"You are inferior, human!" - Review By RaptoR
You can lose your legs jumping horses or playing UT... it's just more fun to play UT.
One of Quake III Arena's problems was its AI, or rather lack of it. The Quake bot's skill level was cranked up by increasing accuracy, rather than improving tactics. UT, on the other hand, has genuinely intelligent opponents and teammates. In a team game, you can even give orders to your bots using the "Bot Orders" section of the menu. This adds a more tactical approach to the mayhem.
On-line play is the reason many will buy UT, so how does it measure up to Quake III Arena. On a BBA, you can expect virtually no lag at all. Because it's broadband, you can also expect a higher framerate than your modem using counterparts, as there's less work for the CPU to do. That's not to say modem play is crap. Pings average around 150-200, which is damned good for dial-up, let alone on a console. All the features of off-line play are there -- DM, CTF and Domination -- and there are plenty servers to choose from, running a variety of maps. If you don't want to play on-line, then Secret Level have implemented two player and four player split screen modes. These run surprisingly smoothly, with detail toned down slightly to improve speed.
Surely there can't be anything wrong with UT. Well, believe it or not, there are lots of annoying features that drag the game down.
Let's pick the obvious one first - framerate. Although with only two or three bots, the game runs smoothly and without much slowdown, when you start to run more demanding maps with more bots, things can get tediously slow. This problem is particularly annoying because UT often slows down during heavy fire fights, making aiming next to impossible.
I hope you like men, cause you'll be seeing nothing but them in UT.
Sound naturally follows on from graphics, so what sucks about UT's sound? To be blunt, the quality's just too low. Certain weapon sounds such as the Rocket Launcher, Shock Rifle, and Flak Cannon just don't sound right.
While the PC version of UT offered the player a massive range of player models and skins to play with, the Dreamcast version only offers a few. Every FPS game since the original Quake included optional female skins, and yet UT on Dreamcast only allows the player to use one of a few male skins. While you're able to play against a Skaarj (lizard) character and Xan in the single player ladder mode, you can't use them on-line or in a practice session? This may decrease lag, but it seems downright stupid if everyone's using the same player models. Are the UT bots so inbred that they all have the same voice? Well, Secret Level must have thought so, since there's only one voice for them to use, the "Male Two" voice from the original. Needless to say, it sounds slightly weird when orders are being given and acknowledged in the same voice.
As well as finding yourself using the same male player model and voice, UT will, as with any other console FPS, restrict you to using only the maps which appear on the CD. While there's a reasonably large number of levels for you to choose from, this factor limits the game's longevity.
While on-line multiplayer remains relatively flawless, off-line split-screen modes leave each player with a very small viewing area. To add to that, the fact that you can see where your opponent is at all times kills the suspense of a good FPS and makes sniping and hiding rather pointless.
The Final Word
Despite its flaws, UT is what it always has been - a visually impressive and very playable FPS. It picks up from where Quake III Arena left off in terms of AI, on-line capabilities, and graphics, and deserves a place in your ever-growing library of Dreamcast games.
Developer: Secret Level / Epic Games / Digital Extremes
Genre: First-person shooter
Highs: Visually impressive, lots of levels, great replay value, and superb online mode.
Lows: Low frame rate at times, slightly low quality sound, and only a few player models.
Other: 1-4 Players Offline, 1-8 Players Online, VMU Compatible (8 blocks), Keyboard and Mouse Compatible, Jump Pack Compatible, BBA Compatible, VGA Compatible
(out of a possible 10)
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