OpenArena 0.7.1 Review

For some readers the following will be enough to convince them that OpenArena is worth the download: This software is, essentially, Quake III Arena, for free. Built on source code released by id software in 2005, it has the same gameplay, graphics, and engine. Even some of the mods and content created for Quake 3 will run in OpenArena.

If you’re new to Quake, this is the game that took the baton from Doom and turned first person shoot ’em ups into a fully 3D genre. The single player game took you down a linear route, solving puzzles and blasting bad guys.

For many though, the real Quake experience could only be had in a multiplayer environment. Here, you connect to a server with other players and run around relatively small maps shooting everything and everyone in sight. It’s frantic, very violent, and immense fun.

OpenArena packs all this gameplay into a free download, with further maps or ‘mods’ available online. The interface is a little amateurish, but once the games begin there’s no mistaking what you’re playing.

This is 100 per cent Quake, complete with rocket launchers, lightning guns, and exploding opponents. If the pace of the multiplayer game is a little too much – and if you’re new to deathmatching it probably will be – you can hone your skills fighting artificially intelligent ‘bots’; computer generated players programmed to kill or be killed. They’re pretty convincing; strafing, jumping and taunting you like a real life 12-year-old gamer.

One great thing about OpenArena is that it runs well on even modestly specified systems. You won’t need a brand new MacBook to fire this up – though it will certainly help make the most of the built in OpenGL acceleration.

OUR VERDICT

If you like your games fast and free, and don’t mind a bit of virtual blood and guts, OpenArena is a must-have download.

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