Written by  :  Ashley Pomeroy (233)
Written on  :  Jun 21, 2000
Platform  :  Windows

7 out of 11 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic graphics, not much game.

The Good

Unreal was a sizeable hit, and is one of a handful of games to have been in development for ages, and not be terrible. Announced shortly before the release of 'Quake', it took three years to be released, to mixed reviews. On the one hand, everybody agreed that it looks fantastic - the 3D engine seemed to be only slightly modified for the recent sequel, and the water effects are unsurpassed - but on the other hand it's not as much fun as, say, 'Quake 2'. The sweeping levels are impressive - combining 'Delta Force'-style distances with polygonal graphics effectively, and the soundtrack, although often descending into Jean Michel Jarre-esque cheese, fits the game well. There's even a go at having a plot - it gets forgotten about quickly, but it's nice to see that 'Half-Life' didn't spring from nothing.

The Bad

Despite looking the bee's knees, it's actually very disappointing as a game. The game seems extremely empty, and the huge size of some of the levels makes it seem very impersonal. The creators seemed unsure as to whether it should be a Quake-style out-and-out blaster, or something deeper, a semi-RPG exploration game, and it falls between these stools - there are long sequences in which you meet no monsters, whilst reading small, dull text messages that outline the 'plot'. The monsters, when you find them, seem out of place - they look cartoonish, and dive around like frantic ants. Furthermore, when you try to shoot them you realise that your guns are astonishingly weak. For example, later on, you are attacked by wasps that take two hits from a laser pistol to kill. It doesn't help the atmosphere at all. Worst of all were the bugs - only half-finished on release, the original game required an extensive series of patches before being playable on anything other than a basic 3DFX Voodoo 1 card. As a multiplayer game it was unplayably slow, which seems odd nowadays, given that 'Unreal Tournament' is fantastic.

The Bottom Line

A graphical showcase, albiet a dull one.