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    Unreal Tournament

    Developer: Epic Megagames
    Publisher: GT Interactive
    Genre: First Person Shooter

    Date: February 15, 2000
    Reviewer: Zach "Cerberus" Jenson

    Introduction:

    Click image to enlargeUnreal came out around 1998, from Epic Megagames, which was praised because of itís great graphics. But itís downfall came in the netcode, which made playing online extremely frustrating. Instead of playing online, most people just played offline against the bots. Today, the netcode is fixed, but the game is still insulted because of itís previous problems.

    Now go to the fall of 1999. The Unreal Tournament demo was released and was immediately popular, even as much as the Q3:A test. The graphics were spick-and-span, the gameplay rocked, and the netcode was amazingly fixed and enjoyable. But that was only the demo. Unreal Tournament was released late November, and has now been out for a few months. Will Unreal Tournament live up to what it claimed?

    Gameplay:

    Click image to enlargeThe gameplay is by far the best I have ever seen. When I first played Unreal Tournament, I played for several hours, non-stop, trying out all the new gameplay types. In the latest installment of the Unreal series, the gameplay types include Deathmatch (and Team DM), Capture-the-Flag, Domination, Last Man Standing, and Assault. All of these new gameplay types provide hours upon hours of fun and excitement.

    Deathmatch is the classic that everyone knows and loves. For the unknowledgeable, Deathmatch places you in an arena against multiple other players in a struggle to reach the frag limit. Team Deathmatch is pretty much the same, except you are on a team and the first team to reach the frag limit will be victorious.

    Capture the Flag is just as it sounds. You are on a team against another team in an effort to capture the enemyís flag and return it to your base. You get a certain amount of points for capturing, and returning flags by touching them when they are dropped. The maps for CTF are simply amazing, and even more great maps can be found all over the internet.

    In Domination, there are two teams and each team fights to literally dominate the map. There are three command points place all over the maps and your objective is to control those points. You get one or two points for every two seconds that you hold a point and about the same for capturing a point. You can also gain points by killing off the enemies.

    Last Man Standing is a variation of the classic Deathmatch. Instead of trying to get the frag limit, you are trying to stay alive longer. You are given a certain amount of lives and when all your lives are gone youíre out of the game. Players are given all weapons, full health and armor to make the game last longer and also to make your life last longer. If you want, you could always camp or hide in this type, although it is frowned upon, it does work amazingly good. You sit around with all your lives while everyone elseís lives go down, so you have a better chance when there are a few people left in the game. But once the end of the game comes the players that are out will become spectators and find you, which in turn they will tell everyone else still in the game what you are doing.

    Click image to enlargeAssault, one of the best gameplay types, is by far the most fun out of them all. You are given a list of objectives to accomplish in the given time, which vary from map to map. Some might be to escape from a castle courtyard or to disable a large mortar cannon. Assault is the best gameplay mode if you are seeking a change from Deathmatch which can get slightly monotonous after several hours. Also, Assault adds the strategic element to the game which Quake3 Arena lacks. I guess Deathmatch and CTF alone just donít cut it anymore.

    The bots in Unreal Tournament are very smart, and their AI can be adjusted. They can be anywhere from Novice for the newbies or Godlike for the veterans. You can even give them orders, which vary from each gameplay mode. Such orders include "Defend", "Attack", "Freelance", "Patrol", and more, depending on which mode youíre playing in. Most of the times the bots will do what you want with some logic, but on rare occasion they may not do exactly what you ordered them to do.

    The weapons in Unreal Tournament are very nice, adding a great variation to the game instead of the basic shotgun/rocket launcher/power weapons from the Quake series. All weapons have two firing modes, which each do something different. Take the Redeemer, a giant mini-nuke-firing launcher, for example. With primary fire it will fire a mini-nuke in a straight line and will explode on impact. But hit secondary fire and you can actually guide the missile to itís target. It will even lock onto targets for you and highlight them while youíre flying it to find the enemies more easier. Once you find your target, land it near him and it will create a large blast radius. All weapons have something for the situation youíre in and they never get boring.

    Graphics:

    Click image to enlargeThe graphics were very nice. You can tell very close attention was put into the graphics as to not make it look sloppy or plain. Even the minutest detail can be seen, including hieroglyphics or variations in the dirt or scratches on the walls and floor. Background include space and planets or illuminated cities with a dark purple/black sky.

    The models and skins are great. The only thing is that there couldíve been more skins since there isnít more than 10 for each model. The models are nicely done and are very detailed and lifelike. You will not be disappointed by them. If you get bored of the current skins, you can download more of off various Unreal/UT sites.

    Sound:

    Click image to enlargeThe sound in UT is some of the best Iíve ever heard. Weapon sounds are well done, as are the (few) voices. The voice sounds do slightly sound cheezy, but add the right effect to the game.

    Sound also plays a huge part when youíre being hunted for example. You can listen for the footsteps behind you and you can quickly react to the threat.

    The music is simply amazing! There are over twenty tracks and effectively add to the environment of the map. When playing on an industrial map you might hear hard rock, or when playing on the map Facing Worlds, in which you play in space on an asteroid type surface, you would hear a trance/techno track. Itís all simply amazing!

    Singleplayer:

    Click image to enlargeThe singleplayer part of the game is arranged in ladder type system, in which you play against a certain amout of bots. As you progress through each level the bots get harder, until you eventually get to Xan, the final contestant of the Unreal Tournament that you must fight against. As you progress through each level sometimes they unlock new gameplay types of the tournament, such as Domination or Assault.

    For the newbies, there is practice levels to get you accustomed to the gameplay modes before you actually play in the real thing. You can even adjust how it will be playing, be it Novice or Masterful to Godlike. The singleplayer mode of the game is also a great way of playing the game offline.

    Multiplayer:

    Click image to enlargeThis is obviously the main part of the entire game. The exciting action of playing against other real-life people can not be compared to anything else, no matter what gameplay mode. Along with the completely reworked netcode from Unreal, it should play nicely online, no matter the connection. However I donít recommend going below a 28k connection, as the game can get laggy.

    To join games, simply use the UBrowser, which is embedded into the game and is very simple to use. It shows how many players are in the game, ping, map, and other various info. There are tabs for each different type of gameplay, and there even one part of the Browser where you can view updates from Epic. If you donít want to use this, you could always use Gamespy 3d (which is obtained at www.gamespy.com).

    Conclusion:

    Click image to enlargeIf you canít already figure it out, Unreal Tournament is one of the best games of the century. Itís gameplay and variation is unmatched by anything else. Quake 3 Arena will never live up to UTís standards. All the different gameplay modes will give you non-stop fun that will keep you up all night fragging away (as it has happened to most people I know). If you like games of the FPS genre, get this game. If youíre not, get this game. I guarantee you will enjoy it.

    Gameplay: 10
    Graphics: 10
    Sound: 9.5
    Singleplayer: 9
    Multiplayer: 9.5
    Performance: 9

    << Rating: 98 >>
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