Earlier this month I gushed about my undying love for Quake. Well guess how excited I was when I got to actually play Quake Arena Arcade…ridiculously excited. Quake, whether you care to admit it or not, is an iconic game so it was great to see some old school love on the 360.
If you’ve ever played any of the previous Quake installments, you will instantly love Quake Arena Arcade. It’s that simple. In the XBLA game there are game modes from classic Quake III and Quake III: Team Arena. It’s like getting two delicious slices of cake and eating them at the same time. Delish.
New first-person shooters are all about gloss and no substance. Fortunately we have id to deliver us great FPS like Quake and DOOM. Quake is the kind of game where if you see something moving, you shoot it first and ask questions later. There are no sweeping cinematics, over-the-top alien enemies, or convoluted storylines. You simply run around with your badass gun and kill everybody. How awesome is that?
Single player is pretty basic but has a proper campaign. You can also select Practice while in single player and go through game modes you’ll encounter in multi-player. A little practice never hurt anybody, especially when most of the online players for Quake Arena Arcade kick some serious ass. When playing by yourself, the campaign is linear and you can’t see what lays ahead of you. Each arena you fight in is shown linked together, like one of those maps with pins and strings going all over the place. The only problem with this is that you have no idea how long the single player campaign is, or what the next arena will be because it’s locked. To be honest it wasn’t that big of a downside for me, but I can see how it might put some players off.
As you progress through single player things get more difficult and the maps get bigger, but this really helps you familiarize yourself with the game and the controls because if you leap into multi-player you will get owned. I will say that with no character statistics to bother with it’s nice because it allows the game to be about skill rather than who has what fancy upgrade.
The real bread and butter of the game comes from the multi-player. You can choose from Player Match or Ranked Match, in which from there you can choose a Quick Match where you are put into a random game, Custom Match where you see the available games and types for you to choose from, or Host where you can create your own game for others to join. One thing I immediately noticed was how you were able to select System Link from the initial multi-player options. Not a lot of games offer that feature now, so that was really fantastic.
When you’re selecting what you want to play in MP you’re given a lot of options. There’s the standard Free For All (FFA), where you are against up to 15 players, depending on the map you’re on, and Team Deathmatch which is just like the Team Slayer gametype you find in Halo. Both of those gametypes have 32 maps available to play on and were originally in Quake III. For those who played Quake III: Arena the Capture the Flag, One Flag CTF, Overlord, and Harvester gametypes should all seem familiar. If you’ve never played CTF, you and other players are divided into equal teams and have your own bases and flags. The goal is to grab the flag from the enemy base, bring it to yours, and score. There is also a lot of defense and strategy involved because you have to make sure the enemy team doesn’t get your flag because in order to score your flag must still be at your base.
In One Flag CTF, the only difference is that there is a neutral flag in the middle of the map and must be taken to your base to score. Overlord, at first glance, might seem like the Oddball gametype from Halo but it is completely different. Each base has a skull that has 2,500 HP which regenerates if it takes damage. The objective of Overlord is to destroy the skull and in doing so score a point for your team. Harvester was really cool and was unlike anything I had ever played before. Each time you or another teammate kills an enemy player, a team-colored skull appears at an obelisk figure in the middle of the map you’re on. You then take the skull from the obelisk to the enemy base to score. Since there are times you’ll be killed in battle, the enemy team will be walking around with skulls as well so be sure to prevent them from scoring.
For weapons, there are 12 throughout the game and can be found at random locations on the maps. My personal favorites are the Plasma Gun and BFG10k (that stands for Big Fucking Gun in case you’re wondering). I’m a firm believer that every shooter should have a BFG because they are truly glorious. In terms of health, you can find health orbs throughout the map that will boost you up in increments of 5, 25, and 50. Some will boost you above 100 hp while the others won’t. There is also a blue Mega hp that will increase you by 100, regardless if you’re close to the 100 mark or not. Like all other shooters, Quake Arena Arcade has some form of armor. Since there are no regenerating shields, health packs, or stations to recharge yourself, you instead get armor shards and actual chunks of armor. There are also usable items, power-ups, and runes that give you various temporary abilities/boosts, but become familiar with them really quick because some can have a negative effect while activated.
I’m completely honest when I say that I could go on and on for paragraphs about all of the features Quake Arena Arcade has to offer, but I think you should purchase the game if you want to really get a proper feel for it. Everything about it, from start to finish, was classic Quake and this was, in my opinion, a perfect port of an iconic game. Huge thanks to id and Bethesda for giving gamers something to tide us over until DOOM 4 comes out.
Quake Arena Arcade is available now for only 1200 Microsoft Points so download it today and get frag-nasty!