Quake III Arena Hands-On
The Dreamcast version of Quake III Arena may look beautiful, but does it play as well as its PC brother? Check it out inside.
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The Dreamcast version of Quake III is about what you would expect from a PC to console port. The graphics are sharp and look very nice, but it doesn't play anything like the PC version. This is mostly because of the difficult Dreamcast controller. You can opt to play around with your control settings, but the setup isn't as comprehensive as that found in the PC version.
Another big problem with the controls is the fact that the Dreamcast's analog stick is inverted from your standard console first person shooter. I'm used to playing GoldenEye and Turok, in where you'd normally move the analog stick forward (or up) to look down, and backwards (or down) to look up. On the Dreamcast version you move the stick forwards to look up, and backwards to look down. This makes it exactly opposite of instinct for people who have been playing lots of first-person shooters - resulting in tons of misfired shots. While I know this is exactly how Quake III controls, I would have at least liked the option to invert the analog stick to be more instinctive for people used to Turok and GoldenEye control schemes.
The Dreamcast controller version might feel at home for left-handed Quake players, but it's horribly off for right-handers. This is because the analog stick, used to emulate the mouselook functionality is on the left hand side of the controller - forcing right handed players to suddenly start using their off hand for precision movement. Unfortunately, there's really no way around this, as using the face buttons of the Dreamcast controller wouldn't give you the proper feel the same way the analog stick does.
If the Quake III kiosks had been setup with a mouse and a keyboard, or even a keyboard and a controller, or even a keyboard alone, I would have been able to adapt better to the control and accept that Sega will probably address these issues by the time the game ships. But I get the distinct feeling that the Dreamcast controller controls are finished, and Sega will only enhance the Dreamcast keyboard and mouse controls for the final product.
With a little more control options Quake III could be the best first person shooter for the Dreamcast, but as it currently stands I find myself more comfortable with control schemes like that found in Outrigger. Hopefully Sega will pack more control configurations into the final build that appeal to not only the Dreamcast keyboard and mouse player, but to players who wish to use the Dreamcast's controller to play the game.