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Western Quake 3 Beta 2.0 Review

Western Quake 3 is a fun, action-packed and beautifully accurate Wild West Q3A mod that left me wanting more! It would be hard not to have fun while playing this game!

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Introduction

Although still just a taste of what is coming, the eagerly awaited release of Western Quake Beta 2.0 is finally upon us! I had an opportunity to download the game two weeks ago and haven’t been disappointed. Initially, I attempted to play several matches against the included bots. This proved a disaster, as the bots had less intelligence than the meandering Doom minions of long ago. Fortunately, I decided to read the included documentation after this first bout and discovered that the bots were included only for testing purposes. So much for gripping single player play! The next weekend, I invited a friend over to test out the game’s focal point: Multiplayer. After bribing my brother with a promise of snacks and soda during the night of gameplay, we were all set for a campaign in the Wild West.

Features:

  • 3 Different Gameplay Modes (Bank Robbery, Teamplay, Dueling)
  • 6 Bank Robbery Maps
  • 6 Teamplay Maps
  • 2 Dueling Maps
  • Spectator “Fly”
  • 9 Historically-accurate weapons in three classes (Sidearms, Rifles, Shotguns)
  • Miscellaneous items such as Dynamite, Boiler Plate, etc.
  • Effective money/currency system for purchasing weapons, etc.
  • New graphical interface, improved HUD (heads up display)
  • Gameplay tweaks for more fun!
  • Totally new game soundtrack!

*Before I delve into the gameplay aspects of Western Quake, it is only fair for me to first state that our gameplay was somewhat limited by the fact that we had only 3 computers capable of playing Western Quake initially. Only one night of gameplay had us with balanced teams, when my crackshot 8 year old brother entered the game on a laptop.

Gameplay

Upon starting of the game, I was greeted by the Iron Claw Interactive logo animation. As if not setting it apart enough from its plain-vanilla Quake 3 mod community brothers and sisters, the main menu also was also totally and expertly redone. After clicking through various menus, it became apparent that much effort has gone into extending the old-fashioned Wild West look throughout the interface. Within the Settings tab, I noted many Western Quake-specific options and triggers, and various features were unlocked that could previously only be accessed through the infamous command line. It was certainly a pleasing change seeing the FPS counter easily accessible! The enhancements go on, especially in the single player and multiplayer game hosting menus. Here everything can be found within one screen, whereas the classic Quake 3 menus were somewhat redundant with much screen area wasted. While actually playing, simply pressing the “esc” key brings up a clean, Western-themed menu with all the traditional Quake 3 options (join, quit, etc). After starting a game, simple first-person style elements are easily adapted to. Your character can jump, run, climb up and down ladders, and open doors. Where Western Quake breaks new ground is with its impressive two-handed weapon capabilities, however. It is possible to carry and use two different pistols simultaneously in different hands. For example, I could have a Colt Peacemaker in one hand and Remington 1858 model in the other. More complicated is reloading: you must switch to each pistol individually in order to reload it before returning back to dual-gun mode. While it can be argued that this takes more time, it is much more realistic (even the reloading animations are accurate!). One very notable feature is the weapon-switching capability itself. The easiest description is as a hybrid between Half-Life style menus and normal FPS weapon switching. Integral to the Western Quake 3 playing experience is the money system. After each round (a match consists of several quicker rounds, with 1 death per player), the winning team receives a set amount of money with which to purchase new equipment, weapons, etc. The losing team also receives a reasonable amount of money with which it can buy a decent weapon so as to not overly unbalance the game. The purchasing menu is simply brought up at the start of each match with a single tap of a key, and is intuitive and easy to use. Simply purchase your weapons/items, and exit the menu. Actual gameplay is an exciting mix of stealthy sneaking, full-blown Rambo-style action, and teamwork. Each Teamplay/Bank Robbery game starts off with you alternating between the roles of Outlaw and Lawman. Duel mode games begin with you facing off your opponent and quickly drawing your weapon for the fastest kill. Each gameplay mode is highly addictive, so play with caution! When it comes down to raw Deathmatch, the teamplay mode is as close as you can get (Heads up, Iron Claw! Where is the simple deathmatch mode?). It is obvious that the designers designed the game for teamplay, as every gameplay mode requires such. Don’t let this discourage you, it was still great fun playing 2 vs 1! I was thoroughly impressed with the provided teamplay maps. Faithfully reproducing a Wild West environment, it is tremendously satisfying when a gunfight erupts between two buildings of a small Western town. It is quite a thrilling feeling when you enter a saloon to hear bullets ricocheting about you, bottles breaking, and windows shattering. Sneaking about the richly detailed maps is incredibly rewarding, especially when you catch your opponent unawares and let your trusty old sawed-off do its job! Of course, if you are the more forward type, you can simply run through the streets in hope to see the opponents before they see you. For a more objective-based game, consider trying the Bank Robbery game mode. It was within this mode that the true genius of the level designers comes to fruition: gorgeous, large maps with rolling terrain and lush, detailed textures are here for the eye to behold. Incredible scenes such as large towns, sunset-lit farms, and others truly astound…especially when you take into consideration that they are running within the Quake 3 engine! The Bank Robbery game type can be summarized as such: One side, the Outlaws, have to find the Bank Safe, use dynamite to blow it open, and retrieve the contents, and return back to their starting point before the defending Lawmen can stop them. Wash, rinse, and repeat. Also very addictive (even with the small amount of people present to play with this mode!), I am sure that this game would be best played with larger teams with at least 4 per side. Hopefully, I will test this game in the near future when I host a larger LAN party, and give you my results! The duel mode succeeds in capturing an element missing in any other Western-themed game I have ever played: the cinematic, movie-like suspense of a gun duel! Each duel starts with the camera flying in while famous music clips from classic Western films play in the background…then suddenly, you must pull up your weapon fastest in an attempt to out-draw the opponent! The match can be over seconds later, as the best draw often determines the winner. To be honest, the most frustrating thing about the duel is how my little sharpshooter brother nailed me right off again and again. There definitely is technique to winning in this mode!

Conclusion

While playing, it is hard not to notice the level of detail put into the game. Each weapon looks absolutely wonderful! It is almost a shame that the gameplay sometimes distracts you from the intricate reloading animations. For the weapon-collecting freak, this game is a must-have simply to be able to play with these guns! Again, I must stress the detail put into the level design: it rocks. Streets lined with pubs, banks, and jails; even gold mines await you! Even though the Quake 3 graphics engine is dated, the development team has put a huge amount of effort into the completely new and high resolution textures, sounds, and music in order to create a rich playing experience. Especially of note is the completely original Western-styled music score, which only completes the ensemble of the Wild West. All-in-all, I am thoroughly impressed with this release of Western Quake 3. Already seeming very complete within this Beta release, Western Quake 3 is truly shaping up to be quite a fun romp through the dangerously beautiful and fascinating Wild West. Beautifully designed maps, historically accurate weapons, a variety of gameplay modes, and even the novel Spectator Fly come together to create an experience that is truly inspirational and even has ‘ma bean eatin’, coffee guzzlin’, rowdy ol’ self wanting more! Western Quake 3 Beta 2 has enough features to make one think that it is complete. It is stable, fun, and addictive. For these qualities and more, I hereby deem this game 8 out of 10 and award it the Bjorn3D Seal of Approval. Not higher, because the game is not complete. And not lower for the same reason. Until the next Beta, have fun and happy gaming!

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