In a future Earth that has fallen victim to a chain of ecological disasters, humanity has plunged into a new world war for resource control. A human faction called the Resistance is at war against the totalitarian Ghorkovs, the fanatic Taerkastens and the insidious Black Sect splinter faction. The conflict is joined by the Mykonian and Sulgogar alien races, who also crave for the Earth's resources. The game focuses on the Resistance campaign for control over the European and North African territories.
Urban Assault is a 3D real-time strategy game that strongly encourages direct control of the units in a first-person shooter fashion. The strategy part is almost entirely focused on the creation and management of units, with the construction element being limited to power stations and a few other buildings like radars and turrets. The output of a power station, which is used for creating units as well as for protecting and moving the command station, is proportional to the number of territories controlled by the faction.
At any time, the player may personally take control of any single unit on the battlefield, whereupon that unit's strength and armor are increased while under player control. Technological progress is achieved during the missions, by taking control of special territories where blueprints are hidden, thus giving access to new units or improving existing ones.
An expansion pack called Metropolis Dawn, containing single-player campaigns for two more Earthling factions (Ghorkov and Taerkasten) as well as new maps and units, was announced and developed, but remains unreleased.
Open source engine
The game engine was reverse-engineered into an OpenGL-based open source reimplementation called UA_Source (formerly OpenUA). It allows the single-player portion of the game to be played flawlessly on modern Windows and Linux systems at higher resolutions than those originally permitted. It still requires the assets from the original game disc, and also supports the Metropolis Dawn campaigns for users who can obtain the expansion.
The game has a very cunningly concealed secret that only a dedicated fan would find. There is a collection of HTML files on the CD that serves as the game's Help files. After a user has been browsing these files for a certain amount of time, a script causes a previously hidden link to appear on some of these pages. This link takes the viewer to a hidden section buried deep in the game's subfolders where you can read diary entries written by a teenager living in a domed city, as well as some decidedly nasty nursery rhymes, several hidden encoded messages, and many other snippets of background lore and information that's otherwise not accessible to the player in the game.