is something deeply satisfying about putting a
bullet in the back of your mate's head, turning to
him and screaming "I got you, I got you, I got you"
like some crazed infant. On the flip-side, there is
something equally as satisfying about defending a
friend from wave after wave of attackers, only to
have him clap you on the shoulder and say "Nice
one, geezer!" like some illiterate east-end wide
are few games that can cause such diverse
reactions, but Unreal Tournament, with its heavy
bias towards Internet and LAN play, is definitely
one of them. The fact that Quake 3 is taking its
time means that Unreal Tournament will be the
yardstick by which it is measured.
those that don't know, UT is the sequel of sorts to
Unreal, the first person shooter that didn't do as
well as Quake 2. The problem with Unreal was the
fact that while it looked and sounded great, the
multiplayer was dogged with lag problems. Times
have moved on and UT is out to prove that it is the
you ask filmmakers, authors and game designers what
the future will be like, they'll tell you it's a
violent hellhole, corrupt and rainy - well, mainly
rainy. Unreal is true to this ideal, taking the
view that violent blood sports are popular and even
sanctioned - hence the Tournament.
Tournament mode in UT is the "single-player"
element, but as single-player games go, there is no
sense of character, no plot -- people arrive in
your field of view, and you kill them. Tournament
mode is a weak single-player effort, whereas the
Internet/LAN play can reap hours of rewarding
gameplay. As a comparison, think of the popular
beat 'em up, Street Fighter, in single-player -
you're restricted to repetitive battles, with the
simplistic goal of winning each one until there's
none left. The premise of UT's Tournament mode is
simply to rise up the ladder, challenging various
bots to different games. You start off in the
Deathmatch ladder; once you've progressed far
enough in that ladder, another challenge opens up
for you. Oddly, the Tournament mode is not as
exciting as the practice session facility that you
can use. Although the words "practice session" may
sound boring, it is far from it, because unlike
Tournament, you have access to all the maps and the
seven different styles of play.
you heard right - seven. Standard Deathmatch, Team
Deathmatch and Capture the Flag are included but on
top of that are Assault, Domination, Last Man
Standing and the InstaGib Deathmatch.
Deathmatch games are what you would expect. Kill
everyone until the frag (kill) limit has been
reached or until the timer runs out. The one who
has the most kills or reaches the limit first is
the winner. The levels are fun to run around in and
the designs include tightly packed spaceships and
large fortresses with lifts and battlements. The
levels require several different skills, including
precision shots in the claustrophobic levels and
large explosive devices for the spacious areas. The
number of people and the size of the map dictate
the pace of these games, allowing you to tailor it
to your preferred style of play.
is a team-based game, with one team that attacks
and the other defends. Winning the game is usually
a matter of pulling switches or blowing things up.
Things are a little harder when you are attacking
because the defense team has computer-operated gun
emplacements guarding their base, and thus, can sit
and wait for you to cross the treacherous terrain
from their start point. These games tend to be a
bit slower, and require the use of bots/friends to
cover you while you progress towards the objective
is like Capture the Flag, where a series of
immovable markers are scattered around the map.
When touched, the marker changes to your team
colour, and for every five seconds that the marker
remains "claimed," your team scores a point. So the
gameplay consists of a balancing act between
defending your markers and attacking your
opponent's. The sudden switches that take place can
make for very exciting games.
mode is Last Man Standing, a survival-based game
where it's the person who hasn't had all their
lives blown away who wins the day. Still another is
InstaGib Deathmatch, a frantic game where one shot
from a weapon will blow you to pieces. Lives are
lost quickly and it is the fastest, most accurate
person who will come out on top.
game itself would be nothing without the bots, the
computer-controlled players. The way you can adjust
them is frankly amazing. Each little tweak adds
something extra to the game. Let's say you want to
play a deathmatch, but your mate Steve doesn't want
to play. That doesn't ruin your night because you
can just play against Steve-bot.