Video Game / Quake III: Arena

"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."
From the manual.

Quake III: Arena is the third entry in the Quake series, launched in 1999.

This time, several warriors from all the corners of the galaxy duked it out in order to entertain the Sufficiently Advanced Aliens, and win the honor of being the most badass warrior of all time. Characters from several of Id's games, such as Doom and the two previous Quake games, were present in it.

This game was designed almost exclusively with multiplayer mode in mind. Id had recognized the fact that the deathmatches were easily the most popular thing about Quake so far, and created this entry as a virtual arena for competitive online matches. The single-player mode contained only a very basic story, and was based around a series of tiers, with the player making its way to the final match against the Champion.

This game received an Expansion Pack in the form of Quake III: Team Arena, made by Id themselves, which was focused in team games. Here you must choose a team and duke it out with the other clans.

Id also released a free web browser version of Quake III: Arena (that was later turned into a paid Steam-only game in October 2015) called Quake Live, which also added many extra maps (especially third-party ones) and some extra game modes. This version was later released on Steam.

And finally there's a Xbox Live Arcade version called Quake Arena Arcade, which was released December 15, 2010, which has some new maps.

Followed chronologically by Quake IV. In 2016, it received a direct successor as Quake Champions.

The game has a character sheet.


  • Art Evolution: For being in the same engine, many of the Arena and Team Arena maps received really big visual changes for Live compared to the original versions.
    • Barely noticeable in Team Arena itself, but it's still there - starting with the menu design and ending with the minor fact that Callisto has little face animation, unlike the other models.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The game uses an AI system based on brushes (firstly used on the Xaero bot mod for Quake II) instead of waypoint-based systems. This, however, doesn't mean that the bots will play like humans. They cannot jump, use platforms (there's a reason of why Q3 lacks platform-based maps, and uses jumppads instead) and they cannot navigate their way onto items which take some kind of risk to get. This is also a problem in its Spiritual Successor OpenArena.
  • Ascended Glitch: The Strafe Jump, with a tutorial and training course in Live.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Some levels are set in space platforms and just a bunch of the characters aren't helmet-less, spacesuit-less humans.
  • Beam Spam: The Lightning Gun.
  • BFG: It's a Plasma Gun on steroids, however...
  • Blood Knight: In the blurb, it says the gods wanted more entertainment, so they put you and the others there to fight, and even made you immortal so that not even death would release you from fighting.
  • Bond One-Liner: The dev team got creative with them, as many bots can attest. This is something which was refined further by Unreal Tournament and the like.
    • Team Arena characters rely on "uniformed" voice acting rather than texted chat lines and, as a matter of fact, there's significantly less one-liners than in the vanilla Q3, but they're still here.
  • Bowdlerization: In order to get the "T" rating, Live had to drop every topic/reference to alcohol, drugs, rear-guards, sex, porn, depictions of violence with animals and Satanism.
  • Death Is Not Permanent: If Arenas is any indication, characters are rebuilt between respawns. In the game proper, the bots even lampshade this.
  • Chainsaw Good: The Gauntlet.
  • Cherry Tapping: The game actually gives you a humiliation award for killing your opponent with the Gauntlet. This fact makes the otherwise useless Gauntlet a popular weapon, especially in Quake Live, where other players can see how many people you "humiliate" during all your game sessions.
  • Competitive Balance: In Team Arena, you start as Jack-of-All-Stats, as in any FPS, but in the maps with the Runes, depending on the rune you've taken, you may become:
    • Fragile Speedster: Scout. (Negates your armor, and you're unable to pick up armor, but makes you faster)
    • Mighty Glacier or Lightning Bruiser: Guard. (You receive the max health and armor, and the health will regenerate to the maximum)
    • Glass Cannon: Doubler. (Increases your firerate and weapon damage)
    • Spoony Bard: Ammo Regen. (Your ammunition regenerates... rather slowly)
  • Competitive Multiplayer: One of the games that really started the multiplayer craze, it still has a dedicated "professional" competitive community to this day.
  • Credits Gag: In the PC version, after defeating Xaero, there's a cutscene which shows him turned into stone, and the obvious credit list... then Slash appears trying to control her rollerblades.
  • Death Trap: Some Deathmatch levels have these. They range from killing pendulums, to crushing platforms, to death pits.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: Any player who dies while carrying the Kamikaze holdable powerup. When dying, (and if they're not gibbed) they will produce a huge explosion which shakes the arena.
  • Developers' Foresight: In single player, curse at a bot. They'll comment on your potty mouth. Similarly, typing in racist slurs will have them ask if you're some sort of racist. Typing something religious will either get them on praising religion or throwing an insult at you. Really, there's a lot of topics it can handle, even though pretty loosely.
  • Dummied Out: More info here. Some worthy mentions:
    • Vanilla Quake III has a Grappling-Hook Pistol, accessible via cheating. It's modeled and works like it should, but its functionality is incomplete.
    • Team Arena has an incomplete Use Item, a Portal device. Like the Grapple, it's modeled, but its functionality is incomplete, and there's no model, sprite or effect for it, leading it to being a weird Game Breaker if added to a map. Should it have been completed with the functionality finished, it would have predated games such as Narbacular Drop and Portal.
