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Welcome to the Arena, where high-ranking warriors are transformed into spineless mush. Abandoning every ounce of common sense and any trace of doubt, you lunge onto a stage of harrowing landscapes and veiled abysses. Your new environment rejects you with lava pits and atmospheric hazards as legions of foes surround you, testing the gut reaction that brought you here in the first place. Your new mantra: fight or be finished.

—id Software overview

Q3 cover

Quake III Arena is a multiplayer-focused first-person shooter released on December 2, 1999. It differs from the other games in the Quake series (not counting Quake Live) in that it sacrifices the Single Player mode to focus on multiplayer. Its Single Player segment is almost identical to multiplayer fights, although other players are replaced by bots.

Notable features of Quake III include the minimalist design, lacking rarely used items and features, the extensive customization of player settings such as field of view, texture detail and enemy model, and advanced movement features such as strafe-jumping that give more speed with greater skill in contrast to the digital, all or nothing design of many computer games.

Note: Unlike its predecessors, Q3A does not have a plot-based Single Player campaign. Instead, it simulates the multiplayer experience with computer controlled players known as bots (see Bots below).

The Story[]

Q3 HUD gameplay

The Quake 3 heads-up display.

Untold centuries ago the Vadrigar, the mysterious Arena Masters, constructed the Arena Eternal for their own infernal amusement. Virtually nothing is known of these beings except that they savor the carnage and clamor of battle. As such, they have stocked the arena with the greatest warriors of all time - and you have just joined their ranks.

As a gladiator in the Arena Eternal, you must not only survive, but also win each and every battle against ever more powerful opponents. Don't worry overly much about getting "fragged." The Vadrigar won't be cheated of their favorite sport by a little thing like death. Those who fall are instantly restored to life and immediately thrust back into the battle, perhaps a little wiser for their misfortunes..

When the dust, blood, and gibs settle, all warriors will have earned the right to battle again, providing further entertainment for the Vadrigar. But only the warrior who has fragged the most foes will be lauded as the winner. The victorious gladiator advances to a more challenging array of arenas, until, at last, he or she faces Xaero, Lord of the Final Arena.


Quake III contains a grand total of 35 maps, 30 Deathmatch-based maps and 5 Capture the Flag-based ones. Out of the 30 maps, 26 came with the base game, with 4 more added through updates, while out of the 5 CTF maps, 4 came with the base game and one more was added through an update. In addition, a seventh map, Q3TOURNEY7: Almost Lost, was set to appear in the base game, but was released as a free addon later on:

Tier 0 - Introduction (1 map)
Q3DM0 levelshot
Q3DM0: Introduction

Tier 1 - Trainee (4 maps)
Q3DM1 levelshot
Q3DM2 levelshot
Q3DM3 levelshot
Q3TOURNEY1 levelshot
Q3DM1: Arena Gate Q3DM2: House of Pain Q3DM3: Arena of Death Q3TOURNEY: Powerstation 0218
Tier 2 - Skilled (4 maps)
Q3DM4 levelshot
Q3DM5 levelshot
Q3DM6 levelshot
Q3TOURNEY2 levelshot
Q3DM4: The Place of Many Deaths Q3DM5: The Forgotten Place Q3DM6: The Camping Grounds Q3TOURNEY2: The Proving Grounds
Tier 3 - Combat (4 maps)
Q3DM7 levelshot
Q3DM8 levelshot
Q3DM9 levelshot
Q3TOURNEY3 levelshot
Q3DM7: Temple of Retribution Q3DM8: Brimstone Abbey Q3DM9: Hero's Keep Q3TOURNEY3: Hell's Gate
Tier 4 - Warrior (4 maps)
Q3DM10 levelshot
Q3DM11 levelshot
Q3DM12 levelshot
Q3TOURNEY4 levelshot
Q3DM10: The Nameless Place Q3DM11: Deva Station Q3DM12: The Dredwerkz Q3TOURNEY4: Vertical Vengeance

