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Unreal Tournament: Through The Ages

Author: Aryan Alipour

Do you remember those games that your parents were led to believe would turn you into psychotic brain dead killers? Do you remember an evil narrating voice which would sometimes cut into your game and mention something so cool, it’ll make you want to repeat it. Have you ever played Unreal Tournament?

The Unreal Tournament Universe Only Changes Slightly In Each Game

As some of you may know, Unreal Tournament is a series of First Person Shooter Games developed by Epic Games and the lesser known Digital Extremes (took part in developing the Bioshock series in case you didn’t know). Unreal Tournament was originally a biproduct of an earlier game by the name of Unreal, Unreal was mainly a single player game which presented the new Unreal engine at the time (Old School Tech). The story was of a human prisoner who crash lands on a planet being invaded by the Skaarj (Reptillian Humaniods). The prisoner then escapes and goes through different parts of the planet. Blah Blah Blah… It’s all very interesting and original really. Anyway, the main purpose of the game was to show off the stunning visual graphics of the Unreal engine.

Unreal Tournament (1999)

A year later, Unreal Tournament was released with a great reception which lead to it being the game of the year (2000). This was mainly due to its great multiplayer experience and diverse set of map levels. Although this game was almost shadowed by Quake III Arena (Much like the Matrix dwarfed the more original Equillibrium), Unreal Tournament became a rising star due to it’s catchy killstreaks and shockingly cool weapons. One of Unreal Tournament’s well known attributes were it’s phenomenal AI bots. At the time in-game bots were not very satisfying due to the fact they were sloppy and had to be orchestrated most times when it came to single player games (think of how simple the AI bots in Doom are). Unreal Tournament however was able to make AI bots think, from what weapon they were going to scavenge to what tactic they would use to I don’t know, Capture the Flag or Domination. Unreal Tournament is one of the most iconic games in history, alongside Doom, Duke Nukem 3D and Deus Ex. It had set a standard to what arena based FPS games needed to be like in order to please the audience. I would like to say that Counter Strike was inspired by Unreal Tournament, however that would most probably cause an argument which would end with Valve giving an official statement regarding the matter.

Unreal Tournament 2004

Okay, just to make this article shorter, I’m going to skip a few years to the release of Unreal Tournament 2004. As the name states this game was released in… Yup that’s right, 2004. Funny enough this game was the sequel to the previous Unreal Tournament 2003. It included most of the previous game’s content with added extras and new visuals. The biggest improvement to Unreal Tournament 2004 was its inclusion of vehicular combat and the Onslaught mode. This allowed for players to take part in larger scale battles on larger scale maps. In fact, Epic Games had the great idea of creating a contest for mod creators to have a go at making the most out of the ability to create large scale battles using the Unreal engine. This led to the mod creation now known as Red Orchestra. Red Orchestra was not only the winning mod, but was one of the only mods which had recreated an entirely new universe using the Unreal Engine. So much so that it is now available on Steam as a retail title under the same name. Alien Swarm was among the many non-FPS mods which had won the contest as well. Unreal Tournament 2004 was a great accomplishment which awarded it the Best Multiplayer Game Of The Year 2004.

Unreal Tournament III

And now we’ve reached 2007, the year of our latest installment to the Unreal Tournament series, Unreal Tournament III (named after the new Unreal III engine). Unreal Tournament III actually ended up ridding of many of the different game modes which were previously available. This was a way of cutting down on the quantity of material in the game and focusing on the quality of the game. Although this game received good reception, it did not receive any awards unfortunately. Considering that The Orange Box and Halo 3 was released on the same year, it seems understandable that Unreal Tournament III was unable to receive any awards that year. So why is Unreal Tournament such a great achievement for the gaming industry? It was pure uncensored, hardcore, shooting fun. There is so much pleasure in firing five (unfortunately three by the time we reach Unreal Tournament III) rockets at the same time in the direction of another player, only to hear the game voice out “OVERKILL”. To kill three players in quick succession and hear the words “MULTIKILL”. Oh does it make me itch for the next set of kills.

I have to say, there is great enjoyment in playing these games due to the arcade like playing style and variety of weapons available in-game. I could only hope that Epic Games would get their arses into gear and develop the next installment of Unreal Tournament. Hmmm… maybe they could bring back some of the maps from the original Unreal Tournament.

About Gaming

gaming.spark@reading.ac.uk'
Editor of Gaming for Spark* Newspaper and Online. Email: gaming.spark@reading.ac.uk Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/spark.gaming/ Twitter: @UoRSparkGaming

One comment

  1. adborowski@gmail.com'

    UT 1999 is still my favourite single-player FPS to date.

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