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Unreal (PC)

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      17.11.2009 20:01
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      Great engine and visuals but not a patch on Quake 2 gameplay wise

      Unreal was realeased for the PC back in 1998 at around the same time as its main rival Quake 2, and like Quake 2 was one of the first first-person shooters to make full use of the then-new 3d-acceleration graphics technology. The game looked stunning when it first came out, -far better than Quake 2 did- and it still looks rather nice now, with beautifully lit, detailed and grand-looking alien landscapes and mediaval/futuristic structures, and a varied range of nicely designed and animated 3D enemies.

      The game sees you crash-land on an alien planet, freeing you from your incarceration (it was a prison-ship you were on), whereupon you must navigate your way through the varied levels whilst doing battle with the beautifully rendered enemies with a wide range of alien weapons. From an aesthetic point of view the level design is excellent, but from a gameplay perspective they are sparse and underpopulated, overly large and frequently a headache to find your way through, indicating that the developers had fallen foul of the same trap that befell developers ID Software when they created Quake a few years earlier: putting all their efforts into creating a stunning engine at the expense of creating a game that is engaging and fun to play.

      The slow and frequently dull pace of the game is made even worse by the weapons on offer, which have none of the visceral satisfaction to them of the guns of Quake 2 or Doom, instead consisting of a 'gravel' gun, a gun which spits out green blobs, and some pretty but weak-feeling bullet/laser weapons as well. As a straightofrward shooter its just not very engaging, and once you get tired of gawping at the well-crafted level architecture the game reveals itself to be somewhat dull and monotonous, with none of the frenetic, fast-paced action that made Quake 2 so much fun to blast your way though. There is little in the way of music beside a bit of ambience here and there as well, whereas Quake 2 had a crunchy engaging heavy metal soundtrack that really got the adrenaline pumping, adding to the experience immensely.

      Engine wise Unreal is a beautfilly crafted game,and if only the developers had put the same amount of time and effort into the gampeplay itself it could have been a real classic rather than a pretty but vacuous also-ran.

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      18.12.2001 05:36
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      Unreal is a first person shooter, but it is different to most other similar games, it has a realistic touch (well, realistic as in the future but it has a storyline about the planet and things). The story is that you were on a prison ship and it crashed on a strange planet and you have to get away and there are many opponents on the planet. There are many extra good details in this game; there are funny friendly people with four arms and rabbits that run round (that if you jump on the die!) The graphics of this game are super, the max resolution is 1600x1200 but it still looks great at 800x600 for those of use with out a great graphics card. Game Play: The game is much like quake in the way it plays, but still a great play. The weapons on the game have been made very well and had a lot of detail put into them, compared to something like quake where they are not as complicated. The first gun you get you can even get upgrades for so it starts of not very powerful and ends up very powerful! This game is one of the first (if not the first) to be able to have multi-player ‘bot’ matches against the computer; in the game there is a set of multi-player levels and a selection of bots. Playing on the net you can also have the bots in the game- so there’s a mix of real people and bots, the bots are good players though so you have to watch out! This is a great game and I feel that not that many people have heard of it, its more famous for its spin off child of Unreal Tournament, but the original game is so much better.

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        21.11.2001 04:56

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        About/Type of Game: Unreal is a first person shooter, but it is different to most other similar games, it has a realistic touch (well, realistic as in the future but it has a storyline about the planet and things). The story is that you were on a prison ship and it crashed on a strange planet and you have to get away and there are many opponents on the planet. There are many extra good details in this game; there are funny friendly people with four arms and rabbits that run round (that if you jump on the die!) Graphics: The graphics of this game are super, the max resolution is 1600x1200 but it still looks great at 800x600 for those of use with out a great graphics card. Game Play: The game is much like quake in the way it plays, but still a great play. Weapons: The weapons on the game have been made very well and had a lot of detail put into them, compared to something like quake where they are not as complicated. The first gun you get you can even get upgrades for so it starts of not very powerful and ends up very powerful! Multi-player: This game is one of the first (if not the first) to be able to have multi-player ‘bot’ matches against the computer; in the game there is a set of multi-player levels and a selection of bots. Playing on the net you can also have the bots in the game- so there’s a mix of real people and bots, the bots are good players though so you have to watch out! Over All: This is a great game and I feel that not that many people have heard of it, its more famous for its spin off child of Unreal Tournament, but the original game is so much better.

