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  Unreal Tournament - Review

Review: Unreal Tournament

Developer: Epic Megagames &
Digital Extreme

Publisher: GT Interactive

Review by: Jeremy Larson

Published: January 12, 1999


The first person shooter genre has been a little stale the past few months, so it is good for some change. It seems like squad based teamplay games ruled the roost for a while, also one hit one kill games were popular. But nothing is as satisfying as a fast paced, high adrenaline, take 10 shots and live First Person Shooter. On with the review...

"Time For Some Change"

Unreal Tournament Slash



85% - Big and Beefy

Review system: Celeron 366 @ 550 MHz ABIT BE6 128 PC-100 Diamond MonsterSound MX300 Voodoo 3 3500 TV

After the actual installation, you will notice that your hard drive has a lot less space on it. My Unreal Tournament directory is currently 834 MB. I added the "expansion" files that came on the second disk to come up with this total. Unreal Tournament is of a hefty size that came on two CD's.

Typical system:

  • 300 MHz Pentium II or AMD K6-3
  • 64 megabytes of RAM
  • 3dfx Voodoo 2 / Riva TNT class 3d accelerator

Awesome system:

  • Pentium III 500 or AMD Athlon 550 or faster PC
  • 128 megabytes of RAM
  • 3dfx Voodoo3 / Riva TNT2 class 3D accelerator

Performance is very good on systems 300 MHz and faster with at least a Voodoo 2 card. Glide mode runs very well, and Direct3D hasn't hiccuped once for me.

** Note - This review is based on the "OEM" version bundled with a 3dfx Voodoo 3 3500. There may or may not be differences between this and the regular version. Although, I have not detected any differences so far.



95% - Lovin' It

The original Unreal engine was used to create open game worlds with beautiful textures. The backdrops on some of the maps are gorgeous. Although colors seem to be overused in some spots that make the world very bright and unrealistic. The models are good but aren't varied enough for me, male and female humans are all your going to get. Even though they try to put a story about outer space into this game, doing so with only humans seems a little strange. Wouldn't there be other species out there? The models do look good though and have a pretty high polygon count. The weapons have a high texture quality and look good. Clipping is somewhat of a minor problem but it is evident in 99% of the games I've played. The color may be over used on some weapons (personal opinion), but the lighting effects are nicely done.

Tested on a GeForce DDR at 1280x1024 with no noticeable slowdown in Direct3D mode. Glide mode was smooth at the same resolution with a Voodoo 3 3500.


Sound & Music

90% - Good Enough

A3D support is included and works well on a good set of headphones. The movement sounds suffice, but some guns have the stupid mushy sounds similar to the sounds of the original Unreal.

The taunt feature that was added works very well. I can now call my teammates idiots in just a few simple clicks! Works great in team games. Player sounds and death sounds sound somewhat realistic. The "First Blood" and "PLAYER IS ON A RAMPAGE!" voiceovers are in line with the "Finish Him!" from the Mortal Kombat series.

The music was the only thing that dropped the 100% I was going to give down to 90%. I absolutely cannot stand the stupid techno background music. Thank god I can turn it off. Although, I can't listen to my own CD's though, and that stinks. All the audio splendor makes Unreal Tournament more enjoyable, most games nowadays seem to have less emphasis on sound.

01-13-2000 2:09 AM
Alex Brandon the soundtrack producer for UT, responds to Jeremy's criticism of background music. Read Alex's response and post your feelings


AI / Difficulty

95% - !Muy Bien!

Unreal has highly configurable bot AI allowing you to set the perfect mix for your own skills. Steve Polge, the creator of the Quake 1 Reaper bot created the bots of Unreal and Unreal Tournament. UT's bots have three generations of artificial intelligence behind them. The bots know the levels well (which is a good thing), and follow routes like most human players do. Team play is realistic with bots having a mind of their own. You can set them to cover you or to defend the base, whatever you would like. The bottom line is that however good you are, there is an acceptable bot skill level for you.


Game Play

99% - King Of The Hill

I have to disagree with Richard's quote, "Not even Unreal Tournament can beat Q3A when it comes to pure gameplay". Unreal Tournament thoroughly kicks Quake 3's a$$ in the area of gameplay, play modes, and overall quality.

Everything about Unreal Tournament has a polished feel, while Quake 3 has the feel that is was rushed for Christmas season sales. The cheesy cut scenes from Quake 3 are highly laughable they are so bad.

