Review: Unreal Tournament: Game of the Year Edition
Developer: Westlake Interactive/Epic (product page)
Price: $19.99 (MSRP)
Requirements: 200MHz 603-based Mac, 64 MB of RAM, Mac OS 7.6, 120 MB hard disk space
Recommended: G3-based Mac, 96 MB of RAM, Mac OS 8, Rage Pro or 3D card
Trial: Feature-limited (LAN play on limited set of levels), 47.3 MB
A few years back, the release of the original Unreal introduced a new echelon of first-person shooters, featuring outstanding graphics and a creepy and high-tension combination of story line and game design. Unreal Tournament (UT) takes the Unreal concept and moves it to arena combat, akin to the deathmatch games of the Quake series (which leads to things like this; can’t we all just get along?).
The purpose of UT is simple. Survive in the arena and accumulate as many opponent kills, or “frags,” as you can by taking out as many trigger-happy opponents as possible while avoiding the same fate yourself. Each arena map is littered with weapons, armor, and player enhancements, allowing you to “power up” your character along the way.
Wreaking Havoc With the Minigun
A typical match ends when a player reaches a set number of frags and/or a certain amount of time elapses, or a player reaches a predetermined goal. Some matches are free-for-all, but others feature opposing teams.
A one-player version of UT is included, which consists of a training stage and a number of arena combats against “bots” (computer-controlled opponents).
You can spend a while honing your skills in one-player mode, but most players will eventually join a multi-player UT game through either a local area network (LAN) or the Internet. Support for both methods is included, and the game tracks available-to-join LAN or Internet games. You can even choose to host your own game that others join.
An Internet UT Server List
Ooo! Pretty! The first thing you’ll notice about UT is the smooth, high-gloss look of the arenas and players, showing off the updated graphics engine also used by games such as Deus Ex. I used the baseline 450 Mhz Cube as my play machine, and had no hiccups or problems with up to the 800x600 setting on its ATI Rage 128 video card. Try out different video settings to find what works best for you, as CPU and video card speeds will affect your results.
Another feature of UT is the ability to use game modifications, or “mods,” which are new arenas or game items created by fellow gamers. The list of available mods is rather large. A search for “Unreal” on Macgamefiles.com returned over 100 related files, most of which are new arenas or mod utilities. Mod quality varies widely, but they keep the game fresh by adding a new look and feel once you’ve seen all that the basic game has to offer.
A Mod Map of a Desert Base
At $19.99 this edition of UT is a painless way to satisfy your trigger finger for a long time. If you made the initial choice between Quake 3 and UT and went with Quake, this is a good way to see what you missed. The better Mac gaming climate means better Mac games, and this choice of first-person shooters is a good example. I prefer UT’s weapons “feel” myself, and will probably spend more time behind the UT rocket launcher over the long term.