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        18.11.2001 18:08
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        Unreal Tournament is a hugely multiplayer oriented shooter, with a somewhat downplayed single player element. Instead of a cutscene to start off the game, UT begins with a great in-game cinematic with voice narration giving you a peek into the world of UT. Sometime around the year 2291 the New Earth Government legalized combat zones and eventually these combat zones became the most highly watched sport in the media. You are just one of these futuristic gladiators with the eventual goal of winning the tournament.

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          04.10.2001 03:09
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          About/Type of Game: Unreal is a first person shooter, but it is different to most other similar games, it has a realistic touch (well, realistic as in the future but it has a storyline about the planet and things). The story is that you were on a prison ship and it crashed on a strange planet and you have to get away and there are many opponents on the planet. There are many extra good details in this game; there are funny friendly people with four arms and rabbits that run round (that if you jump on the die!) Graphics: The graphics of this game are super, the max resolution is 1600x1200 but it still looks great at 800x600 for those of use with out a great graphics card. Game Play: The game is much like quake in the way it plays, but still a great play. Weapons: The weapons on the game have been made very well and had a lot of detail put into them, compared to something like quake where they are not as complicated. The first gun you get you can even get upgrades for so it starts of not very powerful and ends up very powerful! Multi-player: This game is one of the first (if not the first) to be able to have multi-player ‘bot’ matches against the computer; in the game there is a set of multi-player levels and a selection of bots. Playing on the net you can also have the bots in the game- so there’s a mix of real people and bots, the bots are good players though so you have to watch out! Over All: This is a great game and I feel that not that many people have heard of it, its more famous for its spin off child of Unreal Tournament, but the original game is so much better.

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            30.08.2001 09:35
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            About/Type of Game: Unreal is a first person shooter, but it is different to most other similar games, it has a realistic touch (well, realistic as in the future but it has a storyline about the planet and things). The story is that you were on a prison ship and it crashed on a strange planet and you have to get away and there are many opponents on the planet. There are many extra good details in this game; there are funny friendly people with four arms and rabbits that run round (that if you jump on the die!) Graphics: The graphics of this game are super, the max resolution is 1600x1200 but it still looks great at 800x600 for those of use with out a great graphics card. Game Play: The game is much like quake in the way it plays, but still a great play. Weapons: The weapons on the game have been made very well and had a lot of detail put into them, compared to something like quake where they are not as complicated. The first gun you get you can even get upgrades for so it starts of not very powerful and ends up very powerful! Multi-player: This game is one of the first (if not the first) to be able to have multi-player ‘bot’ matches against the computer; in the game there is a set of multi-player levels and a selection of bots. Playing on the net you can also have the bots in the game- so there’s a mix of real people and bots, the bots are good players though so you have to watch out! Over All: This is a great game and I feel that not that many people have heard of it, its more famous for its spin off child of Unreal Tournament, but the original game is so much better.

