bshirk's Quake III: Arena (Dreamcast) review

This Arena Is One I'd Never Want To Return To

Back when the Dreamcast was on every gamer's radar, online gaming was still a relatively new thing.   Sure, plenty of PC games had featured deep online experiences, but consoles were just beginning to enter cyberspace.   The Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis had previously flirted with online gameplay, but barely anyone knew about it--even if they could afford the service.   Well, in the year 2000, the Dreamcast finally brought online gaming to the masses, and titles like Quake III Arena helped push the service.

Unfortunately, I lacked a Dreamcast and a decent Internet connection at the time of Seganet's release, but I was still able to drool over screenshots of Quake III Arena.   I was envious of EGM editors who were able to frag gamers across the nation on consoles, when I couldn't even do so on my family's PC.   Quake III Arena's eight-player deathmatches sounded far more impressive than Goldeneye parties, but unfortunately, I had no way to play the title.

Nine years later, I discovered that all that pent up jealousy was worthless.   The EGM editors had lied to me.   Actually, to be honest, I probably would have loved Quake at the time of its release, but going back to a shooter that runs on one analog stick is now practically impossible.  

To aim, you have to use the face buttons, while the analog stick moves your character.   This set-up provides for a little more control over your character than what was found in Goldeneye, but it's horrible when compared to modern First-Person Shooters.   Even after thirty minutes of practice, I found the game practically unplayable.   I quickly learned why console players wouldn't stand a chance again mouse and keyboard sporting PC pros.

Even if the controls weren't awful, Quake III's graphics and gameplay still wouldn't impress.   This FPS features a decent set of weapons including rocket launchers, shotguns, and rifles that emit beams of electricity, but shooting players over and over isn't much fun in the game's small arenas (even if you somehow manage to hit them).   There are plenty of bots and human targets, but running around bland arenas is only fun for so long.

Sadly, Quake III's visuals don't fare much better--they could trick players into thinking that it's an N64 game.   To ID Software's credit, Quake III does run at a smooth clip, but who would want to view bland textures at high speeds?

Unfortunately, I can't recommend this title that once provided online gameplay thrills.   I had hoped that Quake III would hold up as well as other decade-old online titles like Starcraft, but sadly, it isn't even worth purchasing at a bargain-bin price.   Gamers who have fond memories of Quake III would be better off playing it on the PC, or cementing those fond memories in their brain, so they won't have to mourn the passing of this decrepit title.

Pros:

·          Quake III Arena deserves some credit for being the first Dreamcast FPS with online play

·          Fragging other players may still appeal to some gamers

·          Includes a decent set of weapons

Cons:

·          The bland textures make this feel like an N64 title

·          The controls are nearly impossible to stomach if you've played a modern FPS

·          You can no longer play online

·          Quake III Arena doesn't feature a single-player campaign

.          Despite having "arena" in the title, Quake's arenas aren't as creative as those found in earlier FPS games
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