Arena itself is located in Rostok and run by Arnie. As the name implies, it is a place where Stalkers fight against each other for reputation and money. Every fight is to the death and the number of combatants varies. In Shadow of Chernobyl the player can choose to participate in the arena, fighting increasingly larger groups of opponents for increasingly larger sums of cash.
The arena is located in the Duty Base, inside a roofless warehouse with 'DANGER: ARENA' painted on the side. If you start a conversation with the Duty guard chief as you enter the base, he will mark the location of the arena on your map for you.
There are 8 different rounds and when a match is started, all of your equipment except your knife is taken from you and put into a box near Arnie. For each fight, you are given a new inventory with weapons, armour, and other equipment appropriate to the battle. After each successful match, the inventory you have been provided for that match is taken away, including any items that you collected from your allies and foes.
If you are not experienced enough, Arnie will not permit you to enter the next fight until your reputation has been raised high enough. In this case, you will have to leave the Arena and continue adventuring until you have a high enough reputation for Arnie to allow you to continue entering the matches. Conversely, after winning all eight rounds, there is no one left for you to fight, and Arnie will only ever say "You're already a pro!" if you talk to him again.
- Equipment: PMm with 48 bullets
- Opponent: One with the same equipment as above
- Reward: 1000 RU
- So, your first fight? Your opponent is a piece of meat just like you. He's here because of debts and he only has two options: to come out and fight or to land himself in the nearest anomaly. He's gonna fight like a cornered animal. Equipment for today... lemme think... OK! Why don't you two use PMm's... two clips each should be plenty. Either you kick his arse or we feed you to the dogs - not much of a choice. Go on now.
- Equipment: Viper 5 with 50 bullets
- Opponent: One with a Stalker suit and weapons as above
- Reward: 2000 RU
- Your last fight didn't mean shit. You're still the same piece of meat you were before and no self-respecting person will bet a single mag on you. If you wanna earn some proper cash you're gonna have to make a few more appearances in the arena. Your new opponent also got through the first round and his fight was a lot harder than yours. I don't like him, to be honest - he kills too quickly and the crowd doesn't like that. So, go and show us what you can do! The stakes will increase after this fight - all you gotta do is stay alive. Move it!
- Equipment: Sawn-off shotgun, 22 shells
- Opponent: Two wearing stalker suits and same weapons as above
- Reward: 3000 RU
- Well, well... You're not as much of a pussy as you first seemed. Now it's time to test you out in a real fight. You're up against two guys. The first one's called Swede and I don't remember the second one's name. They were paired up intentionally as they hate each other's guts so don't worry about them working as a team - they're more likely to shoot each other. Today is rifle day so don't let them get too close or we'll have to pick you up piece by piece. The odds are 10:1 so if you win you'll make a fair amount. Off you go!
- Equipment: Akm-74/2, 90 bullets
- Opponent: Three, two wearing a stalker suit and the third wearing a SEVA suit. The stalker with the SEVA suit sports an AKs-74N, as well does the unmasked stalker. The stalker with a gas mask sports a SPAS-12.
- Assistance: Two rookies with a Sawn-off shotgun and an Akm-74/2U
- Reward: 4000 RU
- Well, now I can safely say that you're a fighter, a real fighter. Now it's time for a team fight. You get to fight with two rookies - two brothers - on your side. They haven't fought yet but they're brothers, so I had to put them into a team fight. I wouldn't expect any real help from them if I were you. You're fighting an experienced team, they're contenders for the final this season. A dangerous lot. They use different weapons but one has an automatic shotgun - be very careful with him. Good luck, pal... you're gonna need it.
- Equipment: AC96/2, 120 bullets, Wind of Freedom Suit, bandage, medkit
- Opponent: Two soldiers wearing SKAT-9M Military Armored Suit, one with a Tunder S14 and the other with a AS VAL
- Reward: 6000 RU
- You've got a special fight today. Even the army has heard about you! Don't be surprised, they fight here too - there's even a general in the crowd. These guys are from the Spetsnaz or from OMON (Russian SWAT equivalent). They're well armed and their armour is good as you'd expect. Don't worry too much, I ain't gonna leave you out in the rain, either. You'll get a vest used by Freedom - it's light so it won't slow you down. Go on, show them that stalkers ain't no whipping boys. Good luck!
- note: this is by far the hardest match
- Equipment: Tunder S14, 110 bullets, Berill-5M Armored Suit
- Opponent: Six bandits carrying either a PMm or a sawn-off shotgun
- Reward: 8000 RU
- Time for you to show what you can do. Duty captured a group of bandits that had been causing problems for stalkers near Rostok. Duty took'em at night so most of the bandits were taken alive. They were all gonna be executed anyway so I conviced Duty to give them a chance. If any of them survive, they'll go in the can outside the Zone, which is better than dying here. They're not well-armed - just a few pistols and sawn-offs - but there's six of them so watch yourself. Go on now!
