Malcolm Owen On October 7, 2002 at 12:08 pm

That single word, that one slight expletive, was the first word I said when I played the demo of UT2003. I then got the full game.

Unreal Tournament 2003 is the sequel to Unreal Tournament. You, as a new combatant to the televised WWF/WWE styled world, want to prove your name and become the greatest champion of them all. Not an easy task, but a career path you have decided to go down.
Like the original UT, this has a single player "Ladder" system. To complete the game you have to finish every match a winner. Initially there is a training section that you must complete in order to play, and after learning the basics of gameplay, you then choose your team, and fight them (Because in their eyes, if you are not better than them, there is no point you leading them into battle). This may look like a departure from the original, being part of a team only, but you realise that the training is the one-on-one deathmatch section, but under a new name. You don’t really miss it, as there is the quick-Botmatch function that allows for any game type on any level, so you will most probably enjoy it there.

Normal Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag modes come as standard. The other two modes are changes to last time though.
Double Domination is similar to the original Domination, except that a) there are only two points to dominate, and b) You must hold both points for 10 seconds to get the point. Unfortunately, especially on later maps, the distance between the two points is significantly more than 10 seconds, so you have to rely on your bot team-mates to defend one point while you look after another. This leads to a huge amount of frustration and tension whilst the 10 second countdown happens, as you sit there hoping the opposition don’t cap the marker in the last second or so, forcing another capture and recount. A great many expletives will be yelled in this mode.
Bombing Run replaces the dire, mission based Assault from UT. In this extremely fun game, your team must grab a ball and take it to the opposition’s goal. Whilst holding the ball, you cannot shoot or generally defend yourself, depending on your teammates to guard you with their lives. You could, though, pass the ball to them by firing using the ball launcher, but it is not always wise, as legging it to the goal through a hail of fire is not only enjoyable, but also quite exhilarating if you survive it. At the goal, you can either throw the ball through for 3 points, or (if you value your team more than your life, guns and ammo) you can jump through the goal, ball in hand for 7. Sadly, most of the goals have a death-dealing device on the other side or underneath, so even though you would get the points, you have to start from scratch again. The entire idea of this part of the game is great, and excellently executed. I expect a large following of Bombing Run online soon.

The levels themselves are beautiful. Wide open spaces, tall areas and huge playgrounds mingle with claustrophobic corridors and enclosed arenas, giving a varied universe of delight. Possibly the most jaw-droppingly fantastic level is the Sekara Forest: a foggy treehouse system. It is absolutely HUUUUGE! (The word "Huge" in normal typing structure does not do the level justice at all) Nice touches include fireflies floating around parts of pathway, and the glorious sight when you launch yourself from the highest point, plummeting to the bottom of the map. Beautiful, just beautiful.

The weapons, since last time, have had a bit of tweaking to make the game more even. The first noticeable change is the rocket launcher looking sexy for once (Not even Quake 3’s version can beat it for looks!), but adjusted to fire a max of 3 rockets at any one time. The redeemer is still there, but in a much better guise of a fantastic explosion. The other "ultimate weapon" is the Ion Painter, which, when trained on a target for a few seconds, forces you to leg it very quickly, as a satellite fires on the selected target, destroying practically anything in it’s blast radius. The pulse rifle has been traded in for the much touted "Link Gun", which does the same job as before, but fire at a friend and they get a much more powerful blast at the enemy.
One sad point of note, is the normal sniper rifle has departed. Instead, there is the lightning gun, which (just like the sniper rifle), you can zoom in on your enemy and still get headshots, but a bolt of lightning shoots from your position, giving your position away, so camping becomes a harder occupation.

When playing UT2003, turn your speakers loud, and your base as far as it will go. The sound quality is superb, and the announcer fits his position perfectly, even though some may find him annoying after a while (I don’t, surprisingly)

The game plays slightly slower than in UT in my opinion. A more strategic style of play, where planning and aiming become more important than rushing in and blasting with a rocket launcher, seems to work better here. This can only become a good thing, helping the clanning community along and forcing people away from normal deathmatch.

A game that brings people together and also looks fantastic.

F00K indeed!


Strategy based FPS, slowed down. Perfect.


Fantastic! Jaw-Dropping! Superb!




GET THIS GAME! NOW! If you already have this game, you should have been playing it instead of reading this! PLAY NOW!!!!!

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