Mod for : Quake III Arena
Developer : Team Evolve
(Version 2.4)

A deathmatch mod for Q3A featuring 20 new maps, several new weapons and powerups and support for multiplayer and single-player game modes. The basic game mechanics are the same as its predecessor, Painkeep (a classic Quake 1 mod). Painkeep Arena offers a more frenetic style of play with a number of new features that offer more variation to the classic Deathmatch style.

Weapons & Items

The main ingredient of the PKA style is the addition of 'inventory' items that can be cycled through (once collected) by pressing 1 repeatedly. Bear traps can be laid on the ground, and attach themselves to anyone foolish enough to run over them. Sentry guns lock onto anyone in their line of sight and pepper them with machine gun fire. The Gravity Well sucks in everyone in the vicinity, crushing them. And the can of pork 'n' beans acts as a medkit, but has the side effect of making you chuff intermittently, making you rise into the air and giving away your location (kind of like the rootbeer in Toejam & Earl in fact).

The new weapons include explosive shotgun shells (and a faster shotgun firing rate), an organic grappling hook, a very, very cool nailgun (that fires hot nails), the air fist (which was ripped off by Unreal Tournament) and a remodelled railgun (which looks completely crap and is a bit of a pointless addition). The standard Q3A powerups are more readily available as well, and there are some other tweaks to the normal weapons (for example the lightning gun now locks on, and discharges underwater Quake 1 style).

Levels

The 20 levels (19 deathmatch levels and one 'voting hub') are a mixture of straight conversions from the Quake 1 version and all-new creations. The majority are pretty crap visually, with nicely-done architectural features smooshed around with old skool low-polygon areas and garish new textures. There are a couple of exceptions that are very professional looking, but in general they go over the top with cheesy gimmicks (such as the prison level). They all play well, with lots of multilayered areas and 'safe' spawn points.

Overall

PKA is hardly the most polished, original or ambitious mod out there, but it is quite fun to play. The variety of levels and the broad arsenal mean that there's something to suit everyone's playing style. A nice diversion.

(A couple of gripes: the extra player skins and the frontend are weak to say the least, and one of the developers was the laughable fascist headcase Sgt. Hulka. Still, at least making mods keeps frustrated gun-nuts like him off the streets.)

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