EuroLAN got off to a flying start in Brighton this weekend with a 75 player LAN party, featuring Quake 3 CTF, duel, and two-on-two competitions, and live DJs to drown out the screams of the dying...
The first of the Quake 3 competitions to be completed was the four-on-four CTF tournament, with clan Eat Electric Death (including pro-gamer Billox and our very own Mat "The Lurker" Bettinson) predictably cruising through their first match.
Team "0wn" had been formed at the event specially for the competition, and had never played together before. Some of them had never even played the tourney map, Q3CTF3, before. It was hardly surprising then that EED ran home with a comfortable 27 : 0 victory against them after just 20 minutes. Ouch.
The final would be rather more challenging though, as although their opponents Team DM had also just been formed at the event, it included some of the top duellers from around the country, all of whom had taken part in the recent UK Razer-CPL qualifier. Kalliath had been knocked out in the third round and Dekkard in the quarter finals, Silent had made it to the finals of the losers bracket, and Blokey had been the event winner.
Could EED triumph? Or could the high powered deathmatch collective take them down? The arena was Q3CTF3 - The Stronghold - and there were scores to be settled...
DM got off to a good start, picking up a few frags in the central area of the level as they locked it down, while EED's Billox hung back to defend their own base.
EED's team experience soon paid dividends though, with Pod breaking through enemy lines to grab their flag. DM couldn't respond rapidly enough, and although EED's star defender Billox took a tumble into the mist, DM couldn't stop Pod from completing the capture.
DM were fighting back hard though, and were particularly strong in the vital midfield. With Blokey's faultless rail aim backed up by support from his team-mates, EED's members were being cut down as soon as they entered the region. Eventually Pod broke through again though, and found DM's base completely abandoned! Seeing his opportunity he made a grab for the flag.
Meanwhile the missing DM members had put in an appearance in EED's base and taken their flag. EED intercepted it though, and Billox (just) managed to return the flag after it was dropped, cut down by DM's gunfire just seconds after reaching it. Pod made it back to the EED base intact, and completed their second capture with just five minutes gone.
Blokey made it into EED's base and made a grab for their flag after exchanging rails with the defenders. He didn't get far though, and the flag was soon back where it belonged. DM weren't to be put off though, and launched a massive co-ordinated attack on EED's base, sending Billox spiralling into the mist again as they grabbed the flag and scarpered.
EED couldn't respond, and seemed to be caught off guard as DM picked up a second capture soon afterwards, taking the score to 2 : 2 after nine minutes of play. DM almost made it three in a row, but this time a rocket launcher toting Billox chased down their flag carrier and then picked up another pair of frags in quick succession in the central arena before finally being killed.
For the next five minutes there was a stalemate, with neither team able to reach their opponents' flag. Finally, with just five minutes left to play, a pair of DM players blasted their way into the EED base, took out Billox, and swiped the flag. It wasn't a clean get-away though, and EED struck back to prevent them capturing.
Two minutes from the end it was still 2 : 2, and it looked as if the game might go into extra time. DM had other plans though, and EED's play seemed to be getting rather scrappy. A pair of DM players grabbed their flag and made off with it, and although EED managed to take out the flag carrier, the other attacker picked it up before EED could reach their fallen flag to return it.
With just a minute to go the score was 3 : 2 to DM, and EED seemed to have lost the will to live. Despite goading from loud-mouthed Australian Lurker, EED couldn't put together a counter-attack in time to save the game.
After being 2 : 0 down at half time, DM had come back to take the game 3 : 2 in an exciting climax. An impressive display.
Quake 3 2 vs 2
Next up was the two-on-two team play competition. The quarter finals had seen all the usual suspects getting through without too much difficulty, with Blokey and Kalliath from UNR, Billox and Pod from EED, and Silent and Dekkard all making it to the semi-finals, as well as Strudles and Jekub.
The big semi-final then was Kalliath and Blokey against Billox and Pod, with two of the top duellers in the country and two of the top clans in the country facing off on Q3DM6...
Billox got off to a flying start, catching an unarmed Blokey with his shotgun and then picking up a second almost immediately as Blokey respawned close by. Eventually Kalliath brought down the rampaging Billox with a stream of plasma to take the score to 2 : 1. Billox soon got his revenge, catching Kalliath in the quad area, but before long he was down again.
The two sides continued to match each other frag for frag, and after a frantic first minute the scores were 5 : 3 to Billox and Pod. Things were quiet for a couple of minutes after that as both teams became more wary, with each team picking up just two frags, taking it to 7 : 5 after three minutes of play.
A couple of frags for Blokey levelled the scores, with Pod's remains being scattered far and wide by Blokey's rocket launcher. Billox managed to pull one back, but the scores were soon even again on 8 : 8.