Tier 5 - Veteran (4 maps)
Q3DM13 levelshot
Q3DM14 levelshot
Q3DM15 levelshot
Q3TOURNEY5 levelshot
Q3DM13: Lost World Q3DM14: Grim Dungeons Q3DM15: Demon Keep Q3TOURNEY5: Fatal Instinct

Tier 6 - Master (4 maps)
Q3DM16 levelshot
Q3DM17 levelshot
Q3DM18 levelshot
Q3DM19 levelshot
Q3DM16: Bouncy Map Q3DM17: The Longest Yard Q3DM18: Space Chamber Q3DM19: Apocalypse Void

Tier 7 - Elite (1 map)
Q3TOURNEY6 levelshot
Q3TOURNEY6: The Very End of You

Capture the Flag Maps[]

Q3CTF1 levelshot
Q3CTF2 levelshot
Q3CTF3 levelshot
Q3CTF4 levelshot
Q3tourney6 CTF levelshot
Q3CTF1: Dueling Keeps Q3CTF2: Troubled Waters Q3CTF3: The Stronghold Q3CTF4: Space CTF Q3TOURNEY6_CTF: Across Space

Pro Maps[]

PRO Q3DM6 levelshot
PRO Q3DM13 levelshot
PRO Q3TOURNEY2 levelshot
PRO Q3TOURNEY4 levelshot



Quake III comes with several gameplay modes:

Quake III Arena's Single Player Campaign[]


In Quake III Arena, the player progresses through tiers of maps, combating different bot characters that increase in difficulty, from Crash (at Tier 0) to Xaero (at Tier 7/Z). The difficulty of the bots can be customized before the beginning of the battle through 5 different difficulty selections, from I Can Win (the easiest) to Nightmare (the hardest). While deathmatch maps are designed for up to 16 players, tournament maps are designed for duels between 2 players and in the Single Player game could be considered boss battles.

The weapons are balanced by role, with each weapon having advantages in certain situations such as at long-range or being fired around a corner; the BFG10K is an exception to this as a super-weapon. Weapon balance was achieved by examining earlier games in the series, Quake and Quake II as well as extensive play testing with well-known players such as Thresh. In the first Quake the Rocket Launcher was so effective that it dominated entire matches while the Rocket Launcher in Quake II so weak and slow that it was sometimes ignored. The Rocket Launcher in Quake III is effective but not overpowering, allowing it to be countered in many situations. Weapons appear as level items, spawning at regular intervals in set locations on the map. If a player dies all their weapons are lost and they receive the spawn weapons for the current map, usually the Gauntlet and Machine Gun. Players also drop the weapon they were using when killed, which other players can then pick up.


Quake III Arena was specifically designed for multiplayer, the game allows players whose computers are connected by a network/LAN or to the Internet, to play against each other in real time. It uses a client-server architecture that requires all players' clients to connect to a server. Q3A's focus on multiplayer gameplay spawned a lively community, similar to Quakeworld, that is active to this day.

Environmental Features[]

Environmental Hazards[]


Main article: Medal (Q3)

Medals are small tokens of achievement that you can earn in every battle. In Single Player mode, they will be recorded.

Default Characters[]

Main article: Quake 3 Bots

The Arena is populated with an array of deadly fighters whom itch to test their mettle against you. While bots can't successfully mimic the players you would encounter in multiplayer nor learn anything new, they can teach players the basics of combat and the idea of area control by timing or denying pickups. Each gladiator programmed to solve problems, come over obstacles and work for short or long term goals. They can't cheat or learn new things, but can adapt to a situation quickly by compensating instead of trying the same thing just to fail again. Gladiators will even taunt player by putting their characters out.

The Gladiators who populate the arena eternal are not happy to be here to begin with. Climbing up their hierarchy will pit the player against the arena lords of certain tiers by order. Arena Lords are particularly dangerous foes who have distinguishing traits, aggression and tastes. Player will finally climb the ranks just to face and vanquish the last arena lord at final tier, to release him free from the eternity he shackled within'.



