Team Arena is an expansion pack for Quake III Arena. It adds several new playing modes to the game, including One Flag CTF, Overload and Harvester. The user interface has been substantially overhauled, adding a liberal dose of FMV eye candy and organising the plethora of options in a logical fashion. The key word though is "Team" : all the playing modes revolve around teamwork, and you can give your bot team members orders quickly and easily via a menu or hotkeys. The overall impression is reminiscent of a classic EA Sports title - and of course the idea bears some resemblence to Unreal Tournament.

It would be easy for a cynic to pass this off as an attempt to play "catch-up" with UT, or to say that this is the game Quake III Arena should have been. Although it's obviously no great breakthrough, Team Arena is a solid, meticulously designed and above all fun game. Most of the additions seem pretty minor considered individually, but as a whole this is a worthwhile investment for fans of CTF-style play. And I haven't even mentioned new levels and player models, which are up to the usual ridiculously high Id standards. Oh, and now there's a nailgun and (oh yes) a chaingun. Nice.

Saige : You seem to have a bit of a downer on this game... While I can also attest to the excellence of Threewave CTF, you must concede that it is a different type of game. Sure, I sometimes want to play huge maps with no bots in the Quake 1 engine, but a lot of gamers have moved on. Many of your points sound a bit nit-picky, and could also be levelled at UT and any other form of game trying to emulate CTF. Still, everyone is entitled to their own opinion...

It should be noted that David "Zoid" Kirsch, the originator of 3WCTF, worked at Id during the development of Q2 and Q3 CTF, but has since moved on to Retro Studios. Perhaps the new version of Metroid will be closer to the 3WCTF ideal...

Update : Something that isn't covered in the demo (and has compelled me to buy the full thing) is the inclusion of terrain maps (outdoor locations). Apparently, due to some tweaking of the engine, it is now possible to make truly enormous maps, that would dwarf anything seen in an FPS to date (although it is advisable to put some obstructions in the view - either valleys, buildings or fog - to prevent the face count becoming unworkable). By "big", I mean about the size of Wales. Alright, a slight exaggeration, but still really, really big.

Sadly, for those people used to teamplay in Quake from the early days, (Such as Threewave CTF), it feels about one step up from the Quake III Arena CTF play, which makes it next to worthless instead of completely worthless.

Vital abilities that have been around forever in user-created mods for this kind of gameplay are sadly still completely absent. No dropping of weapons or ammunition, for example.

The one map that came with it is much better than the CTF maps that came with Q3A, but once again, that's not much of an accomplishment. You would think that, being two generations later than the first Quake and Threewave CTF, that the maps would also have improved. But, at least IMHO, the worst of the original 8 Threewave maps is better than the Q3A CTF maps (and so are most of the single player Quake levels adapted to CTF for that matter).

The scoring system is reminiscent of an 80's arcade game, and while that's not bad in itself, it feels completely out of place. I keep waiting to find out I've won an extra life.

I guess for people that only play the game the way it came out of the box, this is an improvement. But if you've taken the time to play any of the mods for ANY of the three Quake games, it feels like little more than another way to gain money. (Compare it with the free download of Q2CTF by id software, and tell me which is truly better)

Maybe I'm just set in my ways, expecting certain things from something called CTF, like a grappling hook, runes, the good old hammer and lightning bolt logos, and a feeling of playing as a team. Or maybe it's just that Q3CTF felt like little more than deathmatch with a couple of flags tossed in.

The thing is... I didn't download the Team Arena demo with the intent of finding faults with it. I was really interested in seeing how good it turned out. I was sadly disappointed. I'll go play Classic CTF or Q2CTF instead...

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