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Quake | III Revolution | review | game | Lollipop

Quake III: Revolution

(Activision for the PlayStation 2)
by Eric Johnson

I'll spare you the history lesson regarding Quake. I'm suffering from a wicked spell of writers block and after the hours I pissed away in April playing and reviewing Quake III: Team Arena for the PC, I just don't have much room in my heart to summon any love for this game. Quake III: Revolution is a valiant but insufficient effort to export a very popular multiplayer only PC game onto a console system that won't have online capability for the better part of a year. The irony here is that Quake III was built and the code was written from scratch, specifically and exclusively designed for playing online. Importing it to the PS2 meant that some sort of single-player game had to be salvaged from all that code. The result bares closer resemblance to a fighting game than a first-person shooter.

It starts by picking a character of varying speed, stamina, and assault power. Arenas are filled with different enemies based on a tier system that pits you against a number of computer-controlled opponents of varying skill levels in varying types of matches. Most are simple elimination, but others are variations on capture the flag, with a fairly good amount of variety. Clearing each level pushes you up the competition tier, resulting in tougher matches, the opportunity to improve the statistics of your character, and an eventual final confrontation that can win you freedom from the aliens that have enslaved you in this competition.

Your arsenal is the same poorly-designed arsenal found on the PC, with the welcome addition of the chain and nail gun found in the Team Arena expansion pack. The graphics have been considerably improved, even if the environments retain the gaudy generic set design reminiscent of Sylvester Stallone sci-fi action vehicles like Demolition Man and Judge Dredd. Sound was never the game's strong suit, and it ain't gonna sell anything now. Most of the sounds are convincing enough, but I wonder if the designers ever considered finding a more satisfying sound for shooting someone than the hollow "doink" that accompanies a gunshot deflected by armor. Unfortunately, Revolution's greatest shortcoming has nothing to do with the programming. The PlayStation controller, although exquisitely designed for a wide variety of game types, is an abominable substitute for a mouse and keyboard. Running and aiming in a frenzied situation using that double joystick configuration takes some serious getting used to. It works well in titles like Medal of Honor where careful aiming is essential, but the action in Quake is so frenzied and the chance of getting flanked so high, I just couldn't overcome the discomfort. There is, of course, a multi-player mode, but it uses that annoying split screen effect that pisses me off and bores the shit out of everyone else after a while. To sell a game like this you need a rich single-player experience - console multi-player is a throwaway feature anyhow.

Diehard Quake fans will stick to their PCs leaving the potential audience for this game dramatically reduced to those who enjoy first-person games on this type of system. For those people, I'd recommend Red Faction instead. Sometimes my opinions of these games hinge not on if they're worth spending money on, but if they're worth investing the time it takes to complete them, and with Quake III: Revolution, the answer is no.

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