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            18.08.2001 18:17
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            Yes, Pick your chin up of the floor, Unreal is a beauty. I’m beginning to see why it took four years to appear now. Epic kept updating the 3D game engine so that it would still take everyone’s breath away when the game is released. Let’s bear in mind, though, that Unreal was only in development for around 15 months. It’s the level editor and technology tests that have occupied Epic’s initial development period. Unreal has a lot to prove, and the indisputable fact that it looks infinitely better than any other 3D game ever released is only the first step. Let’s get this point straight and out of the way - looks-wise Unreal is to Quake II what Quake was to Doom. We are dealing with serious power here. So, is it better than quake 2, you say. Well, personaly I can safely say yes. Unreal kicks Quake's ass in every department. The amazing atmoshpere that Unreal creates with it's vast spacey landscapes is amazing. Moments from levels like the Nali-village and the opening levels will be memorable for a long time. The moon landing? PAH! This is a true landmark in human achievment. Indeed, judging by the fact that 13 other developers have signed up Unreal’s 3D engine for games (including ex Quake fanatic Jon Romero and Daikatana II) it seems as if we’re not the only ones who have noticed. Thankfully, Epic have excelled themselves in every area: they have created a world, not a series of isolated maps. For example, the opening level is a stunningly atmospheric introduction. Your home is a bunk on a prison ship that has just crash-landed on a planet. When you awake, the ship is almost destroyed, most of the crew are in pieces, and this is your best chance for escape. Your start is somewhat leisurely. You have no weapon, there is no-one left to kill. But the moans of the dying crew gradually give way to the screams of people being tortured and ripped apart. At the end of the
            first level, you get your first glimpse of the enemy, a Skaarj who sees you and legs it. Following him around the dimly lit corridors, you catch glimpses of him, but he soon outruns you. These solitary moments give you the opportunity to find a weapon, regain your health and collect some armour before the forthcoming onslaught from the next 25 or so levels. Like Quake II, the first level is comfortably small, but later areas can easily take about two hours to complete. You would be unwise to be disarmed by this easy beginning. Unreal is an absolute bitch to complete. At times it strikes me that Epic are trying to get too much from the individual monsters, who can take a huge number of hits to kill - battling one standard creature can take two or three minutes if you’re still using the earlier weapons on a hard difficulty setting. And while this might make sense for the humanoid characters, it stretches the imagination somewhat when feeble mosquitoes and fish take several shots to destroy. The ‘eightball’ (and unless some dubious narcotic reference exists, it is mysteriously named, since it is a six-shooter) fires rockets or grenades, but these are disappointingly weedy, often with four or five needed to kill something, rather than the slightly more satisfying mega-destruction found in Doom, Quake and Quake II. But do not despair! For it is Unreal’s splendid creature AI that is to blame for some of this difficulty. Like Quake II, most of Unreal’s creatures don’t simply stand there and take whatever you dish at them. The sprightly creatures leap away from on-coming projectiles, hide behind walls and shoot from there. If they are close to death, they run away and try to shoot you from a further vantage point and because they are bigger than you they frequently out-distance you quickly. If an obstacle is between you, or if they just feel like it, they might find an alternative way to get to you, at
            tacking from behind. Simply put, if a Skaarj runs away, keep your eye on him So, apart from the probably-not-important weapon flaws, Unreal is an amazing game. It's better than Quake 2 and all the more recent 1st person shooters in every concevable way. Oh yeah, and if you get bored, you can always use the level editor to keep you happy. system specs (minimum) Pentium 200mhz Proccesor 64mb Ram Resonable 3D graphics/sound cards.

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              01.07.2001 18:11
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              The story centres around you), a convict being transported to death row onboard the prison ship Vortex Rikers. Suffice to say, your ship stops to investigate an unknown planet along the way, and is caught in it's unusually strong gravitational field, and starts to descend into the planets surface. When you awake, days later, the ship is a mess, and the security grid around your cell is damaged, so you escape (applause applause!). The one problem however, is that the ships entire crew has been killed off by alien nasties, and you have to find away to get yourself off the rock. Like most stories to games of this type, it's only really an excuse to go blast some alien meanies to kingdom kum, however Unreal at least gives you the opportunity to at least take part in some of it. Your first objective is to get yourself patched up (you only start with ten points on your health meter!), and discover what situation you are in before proceeding. This involves reading various mission logs in different areas of the spaceship, which serve to give you an analysis of what has been happening while you were sleeping. What you have to know at this point, this was actually quite a big step for the time, before games such as Half Life proved that an ongoing story could be fun and it didn't have to all be killing and maming everything you see. The other thing that makes this game interesting, is that strategy is very important. You can't just go in guns blazing. 9/10 you'll just die. To succeed, you have to seek out other means of entrance to enemy constructions, or sneak behind hoards of evil aliens to pull a switch, etc, etc. This makes the game much more chanllenging, and Unreal is one of the first examples of this type of gaming. So, some may be saying why doesn't this great, genre defining game quite match the more boring Quake 2? Well, it's a mix match of things that let the game down. 1.) The enemi
              es They're boring! Despite them all being very clever, their actual design blends into the landscape too much, making them not as memorable or scary as those we've seen in games such as Doom or the original Quake. Evil enemies need a personality, and the monsters in Unreal don't have any. 2.) Some of the weapons Again, the weapons tend to blend in with the surroundings of the scenary, and have nothing special that we haven't seen before. Despite the innovative ALT-Fire idea, introuced in this game, the weapons don't feel meaty enough. You don't get anything near the feeling of chainsawing a cacademon in in this game. That's it really, but these important things do let the game down in both single player and deathmatch modes, as the fun of playing with them all the first few times does soon wear thin. However, if you really don't like them, plenty of amatuers have created great weapons free to download from the internet. Despite these problems, Unreal is still truly one of the greatest shoot-um-ups of modern times, as the imaginative landscapes and clever mission designs more than make up for the lack of imagination in the weapons and enemies. Overall a fantastic shoot em up P.S sorry about the unreal tourneyment review it was meant to be for unreal.

