Many things have changed since I first reviewed Quake III, but most of my comments still stand. While the improvements in video card development are on show in Half-Life 2, Quake III actually holds up fairly well for a five year old title. It's still colourful and entertaining in its presentation, and while there aren't vehicles (Unreal Tournament 2004) or really expansive maps (Counter-Strike, etc.), everything still comes together nicely for a mindless romp.
I'm still impressed to this day with how much ID were able to get out of the title in terms of character design. Many of the titles that came out at the same time, including Unreal Tournament, relied on simple colour or clothing changes to differ the team players, for the most part. Quake III tried something different and it worked, with some really crazy characters (the eyeball for one).
Quake III started a new age of gaming, taking players out of the usual single player environment and placing a greater emphasis on multiplayer and team play. It's influence on future titles, therefore, was a very big one. Multiplayer is a big selling point for many titles, and up until Quake II and Arena, it was rarely looked at outside of sports or racing games, except for the few that did try.
But of course, just having multiplayer and nothing else doesn't always work. Quake III does have a single player campaign, but essentially it's the multiplayer levels stretched out to one on ones with bots. It helps to give newer players a chance at working on their skills, but it doesn't cut it compared to those hoping for another true action title.
Like I said before, Quake III does hold up well compared to newer releases, long after its first release. So there aren't many new downsides I can update with, which is a good thing.
The Bottom Line
Q3 is the perfect type of game to play at a LAN. Quick to setup and get going, and a hell of a lot of fun. Without a decent single player mode to back it up, however, there isn't that much to take out of it in the end.
Looking back and playing it again, it hasn't lost any of its charm or entertainment factor. Pick up the mods or Team Arena expansion, and you've got a title that can bring endless amounts of fun, and now at a much cheaper price. So don't shy away from Quake III if you do happen to find it at a bargain bin, and you are yet to try it. You may be surprised at how much fun it really is. I still enjoy it to this day.