Unreal Tournament has an excellent mouse driven GUI that allows very easy access to the many configurable options. The weapons seem to be more balanced and tweaked. There are also modifiers, called Mutators, that are like miniature mods. There are things like Rocket Arena and Sniper Arena that can single out certain weapons or change the gravity levels in the game. The levels in Unreal Tournament absolutely rock. There is so much variety and graphical splendor in them that I could write a page about each one. Here is a quick rundown of the weapons:


Available in CTF and other team games, is a very cool self transporter that you can use to telefrag other people if your good enough!

Impact Hammer:

Used to punch away enemies. Can kill. Also possible to deflect shots.


Basic Pistol, can pick up a second one for "Akimbo" mode.


Pretty useless, shoots little green boogers that are like radiation or something. (This is why I hated the original Unreal)


Has 2 firing modes, one bounces little sawblades, one doesn't.

Shock Rifle:

Has a Railgun-like fire mode, and a plasma bolt firing mode.

Pulse Blaster:

Like Quake 1's lightning gun, shoots green lightning type bolt.


High speed chaingun that can bring down an enemy quickly if a lot of shots hit.

Rocket Launcher:

Brings amazing new firing modes to the table that Quake 3 could only hope for. Possible to shoot up to 6 rockets in line at the same time, also shoots grenades and can shoot up to 6 at the same time.

Flak Cannon:

Powerful cannon that has a spread of shots.

Sniper Rifle:

Zooms in on enemy up to 8X. Good for camping and long range.


Named correctly, redeems your soul when you kill a camper hiding in a secluded tower with it. It can be guided in first person mode for awesome around the corner shots. You are vulnerable when you are guiding it though.

The weapons in Unreal Tournament have pretty good balance. It isn't too hard to find decent weapons quickly on most levels. Another advantage that Unreal Tournament has over Quake 3 is play modes. They don't seem rushed and actually offer something more self-redeeming than boring deathmatch. Here is a quick rundown of the modes:


Yes, the mode that started it all. Sort of slow paced compared to Quake 3: Arena but fun.

Capture The Flag:

Has good maps and more than 4! No grapple but there is the translocator which I touched on above.


A fun and strategic mode where your team has to control certain points. Sort of like CTF but no aggravation of having to hunt down enemy flag carriers.


A VERY cool teamplay type mission where you have objectives (sort of like a dummied-down Rogue Spear) This one is extremely fun to play online.

Last Man Standing:

Self-explanatory. You are given a set amount of lives and you have to kill everyone else and become the last man standing.

As a single player part, Unreal Tournament delivers, where other games **cough Quake 3 cough** just simply don't.



95% - Got SkillZ

Unreal Tournament has an easy to use browser to find games. Once your in the game, things are looking on the upside. The multiplayer screen shows ping AND packet loss. This is a good thing. The game is highly playable with pings up to 300. All single player playmodes are accessible to multiplayer. I have never suffered any crashes in multiplayer, though one annoying bug is that the level has to reload every time the teams switch positions in assault mode.


Final Analysis

96% - Best First Person Shooter Of 1999

In conclusion, Unreal Tournament has streamlined polish that doesn't have the rushed feel to it. The many play modes each with a lot of levels make for exciting first person warfare. You certainly never play the same game twice. The innovative maps show what can be done with the Unreal engine. Maybe this is why many print and Internet media have handed this game the infamous "Game Of The Year" award. Don't get me wrong, I still like and play Quake 3, but when I feel like thinking, I play Unreal Tournament.

Unreal Tournament Website:
Epic Megagames:
GT Interactive:

MSRP $49.99 U.S.

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Operating System:
Windows 95 or 98

100% Windows 95/98 DirectX compatible computer required

233 MHz Pentium MMX or AMD K6 class computer.

32MB RAM required

4 megabyte video card.

100% directsound compatible soundcard

Quad speed CD/ROM Required. CD is required to be in the drive during play

Input Devices:
Keyboard and mouse required. Optional support for all other directX compatible devices and force feedback.

DirectX7 required for Direct3D play and is included on the CD

Multiplayer Support

Internet (TCP/IP): Unlimited players

Direct Modem: 2

Direct Serial: 2

Additional Multiplayer Requirements

Modem: 28.8 Kbps or faster modem for Direct Modem or Internet Play

Internet: 32 bit Dial-Up or Direct TCP/IP connection. 28.8 Kbps Minimum

Direct Serial Connection: Null Modem Cable required.

"Multiplayer Menu"

"Models Menu "

"Rooftop Combat"

"Rooms over rooms"

"Insuring the enemy Is Dead"

"Firing building to building."


"For additional information on Unreal Tournament, be sure to check out the following websites:"

"The official UT website."
"Keep up to date on the latest Unreal Tournament patches, downloads, and news"
"Another excellent UT resource website"
BluesNews and
"Keeps you abreast of all of the important developments for Quake 3, UT, and other games in the FPS genre."

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