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PnF : Disater Strikes...
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Q3a has gone gold. Like, whoopee! What follows is basically a load of Q3a bashing. You have been warned.

When I read the news on Scary's I was more disappointed than anything else. I've been more than vocal on the fact that I think the 3 test/demos we've had the pleasure or pain (depending on how you look at it) of playing, have been steaming piles of camel shit. Why you ask… its really rather simple.

Now I'll ignore the frontend because according to what I read on the Firing Squad, the game has a new fangled computer like interface. I am, however, assuming though that everything else we see in the latest demo is a damn good indication of what the retail version will be like. I mean, a few days after we get a demo of it, the game goes gold. The full game can't be that different from the demo!

My main grumble is the style chosen for the game and its generally dodgy maps. The player models are pretty cool, but the weapons are somewhat lacking. I still think the Plasma and Lightning guns look more like see-through dust busters and not weapons. Maybe trying to vacuum your opponent clean would be a more effective way of killing them sometimes. The new ammo models are better with the mixture of shiny metal and rust, a big improvement over the old bland efforts. The user interface, however, is not up to much. The gothic, size 18-font kiddies poster paint coloured lettering is absolute shite. Use something nice looking! Please! Probably too late for that.

The selection of maps used in demo really doesn't do id much good. I'm hoping there will be a more interesting and varied set in the full game. The new map, Q3DM1, isn't exactly inspiring. As Peej said it looks more like a hardware test map than anything else. I was also a little miffed to see the creature's gob type thing not animated. As a static object it looks pretty naff. Q3DM7, nice large FFA map. Again lots of fancy, prancy architecture, which in some areas looks pretty cool, but ultimately isn't too hot. Its also unfortunate that the mixture of yuck ass textures used just spoils it further. Q3DM17, it's a HIPDM1 look-alike. Less said on that the better. Q3TOURNEY2. Only just vaguely interesting but again suffers from a simplistic layout and again some ropey brush and texture work. The new shader stuff was a nice touch at first, but on further inspection it seems to mess up when you look closer at it. Standing back and looking at it is good. In 32 bit colour you can really see the scratch and dent marks on the metal. 16 bit isn't as impressive and it looks like someone has been blowing their nose all over it with big bloats of green and brown. Must be something up with the palette in 16 bit.

Scratching underneath the surface you do find something that is fairly playable. There is still a blockyness and slowness to the player movement that at first I just couldn't get to grips with, but after a while I did get used it. Its just when you go back to Quake it takes bit to readjust, you need to actually aim at shit and not fire in an enemies general direction and wait for the cheesy pinging hit noise.

Bots! OMG. Is that really Mr Elusive working on them? Intelligent my ass. I swear the Omicron bots are much, much better. As you've already read elsewhere, the higher the skill, the more accurate the aim is. That's all there is to it.

Did I spot it keeps track of your games? Wonder where they got that idea from? Tucked away in the demoq3 dir is games.log. Its not exactly comprehensive, but it does have the basics. The current method for displaying it isn't very readable. Hopefully it's better implemented in the full version.

Cash in hand
At the end of the day though, I'll be one of those mugs at store buying a copy of it. The reason is because I look forward to seeing some really kick ass custom maps made for it. I would love to see a version of EFDM12 for Q3a. Converted across with all the shader stuff in would be pretty damn cool. It is also, dare I say it, fun and different to play. It's a more strategic, slow type of game. Maybe UT will be for speed freaks and Q3a for those who like to take a more measured slow approach to DM. Time will tell. Either way I'll be getting my ass kicked at both.
MPQ Design by James Kable Healey.
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