Billox caught Kalliath with his plasma gun in one of the top passages near the rocket launcher, and then dropped down from the bridge to grab some health near the top of the grand staircase. Just as he fell though Blokey appeared, and the top players almost collided as Billox dropped to the ground right in front of him. Blokey was momentarily taken by surprise, and Billox managed to rail him and grab the health.
Blokey and Kalliath fought back to re-take the lead though, 10 : 9 after five minutes. Their lead was soon extended, as Kalliath's rocket caught Billox by the double staircase, and Pod was having a hard time of it as well, with Blokey taking him down with a well-placed rocket in the quad room and then a second time. On respawning Pod managed to grab the quad, but couldn't make it count. After seven minutes the score was 18 : 12.
Billox was fighting hard though. Spotting Kalliath heading up the stairs towards the rocket launcher, he rocket jumped up on to the bridge to head him off and caught him perfectly with a snap rocket shot as he emerged from the top of the stairs. Pod was getting into the action as well, hitting Blokey near the jump pad up to the railgun ledge. The shot didn't quite kill Blokey, but the fall to the ground did.
After nine minutes of play Billox and Pod had come back to lead 19 : 17, but Kalliath and Blokey weren't down yet, clawing back the deficit. As Blokey juggled Billox with his rocket launcher near the plasma gun the scores were dead even, 21 a piece.
Blokey was on another rampage now, taking the lead as he caught Pod with his rail and then watched as he plumetted earthwards to crater. In the final seconds of the twelve minute game Blokey and Kalliath pulled out a small lead, and although Billox and Pod managed to pull two back the final score was 27 : 22.
Quake 3 duel
The last competition to be completed was the big Quake 3 duel contest. Over thirty people had entered the event at the start of the weekend, but by the semi-finals the l337 had been seperated from the chaff, and Silent, Dekkard, Requiem and Kajun were left standing.
The semi-finals saw Dekkard and Silent battling it out in a close match that ended with Dekkard taking his slot in the final by just a single frag, while Requiem cruised to an 18 : 7 victory over Kajun. And so it was that Requiem and Dekkard came together to fight for first prize - an Athlon 800 processor, and the chance to face the UK's official representative at the forthcoming Razer-CPL tourney, Blokey...
Final - Game One
The first match between Requiem and Dekkard took place on Q3Tourney2, every shaft lover's favourite duel map.
Dekkard grabbed the early lead, rocketing Requiem by the bridge within the first minute. Requiem managed to stay out of trouble for a minute, but their paths soon crossed again by the bridge. Dekkard's shaft found its target, while Requiem ran out of ammunition and had to whip out his gauntlet. He was already dead before he could get near Dekkard.
On respawning though Requiem managed to grab a rocket launcher, and chased down Dekkard, killing him twice in quick succession in the top pillar room. The scores were even again, and both players managed to escape a rocket duel down by the lightning gun. Eventually Dekkard regained the lead though, shafting Requiem in the pillar room.
Another rocket battle by the lightning gun left Dekkard on 15 health, but again both players escaped intact. Before he could fully recover though he ran into Requiem in one of the corner rooms at the bottom of the map, and was blown to pieces to make the score 3 : 3 at half time.
Dekkard wasn't impressed though, and came back with three quick rocket kills, starting his reign of terror at the bottom of the map and then following through in the pillar room. He was wounded now though, and on respawning Requiem chased him back through the teleporter to the bridge, and Dekkard took a dive into the red mist.
He was soon back though, catching Requiem with his rocket launcher as he came back through the teleporter. Shortly thereafter mutual gibbage ensued, as Requiem and Dekkard blew each other up with their rocket launchers to get a frag a piece, making the score 9 : 5.
A rocket battle near the lightning gun ended in disaster for Requiem, as a glancing blow from Dekkard sent him flying into the red mist under the bridge. Shaken but not stirred, Requiem came back to shaft Dekkard and then caught him again with his machinegun as he respawned. With just a minute left the score was 9 : 6, and things got even closer as Requiem caught Dekkard with his rocket launcher near the bridge again.
The final seconds saw Dekkard re-establish his lead though as Requiem desperately tried to make up his frag shortfall. A series of rocket kills took the final score to 12 : 7 for Dekkard.
As it was best of three, Requiem would now have to beat Dekkard twice to win the competition...
Final - Game Two
The second game was on Q3Tourney4. Requiem grabbed the plasma gun but couldn't find his mark at first, but Dekkard's rail aim was failing him as well. Switching to the rocket launcher, Requiem made his first kill, and soon followed it up with two rail frags in the first minute of the game.
Dekkard managed to pull back though, catching Requiem on the ledge outside with his shotgun, and then railing him in the central room. Both players raced for the megahealth as it respawned, and although Requiem got there first, Dekkard blew him up before he could grab it. And with a quarter of the game gone, Dekkard took the lead, his rail taking down Requiem round the side of the map to make it 4 : 3.