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              14.06.2001 05:54
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              Unreal is a first person shooter where you are on a prison ship (spaceship) that has crashed on an alien planet. The game has a good plot with lots many different situations and is realistic, well as realistic as you can be in a strange world with stranege plants and animals! You start in the crashed spaceship and you end up in a castle, I mean what can you say about that! The graphics on the game are very good and a lot of effort has been put in to small extra details such as the small rabits and birds around which respond to you and the enviroment. The game play is very good in this game it has obviously been thought about before the game was made. This is deffanately a good game to add to your collection.

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                12.04.2001 20:55
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                I must be getting all retro in my old age, reviewing a game thats been out for almost three years to my knowledge, Unreal still proves that it can go up against the best of em, and still come out on top. Basically, Unreal is a first person shoot-um-up, similiar to the infamous Doom genre, and the more recent Quake series, which was made a classic style of gaming during the nineties by techno wizards ID Software. Pretty soon, other developers tried their hands at the style, and while most failed miserably, others went on to produce high quality games such as Duke Nukem 3D, and Hexen. However, nobody has quite reached the high standards set by ID's favourite puppies, the Doom and Quake series - Although GT Software have had a good shot at it. You see, Unreal was in production around the same time as the sequel to Quake, unsurprisingly named Quake 2. As far as everyone could see, Unreal looked much more fun and action orientated than the more traditional offering from ID, setting up GT Software for a classic game. However, when the time came, it turned out that Quake 2 just pipped Unreal to the spot of best shooter ever, and now I'm going to explain why. History lesson over, let's get down to some reviewing. Renouned as the prettiest 3D engine of it's time, Unreal's lavish graphical eye-candy still gives even the most up to date gamer a severe problem of gobsmacked awe. The very first level provides enough special effects to put Independance Day to shame, from pretty glowing security lights, to shiny reflective flooring, the visual delights make the grungy prison ship seem more like Buckingham Palace than a transport to death row. The story centres around you (duh!), a convict being transported to death row onboard the prison ship Vortex Rikers. Suffice to say, your ship stops to investigate an unknown planet along the way, and is caught in it's unusually strong gravitational field, and starts to desc
                end into the planets surface. When you awake, days later, the ship is a mess, and the security grid around your cell is damaged, so you escape (applause applause!). The one problem however, is that the ships entire crew has been killed off by alien nasties, and you have to find away to get yourself off the rock. Like most stories to games of this type, it's only really an excuse to go blast some alien meanies to kingdom kum, however Unreal at least gives you the opportunity to at least take part in some of it. Your first objective is to get yourself patched up (you only start with ten points on your health meter!), and discover what situation you are in before proceeding. This involves reading various mission logs in different areas of the spaceship, which serve to give you an analysis of what has been happening while you were sleeping. What you have to know at this point, this was actually quite a big step for the time, before games such as Half Life proved that an ongoing story could be fun and it didn't have to all be killing and maming everything you see. The other thing that makes this game interesting, is that strategy is very important. You can't just go in guns blazing. 9/10 you'll just die. To succeed, you have to seek out other means of entrance to enemy constructions, or sneak behind hoards of evil aliens to pull a switch, etc, etc. This makes the game much more chanllenging, and Unreal is one of the first examples of this type of gaming. So, some may be saying why doesn't this great, genre defining game quite match the more boring Quake 2? Well, it's a mix match of things that let the game down. 1.) The enemies They're boring! Despite them all being very clever, their actual design blends into the landscape too much, making them not as memorable or scary as those we've seen in games such as Doom or the original Quake. Evil enemies need a personality, and the monsters
                in Unreal don't have any. 2.) Some of the weapons Again, the weapons tend to blend in with the surroundings of the scenary, and have nothing special that we haven't seen before. Despite the innovative ALT-Fire idea, introuced in this game, the weapons don't feel meaty enough. You don't get anything near the feeling of chainsawing a cacademon in in this game. That's it really, but these important things do let the game down in both single player and deathmatch modes, as the fun of playing with them all the first few times does soon wear thin. However, if you really don't like them, plenty of amatuers have created great weapons free to download from the internet. Despite these problems, Unreal is still truly one of the greatest shoot-um-ups of modern times, as the imaginative landscapes and clever mission designs more than make up for the lack of imagination in the weapons and enemies. Another factor in this exceptional game is the new price tag. It's age allows it to be considered budget, so I picked up my copy for under a fiver! How great is that? One of the best first person shooters ever, and it only costs the same as Pacman! Overall, it seems that Unreal was adeptly named, because quite frankly, Unreal IS Unreal. (How cheesy was that?)

