Quake Arena Arcade brings the fast paced multiplayer deathmatch style that dominated PCs of the late 90s to XBLA. There are no stealthy knife takedowns, no nukes, and no sniper rifle. This is pure ?run around a shoot like crazy? FPS action. This game can be a lot of fun but it can also be a little frustrating. One thing is for sure, it can?t be anything if people don?t play it.
This game has your standard weapons like the shotgun, chain gun, and rocket launcher. It also has more exotic weapons like a railgun, plasma cannon, and lightning gun. Throw in a nailgun and some proximity mines for good measure and you?ve got plenty of firepower. There are also pickups that boost attributes like speed or firing rate or defense, and the legendary Quad Damage item that can make killing sprees real easy.
Maps range from uncomfortably small and full of tunnels to large open arenas in space full of portals and jump pads. What?s a jump pad you say? It?s exactly what it sounds like. In all these maps are pads that launch you in the air allowing you to get to higher floors, hurl you through space, and make for some interesting mid-air battles. These jump pads help to set this game apart from other shooters. It keeps things fresh and adds another element of craziness to the matches.
The game looks and feels like it?s running on a very fast PC. The graphics are bright and with all the fragging and running around the frame rate is still very solid. This game is always played in high speed, so any slowdown or frame drops would suck the joy right out of this game. Thankfully, it keeps up nicely. The sound effects and music are decent as well, but I could have done without the overly loud yell as my character falls to his doom in levels with open spaces. Then again, maybe I?m just falling off the map too much, but some are full of ?dead space? and one wrong move or hitting a jump pad wrong means death. Your control scheme is fully customizable, but it?s still hard to get good accuracy since these games were designed originally with a mouse in mind.
The game features a new campaign mode for single player, but it?s just fighting different computer controlled characters. You don?t really care about that. You want to battle online. This presents an issue: at the time of this review (a week after its release) there does not seem to be a large enough population playing the game. Sure there are a bunch of Player matches with people jumping in and out of games and hosts ending sessions. If you want mindless fragging that?s fine. But for the real fans of twitch FPS you want a solid game with no one dropping out, especially when doing Team or Capture the Flag.
For 1200 MS points you better get a good deal of play from this game. Since you?ll want to play online 99% of the time, it would be disappointing if there were barely any good sessions to join. Perhaps this game is getting lost in the holiday shuffle. Hopefully in the coming weeks people will realize they missed a chance to have fun again while shooting each other. With today?s grim realism of Call of Duty and other games, it?s nice to remember that deathmatches started out as more of a fun frenzy than a reason to yell at your screen and swear. If you want to get back to your FPS roots and have a good time fragging with friends, pick this game up?no really please pick it up. I?d like someone to actually play online. Thanks.