No recent wiki edits to this page.


Quake III Arena (abbreviated Q3 or Q3A) is a First Person Shooter developed by id Software for PC, it was released on December 2nd in 1999. Unlike its predecessors it is focused on Multiplayer and has a bare-bones Singleplayer campaign.

Q3 has been ported to several different consoles, such Dreamcast, PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360. The game was re-released for PC in 2010 as Quake Live.


Quake III Arena is a very fast paced game which gives the player a large selection of powerups, items and ten different weapons, both hitscan and projectile based.

The typical game modes in Quake III have the player spawn with just a weak Machinegun and no armor, the player will have to scavenge the map for more items and build up a stack so that he or she have a better chance against all other opponents. When a player dies, he will loose all of his items and have to respawn, starting from scratch.

The game ends once the frag or time limit is reached.


You are a gladiator who have been selected to fight in the Arena Eternal, a dangerous dimension created by the elusive Vadrigar for their own personal amusement. In a world of complete chaos, you must battle through seven tiers of maps, facing increasingly stronger foes.

There are awards for things such as killing enemies with a Gauntlet, getting multiple frags in a short amount of time and having a high accuracy. There is also varying degrees of difficulty, including:

  • I Can Win (easiest)
  • Bring It On
  • Hurt Me Plenty
  • Hardcore
  • Nightmare! (hardest)

These are seven different tiers in singleplayer mode.

  • Tier 0 - Introduction

Opponent - Crash

  • Tier 1 - Trainee

Opponents - Ranger, Phobos, Mynx, Orbb, Sarge

  • Tier 2- Skilled

Opponents - Bitterman, Grunt, Hossman, Daemia, Hunter

  • Tier 3- Combat

Opponents - Gorre, Wrack, Angel, Slash, Klesk

  • Tier 4 - Warrior

Opponents - Lucy, Tank Jr, Biker, Patriot, Anarki

  • Tier 5 - Veteran

Opponents - Razor, Visor, Stripe, Keel, Uriel

  • Tier 6 - Master

Opponents - Bones, Cadaver, Doom, Sorlag, Major

  • Tier 7 - Elite

Opponent - Xaero

Strategy and tactics

The strategical elements of Quake III are apparent in game modes such as Duel and Team Deathmatch where the players have to control certain key item areas on the map (Mega Health, Red armor and Quad damage for example) and fend off any opponents who are trying to do the same thing.

Because items respawn on specific intervals they will inevitably sync up at one point during a match, meaning that a player can't pick up both. Because of this, some players opt to delay certain items (standing idle next to them for a couple of seconds) just to be able to make it in time to both items the next time they spawn.


One of the key aspects of Quake III is the freedom of movement it gives to the player.

  • Bunny hop
    By continuously jumping, you gain speed and move faster.
  • Circle jump
    By moving in a half circle with forward, strafe and mouse and then jump - you fly further than you normally would. It is a good way of starting your Bunny hop.
  • Strafe jump
    By using the strafe and forward keys while moving your mouse slightly in the same direction when Bunny hopping, you gain extra speed.

Besides the default movement capabilities of the player character, players can also use certain weapons to get to places they normally wouldn't be able to reach.

  • Grenade jump
    You can jump on top of grenades right before they explode to gain extra height.
  • Plasma climb
    When standing next to a wall, shoot downward at an angle with the Plasma gun to climb the wall.
  • Rocket jump
    Jump and then immediately shoot a rocket at your feet to gain extra height.

Game modes

Quake III features four different gameplay modes that can be played with bots and humans. They are:

  • Free for All (FFA) - Deathmatch, the person with the highest amount of kills wins.
  • Team Deathmatch (TDM) - Two teams compete for the most kills.
  • Tournament (Duel) - 1v1 Deathmatch with spectators and tournament structure.
  • Capture the Flag (CTF) - Two teams try to capture each others' flags while defending their own.


The Quake III weapon list borrows from both the Doom and Quake franchises.



The Gauntlet is essentially an electrified hand mounted saw blade. Used as a last resort melee weapon, it does about 50 damage per hit, and can usually frag an enemy in 2 or 3 hits depending on health and armor values. Given the fast paced nature of Quake III, the Gauntlet is rarely ever used as people can easily avoid it. Also, surprise melee kills are almost impossible due to the weapon's loud noise when in use.

