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Quake 3 Team Arena mini review

Quake 3 Team Arena is the latest update to Id Software's masterpiece Quake 3 Arena. The two best first person shooters have been duking it out for the last year with patches, mods, and updates. Quake III Arena and Unreal Tournament are state-of-the-art shooter games which keep getting better with each update. 

The newest addition to Quake III Arena is an add-on called Quake III Team Arena, and it is the biggest improvement since the release of the original game over a year ago. Unreal Tournament got a big facelift with the bonus pack over six months ago, and a smaller upgrade with a game of the year edition last November. Now Id Software is striking back. Even if you are an Unreal Tournament fan, I predict you will love what they have done with Quake III.

So what did they add? First off they added three new game types. One is called single flag capture. There is a white flag at the center of each arena, and the object is for each team to try to grab the white flag first. The white flag carrier then heads for the enemy base. The object is to carry the white flag over the enemy flag's position. So base defense becomes critical. A few well-placed rail-gun snipers should do the job. This is a very nice twist on the standard capture the flag game.

The next new game type is called Harvester. To my knowledge this is a completely new team game type. Every time someone is fragged, a skull with that person's team color pops up from a central location in the arena. The object is for some members of the opposite team to stand near the skull generator and grab enemy skulls as they are ejected. But if someone from the same team as the frag-ee (the person who got fragged) manages to snatch up the skull first, then the other team is robbed of a point. So a lot of the game is spent fighting over ejected skulls near the skull generator. This is a pretty cool new game type, and can lead to some truly frantic action.

The final new game type is called Overload. At the center of each team's base is a goal obelisk. The opposite team tries to invade your base, and pump enough firepower into your goal obelisk to destroy it. The goal obelisks slowly regenerate their health, so it's not that easy to destroy them. Obviously this game requires attackers and defenders on each team as in the case of standard capture the flag.

There are also new Power-Ups that are very similar to the Relics in Unreal Tournament. These include: Scout, Guard, Ammo-Regen, Doubler, Kamakaze, and Invunerability. Scout increases your speed, Guard increases health and armor, Ammo-Regen keeps your ammo stocked up, Doubler increases your weapons damage capacity, Kamakaze is the good ol' skull-type nuclear weapon, and finally, Invunerability gives you a temporary shield against most weapons. One thing I like about the Power-Ups in the Team Arena is that they appear in regular locations rather than popping up temporarily in random locations as in the case of Unreal Tournament. When a game starts you know exactly where each power up is (once you learn the new arenas).

So what else is new? Lots of new multiplayer maps! And some of them include very large outdoor areas. Several of these arenas are big enough to accommodate 20 players without crowding. On top of the new maps, you also get better artificial intelligence with the bots, and a new command interface. All in all, I can say without hesitation that Quake III Team Arena is perhaps the best first person shooter ever made. Keep in mind that this is an add-on, not a full game. You need to have a Quake III Arena installed before you can install Quake III Team Arena.

If you're a big Quake fan, you probably already have Team Arena, but for those of you who have been playing Unreal Tournament or other first person shooters, I highly recommend Team Arena. It's got nearly everything you could possibly want in a team-based shooter. The excellent artificial intelligence of the bots sets a high standard for upcoming games. Games like Team Fortress 2 may suffer if Sierra does not add bot support to them. Just because people play the games online doesn't mean they don't want the ability to add artificial players to round out a team game.

I rate Team Arena 5 out of 5 smiley faces (100%) .

Dr. John

Copyright 2001, KickAss Gear