Quake III Arena on the Dreamcast may offer more visceral gameplay, but Unreal Tournament is the most complete package yet.
The rivalry between the online first-person shooters Quake III Arena and Unreal Tournament is similar to the rivalry that existed between the Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat fighting game series. Depending on whom and when you asked, you'd receive entirely different answers as to which of the two was better. The most relevant factors involved in the Quake III Arena and Unreal Tournament question, however, are when you ask and for what platform.
Both games first appeared on the PC, where their focus was online multiplayer matches. Though both were exceptional, Unreal Tournament rated slightly higher because it offered many more options right out of the box (although user and developer-created modifications may have since changed that balance). Since then, a version of Unreal Tournament without online options has arrived on the PlayStation 2, where it will soon be joined by a similarly single-player focused Quake III Revolution. And over on the Dreamcast, online-capable versions of Unreal Tournament and Quake III Arena both vie for supremacy.
The heart of the Dreamcast edition of Unreal Tournament is the same as that of its PC forebear. The single-player (or tournament) game prepares you for online competition against living, breathing opponents through a series of ladder matches spanning four gameplay types: deathmatch, capture the flag, domination, and challenge. Deathmatch is a straightforward battle against computer-controlled opponents (or bots) for the most points, which you earn by blowing your opponents up. Capture the flag places you on one of two teams that attempt to steal the flag from their opponents' base and then return it to their own. You can choose to defend your base and instruct your teammates to retrieve the opposition's flag or command your bots to guard your flag while you storm your enemy's base like an action-movie hero. Domination is a distant relative of capture the flag in which each level has three control points that you claim for your team by tagging. The longer you control a domination zone, the more points you score for your team. And, similar to the boss fights in Quake III Arena, challenge mode is made up of duels you fight with incredibly intelligent bots. It replaces the PC Unreal Tournament's assault mode, which didn't make the cut in the Dreamcast version because its maps were too large to translate over.
Although Unreal Tournament focuses on multiplayer online battles, the single-player mode is a lot of fun. The intelligence level of the bots has been upgraded since the previous versions of the game, and now they're almost more fun to play against than real-life people. With 13 deathmatch, 12 capture the flag, nine domination, and four challenge stages, there's certainly enough to keep you busy if your phone line is being used for something else. Besides those options, Unreal Tournament has a practice mode that's actually worth playing. In it, you can choose any of the levels and modes of play that you've opened up in tournament mode and play with or against human or computer-controlled players. You can even configure any of these stages with "mutators," modifications that slightly tweak the gameplay. You can disable power-ups, lower the level of gravity, play at a faster or slower game speed, and more. The two-player split-screen mode has a slower frame rate than the full-screen single, although is still very playable--unlike the four-player split screen mode, which has a choppy frame rate and should be avoided.
- Player Reviews: 19
- Game Universe:
- Unreal Tournament (PC, DC, MAC, PS2),
- Unreal II: The Awakening (PC, XBOX),
- Unreal Tournament 2003 (PC, MAC),
- Unreal Tournament 2004 (PC, MAC, UNIX),
- Unreal (PC, MAC),
- Unreal Tournament III (PC, X360, PS3),
- Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict (XBOX),
- Unreal II: The Awakening Special Edition (PC),
- Unreal Championship (XBOX),
- Totally Unreal (PC)