What really makes Unreal Tournament stand out is its tremendous number of game options. Where most other first-person shooters release with a handful of standard deathmatch selections and ask players to start whipping out the mods themselves, UT ships with a number of cool play options each more entertaining than the next. The four basic games included are DeathMatch (which also includes Team DeathMatch), Domination, Capture the Flag, and assault. Let's take a quick look at how each game works and what makes each one so much fun to play.
It's The Weapons, Man
The next area in which Unreal Tournament really excels is weapon design. While most of the weapons are the same or have evolved from those found in the original Unreal, they're still a lot cooler than anything else I've seen. Here's a quick and dirty guide to what you can expect to find in the game and why we think it's so damn cool.
Impact Hammer - Okay, every game has to have a hand weapon that doesn't require any ammo, but few games have one that's as bad*** as the Impact Hammer. This little beauty, like all of the weapons in UT, has two functions. First, is a charge function where the Hammer gains power. When you run into an enemy, the charge instantly goes off and kills whatever was standing in front of you. Yes you have to be close, but it's well worth it. The second more delivers a quick slam (no charged power) that does a fair amount of damage. It can also be used to deflect incoming shots. Cool.
Enforcer - This basic pistol weapon may not seem like much, but I've managed to rack up quite a few kills with it already. In addition to primary fire and secondary fire (just like primary fire but it shoots a little bit quicker and a little less accurately) mode, the Enforcer can actually be picked up twice offering player a John Woo style combat advantage.
Shock Rifle - When used in its primary mode, the Shock Rifle sends a beam of energy that pops distant foes instantaneously. Secondary mode sends out a slower ball of energy that does a buttload of damage to whatever it hits. This is the only weapon in the game to boast a tertiary option as well. If you send out an energy globe and then shoot it with your beam, the globe will explode in a mega-blast that should do in anything in the neighborhood.
Ripper - My absolute favorite weapon in the game, the Ripper is a tool that requires a practiced hand to really master. Basically it fires high speed spinning razor blades that bounce off of any surface that they hit. This s you to reach enemies around corners or those intent on hiding behind boxes. Sadly, if players are dumb enough to fire it directly at the wall, they'll discover that it is also a very dangerous weapon to the wielder. What really makes the Ripper stand out though is its instant death option - if you hit an enemy (or yourself) in the neck, it will decapitate them, killing them instantly. Once you get good at this, the Ripper can become an incredibly lethal weapon. The secondary mode adds to this lethality by offering special razors that explode on impact doing splash damage.
Rocket Launcher - Tal's favorite gun has a whole host of different fire options. While first-person fans should be very familiar with the explosive power of standard rocket launchers, the launcher in UT offers up a new fire mode in which the fire button can be depressed and held to load up additional rockets (up to six). Once the chamber is full, or the player releases the button (whichever comes first), all of the rockets currently loaded go flying at the target. The raw carnage of six rockets flying into a room full of dueling players has to be seen to be believed. The second option on the rocket launcher allows the same loading option, but rather than propelling the explosives at a target, it lobs them out like grenades. An amazingly destructive weapon.
Flak Cannon - Steve's favorite weapon is the intelligent answer to the shotgun. The Flak Cannon fires a whole bunch of hot metal in a spread pattern that will seriously mess up anyone whose anywhere close to the front of your gun. Since the shrapnel pieces bounce a little bit, you don't even have to be all that accurate. The second option lobs a shrapnel grenade at your enemies. Believe me, if they're nearby when it explodes, they'll be respawning soon.
BioRifle - This is the only really lame weapon in the game, and even it has its uses. This gun fires out a big blob of toxic sludge that sticks to whatever it hits. Since it doesn't fire very far, and since it explodes when anyone touches it, I usually ended up hurting myself. According to the manual, the BioRifle can be used to slime tight areas that enemies are running through, but I haven't mastered it yet. The secondary function of this weapon releases a really big blob of the goo all at once. Big deal.
Sniper Rifle - Vincent's favorite weapon is the Sniper Rifle. Clicking the secondary mouse button and holding it zooms in a scope at whatever you're currently looking at. Clicking the primary button fires the gun. If you hit anyone in the head, they die. Very deadly as long as no one finds you while you're scoped in on something.
Minigun - Every game has to have its plain old gun, and for Unreal Tournament, that's the Minigun. Not much to explain here, it shoots a whole bunch of bullets really fast and hurts whatever they hit really bad. It's secondary mode fires more bullets but fires them less accurately.
Redeemer - The BFG of Unreal Tournament. This fires a small nuke that will kill anyone in the room where it hits. The secondary mode lets you guide the missile yourself. I didn't find this weapon all that often, so my experience with it is limited. When I did find it, I had a bad tendency to kill myself. In the right hands though (read: not mine), this is the most deadly weapon in the game.
Pulse Blaster - This cool little gizmo is a combination of the Plasma Gun and Lightning Gun from Quake. In its primary gun mode, it fires fast energy bolts that tear up an enemy. In the secondary mode, it sends out a continuous beam of energy that will drop a foe in no time flat.
Chainsaw - A nice little hand weapon that you can use to saw up your foes. Primary mode thrusts the weapon, secondary mode swings from side to side. The latter is good for cutting people's heads off.
Once you're actually in the game, you notice this same quality workmanship. Unreal Tournament runs extremely smoothly throughout, even when the screen is filled up with loads of people firing rockets at each other. The built in net play options and internet setup screens are easy to understand and to modify, so getting a multiplayer game started against your friends is a complete breeze. Stopping to change the rules is also easy, and never caused any of the lockups or server issues we've seen with other first-person shooters. The bottom line here is that this is a game that is open and available to everyone who has a computer, not just hard-core computer freaks.
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