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                28.03.2001 05:14
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                Unreal is a first-person-perspective science fiction shoot-em-up with fantastic graphics and oodles of atmosphere. The story is of little consequence, but for the record - you play a prisoner who has just escaped from his prison ship following a crash-landing on a hostile planet. You only have one thing on your mind - ESCAPE. This is a shooty game, and as such your method of escape does not take the form of painstaking design and construction of a spacecraft from naturally occurring materials; it's more along the lines of running down corridors and shooting at aliens with very large guns. Unreal looks absolutely fantastic. The level of detail in the levels is amazing. The yardstick for first-person-shooters is the Quake series, and graphically Unreal more than comes up to the mark. Where the Quake series textures tend towards the subtle and beige, Unreal throws in bag loads of garish colour. Whether or not you get on with this slightly more cartoony (unreal?) approach to the graphics boils down to a matter of taste, but personally I like it. The graphics make extensive use of coloured lighting effects, again they are less than subtle - some might say over the top – but I like them. The game designers were obviously very pleased with their work. They are well versed with the common problem that there is rarely time to sit back and admire the scenery while you're in a gunfight - with this in mind, they thoughtfully left the first level devoid of alien life, so that you might spend more time appreciating the visuals. This would be my first criticism of the game - a shoot-em-up with nothing to shoot on level one? Do me a favour. Fortunately, level two arrives fairly quickly, and with it, the aliens. Unreal has some solid artificial intelligence built into the behaviour of its bad guys (who, true to form look superb). They will run away and hide around corners if you let them, and dodge and weave through your hail of
                bullets. Criticism number two: there just aren't very many of them. I recall some years back playing Doom and (to my great satisfaction) chain-gunning a room packed wall to wall with demons. I like total carnage - I know it's wrong, but I can't help it. Unreal lacks carnage, opting for a cleaner more refined style of combat. It is unusual to face more than two or three bad guys at the same time, you are usually in a one-on-one with a beastie. That's not to say it's easy, they are very hard to kill, and often kill you, but I prefer easy-to-kill bad guys in greater numbers. Would Space Invaders have taken off if there had been just one alien sitting at the top of the screen instead of a whole bunch of them? I think not. I would imagine that with the processing demands of the spectacular graphics and artificial intelligence, Unreal can't afford to have too much happening at once, which is a pity. I heard someone complain once that the gun sounds weren't beefy enough - more potato-gun than mini-gun. The sounds they make tend to be along the lines of fzzt fzzt fzzt rather than BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM. Personally, I don't mind this too much. They fit very well with the general sound scheme, and won't give you too much of a headache. The atmospheric sounds are excellent, from screeching birds to bubbling streams, they really make you feel like you're actually there. The path through the game is very linear, with each level being visited only once and in strict order. As you progress, you find messages which guide you and give you information about the planet and its inhabitants. The levels are very varied in style, some feature caves, some are set in spaceship corridors while others have villages and wide open spaces. This variety helps to keep the game from getting dull and gives a little incentive to continue, just to find out "what comes next". The level design is based on the usual
                collection of “push lever to open door/activate lift” type puzzle; the kind of thing they get rats to do in laboratories. This suits me absolutely fine - I'm not keen on the action-ADVENTURE genre. I want to kill things without turning my brain on; applying my mind to any kind of puzzle during the gaming experience is out of the question. I have very limited experience of online play - multiplayer Unreal has been superseded by Unreal Tournament and Quake 3 - but its worth knowing that it can be done. By today’s standards, Unreal has very low system requirements - it will run quite happily (according to the box) on a Pentium-166. If you have such a system, I would be wary of buying Unreal as you will probably have to turn down the graphics settings to get any kind of decent frame-rate. It relies so heavily on the graphical aspect that with all the detail settings at minimum it just wouldn't have the same impact. On balance, Unreal offers beautiful visuals, beautiful level design, beautiful game design, but few aliens and little carnage. This was a landmark game, if only in terms of the graphics, but given that it's being re-released at £4.99 it deserves to be in every good game collection, despite its faults.

