Are you looking for that elusive 'state-of-the-art' first person shooter action for your Dreamcast? The kind that seems to only appear on the computer? You really only have two options: Quake 3 Arena or Unreal Tournament.
Does Quake have a plot? Does it need one? Who knows, who cares, after all it's "He who dies with the most frags, wins," right?
So how do they really expect us to get a bunch of frags when you can only play with three other people? First Unreal Tournament increased the number of people you can play against, but there were drawbacks. Even when you DON'T have a bunch of people playing at once the textures are simple, and the models are blocky. And when you have a bunch of people you can say goodbye to your frame rate. But it's about the frags, right?
Well, Quake 3 Arena keeps the textures, models, and special effects up, by keeping the player count down. And for the most part I feel it's worth it. If I wanted to slowly blow my friends apart at nine frames-per-second, I'd take play Perfect Dark (Rare, Nintendo 64) without the expansion pack.
On the whole Quake delivers the blood and gore to the people who need it, but for some reason don't own a computer. Of course, if you do own a computer, the Dreamcast Quake 3 Arena's servers were opened up to play anybody online, allowing you to have a blast playing against PC users.
The game play is really not for a console, and the controls are tricky at first, but two things solve it - you can completely customize your controls, plus you can use the keyboard and mouse. But then, if you're using the keyboard and mouse, why not just play it on your computer?
There are several different modes, as would be expected, like capture the flag and a tournament area. There is a simple one-player mode you can just go through to increase your skills, as well. The game also allows you to pick from 30 different skins for your characters, almost making up for the inability to download new skins, or make your own.
After my experience with Phantasy Star Online, and had my taste for sweet, sweet online play, I had to find something else to go online with! Even though I'm not a big first person shooter fan, I still found Quake 3 Arena well worth the time. It's by no means a replacement for Phantasy Star Online, but if you really love that little phone jack in the back of your Dreamcast, I'd recommend giving it a try.