aren't we? -Ed.), some people compared it to another FPS which came out around the same time, Unreal Tournament. The lack of team maps really upset quite a few players, and they decided to invest their money in UT since it had a superior array of game types and team maps. It's a good thing that the people at ID realized that there's a large amount of people interested in teamplay rather then the pure tournaments and deathmatches that are the signature of the Quake series. Hence we have Quake 3: Team Arena, an expansion pack dedicated to give quake players a little more of what UT brought to FPSs. As I've said before in other reviews, more of the same doesn't hurt. Well let's take a look at what TA has to offer, shall we…

Since this IS an expansion pack, you cannot run it separately and thus you must have the original Quake 3 installed to play. TA also comes with the latest point release 1.27g (which isn't all that great) and automatically overwrites your old point release upon installation. The first thing you'll notice when you enter the game is the totally redesigned interface. It looks much much better then the one currently used by Quake 3. The interface of TA sports a futuristic look with lots of blue and white. I really liked the fact that when you're choosing a map to play, a little video displays each one in a little box to give you a little 3D glimpse of what it's like.

One of the things that really caught my eye when I entered the game was that my fps (frames per second) drastically dropped. I'm one of those speed freaks that loves high frame counts over beautiful graphics, but with TA I kind of decided, "what the hell". My frames dropped from the 125-180 FPS that I would normally get in Quake 3, to about 35-68 in TA. But I didn't mind because time this around, they really improved the maps and the architecture. In other words, everything looks amazing; this is how Quake 3 should have looked to begin with. The additions like the 3 new guns and the new skins are quite better then the ones in Quake 3, even if not by much. However, I had a heck of a time using the chaingun. It reminded me of the movie Predator where Jesse Ventura uses one of them and totally destroys an acre or so of a forested region. As for the nailgun, it brought back memories and looks better than ever when you fire it. I wasn't quite impressed with the proximity gun; I'm really impatient with the more tactical weaponry though.

The sound in TA is actually pretty damn good. I was kind of surprised when I first played it and fired the chaingun at a foe. They've added this cool sound effect so that when you shoot someone who's wearing armor; you can hear the 'clinks' of bullets hitting steel. When you play team mode, you're going to get a lot of messages from your team and they've really beefed up the voices to the point where it gets kind of annoying, but what the hell.

The gameplay in TA is exactly the same as Quake 3. However, TA has some cool new features like the return of power-ups! (YAY!). For example Scout, Guard, Doubler, Ammo-Regen, Kamikaze and Invulnerability. If you've ever played Quake 2, you'll instantly recognize what these power ups do. Also, there are 3 new game types: One Flag, Overload and Harvester. You get 15+ maps to work with, which is pretty good for an expansion. Also, when you install TA, you won't need to configure your buttons or graphic settings, it's all carried on from Quake 3. But you'll need to change your sensitivity again (a pain in the ass).

As much as I love 1 on 1 matches for Quake 3, I really liked TA and I think that if you really love Quake 3, then you'll fork over an extra $50 or whatever (i think it depends how obsessed you are with the game. -Ed.). It's got everything an expansion should have with the addition of polished graphics and interface. So if you can't wait to get your grubby little paws on the next installment of Quake, you'll surely want to get this.


New maps, new modes, new guns, new skins

A little bit more demanding in terms of hardware to get it to run

Just enough additions to quench the thirst of those who thought Quake 3 was lacking team-play



Lighting in this game is as nice as ever...


The nailgun in action...

The architecture is ALSO as sweet as ever...


A look at some of the new weaponry...