While it's difficult to screw up the classic FPS gaming mechanics that have become a staple among gamers, Sauerbraten manages to exceed stupendously at stomping on any hint of a redeeming quality that may convince us to ever to play it again.
We'll focus on gameplay first. Perhaps the most dominant mistake in Sauerbraten is its ridiculously fast tempo. Players run at extreme speeds, and while this may at first seem like a way to intensify the action, it quickly becomes apparent that any attempt at aiming is fruitless. SoupHat mentioned that anyone with the idea of adding a Speed Bonus should be shot. Not soon after, Resident Weevil suggested that Lead Boots would probably be a more reasonable addition. To add to the issue, players run fast enough to outrun rockets (one of the most powerful weapons in the game) rendering the weapon useless. Considering the speed issue, one might expect that faster projectile weapons such as the machine gun would play a much larger role in the game, however, aiming is still border-line impossible. Another main issue is that enemies lack hitboxes, meaning headshots take away as much damage as a direct hit to the middle-toe.
The weapon selection is pitiful; none of us can recall seeing more than five different weapons. At the same time, the weapons start to blur into each other because of their similarities and their equal difficulty in using them effectively. Players equipped with pistols seemed to share the same amount of killing power (or lack thereof) as those with shotguns or crossbow-rifles. None of the weapons have any significant amount of knock-back power either, so shooting someone with a rocket launcher results in the player simply returning fire as if nothing had ever happened.
Perhaps the only redeeming quality is the InstaGib mode (Instant Giblets, aka One-Hit-Kill). Players are equipped with a single-shot crossbow-rifle and are let loose to shoot anything that moves. All three of us found this mode very enjoyable, barring the fact that many of the levels are filled with narrow corridors, something that simply isn't suited for such a mode.
Music wise, SoupHat and I muted the game's heavy metal almost as soon as the game started. Resident Weevil, who actually kept the music up, said in his near-unintelligible Irish accent: "The music does a pretty good job at pumping up your adrenaline, though it's not as good as the first game's. However, it does its job pretty well and I can tell a lot of work went into its production." He also went on to add that the *boing* sound from the spring platforms was "charming and cute".
Sauerbraten also comes with a very unique co-op editor that we all enjoyed messing around with. However, lack of intuitiveness and ambiguous tools made our maps look like utter crap. It's also difficult to coordinate a group-made map because everyone is too busy hitting the wrong buttons and wondering what the hell the V button does.
Resident Weevil summed his opinion up in an inspiring quote: "I was clinging to the edge of life there for a while and I thought this game might give me something worth living for, but... uggghh"
Sauerbraten is an extremely fast-paced FPS with heavy emphasis on dying a lot. If you're a die-hard Quake fan and have insanely developed twitch reflexes, this game is for you! If not, don't bother.
(Ok, we'll admit, the game looks pretty damn good for freeware. The water effect is especially impressive.)