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2009/11/30

Apocalypse Then: Unreal Tournament

250px-Unrealtournament

10 Years of Unreal Tournament

On this day in gaming, on November 30, 1999, Unreal Tournament, a title developed by Epic Games and Digital Extremes, was released. It was published by GT Interactive (now Atari) and appeared on numerous platforms like Windows, Mac, Mac OS X, PS2, Linux, and the Dreamcast.

Unreal Tournament, Despite being an FPS, was one of the first games geared more towards multiplayer, with a tacked-on singleplayer on the side, much like its chief competitor, Quake III Arena by id Software. Instead of a true sequel to Unreal, the Unreal Tournament franchise took off and there have been several sequels which pretty much all look the same to me.

Unreal II: The Awakening, although not a true sequel to Unreal, also featured a part early on in the game which pitted you against another guy in a fight. This is supposedly how the Unreal Tournament was formed, story wise.

Unreal Tournament received mainly positive reviews, especially on the PC. Console, particularly PS2, reviews were average to good. It was also featured twice as a deathmatch title at the World Cyber Games. Aspects of the game praised were the graphics (the water always looked inviting), AI, map or level design, and good weapon balance.

I remember back in school, a bunch of us would always argue over which one was better: Q3A or UT? I got the Game of the Year Edition back in 2001 or 2002, although I had played the game before this period, although probably just the demo though.

God knows why I stuck with the game for as long as I did though. I remember playing it on an old Windows 98, while friends were round, and we would take turns battling bots, or else battling each other, while listening to Linkin Park.

The singleplayer in UT featured a series of levels with different play-modes which put you against bots – AI controlled opponents.

These bots could also be used in multiplayer, while competing in different game types like Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, CTF, Domination, Last Man Standing, and Assault. One of my favourite levels, although pretty basic, was the one called Overlord, basically the game’s version of a D-Day map.

Weapons in the game continued with the alt-fire feature that was seen in Unreal, and you could use a pistol (Enforcer), two pistols (guns Akimbo), the ASMD, minigun (my favourite), Pulse gun, and the Sniper Rifle. Some weapons also made a return from Unreal except they were renamed, like the Razorjack (renamed the Ripper), the Flak Cannon, and the Bio Rifle. Another weapon was the Impact hammer, which replaced the Dispersion pistol, and with it you could literally blow someone’s head off. You could also use it to do the equivalent of rocket jumps.

The game is known for having inspired many, many mods over the years, ranging from mutators to TCs. Also, other games have used the engine such as one incarnation of Duke Nukem Forever a long time ago. Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix also considered using the engine, but went with Q3A’s. Another game which used this engine was Rune, a game forgotten by time.

You can pick up Unreal Tournament here, if you want to play a classic.

Unreal Tournament at Amazon


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