When a player kills somebody with the Gauntlet, the killing player is awarded a Humiliation point, which comes with its own separate icon. Multiple Humiliation icons stack up depending on the amount of kills, encouraging continued melee kills.



The Machinegun is the weapon every freshly spawned player starts with. Like any other Machinegun, you pull the trigger and bullets come out at high velocity. At about 7 damage per shot, and a very high firing rate, the Machinegun is a fairly weak but serviceable starter weapon. It is good for finishing off opponents with low health on long distances.



As the name implies, the Shotgun in Quake III performs like one would expect a shotgun to: it fires a cone of 10 lead pellets. Each pellet does 10 damage, totaling up to a possible 110 points of damage, making the Shotgun very effective at close range. Also, it's got a laser sight - deal with it.

Grenade Launcher

Grenade Launcher
Grenade Launcher

The Grenade Launcher fires pineapple sized "pineapples", which bounce around for a few seconds until exploding . However, if a grenade comes in contact with a player it immediately explodes, bringing about the term "grenade swallowing." While the latter is hard to accomplish, the Grenade Launcher is primarily used for littering a key area (items such as Red Armor or Mega Health) with very unpredictable grenades that makes it tough for your opponent to get out without taking damage.

Rocket Launcher

Rocket Launcher
Rocket Launcher

The staple of Quake III: Arena is the rocket launcher. Firing explosive rocket projectiles, the real draw of the rocket launcher is it's splash damage. While it's easy to avoid a rocket, it's harder to avoid the explosion the rocket causes. Because of this, most Rocket Launcher wielding players will try to aim at the ground or nearby walls around a target. The rocket launcher is the most effective way in Quake III to leave your enemy in a shower of gibs. Not only used as a weapon, the explosive effect of the Rocket Launcher allows players to launch themselves up into the air.

Combined with jumping (known as rocket jumping), this allows players to reach places inaccessible through regular jumping. Certain professional players have developed a skill towards avoiding rocket fire commonly described by the community as being rocket scientists.

Lighting Gun

Lightning Gun
Lightning Gun

Returning from the original Quake, the lightning gun is almost like a flamethrower, yet instead of discharging a plume of fire, it shoots out a beam of lightning. The lightning beam is also instantaneous and does not deteriorate from where the crosshair is aimed, making it more powerful in the hands of a player with good aim. The Lightning gun is suitable for medium range combat since it has a limited reach.



Like it's Quake II predecessor, the Railgun fires a depleted uranium slug at extreme velocities, dealing massive damage. The railgun is Quake III version of a sniper rifle; highly accurate, and extremely lethal - however because of its long recharge time, it is very dangerous to use in close combat. The Railgun leaves trail, making it very effective for tournament commentary and viewership. The Railgun is the most common weapon used in the various Instagib mods for Quake III



First found in Doom, the plasma gun acts like the Machinegun, spewing out orbs of plasma at a high rate of fire with a small radius of splash damage. The Plasmagun is one of the strongest weapons in the game (but also very hard to master) and is especially deadly in tight corridors.

Because of its splash damage it allows some skilled players to "plasma climb", firing the Plasma gun underneath them against a wall to "climb" up walls.


BFG 10k
BFG 10k

While previous versions of the BFG fired slow moving balls of energy, the BFG operates as a souped up version of the Plasmagun. The BFG fires large bolts of plasma at a high rate of fire, causing even the most heavily armored characters to turn to gibs in only 2-3 well placed shots.


Medals are awarded to players for high skill play in the matches. Upon receiving a medal, it is displayed on the character's head showing the icon.


No Caption Provided

This medal is awarded for killing more than two players in a row in two seconds. Because this medal can be stacked, it's possible to receive medals very quickly if there are a huge number of players playing.


No Caption Provided

A medal that is achieved once a player uses the Railgun and kills two players in a row. Again, this medal can also be stacked so killing more players in a row with the Railgun will result in receiving more "Impressive" medals.


No Caption Provided

This medal is gained once a match is over and a player does not get killed at all. A near impossible medal to receive in a multiplayer match.


No Caption Provided

Considering that majority of all weapons are used for shooting at distances, the gauntlet can still be used to kill enemies and the announcer would shout: "Humiliation", to confirm the kill. Can be stacked so that more medals can be received by using the gauntlet.


No Caption Provided

When the accuracy of shots is above 50% in a match, this medal is awarded.


