Unreal Tournament set the standard for multiplayer online gaming and embodied it flawlessly
At the turn of the millennium, one such game did just that. Upon it's release in 2000, it revolutionized the online First Person Shooter genre forever.
Unreal Tournament, the first installment in the ultra-popular "Tournament" series, and the very first quasi-exclusive online title in Epic Games' Unreal series, is a testament to true FPS online gaming.
I wrote "quasi-exclusive" because UT did have a single player campaign, which can be summed up as "UT Boot Camp": you would go head-to-head with bots to get a feel for the game, it's weapons and, most importantly, it's maps. The skill level of the bots can be tweaked, so you always get a great challenge (bots on Godlike are almost unbeatable!).
But where UT really shines is it's online gameplay. You have 4 different mods that ship with the original game for the multiplayer: the traditional Deathmatch, the quintessential Capture the Flag and the team-oriented Domination & Assault.
Deathmatch is self-explanatory. It's a frag-fest where you shoot anything that moves in hopes of scoring the highest total of points.
Capture the Flag, another standard in multiplayer FPS, sees the team that captures the highest amount of flags at the end of the time limit wins.
Domination is a little different. You have 3 control points per level. As soon as one of your team members touches the control point, it's yours. You then have to defend that control point. The longer you hold a control point, the more points your team scores. The highest score at the end of the level wins.
Assault sees each team playing offense while the other plays defense, and vice-versa, once per level. The offensive team is given objectives to complete while the defensive team tries to stop them.
Those are the original mods, but that didn't stop the huge online community from concocting several other exciting and popular mods, including Fortress and Infiltration.
Speaking of the online community, Epic has always supported them with exciting development tools that they can use and exploit at their leisure. To this day, Epic still continues to support the original UT, which is an incredible testament to their undying fanbase.
Even though there are 2 other installments in the series, with a third one coming shortly, there are still people playing the game online and developing new maps for it. That is just incredible for a nearly 6 year old game.
The weapons in UT are some of the most recognizable ones out there. Any well learned FPS fan will know what the Redeemer is. The weapons are incredibly well balanced, so no matter which one you have, you still stand a fighting chance of fragging your opponent.
The graphics in the game are absolutely amazing. Keep in mind that this game was released in 2000 and used the original Unreal engine. The character models looked sharp and still look pretty good today.
The maps are amongst the classics in FPS. Any avid UT player knows of the map titled Face. Each one was well designed and looked sharp, whether you'd be fighting inside a mining facility or outside in the bright sun.
The sound was also a great feature in UT. The ambient music wasn't anything special, but it never overshadows the gunfire or other effects. The guns are easily identifiable by the sound they produce.
But, to me, the highlight of the game is the announcer. That deep male voice booming out the words "Killing Spree!!" is something you'll never forget for the rest of your life. It makes you feel like you're in the middle of a sporting event and that you're the star.
A true classic can be defined by it's longevity and on how it is perceived by the gaming population even after it's glory days are long gone. Seeing as there are still some people playing Unreal Tournament online, almost 6 years after it's release, is an example of that.
Unreal Tournament is a game that you owe yourself to try out.