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1995-2001
GamesFirst! Magazine

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by Infogrames

ur4-01.jpg (3451 bytes)Rarely do we see games with such serious and complex storylines: You, and many of the other greatest warriors of the universe have been kidnapped and forced to participate in a tournament to determine, once and for all, who the toughest killer is. I assume that you can also expect world peace and a big cash prize if you win. The concept is enough to send shivers down your spine – OK, not really. The basic plot is laughable, but it doesn’t matter so much when you’re playing Unreal Tournament on the Dreamcast.

ut12-01.jpg (3457 bytes)UT for the DC is just about what you’d expect. It’s a whole lot like the PC version, sans the Assault mode, and it looks really pretty. Framerates are kept nicely high, and all the little trials of porting the game to a console have been overcome expertly. If for no other reason, the online multiplayer makes the DC version far superior to the PS2 version. And, if for no other reason, the eight player online multiplayer makes UT a much better game than Quake III Arena on the DC. Considering the general lack of shooters on the DC (unless you’re still playing Fur Fighters), there’s not much other choice. UT is the one, the only one. Don’t bother with QIIIA or Fur Fighters – go directly to the top.

ut13-01.jpg (4037 bytes)The graphics in UT are beautiful. They lack a bit of the crispness we see in QIIIA on the DC, but are very comparable to graphics in the PC version. Slowdown is nonexistant, and, especially in single-player modes, everything is clear and easy to see. Literally dozens of maps, which provide a good range of setting, are rendered beautifully, with interactive elements such as elevators and lava flows. Lighting is done beautifully, and moody shadows add to the vibe.

ut6-01.jpg (4077 bytes)Control in UT is another triumph. By implementing an auto-aim feature (which can be disabled, but why?), the controller becomes a fragging weapon of extraordinary power. I’m sorry, but I have no sympathy for the console wimps who can’t control a first-person-shooter with a controller setup. Likewise, I have no sympathy for PC gamers who can only handle the mouse-keyboard setup. Both have distinct advantages and disadvantages, but suffice it to say that anybody whose skills have been honed on the much better N64 shooters will waste keyboard-mouse setups left and right. And, just for the whiners, UT supports the DC keyboard and mouse, so you can feel secure.

ut2-01.jpg (3816 bytes)UT includes Tournament and Practice modes. As mentioned before, the Assault mode has been removed, and replaced in the Tournament with a Challenge mode. The Challenge mode is neither a suitable replacement, nor very challenging. Overall, the tournament, when tackled on the default difficulty setting, is incredibly easy to trot through. But don’t be fooled, you won’t earn anything by defeating the Tournament, except a graphic of a big-ass trophy. Sure, it’s a cool trophy, but at least we could have unlocked some new character skins? In Practice mode, you can play against or with three of your closest friends. The only problem is that the four-player splitscreen is horrible. Lacking a "highlight" function, as found in Perfect Dark, it becomes incredibly difficult to see characters just across a small room. Two-player splitscreen is very tolerable, but UT is obviously made to play using the online multiplayer, where Team Deathmatch, Domination, Capture the Flag, and the old-fashioned fragfest become a lot more fun.

ut21-01.jpg (3760 bytes)UT is very limited in how it was ported for a console audience. For example, you cannot create a character profile and save it. You can’t customize the name of your character (except in online multiplayer). Playing a series of local multiplayer games is a hassle. Each time you have to choose your character and color before choosing the arena and setting how many opponents. You can’t just pick settings and have it randomly move from arena to arena. And this system is not streamlined at all. It isn’t really upsetting, just incredibly tedious. And it does make it easier to turn off UT and turn on a certain other fave shooter (okay, Perfect Dark).


ut22-01.jpg (3335 bytes)The other obvious criticism of UT is the tiny arenas. My PC friends have said, "Oh no! Those are huge arenas!" Methinks the PC community has been duped. Scratch that – me knows the PC community has been duped. The whole time we’ve been hearing about how great UT and Quake are, we’ve really been playing far superior first-person-shooters on the N64. Neither of these games approach in depth, playability, game mechanics, multiplayer, or variety either Goldeneye or Perfect Dark. Perfect Dark is superior in every way to every other first-person-shooter out there, with possible exceptions being something like Half-Life or No One Lives Forever. The only difference is the graphical quality, and Perfect Dark isn’t too shabby in that field, either.

ut3-01.jpg (3916 bytes)So if you’ve played the classic N64 shooters and loved them, just stick with what you know. However, because probably there aren’t too many folks with both an N64 and a DC, UT is the pick. Especially if online multiplayer is your thing, and it ought to be, you’ll get a lot of love out of this title. And the one place where UT has Perfect Dark beat: the rocket launcher. Man, that’s one sweet weapon of mass destruction.

Shawn Rider

Snapshot

Ups: Great port of PC version; online multiplayer with 8 players; excellent graphics; lots of arenas; big, bad weapons; chunks & gore.

Downs: Local multiplayer is poorly designed; maps are too small; no Assault mode; has a hard time comparing to N64 FPS titles.

System Reqs:
Sega Dreamcast
Internet connection optional.

 

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