In Quake III, there are five difficulty levels instead of the normal four. All of them can be selected when starting any Singleplayer map. The skill of the bots in each map depends on the selected difficulty level.

At lower difficulties, bots are handicapped at health and damage they dishout, also unresponsive to the sight or audial cues they gathered for first few seconds and don't pay attention to dodging or positioning. Low difficulty bots would run in straight line, shown to be slow-witted in combat and aim behind and rear of the player without leading the shot regardless of weapon they have. Their aggression and self-preservation depend on their traits and stick out more with difficulty. As difficulty scale increases they start to go for important pickups, dodge and navigate better, become unforgiving, position to take cover and aim better while losing their damage-health handicap at each scale.

While high difficulty bots, would have jumping characteristics, change directions at random, can take cover against stray fire and prioritize item pickups by following a specific route. Depending on their weapon skill profile; they aim for either leading the missile projectiles successfully or have pinpoint accuracy at long distances by swiftly aligning their shot. At high difficulties, they become highly aware of audial cues they hear, possess swift turning with quick reaction times, also pay attention to their environment and positioning as well as reload delays of foes.

The difficulty levels are:

  • "I Can Win"; bots will get handicapped at 50%, very slow reaction time, low awareness, slow movement, very low accuracy
  • "Bring It On"; bots will get handicapped at 70%, slow reaction time, low awareness, slow movement, mediocre accuracy
  • "Hurt Me Plenty"; bots will get handicapped at 90%, mediocre reaction time, alert, predictable movement, mediocre accuracy
  • "Hardcore"; no handicaps, fast reaction time, highly alert, unpredictable movement, high accuracy.
  • "Nightmare!"; no handicaps, league level reaction time, always alert, unpredictable movement, full accuracy.

Game Types[]

Deathmatch (DM)[]



This is the classic form of Deathmatch. It's every man, woman, and sinister alien being for him/her/itself as the players frag everything that moves to get the most points.


Free for All (FFA) – Classic deathmatch, where each player competes against the rest for the highest score.

Team Deathmatch (TDM)[]



It's Red against Blue in a coordinated contest of carnage. Two teams of players work to control the arena and score the most frags on their foes.

—Quake 3 Manual

Team Deathmatch (TDM) – Team deathmatch, usually two teams of four compete for the highest team frag total.

Tournament (Tourney)[]



Players fight each other one-on-one, while future foes watch as spectators. The watchers wait their turns to be the challenger who wrests control of arena from the most recent victor.


Tournament (1v1) – A deathmatch between two players, usually ending after a set time.

Capture The Flag (CTF)[]


Capture the Flag

Slip into the other team's home base, grab its flag, and run home to score. What could be simpler? Now do it while dodging heavy artillery fire and you've got an idea of how this fast moving team game feels. Score the most and win!


Capture the Flag (CTF) – Team-based, played on symmetrical maps where teams have to recover the enemy flag from the opponents' base while retaining their own.


Main article: Quake III Soundtrack

The maps in Quake III are a range of space and demonic places and thus, the music respects this and has different types to suit each type of map. This is in contrast to Quake and Quake II which have a single type of music. Quake III's music is a collaboration of Sonic Mayhem and Front Line Assembly. Sonic Mayhem has released an album containing their portion of the soundtrack, giving previously untitled tracks names, as well as bonus tracks not found in the game.


The game have received overwhelming strong positive review as Metacritic and Gamerankings give the game Dreamcast version. 93/100, the PS2 Version. 84/100. the PC 89/100. [1], [2], [3], [4] It is often compared to Unreal Tournament, which was released a month before Quake 3 Arena.

Version History[]

Main article: Quake III Version History

Several patches have been released, offering bug fixes, stability improvements and more.