    • A minor one, but some bot chatlines were commented out, such as Angel's reactions when she gets killed by a player or kills with a Kamikaze. They're a real thing for Fritzkrieg and Pi, however.
  • Easter Egg:
  • Excuse Plot: The game's plot goes like this: Sufficiently Advanced Aliens kidnapped some of the greatest warriors and made them fight each other to death and redeath. You die? They'll respawn you back. The best warrior will then challenge Xaero, the Arenas Eternal's champion. In the PS2 version, you get to fight against the tournament's host directly, though.
  • Flight: You can find this item in just one map during a Multiplayer match, but it's also present in some third-party maps as well.
  • Follow the Leader: Alongside Unreal Tournament, III started the multiplayer-focused craze.
  • Gradual Regeneration: The Regeneration powerup.
  • Lighter and Softer: Live has blood and gore removed, along with the map decorations of corpses, torture victims, and skeletons.
    • Other things such as references to drugs, alcohol and sex were removed as well. See Bowdlerization above.
  • Lightning Gun: The Quake 1 gun returns, but without the "water discharge" property.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: A pretty painful issue of the PS2 port, in which loadings might span for just as long as two minutes.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover:
    • This game feature characters from most of Id Software's major FPS games until its release date battling it out for supremacy, such as the Space Marine from Doom, the Quake dude (referred to as "Ranger"), and several characters from Quake II including the generic Grunt, Bitterman (the protagonist of the main Quake II game), Major, and a Strogg Tank. The only major missing figure is Wolfenstein's B.J. Blazkowicz. (Well, him and Commander Keen, but then again, Hide Your Children) To make up for it, Team Arena adds Fritzkrieg, a reconstructed soldier from WWII.
    • This also extends to the weapons, as the starting guns are a small version of Doom's chainsaw (the Gauntlet) and Quake II's Machinegun. There're also Quake's Lightning Gun, (which, sadly, doesn't include the "instant water kill" property its Quake counterpart had) Doom's Plasma Gun, and Quake II's Railgun. Team Arena also adds a modified version of Quake's Nailgun (which behaves more like a Shotgun with Nails instead of a rapid-fire Nail shooter) and Quake II's Chaingun.
    • Author Avatar: After installing the 1.16n patch of the game, you can even play as some of the developers!
    • Guest Fighter: Bullfrog, the developers of Quake III: Revolution, sure didn't leave the happy owners of this PS2 port without a tasty treat - The Reaper and The Mistress make guest appearances there!
  • Mid Boss: The single-player portion of III features one boss per tier, except Tier 6: Sarge, Hunter, Klesk, Anarki, Uriel and Xaero.
  • More Dakka: Team Arena's Chaingun. The machine gun in vanilla Arena is a lamer version.
  • Nail 'Em: Team Arena's Nailgun.
  • Nerf: The Railgun in Team Arena and later revisions. It was overpowered in Arena, being hitscan and doing enough damage to reliably kill an opponent in one or two shots. In TA, the weapon gets weaker with distance, making it useless at longer ranges. This was later carried over to vanilla III by the time of Point Release 1.32.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Lampshaded by Gorre, when he dies by lava:
    "Where's the 'Under Construction' sign? Who built this freakin' place?"
  • Nostalgia Levels: Live adds some well-known third-party maps to the fray and some obscure console-only ones.
  • Palette Swap: Multiple models have alternate skins, although they all have no more than two team textures. Bolded are the bots available in the vanilla campaign, the console-exclusive bots are in italic.
    • Bones - X-Ray
    • Doom - Phobos
    • Sarge - Krusade, Roderic
    • Grunt - Stripe
    • Hunter - Harpy
    • Klesk - Flisk
    • Slash - Yuriko, Grrl
    • Patriot - Razor, Id
    • Lucy - Angel
    • Ranger - Wrack
    • Uriel - Zael
    • Visor - Gorre
    • Major - Daemia
    • Biker - Cadavre, Hossman, Slammer, Stroggo
  • Pop-Star Composer: Front Line Assembly composed some tracks for the main game.
    • Moreso Sonic Mayhem, which returns after doing soundtrack for Quake II.
  • Shareware: The demo version came with four levels (Arena Gate -q3dm1-, Temple of Retribution -q3dm7-, The Longest Yard -q3dm17- and The Proving Grounds -q3tourney2-) and five selectable characters (Daemia, Grunt, Visor, Major, Stripe and Sarge as a Final Boss of sorts).
  • Shout-Out:
    • The final single-player level, "The Very End of You", is named after a line from "We're In This Together" by Nine Inch Nails.
    • The achievement for knocking down enemies in Quake Arena Arcade is called "This Is Stroggos!"
    • The fourth single-player level is called "The Place of Many Deaths", after a song by Morbid Angel.
    • The map "The House Of Decay" from Team Arena was rechristened as "Blue Monday" in both the Dreamcast version and Live.
  • Suicide Attack: By using the Kamikaze item in Team Arena and Live.
  • Timed Mission: All of Team Arena's single-player missions are this, as well as some matches on the main game.
  • Time Trial: Basically to what the singleplayer mode in Team Arena has been reduced - a series of free-to-choose challenges, in which you need to score points. The time bonus, complete with the skill multiplier, deliver the biggest impact on the challenge's final score.
  • Tournament Play: The longevity of the game in the competitive scene eventually led to the development of Live.
  • Use Item: Teleporter and Medkit, also Kamikaze and the Invulnerability force field in Team Arena.
  • Why Am I Ticking?: In Team Arena and Live, hit an enemy with a Prox Mine, (or many, for amplified effect) and in 10 seconds, more or less, he will blow into pieces.
  • Your Mom: Might occur if you try to chat with a bot (any who can reply to your messages, anyway) and actually manage to piss him off.