While Requiem was respawning and making a bee-line for the plasma gun, Dekkard got back to the top of the level and swiped the red armour, and after a short skirmish Dekkard's trusty rocket launcher triumphed. With almost half the game now gone, Dekkard picked up the next megahealth and railed Requiem twice in quick succession to extend his lead to 7 : 3.
Requiem soon got one back, but Dekkard came at him with a shotgun to get his revenge. Picking up the railgun he caught Requiem again coming into the slime room, and then got a third frag with the rocket launcher. Requiem couldn't respond, and Dekkard continued to dominate the game, picking up three more frags to make the score 13 : 3 after seven minutes.
A nice long range rail shot earned Dekkard another frag, but Requiem managed to get one back, and was soon gunning for more as his rocket launcher took Dekkard down. But with less than two minutes left it was now 15 : 5, and too late for Requiem to recover.
Dekkard took it further out of his hands, catching him in mid-air with a shotgun blast after his railgun failed him, and then getting another kill with his rocket launcher. Requiem managed to pull back another, but Dekkard held the lead and ended the game 19 : 6 up.
Dekkard took home a shiny new 800MHz Athlon processor and motherboard, and Requiem got the runners-up prize of a Sirocco Crossfire speaker set from Videologic.
Blokey vs Dekkard
As the party wound down, there was just one match left to play. Quake 3 duel winner Dekkard would take on the all-conquering Blokey on Q3Tourney2.
Blokey had picked up an early 4 : 0 lead in the first ninety seconds of the game, and made it five with a shaft kill in one of the corner rooms. He almost got a sixth, but Dekkard managed to escape him with just 7 health left! He managed to grab a 25 health power-up, but Blokey ran into him again soon afterwards and a single well-placed rocket finished him off.
Blokey's shaft caught him again in a corner room to make it seven, his eight came in the pillar room, and with three minutes gone the score went to 9 : 0. It was obvious that Blokey was in dominant form, and after a running rocket and shaft skirmish in the pillar room, Blokey had taken it to 11 : 0 at half time.
As Blokey picked up another frag Dekkard suddenly realised he had his headphones on back to front, and took advantage of the respawn delay to correct his audio. Sadly it didn't help him much though, as Blokey got several more frags in quick succession to take the score to 16 : 0 with four minutes to go.
Dekkard was fighting to regain some dignity now, and finally managed to pick up his first frag of the match eight minnutes in, shafting Blokey in the pillar room. Blokey took him down with a shotgun to make it 20 : 1, but Dekkard managed to grab a rocket launcher and came back at him. His enthusiasm got the better of him though, as his rocket blew up both Blokey and himself. Nil points.
Then disaster struck for Dekkard as Blokey's rocket blast knocked him into the red mist, wiping out his sole frag to make it 20 : 0 with just a minute left to play. Down but not out, Dekkard managed to pull a couple back in the dying seconds of the game, rocketing Blokey in the pillar room and then taking him down with his machinegun soon afterwards.
Blokey apparently wasn't impressed though, whipping out his gauntlet to finish Dekkard off after respawning. "Humiliation!" The final score was 23 : 2, after an impressive demonstration of just why Blokey is going to be the UK's official representative at the Razer-CPL.
The first EuroLAN went remarkably smoothly, with no major problems. The network took a little longer to get running than we had expected, but by the time I arrived on Saturday lunchtime everything was working fine.
Amazingly there wasn't a single network out-age or power cut during the entire weekend, which has to be a first for a major LAN party. Certainly this is the first "bring your own PC" LAN party I've been to where nothing broke, and it's a credit to the admins that everything went so well.
Sadly some of the extra-curricular activities we had hoped to run during the weekend didn't happen in the end, such as the real life CTF we had been planning. But it was still fairly lively as British LAN parties go, with plenty of alcohol, a variety of bizarre music pumping out through a pair of floor-standing speakers, and live DJs on the wheels of steel at times.
The fragging went on well into the early hours of Sunday morning on the first day, and due to competitors and admins alike waking up late on the Sunday morning the remaining tournaments fell behind schedule a little, ending an hour later than planned. Hardly a major disaster though...
Thanks to sponsorship from PC Gaming World, GameSpot UK, AMD and Videologic, the prizes included Athlon processors, motherboards, and a massive set of Sirocco speakers, as well as some rather funky AMD watches and a bundle of GameSpot t-shirts.
There was even a special deal with Domino's pizzas to get half price food, and a steady stream of delivery men kept the gamers supplied with pizzas, chicken strippers (get your mind out of the gutter!) and Haagen Dazs ice cream throughout the weekend. Mmm... Chocolate.
The Brighton event was just the first of a series of LAN parties though, so don't worry if you missed out - there should be an even bigger and better EuroLAN coming to a town near you soon!