The most balanced online FPS game to date.
Back in the day, people loved Quake and Quake 2 for their beautiful graphics, awesome gameplay, but mostly, for their multiplayer. Then, in 1999, id Software released Quake 3, which was a combination of all good stuff from Quake 1 and 2's multiplayer.
As always, in the tradition of Quake games (and any other games developed by id Software), Quake 3, as a new game, introduced a new revolutionary engine, which was more beautiful, more realistic than the previous engine and was later used in newer games, many of which later became a legend, such as Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, Call of Duty, Return to Castle Wolfenstein and others. The textures and physics really were impressive back in the day. If some people think that Quake 3 wasn't as good as Counter Strike or Unreal Tournament, will, they may even be right at some point, but one thing is for sure - they can never tell us that it didn't have better graphics than those games.
Decent audio effects and soundtracks were also present. The last ones, being written by Sonic Mayhem and Front Line Assembly, were maybe not as good as those from Quake 2, but were still enjoyable to hear in the background while you were fragging like a machine.
Quake 3 had a good variety of powerups - the good old Quad Damage, which never lets down (though now being only triple damage in reality), the Radiation suit similar to the ones from previous games, the invisibility, which resembles the Partial Invisibility from Doom, and some good new entrances, like the Regeneration, Flight and Haste. All being fun to use, they really add it to the gameplay. The weapons arsenal is like a mix of Doom and previous Quake games. Besides weak starting weapons like the Machinegun and the Gauntlet we got the good old shotty, the rocket launcher, which still allows us to perform a rocket jump, the grenade launcher, the favourite of the snipers, the railgun, the all-mighty lighting gun from Quake 1, the new BFG10K and a plasma gun very similar to the one from Doom. A little added thing to the railgun is that you can now choose the colour of the railguns fire effect. Not much of a new addition, but still gives a variety to the game. Q3 has a big variety of maps, which range from old castle like architectures from Quake 1 to some bouncy space themed maps like in Quake 2. There is an endless roster of playable characters, some of which are heroes of previous id games, like the Doomguy, the Q1 Marine, Q2 Marine, and female counterparts of some of them, as well as some new skins based on those guys.
Quake 3 also introduced some new stuff to the multiplayer world of FPS games. It's good to know that your a decent player, but it's even cooler if you get some rewards/bonuses for some awesome tricks you did. For example, you kill 2 enemies in less than 2 seconds, and for that you get an Excellent reward above your head, to let the other players know about that, and the announcer also comments "Excellent!" to you. There are many rewards like these in the game. Things like these were later used in other online FPS games, or in multiplayer of FPS games, like Halo, for example.
There are more than single things to not like about this game, however. At first, its very strange that you can't play TDM on every DM map, which is very disappointing, cause i'd love to play a Team Game on a cool map like The Longest Yard, for example. This however, was fixed in some modded servers, so it's not such a big problem.
My second complaint about this game is, that it's not such a long-living game like UT and CS. You get tired of this game faster than of those games, and it is less popular, judging by the number of servers and players. There is just something which doesn't make this game as good as it is supposed to be. Throughout the history of Quake, the games in the series always welcomed a good multiplayer mode, but since Quake 3, other companies started to develop better online games, which are a much more beast than Quake 3. And, when Quake 4 came out, will, it was more than just a disappointment, it was an embarrassment, when compared to other games of that day.
Also, another small complaint from me - the sound of the weapons. Just horrible, so weak, and the way they fire is even worse. The weapons from previous Quake games were a lot more powerful than those in Q3.
The Bottom Line
Despite all of its flaws, Quake 3 is still a legendary game, which is still sometimes fun to play next to some of the best online games of the present day. There is just one thing which completely differs it from all other games - the way its balanced in its gameplay and how friendly it is to all those who play it.