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                  29.01.2001 06:45
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                  Unreal really was a bit before it’s time – when it came out it needed an absolute monster PC. But when the time came for me to get a new PC, my middle spec for the time computer would run Unreal nice and easy – and just to demonstrate it, it came with my PC! The start of the game is stunning, like Half Life you wonder round the intro to the game before finally stumbling out into it proper. And it is stunning! The first outside scene in Unreal is quite possibly one of the best looking game scenarios ever. As are quite a lot of the next sections, it’s just a shame that the game designers seemed to lose interest a bit towards the end of the game. Gameplay wise it’s slower than the Quake games and tends to be more one on one or one on a few combat. But the impressive AI makes up for the lack of doom style you against the odds situations. It’s a good game, and now it’s on budget you could do worse than give it a look.

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                  23.12.2000 19:05

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                  I’ve become a little fed up with id Software’s domination of the first-person shooter. Other than perhaps Duke Nukem 3D and Jedi Knight, there haven’t been many titles that are even in the same league as both Quakes—and none could compete with id’s technical savvy. Enter (finally) Epic MegaGames’ and Digital Extremes’ much-hyped, much-anticipated, and oft-slipped Unreal. It offers a better single-player experience than Quake or Quake II and is powered by one helluva serious 3D engine. Unreal is hands-down the most unique-looking shooter to come along in an extremely long time—if not ever. The environments are vast, varied, lush, and breathtaking. The textures are much larger and more detailed, colorful, and varied than those in Quake II, resulting in a much more interesting exploratory experience as you delve through the variety of levels—from dark, dank caves to huge outdoor settings with kaleidoscopes of bright colors. The special effects this engine can produce are truly amazing. Water cascades and ripples; lights blend, pulsate, and shimmer realistically. And the reflective surfaces of some of the floors are jaw-dropping. Sure, it’s more of a “see what we can do” feature rather than one crucial to Unreal’s level design, but it looks pretty. There’s also per-pixel fogging in software and 3D acceleration that really lends itself to the atmosphere pervading most of the game. You’ll encounter this in the first level as you explore some foggy air-ducts, a game opening that really sets the mood. The 3D sound effects are also amazing, particularly if you have an A3D-licensed card. The sounds of monsters’ footsteps, engine hums, water dripping, waterfalls, bird cries, and gunshots change dramatically according to your position relative to them. On some of the more cavernous levels, you’ll find that sounds echo convincingly. The electronic m
                  usic, however, pretty much sucks—I recommend you turn it off or throw in your own CD. Why am I spouting off about Unreal’s technical merits before getting into its gameplay? Because Unreal’s technology is its most noteworthy element. When you get to the gameplay, Unreal is essentially of the same old find-your-way-to-the-next-level variety—it’s just a much more beautiful journey. You’re cast as a prisoner aboard a prison transport ship that crashes on a mysterious planet. You awaken amid the ship’s rubble bruised, battered, and confused. Your first task is to find some medical attention, then find a way out of the ship, and eventually find a way off the planet. It seems other ships have crashed on this planet as well, and a race of aliens known as the Skaarj have taken it upon themselves to reign supreme. Together with a host of alien baddies, the Skaarj are up to something—which includes the subjugation of the planet’s native residents, the Nali. As you progress, you’ll spend most of your time roaming through spaceships and Nali gothic temples and villages. During your journeys, you’ll