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    PlanetQuake | Features | Articles | Elite Squad Arena Preview
   

Elite Squad Arena Preview
Ice guns? Check. Flamethrower? Check. Crazy scientist and his nuclear gun? Check on that, too. It's almost time for Elite Squad Arena!
  — by Hellchick


Whenever a new class-based mod shows up on the Quake scene, the question is always the same: will it be different? Classics like Team Fortress or Weapons Factory have always been hard to beat, and many mod teams that set out to make a great class-based mod often get held up to tough scrutiny against these bastions of the Quake community. Will the mod be unique? Will it feature new and different weapons, classes, and items? Which leads to the real question:

Choose a class, any class!

Who cares?

Okay, of course we all care. We always want new and different classes and weapons. But the bottom line is this: is the mod fun to play?

Since Elite Squad Arena is hosted right here at PlanetQuake and they'll be releasing their first beta next week, we thought we'd take you on a little tour of what you can expect from this mod, which we think will fit the bill of being fun to play as well as bringing us some new stuff.


The Classes and Their Arsenals

The Arctic Marine

Remember those guys in all the Bond movies that got to ski down the sides of mountains, shooting at Bond with their machine guns and just generally looking pretty kickass? I always wanted to be one of those guys. But since I can't ski and look cool, I guess I'll have to settle for being an Arctic Marine in ESA.

The Arctic Marine has some speed going for him as well as a couple of pretty cool weapons: the ice gun, the ice rail, and the snowball gun. Sure, snowballs and ice don't sound deadly, but these weapons are special. These aren't the snowballs you stuffed down your little brother's snowsuit.


The Scientist

  Didn't think a scientist could be a bad ass, did you? I'm a little partial to this one because of what I did in my former life (although it wasn't nearly as cool as this). The ESA team describes this geek as mostly a defense class, and he's responsible for keeping the rest of the team in top health by throwing health packs. His two weapons are the short range gluon gun, which is described as being able to kill a lot of people in little time. Rock. For long range attacks, he can fire nuclear grenades. Now that's what a grenade should be.


The Heavy Marine

This class can fill the needs of both a "tank"-like attacker as well as a solid defense. He doesn't just have weapons, either -- he carries a set of infrared goggles, which means that he can see anyone who's cloaked.

The Heavy Marine also carried with him a few different weapons for different ranges. His MP5 machinegun fills the need for a short-range weapon, while the shotgun is his medium range weapon. The RPG allows him to fly a guided missile right up the enemy where the sun doesn't shine.


The Sniper

So he's a camper...but he's a camper that's a better shot than you are. Most people are pretty familiar with this class, which is pretty much standard for any class-based mod. In addition to his standard sniper rifle, he carries a shotgun for those short range attacks.


The flame soldier: "Fire...F-I-R-E!!!"

The Flame Soldier

The counterpart to the Arctic Marine, this is the class you'll play if you're one of those people fascinated a little too much by fire (you know who you are). Naturally he's got a flamethrower, which is his short-range weapon, and the flame rocket, which is his long range aresenal.

This the guy that'll give the team its medium attack capabilities, so it's a well-rounded class.

 

The Mercenary

Another defense class, this guy carries the same MP5 machine gun as the heavy marine, a grenade launcher, and his stock in trade: remote mines that will stick to walls and can be detonated from anywhere on the map.


The Assassin

Kill the enemy in style! You won't be fast as the assassin, but you don't need to be. Your specialty is cloaking and sneaking, and you carry a shotgun for those times that you're not being stealthy, and a silenced pistol for the times you are.


Other Goodies

ESA isn't simply a class mod. It'll be featuring a few different game play modes to keep things fresh. These include CTF, Defend and Deliver, King of the Hill, Team Deathmatch, and Flagtag. I asked Zarq00n, the head guy on the ESA team, about these new game types. "Defend and deliver is a completely new gametype," he says. "f a team can keep their flag at the base for more than 30 seconds, they'll get one point. The other team should try to get the flag, and capture it in usual CTF style for points. Flagtag is also a new gametype, but a little inspired by Goldeneye for N64. There is one flag which both teams should try to get. When you have the flag, you'll get a point every 10 seconds, so you should work with the rest of your team, and defend the flag carrier."

 
You gotta keep this kind of info handy.

I also asked Zarq00n what he thought of the inevitable comparison to other class-based mods. "We know that we'll be compared to other class based mods. The difference is that we've got a new idea. The others are just ports of the mod Team Fortress for Quakeworld. We've got a lot of new stuff, and a lot of variation in gameplay. I've never seen anybody using a snowball gun before... :). When Q3F had only one gametype in their first beta, CTF, we'll have at least four different types in the first beta release."

So when will you be able to play Elite Squad Arena? The team is planning on releasing the full version of the mod around May 1, and a beta next week. The beta will have lots of these features, but look forward to even more great stuff in the final release. In the meantime, get lots more screenshots over at the Elite Squad Arena website, and make sure to check them often to keep tabs on when this promising mod will be ready for you to play!

   — Hellchick

Questions? Comments? Random screaming? Send it all to feedback@planetquake.com!


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