No Caption Provided

After reaching 100 frags, a medal is awarded and can be stacked. The counter is shown every 100 with a number and can be seen when accessing the Single Player mode.

Holy shit !

While it isn't a medal, the announcer will shout "HOLY SHIT" when you frag an opponent who is just meters away from scoring a point in Capture the Flag.


Like previous Quake games, Quake III: Arena has a strong mod community. There are countless modifications, ranging from small tweaks to total conversions. Some of the more popular mods are:

  • CPMA (Challenge Promode Arena) - Competitive feature set, supports a large variety of game modes (including Rocket Arena) and two gameplay styles (Vanilla Q3 and Promode).
  • Defrag - Allows players to engage in trick-jumping.
  • Rocket Arena - Round based game mode, every player starts with all weapons and armor in teams of two.
  • Urban Terror - Tactical-shooting experience (Free, stand-alone game).
  • OSP (Orange Smoothie Productions) - Competitive feature set (deprecated, see CPMA).

Ports and other versions

Quake III Arena (Dreamcast)

Quake III Arena on Dreamcast
Quake III Arena on Dreamcast

Developed by Raster Productions for the Sega Dreamcast game console, Quake 3 became one of the flagship titles for Sega's online service by making use of either the dial-up modem or the Broadband Adapter sold separately. Up to four players can play offline through split-screen multiplayer. There were several compromises made in order for the game to run on the platform, such as bringing the total player count down to four players offline and online. When more players play on one console, the choices of levels shrink due to memory limitations of the platform. Certain levels were altered due to system limitations or for a more streamlined experience.

The Dreamcast version offers several control schemes, including support for the regular controller, the MadCatz Panther DC, as well as proprietary Dreamcast keyboard and mouse accessories. Each control accessory plugged in can be mapped to any active player. For example, four individual control types can be mapped to four active players. A mouse and keyboard can be paired to one active player, which allows two player split-screen gameplay with two keyboards and two mice. You can even set four mice to four separate players for mouse-only combat. Keyboard control allows for text messaging during online gameplay to talk with other players or team members in team games. Only one player per console can play online.

The game also features exclusive content including levels made just for the Dreamcast version including one level provided exclusively to paying SegaNet members and VMU mini games that unlock cheat codes for offline gameplay based on progression in the Single Player game and difficulty played.

The Dreamcast version also introduced a cross-play feature, allowing Dreamcast users to play against PC users.

Quake III Revolution (PlayStation 2)

Quake III: Revolution
Quake III: Revolution

This is the incarnation of Quake 3 for the PlayStation 2 game console. Revolution plays really close to its PC brethren except for controls and just a few tweaks. One of the greater and most innovative things about this version is the campaign and being able to build up your characters in a RPG-esque manner. The game supports up to four players offline in split-screen gameplay through a multi-tap adapter.

Quake Arena Arcade (Xbox 360)

Quake Arena Arcade
Quake Arena Arcade

Quake Arena Arcade was officially announced by Id Software at QuakeCon 2007. An ESRB listing at the time confirmed that Pi Studios, notable for work with the Call of Duty franchise, would be handling the port. Development then went silent until February of 2009 when John Carmack stated that Quake Arena Arcade was "very close" to finished.

The game was eventually released to XBLA on December 15, 2010 to tepid critical response due primarily to a lack of local split-screen play and connection issues on Xbox Live.

Quake Live

Quake Live
Quake Live

Quake Live (known as Quake Zero during development) was released in 2010 as an updated version of Quake III Arena. It was originally a free, ad-supported game which ran in a web browser.

In 2015 the game moved away from that model and must be purchased from Steam as stand-alone software.

Easter Egg

Dopefish in Quake III
Dopefish in Quake III

On the map Q3DM11 go to where the Shotgun spawns, which is right next to a teleporter. Directly opposite to the teleporter is a wall.

Walking in to or shooting it will cause a panel to open up which reveals a grotesque version of the Dopefish, an enemy from the Commander Keen series of platforming side scrollers.

Playing Quake III on modern systems

Quake III Arena runs well on modern systems but it is still recommended to use a modern source port because of the numerous bug fixes and features they provide.

Source ports

  • Quake3e - Introduces 64-bit support, various security, bug and performance improvements as well as additional quality of life features for competitive play. Quake3e is a fork of ioquake3.

Useful links


This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.