discover more information about the Skaarj and what they’re doing, the planet you’re on, and the Nali, via your handy-dandy Universal Translator (never leave home without one). You’ll also find various weapons—10 in all—with which to combat the Skaarj and their minions. Each weapon has a secondary-fire feature that’s usually more powerful than the primary firing method but takes more time or ammo. For example, the primary-fire trigger on the 8-Ball Launcher fires standard rockets—up to six at a time depending on how long you hold the trigger. Its secondary-fire option launches grenades. Your standard weapon is the Dispersion pistol, and there are five power-ups that make it substantially more deadly. The weapons are fa
                  irly well balanced and interesting in single-play, but Unreal’s baddies are even better. Where Quake II tries to overwhelm you with numbers, Unreal tries to overwhelm you with quality—there are fewer baddies, but they’re more detailed and tougher to kill. There’s been much hype around Steven Polge coding the AI (he created the Quake Reaper Bot), and the team claimed that fighting them would be like fighting human players. Well, not quite. But the Skaarj (and variants) do duck, strafe, roll, dodge, flank, and fire better than any enemy AI seen before in a shooter. They also patrol levels rather than staying put in the same spot. The Skaarj and their variants are by far the most interesting. The rest don’t pose much of a challenge—not even the massive Titan, who is awe-inspiring but not that difficult to defeat. Unreal doesn’t redefine the genre, but it does have a look and atmosphere all its own, resulting in a compelling single-player experience. And it definitely has its great moments, like the tense one in Dark Arena when four doors slightly obscured by fog start opening. Emerging from behind one is a gargantuan Titan, slamming the ground to send you flying and hurling massive boulders at you. A few levels later, the Skaarj drop down from the Terran ship’s ceiling vents in numbers, intensifying that “me alone vs. the aliens” feeling. Other moments are equally impressive but more subtle: emerging from a claustrophobic hallway into an expansive, gorgeous Nali world with birds flying overhead and rabbits hopping around; the mooing of the Nali cows; the transporter portals on the Skaarj mothership. Better story exposition and development (the ending was incredibly cliché and the game’s final confrontation lame), more scripted events, and more unique things to do would have elevated the game into truly unreal status. So would more attention to multiplay. Games run smoothly on a LAN, b
                  ut not over the Internet. Few servers were up at the time of this writing, and playing on them is a lagfest of shameful proportions. Hopefully this’ll be improved in coming months via patches. It must, or Unreal will remain an also-ran in terms of multiplay. The weapons are also serious underachievers in multiplay—it seems to take forever to kill your target. In addition to standard deathmatch multiplayer support, you get teamplay, King of the Hill, and co-op play, and there’s the option to play with and against bots—and they’re pretty challenging. If it weren’t for these customizable bots (which can be included in deathmatches), Unreal would be a complete bust in the multiplayer department. Another boon—the game includes an unsupported beta version of the Unreal Level Editor (a full, retail version will be sold separately). This is by far the easiest 3D-level design tool I’ve encountered. No doubt it’ll spawn a healthy online community—provided Epic can iron out its bugs. Unreal’s biggest hurdle by far is its meaty system requirements—this game had my P200 MMX machine with 64MB of RAM and a Canopus 6MB Voodoo accelerator gasping for breath like no other shooter before did. Dropping to 512-by-380 res (the max for a 4MB Voodoo card) and low-detail textures helped, but it still didn’t play completely smoothly. If your PC has the muscle, you’ll get a lot of enjoyment out of Unreal. It isn’t the Second Coming, but it’s pretty damn good.

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                  15.11.2000 02:02

