Replay Value: 8.9
To this day, many still say that Quake III: Arena is the best first-person shooter available on the PC, but more claim that Unreal Tournament is. So which one is it really? Well, it's really hard to decide, seeing as how the PC market is an ocean full of first-person shooters. But I guess when it comes down to it all, two games survive: Quake III: Arena and Unreal Tournament. My favor would definitely go to Unreal Tournament, but the shooter does not under any circumstances finish by a landslide, but merely a photo finish. Quake III's environments were nicely designed, but UT's were far more creative and ingenious, keep in mind we are talking about the PC versions here. The visuals on Quake III are just as advanced as those found in UT, but Unreal slips by with slightly better looking texture detail. The action on each game is unparallel, and as far as I'm concerned there is no clear winner. Overall though, my PC pick for best first-person shooter would go to Unreal Tournament, but Quake III: Arena is easily my second favorite. Now with the release of Playstation 2, first-person comparisons won't only be found on PCs anymore, but on consoles more than ever. With Unreal Tournament already released on the PS2 and also receiving a very positive score from me, it seems as if the ever-ending duel between Quake III and Unreal Tournament will never end. Keep reading for the good details.
The PC version of QIII was obviously a visual beast. A Pentium III 400MHZ PC, with 128MB RAM, and a 32MB Video Card is an ideal minimum piece of hardware for your salivary glands to start their engines, as was the case with UT. Unfortunately in terms of visuals, Unreal Tournament was severely behind its PC brethren. Not to say the game looked bad, it certainly didn't, just when you compare the PC version to the PS2 version, it is quite apparent that everything the PC title has the PS2 lacks. That thankfully is not the case with the PS2 version of Quake III when compared to the PC version. For starters Quake III: Revolution has an incredibly consistent frame rate, unlike Unreal Tournament (PS2) where the frame rate would sometimes drop horrendously. In QIII during single-player matches the frame rate is brisk at 60, and sails at 30 during multi-player matches. Surprisingly enough Bullfrog was able work with the 4MB of V-RAM and prevent almost any slowdown altogether. Even at the most action packed moments will you rarely see an intense drop in frame rate. I applaud Bullfrog for achieving what is one of the most important features in a FPS title, a fluid frame rate.
To put it bluntly, the textures in the PS2 version of Unreal Tournament couldn't compare to those found in the PC version, and to be honest I thought that would be the case with the PS2 port of Quake III as well. I was incredibly surprised when I began playing the game to notice that the texture detail is incredibly good and can compare to the PC version. The structures in general look phenomenal, a good deal of attention has been paid to them and it shows. Everything surrounding you looks very solid, and the exceptional lighting effects make the atmosphere 'that' much more enjoyable to look at. Speaking of lighting effects, Quake III's got 'em, and its got lots of them. Everything from explosions, to blood and to corpses exploding in front of your very own eyes looks absolutely wonderful, did I mention that the lighting effects are really good? The character detail is also something to admire. Once again, unlike Unreal Tournament, Quake III's character detail is less blocky, and is far more detailed, although I have to say that their movement is rather choppy quite often. I really do like the visuals in Quake III: Revolution, they look better than the Dreamcast version and come pretty close to the PC version, but still a couple of feet shy from perfection.
Once again my honesty comes into play, no matter how much better looking QIII: Revolution is over Unreal Tournament, I still can't help but enjoy UT's gameplay more than I do Quake III's, but the favor of one game over the other isn't quite wide. Even though UT is the better single-player title, Quake III easily takes the game down in the deathmatch category. The PS2 version of Unreal Tournament had a pretty limited multi-player mode, where in areas Quake III doesn't. Not only does Quake III run like the PC title, but the deathmatch games are far more fast paced than those in UT, this is where QIII's frivolous frame rate plays a big factor. Even though having said that, I will admit that I much rather prefer Unreal Tournament's settings and stages over Quake III's, but I've got nothing against the levels in QIII.
Quake III's Campaign Mode is almost as lengthy and as deep as the one in Unreal, so it certainly gets the job done well. You will blast your way through dozens of stages, playing either Deathmatch, Capture the Flag or Possession missions. As you progress your chosen characters statistics will gradually improve and you will earn certain items for your successions. Aside from that, Quake III features not only all of the aspects from Arena, but also included are all of the levels that were sold separately in the form of Team Arena. So yes you are getting all of the levels from Team Arena in Revolution. Sadly though the maximum number of fighters on a level is four, just like Unreal Tournament (PS2) was, so at times it would be a pain to try finding a target. Speaking of targets, Quake III will allow you choose through dozens and dozens of characters in the Arena mode for multi-player battles, you can bet your bottom dollar that you'll be surprised at how many total characters QIII offers. My biggest complaint about Quake III: Revolution is that the loading times suck! I timed the loading and it took 57 seconds for one stage to load! What's with EA games and their crappy loading times? One final thing I should point out is that Quake III's camera does bounce up and down, to make it look as if your character is actually taking steps, but to some it may cause motion sickness. As soon as you feel slightly queasy, I advise you to turn the game off! No matter where in the game you are.
I praised Unreal Tournament's sound, I loved the awesome techno beats and the sassy commentary such as my favorite: "Die bitch". Unfortunately Quake III doesn't have any commentary, but it does have some good music to accompany the action. It isn't exactly what I would call on par with Unreal's, but good never the less. The sound effects are another plus for the audio department. Things such as explosions, gunshots, the sound of a hollow bullet hitting the ground, the death of an enemy when he screams and best of all the clicking sound when a shotgun needs reloading. Ahhhhhh... sweet nostalgic noises of mass destruction. I would have perked up the sound to a hearty 9.0 if only some commentary and remarks were added to the game, otherwise excellent audio.
The control in Unreal Tournament took little to no time to getting used to. Heck, Epic even offered gamers the ability to use their USB keyboard and USB mouse. While on the other hand, Bullfrog must've forgot about those two very important features, therefore points must be taken off. Also sadly, the control isn't as nicely configured as UT's was, instead it feels a bit clunky, so getting used to the game may take about 5 or 10 minutes. It's smooth sailing after that. Picky gamers can also adjust the speed of their character's turning and moving to avoid any dizziness, and also choose between an inverted aim function when using the right analog stick. It's not easy as Unreal Tournament's controls, but Quake III will eventually get a hold of you.
So after mentioning the word Quake III and Unreal Tournament three dozen times in this review, I have come to the conclusion that no party is complete with out both Unreal Tournament and Quake III: Revolution. Quake III looks downright amazing, but Unreal Tournament is just slightly more fun to play. Quake III got an innovative Campaign that is different than the PC and DC version, while Unreal Tournament has the better level design. It goes on forever like this, both Unreal and Quake have their ups and downs, and when tallied up together, we come down to a tie between the two games. So while there is somewhat of a clean winner on the PC turf of FPS titles, the PS2 has yet to find one, but that may change with the release of Red Faction this May 2001. My final verdict: get Quake III, I would definitely slap a "highly recommended" sticker on it, not only is it a good single-player game, but its deathmatch is almost as good as GoldenEye. Yes it's that good! While you're at it, pick up Unreal Tournament, despite it being watered down from the PC, it's still an awesome title to play.