Based on the PC shooter, the Dreamcast version should have been an excellent multiplayer game. Unfortunately, Sega of Europe decided to pull online play from Unreal Tournament at the last minute. Luckily, it is fairly easy to get an imported US version running on a European Dreamcast, allowing us to join the fun being had by our cousins across the Atlantic. This opinion is based on the US version, and can be thought of as "what you would miss out on" if you just get the crippled PAL release... If Unreal Tournament had a plot, it would be something like "You are placed in a maze like building with a load of weapons. The idea is to kill everything and everyone that moves." It sounds straight forward, but is very difficult to master. The action is viewed in the now-traditional first person perspective. There are several weapons to wield destruction with, and all have different advantages and disadvantages. Some are faster at reloading, some do more damage, some have a large spread range, and so on. The graphics are smooth and allow you to view your surroundings entirely. They can be a too dark at times, making it difficult to see what is going on. This isn't too bad, as you do get used to it. The controls can be configured to use either a pad, or a combination of mouse and keyboard. The pad has the advantage of blessing its user with a slight amount of "auto-aim" - in that the gun will tend to point at the nearest target automatically. This makes pad use considerably easier. The mouse options are not totally configurable, so if you want a weird set up then you´re out of luck. As well as the basic kill-everything game play, there are variations on the theme. These are team events, with up to 4-a-side battling it out. These teams can be either human controlled, Dreamcast controlled, or a mixture. A problem arises when you have the Dreamcast controlling team mates for you - they are knuckle heads! You
have to really tell them what to do, otherwise they will plough into the middle of battles armed with the equivalent of a pop-gun, or leave your precious base unguarded, not exactly brainiacs. Playing against these bots, as they are known, is another thing. All of a sudden they can see you round corners, know what your next move will be. Then they revert to knuckle headedness. It is a good attempt at human like behaviour, but not quite there yet. The real action, however, is online. The game makes it very easy for you to put in your account with an ISP - e.g. NTLworld - type in your username/password details and the phone number, and it does the rest. Soon you have a list of games you can join, with the details of the flavour of game (team or free for all) and the approximate "lag" you will suffer. As the game servers are in America and I was playing from the UK, the set up was hardly optimal. Even so, it was very playable and I rarely experienced a problem. As in the rest of the game, up to 8 players can play in a single match. I found playing with pad to be the best, as this allows the Dreamcast to make up for some of the effects of lag, by auto aiming for you. One difficult aspect online is the lack of a lobby or general chat abilities. I know this is an action game, but it would be nice to speak to the people you are fighting with/against. The only chat is a single line buffer in the top left corner, very small and with green text. Not ideal. As a bread and butter shooter, Unreal does what it does very well. It isn't original in any way, most of its ideas have been stolen from Quake, but it is a lot of fun. I would recommend this if you want some quick fire action and can put up with the hassle of importing.