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                  Yet another Shoot'em up trying to knock Half-Life off its lofty position of greatness. This one has a half-original plot, although the rest of its looks about the same as the rest of the bunch. Well, here I go, again, for another foray into the dark and dangerous world of Unreal. Your ship has crash landed on an unknown planet. You look around. Crystal clear water shimmers. Shadows shift. Alien Architecture fades into the horizon. Darkness falls. Walkways glow. Godless temples beckon. You are afraid. You are in the real world .... but it is like no world you have ever known. You are an uninvited guest in the fastest, sleekest, most beautiful 3D world ever created. Live it. Breath it. Survive it. Unreal. Alter your reality.... Forever. Well, that is what the back of the box says, but how does it compare with the game? Surprisingly well, actually. The storyline is that you were a prisoner onboard a ship, and it crash-landed on an alien world. Everyone else has been slaughtered, as usual, and you decide to try to get off the planet. This storyline is very strongly supported by almost everything else in the game, and when you do wander outside the ship into the outside world, you really will gasp in amazement at the outside world. You see reasonably detailed (and killable, for the more sick of you) wildlife on this planet, and they are not that dissimilar to our wildlife. This really helps set the scene, as you see fish in the water, rabbit-like things hopping about, and it looks amazing.. A really great feature of Unreal, and one that certainly helps to set the scene, is that almost all of the numerous dead bodies you will see lying around have their own logs, or diaries, that you can read when you walk over them. This really does help to set the scene, and you soon become engrossed in the plot and storyline. I really cannot stress enough how good an idea the logs are. They do almost as much as any fancy 3D intro movie, or any build-up st
                  ory. Another thing about Unreal that is apparent from almost as soon as you play it, is how awesome the lighting effects are. They really are incredible, and easily the best I have ever seen in any PC game. The explosions really do have to be seen to be believed. Some of the fog, and strobe-light effects are also spectacular. The flickering torches on the walls are truly beautiful, especially as you get the bigger and better guns, and you shoot one and you are treated to a virtual fireworks display. Yet another nice thing about Unreal are the sound effects. The sound effects when you first venture out are brilliant. You are treated to an audio spectacular, as Birds tweet, rabbits wee, I don't know, squeak? anyway, it sure is great.The only bad thing about the sound effects is when you shoot a alien, which I don't recommend doing. They either make no sound at all, or go "ugh" or some crappy sound, that repeats over and over again, and generally gets annoying. My advice? Don't shoot people. Be friendly. A great feature about Unreal is that when you start, you really do feel like you have just been in a crash. The place is a wreck. The lights are flickering, gas is escaping, and you can hear unfamiliar sounds. You also start off with only 12 health and no gun. Now that really does make it tense! When you do eventually venture outside, almost the first thing you see is the waterfall. And it really is something to write home about. The water shimmers as it comes out, creates ripples as it hits the water, sending spray into the air. Water generally is gorgeous in Unreal, although you simply must take a look at the screenshots with the waterfall in them. If you have a crappy PC, seeing these pictures will make you cry. Honestly. Unreal comes with its own level editor/creator, which is great news for those (like me) who love making their own levels. The level editor is easy to use, and very well made, with
                  loads of features. The bad points about Unreal are few and far between. Enough, however, to make it the bad choice between this and Half-Life. For starters, the graphics on the aliens are just too blurred and undetailed. As I have mentioned before, the sounds for the aliens are also crap, and just annoy you. The first time you see the aliens is actually more of a disappointment than scary, they just look so lame in comparison with everything else. Also, I can't really put my finger on it, but there is just something about Unreal that doesn't grab hold of you and make you play it for hours on end. You will probably find yourself taking a break after about a couple of hours the first time, and it will get less and less as time goes on. Not great lastibility either. Overall, I would say that while Unreal is still a good game, and has some of the best graphics I have ever seen, and sadly it comes about fourth in the grand scheme of things, out of Half-Life, Sin and Blood 2. Still, if you have these other games, then it is a good buy, though otherwise I would say get the others first. Gorgeous graphics though. Cerberus

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                  08.10.2000 04:55
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                  The plot in Unreal is that your ship has crash landed on an alien planet and that you must escape from it and return home. However there is one major problem in that the planet is populated by some of the most fearsome enemy creatures that have ever graced the computer screen. They are fast, tough and beautifully animated and will be more than a match for you in your early days of playing the game. The scenery is beautifully drawn and the sound effects compliment the game perfectly producing an atmosphere of true foreboding in the underground sections and beauty above ground. The atmosphere is further enhanced in the early sections by distant visions and sounds of your crew members in battle(or various states of dismemberment) with the resident aliens. Your journey will take you through your ship and onto the alien planet, visiting alien temples on and below ground where you can interact with the submissive locals who have been enslaved by the dominant and extremely violent lizard race and all of which is beautifully presented. Great care seems to have been taken in the production of this game to immerse the player in the world of Unreal and i can not emphasise just how good this is. The only drawback to it that i can see is that the range of weapons is, although good, not quite as good as those seen in Quake. Any gamer will understand the joy of using the nailgun in Quake which has no substitute and is not matched by anything in Unreal. However, gripe over, this game is to be recommended to any fan of the ultra-violent first person shoot-em-up. There are also the usual multiplayer options that you would expect now from games of this type which make the package complete. So say goodbye to Quake and go out and buy Unreal now!

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