- Equipment: 4 F1 grenades, bandage
- Opponent: One stalker with a FT-200m and an Exoskeleton.
- Reward: 10000 RU
- Well, you're almost in the final. Now you'll be fighting a real stalker. He's alone but he's got an FT 200M and he's inside an exoskeleton. Catch one burst and you're toast. There will be a surprise that I can't tell you about too... Here's my advice: be prepared, it's gonna be tough. The winner makes it through to the final. Fight to the death, go!
- Equipment: GP-37, 150 Bullets
- Opponent: Four stalkers, all with an Exoskeleton and the same weapon as you.
- Reward: 10000 RU
- Congratulations, you're in the final! One more to go and this one is to the death, every man for himself. There will be 4 other stalkers in the arena: all real pros in exoskeletons with GP-37s but it's a fair deal this time - you'll get exactly what they have. The only thing is, you don't get medkits or bandages in a fight to the death. Ready? Go prove you're the best, GO!
- Arnie's description not always matches e.g. in Round 6 bandits weapons are actually scaled to the experience of the player and instead of pistols and sawn-offs they can have MP5A5s and AKS74Us or other weapons. Same applies to Final Round 8, Arnie states that opponents will have identical gear, specifically GP37s, however some of opponents sometimes has An-94 Abakans or AK74s.
- In the gamedata there are files for mutants that were meant to be fought in the Arena, why this was changed is unknown. This was removed, most likely due to the fact that the player could simply go up of one of the numerous stacks of crates and shoot at the mutants at a safe height.
- In the final round, many of the opponents can die at the very start since they are all hostile towards each other, yet start in a line-up next to each other. This can also make it much easier for the player since even if none of them die, they will be preoccupied with each other, allowing the player to get easy headshots with the accurate GP37.
- It is possible to kill the spectators, and it has no negative repercussions. This may help you to raise your reputation.
- All fighters in the Arena which are hostile to the player will be of either Mercenary, Bandit, or Monolith alignment - this is perhaps done so killing someone will not have a negative affect on one's reputation. None of them will belong to the military faction (the two military stalkers in Round Five are classified as Mercenaries).
- There is a bug that allows you to enter the factory in which the Arena is placed in, similar to the bug that allows you to open the door in the Sarcophagus without having the decoder. However, there is nothing inside it, as the Arena is actually in other place (physically). In some trailers, not just this place, but the whole factory is abandoned and there is no Duty base or bar.
- Round 7 is the hardest match in the quest. The Marked One is given no firearm and must kill the exoskeleton expert with a knife. The trick is throw a grenade at or near the target and as he is running, proceed to quickly stab him as he will not be able to attack. Sometimes, if lucky, he may run towards the player, leaving him very open to a swift knife kill.
- There is glitch in Round 7, where two Stalkers appears before fight. They run towards player and climb the wall near the grated door. One of the stalkers caries unique "Sniper Abakan" with scope, second one simple AK74. Player can kill both stalkers using knife and get their weapons, which makes it easier to kill another Stalker with exoskeleton and FN2000 (instead of using knife and grenades). Both stalkers are neutral and belongs to Stalkers group, however killing them doesn't seems to affect one's reputation.
- A very helpful glitch in the arena. There are 2 grated doors in the arena. One on each side were apparently the opponent and you come in. When you kill the enemy, stick his gun outside of the grated doors. It will NOT despawn, and will allow you to use your opponents gun in the next fight. This is helpful for round 6 because you can stick your Tunder S-14 through the grated door when your done with the match. Then when round 7 comes, you can grab the rifle, and have an easier fight rather than using a knife and grenades. **Note** You have to do this before you spawn back in Arnie's room outside of the arena, or it will not work.
- A helpful (but offputting) glitch can occur at at Round 3, when the Player reloads the game. Doing so may cause a member of Duty to spawn in the arena. Killing him to get his Tunder S-14 would be a good choice, indeed. The chance of this happening is very low.
- You almost always have enhanced ammo on you. Since you have time to take out your weapon and change the ammo type before getting in sight of the enemy, this can be very helpful. The weapon you carry are always loaded with basic ammo (it does not seem to be any reason for this, as you will reload almost exclusively with enhanced ammo after you start firing).
- A good part of the crates allow to see and shoot at your opponent's heads without getting out of cover, but there is no one that allow you to do so with crouching. Climbing on crates is possible, but this isn't very helpful and you might just become a motionless (though elevated) target. (On round 7 if you are out of grenades and don't want to reload the game, you can try to jump on your enemy to cut him. Good luck.)
- Sometimes a glitch happens where your binocular view model still shows up during the cutscene.