A review of Open Arena

Open Arena is a first person shooter based on an evolution of Quake III Arena graphic engine so its fans will have no problems in recognizing all the features inherited from that game: the various single player and multiplayer game modes, weapons and objects. Open Arena goal though isn't to create just a free version of Quake III Arena, it's to create a game with its own "personality" and you can see that starting with the player models which sometimes keep the names they have in Quake III Arena but their look has been totally reinvented.

This graphic engine runs perfectly on old hardware, in fact the pictures were captured on an old Sempron 2600+ with an integrated graphic card: obviously with a newer hardware it's possible to play at resolutions much higher than 640x480 with special effects tuned up to the max. This game stil runs on old Windows versions but from version 0.8.8 the specific executable already deprecated to run the game under Windows 9x/ME isn't supported anymore.

Open Arena's package includes various maps, some can be played in single player mode, others are only available for one or more multiplayer modes though it's possible to select local play and use bots as opponents if you don't want or can't connect to a server to play over the Internet against human opponents.

Some maps were converted from Quake (various versions), otheres are more or less original.

Quake III Arena map 'The Longest Yard'

Open Arena map 'Never Ending Yard'

Open Arena also include features that in Quake III were available with the Team Arena expansion pack such as Overload and Harvester play modes and weapons such as the nail gun.

Obelisk destroyed in Overload mode

Red skull are collected in Harvester mode

A wave of nails shot by a nail gun

Open Arena added some new multi-player mode variants such as Elimination, where two teams fight in a number of rounds, and Domination, a variant of Capture the Flag where flags can change color when a member of a team captures them and points are earned for as long as flags are held.

The blue team conquers a red flag in Domination mode

Besides the maps included in the Open Arena package there are many more created by fans and generally it's possible to use the ones created for Quake III Arena.

Linux users might find Open Arena in their distribution's repositories, for other distributions and other operating systems it's possible to download the game following the instructions you can find on the  project site, where there's also a forum that among the other things is useful to get in touch with a community of players and keep updated on which servers are available to play over the Internet.

On your own on with someone else Open Arena is a terrific source of fun that first person shooters fans can't miss, particularly the ones who loved and still love games like Quake III Arena.