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The game is an open-source clone of Quake III Arena, with the vanilla gameplay almost intact: score frags to win the game using a balanced set of weapons each designed for different situations. Like Id's game, the style of play is very fast and requires skill to be played successfully online.
The gamemodes included are Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Tournament, Capture The Flag (all modes also in vanilla Q3), Harvester, One Flag CTF, Overload (these three from Q3's Expansion Pack Team Arena included in vanilla) Elimination, CTF Elimination, Last Man Standing, Double Domination and Domination (all of these additions)
The game is compatible with many of the mods and maps done for Q3. Because OA is not finished, some of the many mods and maps created for the original game couldn't be compatible.
There's also a "missionpack" addon, which acts as the game's stand-on for Quake III: Team Arena.
OpenArena has examples of:
Several tropes which apply to Quake III Arena might apply here as well. Also, these tropes, unless noted otherwise, apply to 0.8.8.
- Abandoned Warehouse: am_underworks, blitzkrieg3, oa_dm3, oa_reptctf11.
- Animesque: The style of the game, or at least, what it tries to be.
- Badass: Take your pick.
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: There're some space platform levels and just a bunch of the characters (Sarge, Grunt, Grism and S_Marine) have a space suit.
- Beam-O-War: The Railgun.
- Beam Spam: The Lightning Gun.
- BFG: A Plasma Gun in steroids, but it's there.
- Chainsaw Good: The Gauntlet.
- Chinese Vampire: Kyonshi.
- Competitive Balance: In the maps with the Runes, depending on the rune you've taken, you may become:
- Jack of All Stats: No rune.
- Fragile Speedster: Scout. (Negates your armor, and you're unable to pick armor, but makes you faster)
- Mighty Glacier: Guard. (You receive the max health and armor, and the health will regenerate to the maximum)
- Glass Cannon: Doubler. (Increases your firerate and weapon damage)
- Spoony Bard: Ammo Regen. (Your ammunition regenerates...rather slowly)
- Competitive Multiplayer
- Deadly Rotary Fan: Found in the Deathmatch level pxlfan.
- Death Is Not Permanent
- Death Trap: Some Deathmatch levels such as oa_dm2 and have these.
- Defeat Equals Explosion: Any player who dies while carrying the Kamikaze holdable powerup. When dying, (and if they're not gibbed) they will produce a huge explosion which shakes the arena.
- Dummied Out:
- Only selectable through the console:
- A skin for Kyonshi (kyonshi/beh) with Hsien-Ko's color scheme.
- Many poor quality and unfinished maps such as dm4ish, and the islandctf and islanddm maps.
- There's still some data about an early map called void4. It was shipped in previous versions, but was aparted in later versions because of lack of quality.
- Some shaders belong to two maps in 0.8.0 which were "aparted" because of lack of compliance with GPL.
- Only selectable through the console:
- Flight: The namesake item, only available in two maps. (am_thornish and am_spacecont)
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Angelyss, Dark, Tanisha, many euphemisms.
- Grappling Hook Pistol: The Grapple, now an official item.
- High-Pressure Blood: In spite of it's art direction, the blood is more detailed and more chunks appear from a single fragged player.
- Joshikousei: Ayumi.
- Lightning Gun: The Lightning Gun.
- More Dakka: The Chaingun. The Machinegun is the starter version of the Chaingun.
- Ms. Fanservice: Many of the females.
- Nail'Em: The Nailgun.
- No Plot, No Problem
- Panty Shot: Ayumi, when she's killed.
- Rollerblade Good: Ayumi.
- Last Man Standing, Domination and Double Domination are taken from the namesake gametypes from Unreal Tournament and Unreal Tournament 2004.
- cbctf1 and oa_ctf4ish (Capture The Space) take inspiration from the Quake III Arena map q3ctf4.
- delta (Mission Over Mars) takes inspiration from the Quake III: Team Arena map mpteam6.
- fan (Fan of Death) takes inspiration from the Unreal deathmatch map DmDeathFan.
- oa_reptctf11 (Colliding In The Factory) takes inspiration from a third-party map for Quake III Arena, reptctf11.
- oasago2 (Sago's Castle) takes inspiration from a third-party map for Unreal Tournament 2004, CTF-TFC-Solemn.
- One of the frag messages from the bots is "<player> is death incarnate".
- The oa_dm* levels are the Quake 1 Deathmatch levels. These levels were GPL'd by Id for Quake's tenth anniversary. dm6ish (The Dark Zone) and ce1m7 (House of Cheethon) are also adaptations of dm6 and e1m7 from the original Quake.
- The hydronex* (Hydrocapture) maps are loose adaptations of Unreal Tournament's CTF-Hydro16.
- Skin Swap: Plenty of examples.
- Space Marine: S_Marine, Sarge, Grunt and Grism.
- Stripperiffic: Some of the females, such as Angelyss, Dark, Rai, Nekoyss, Tanisha.
- Suicide Attack: The Kamikaze item, when used.
- Thanatos Gambit: The player can set this one by getting killed (but not gibbed) and letting some seconds to pass, after which, the skulls explodes and everyone in it's radio area is killed, or at least, hurted enough to get killed.
- Took A Level In Manliness: Up to 0.7.7, Beret was a flamboyant boyscout. In 0.8.0 onwards, he was redesigned as a macho commando.
- Use Item: The Teleporter, Medkit, Kamikaze and Invulnerability items.
- Why Am I Ticking?: Hit an enemy with a Prox Mine, (or many, for amplified effect) and in 10 seconds, more or less, there's a high chance that he will blow into pieces.