Quake III: Team Arena is the official expansion pack. Its primary focus is team games (mostly CTF variants), and it adds various new powerups and gameplay features meant to make CTF play even better and more entertaining.


Quake III is included in the compilations Ultimate Quake and Quake III: Gold.


Main article: Cheats and Console Commands

In Quake 3 Arena, to activate cheats player should load a map with developer mode. To achieve that player can simply open up the console (~ or ` as default button) and type:

/devmap [mapname]

[mapname] can be a Deathmatch map like Q3DM17 or a Tourney map like Q3TOURNEY2. Player can enter any map he or she desires. Within that command, the new map will be loaded with a new message on the loading screen "Cheats are enabled". When a map is loaded with the devmap command, all players in the same map can cheat. Bots never use cheats.

  • /god - God mode, player cannot be killed except extraordinary situations like using Kamikaze or falling into the void.
  • /give all - Receive all weapons and fill armor
  • /give [item name] - gives a single item to player, item name can be varied; any item weapon or power-up can be given to the player.
  • /map [mapname] - loads a map
  • /iamamonkey - unlock all tiers with 100 points
  • /iamacheater - unlock all tiers with 1 points


Following its release and due to its high popularity, the game has been ported to various other platforms. The most notable being the SEGA Dreamcast port which even allowed for playing against users of the PC version over the Internet which was not heard of before in a home console based video game.


The Dreamcast version was released in 2000 and featured online play, mouse and keyboard support as well as the ability to play against PC users over the Internet. It is often considered one of the best PC to console ports of its time due to its smooth frame rate and online play. There are still communities that play this version online on the remaining dedicated servers running patch version 1.16n and the required map pack.

This version, uniquely, has a new soundtrack by Aubrey Hodges and Dale Stump.

PlayStation 2[]

See Quake III Revolution

A year later the game was ported to the then-new PlayStation 2. Due to the lack of a modem or broadband adapter at the time, this version doesn't support any type of online play. Instead, it features a 4 player split screen option, new maps, weapons and items and an improved single player campaign. In addition to these changes the game can also be played in 16:9 widescreen and is compatible with the Blaze HDTV disc to enable HD resolutions of up to 1080i (although this mode is not recommended as it reduces the viewable area considerably).

Xbox Live Arcade[]

See Quake Arena Arcade

Quake III Arena was ported over to the Xbox Live as an Arcade title (named Quake Arena Arcade), the game features slightly updated visuals and other additions such as new maps and game types. The game currently costs 1200 Mircosoft points on the Xbox Live Marketplace.


  • Given how game experience is based on the multiplayer interaction, the developer team put pre-made config files among game files for players to use and learn from it. Config files are basic heaps of console commands and tweaks made for players to perform better in the match with comfort anywhere by booting it up. An execution (by /exec command) will execute all lines written in that config file by automation without further ado. Anyone can seek those ".cfg" files archived in the ".pak" filetype to read or use their name later on, at the specific game install location.
  • Continuity with prior games in the Quake series and even Doom is maintained by the inclusion of player models related to those earlier games as well as biographical information included on characters such as Grunts who are NPCs and Bitterman who is the protagonist from Quake II, or Ranger who is the protagonist from Quake.
  • In the manual, familiar mixture of Gothic (Doom & Quake) and technological (Quake II) map architecture and specific equipment can be observed, like the Quad Damage power-up, the infamous Rocket Launcher and the BFG super-weapon.
  • Despite its age, Quake III Arena is still alive even 23 years after, thanks to the community and mods that prolonged its existence. Community of defrag, a competitive race/physics mod for Quake III, is creating cyclical, semi-annual DFWC (Defrag World Cup) events, where players from all over the world compete on custom-made maps. In addition, the liberation of its source code in 2005 allowed the game's maintenance to be handled to its community with projects like ioQuake3, while at the same time it spawned games like Alien Arena and OpenArena, and allowed some previous Q3A mods like Urban Terror and Q3Rally to become standalone games.


id Software: Quake III Arena


External links[]