A Tale of the Quick and the Fragged
As a gamer growing up I stayed towards consoles. Thus, I grew up on games like GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark while those who played on PC had a renaissance of arena shooters with games like Quake and yes, Unreal Tournament. With a new edition of Unreal Tournament coming down the pipes soon, I felt like it was about time for me to see what the fuss was all about. Even with only playing the PlayStation 2 version, I can definitely see why UT has such a large fanbase.
Unreal Tournament has four unique modes of play, and each possesses its own set of maps to master. In fact, there are over fifty unique maps with Unreal Tournament-- a mind-blowing amount that is further made crazy by most being masterfully designed. The PlayStation 2 version contains some maps that are exclusive to that version, adding some incentive for UT fans to pick it up. Rather it would have been had these maps been up to the same level of quality as the base game. Sadly, they are not.
Deathmatch is your standard FPS mode, where you score points through earning frags, shooting or blasting other opponents dead. Deathmatch supports the most amount of maps to fight and frag on, and the maps for the most part are designed to maximize the amount of strategy, fun, and entertainment available for players.
|Why, what a big gun you have!|
Are you overcompensating for something?
Capture the Flag is probably a mode that I could do without explaining, but for those uninitiated, it has two teams with two bases. The goal here is to take the other team's flag and triumphantly march it back to your own base on top of your own team's flag to score a point. When a player with a flag is fragged, the flag is dropped and must be touched by a player of the opposing team to have it return to their base.
|A mainstay of the arena shooter,|
the Capture the Flag mode!
|You're about to get bathed in|
a shower of bullets.
While Assault is a fantastic mode to itself, some maps have unclear goals to them as to what the attacking team must actually do. This can cause an unfair advantage to the other team when you're just aimlessly wandering a map, unaware of what the objective is. That said, it does lend itself well with the general rule of arena shooters in that knowing the maps is key.
Known more for its multiplayer madness, Unreal Tournament supports play for single players, offering a series of matches against bots in all four match types. The bots can range in difficulty from very easy to inhuman, where they can mow you down instantly and use very smart strategies. By completing every match in a given mode, you earn a gold trophy. Earn all four trophies, and you unlock a mode where you fight four one-on-one matches against a boss character, a fictional champion of the Unreal Tournament circuit.
|The explosion of body parts after a kill is|
still pretty gratifying.
As for the gameplay of UT itself, the fast-paced fragging action fans have grown to love with the franchise is ever-present in this PS2 version. Combatants move at a steady speed, able to jump around, and access locations on maps otherwise inaccessible. Maps range from small to large, offering an abundance of popular battle locations, areas of high traffic, sniper points, camping spots (though camping is not recommended, as one should always be moving so they're a harder target to hit), and locations for weapons, armor, health, boosts, and ammo.
|The Impact Hammer is one of two|
weapons each player starts a match with.
|We're going to tear-a Tara a new one!|
Despite being the black sheep when compared to other versions of the game, Unreal Tournament on the PlayStation 2 is indeed a entertaining arena shooter that still manages to play and hold up well to this day. Even the dated graphics and performance of the PS2 version don't detract from Unreal Tournament being a total blast to play whether alone with highly competent bots or with friends locally. It's gameplay that stands the test of time and offers a game that delivers total adrenaline rushes and fast and frantic fun. The fact that this arena shooter is still so popular 15 years after the fact is quite simply unreal.
[SPC Says: B-]