Reviewed on PC


Reviewed By: Rick Casteel

Computer Platform: PC
Produced by: GT Interactive/Epic Games
Age level: Adults
ESRB Rating: Mature

Genre: Shooter
Christian Rating: 2 of 5
Gameplay: 4 of 5
Violence: 1 of 5
Adult Content: 2 of 5

One of the elements that has made PC gaming so popular over the past several years is the ability to play with or against others via the modem or a network. This has become so popular, that recently companies have started to develop games that focus on the multiplayer experience rather than that of the single player. “Unreal Tournament” is just such a game.

“Unreal Tournament” (UT) is from the designers at Digital Extreme (DE) who developed the original “Unreal”. “Unreal” was known for its next generation graphics but not necessarily its game play. Well the group at DE is back and their graphics still look great and they've taken their game play to a whole new level.

“UT” takes place in an alternate future where corporations run things and a sport called “The Tournament” exists for entertainment. A mix of civilians, soldiers, aliens and criminals participate to see who can make it through the various levels, exterminating the others and earning the right to go to the next level. Yes, your job is to use a variety of destructive firepower and destroy your competition numerous times to move through the game. This is not one for little Johnny's birthday list!

As suggested above, “UT” is designed for multiplayer. Though you can play through a single player experience, the objective is to play against the computer controlled “bots” and see who can wipe out who the most. “UT” has gained a reputation among the gaming community for having the best AI (artificial intelligence) yet seen in a game. This may be, as the bots move as if you were playing against other human opponents. This is handy when you don't have a partner available to play along with you in the other games. Besides the single player tournament ladder, there are also variations on capture the flag, an assault mode where you attack a heavily guarded enemy base and domination, where you and your team try to hold the most flags for the longest period.

As you can discern from the above, “UT” is all about blowing up the enemy. There are controls that can vary the gore from body parts flying to your enemy just falling over or vaporizing as you blast away. There are also verbal taunts built in that, if not turned off, are sure to make you cringe. Both of these elements contribute to the low scores on the violence and adult content items despite your ability to turn them off.

“UT” may be OK for the mature gamer who can remember Proverbs 10:6 "Blessings are upon the head of the just: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked."

I enjoy playing UT and think that it is a great game. I pretty much agree with the review that you guys have written on this game. One thing that I would like to stress is that the mature taunts which the game comes with can be turned off, this is how I play. This is a game and a form of entertainment. I don't believe that underage children should play it, but I don't think that someone who is old enough to discern real from unreal should be affected by it any more than they would be from a football game, boxing match or war movie, like "Saving Private Ryan"! My Ratings: [3/5]
   —Brian "I_B_Bangin|PuF" Powers, age 25

Just as Unreal focused on a Christian theme (aliens on another planet awaiting a savior, thus making the player a type of Christ figure or avenging angel for the peaceful Nali), so does Unreal Tournament, although it is somewhat less obvious. It is a fact that many of the early Christians faced persecution from the Roman authorities. Many were forced to fight, or to be put defenseless in the arena to be killed by wild beasts, or were tortured. In films like “Ben Hur” “Spartacus” and “Gladiator” we see Christian and non-Christians alike caught up in brutality which is historical fact. UT puts a spin on this theme by putting Gladiatorial games into the 23rd century. The greed and corruption of the NEG (New Earth Government) and Liandri Corp. spills out into the gladiatorial arenas (the tournament “Deathmatch”). The fights are broadcast on the neural “net” for the entertainment of the rich, the powerful, and we assume the masses. An interesting explanation is given for the brutality, that it was designed to control feuds and fighting between deep space miners (I guess to minimize the wars that could erupt between competing companies). The gladiatorial games too had a “purpose” of sorts. Other than the idea of entertaining the people and taking their minds off of their troubles (and life was cheap and short for many in the ancient world, this was a welcome distracting, seeing somebody ELSE die for a change). Originally the battles were a form of execution, and to honor the dead generals (his slaves would fight at his funeral to honor him, as a warrior, and they would follow him into the otherworld). Dying in battle for gladiators who were poor and otherwise outcast was a way of giving them honor and respect (although for many it was a humiliation). Some gladiators won enough fame and respect they were like our modern sports and music superstars. People wanted to be like them and cheered for their favorites. However, they risked their lives for their fame, and many only fought to survive. Some of the taunts in this game are a bit over the top, but they lend some humor to the “seriousness” of the battles. Some are forced to fight, as criminals and low-lifes, or victims of debt and blackmail. Others choose to fight to win glory, soldiers of fortune or were genetically engineered/enhanced for battle. Slaves also fight for their masters. Even alien races join, some with rivalries with humans for various reasons. In all, the theme of killing for entertainment, reminds us of the world the early Christians came out of and sought to transform (has it worked?). As a gladiator, your only hope is to win battle after battle to win your freedom, or die in the attempt. Granted here it is with guns and bombs, but it's not a new idea. Mortal Kombat was much the same way. And the cause is just in that by defeating the evil Xan Kreiger, you restore the Tournament to justice… or do you? Something tells me the higher corruption will prevent the hero from making any real change in the futuristic world of Unreal Tournament. My Ratings: [4/5]
   —Kurgan, age 22

I particularly enjoyed this game, however I do not believe that this game has the best AI or has been recieved by the gaming community as having the best AI, games like half-life maintain that title. the game play is excellent. As are the graphics. Multiplayer support for the game is somewhat lacking and lag is commonplace when connecting to servers. However playing this game at a lan party with friends will easily make up for this problem. The music is excellent in setting the moods with techno music on such maps as Facing worlds, and eerier gothic music on some of the castle levels. The ability to do head shots, while understandably deemed offensive by the religious community (which I am not part of in any way) is welcome in my book because it adds a deal of realism to the game. Games such as this do not in my opinion teach people to use guns and to kill. they are a means of releasing pent up agression and angst…
   —Ducttape, age 19, non-Christian

I've grown up in a Christian family and I've never really let my Christian life have any effect on what games I purchase… until recently. Well UT is obviously very violent, but for ME personally, I have no problem with it. I often play against my friends and I'd say this actually strengthens my friendship, I am a very competitive person and UT just helps me to bring that side out. This game has no effect on my life outside of the game. However if you're not like me and are often influenced heavily by games, I don't recommend UT for you. ps. do not play under the age of 13. My Ratings: [3/4]
   —Rick White, age 15

I really liked this game. Yes, it was incredibally violent (how could it not be, the purpose is to KILL people) BUT!! the added feature of turning many of these things off helps. In an industry where the more realistic, yet most fantastic means mor profit, a game with fantastic weapons that do realistic things isn't different. The AI of the game is amazingly life-like. I started out saying “hey this is easy,” but upon reaching the higher difficulty settings, I found it hard to survive. MY FINAL ADVICE!! Little kids, unless you want nightmares, don't play, for more mature audiences, it is an awesome game. My Ratings: [3/5]
   —John “Cloreana” Herbst, age 16

I checked this game out in demo, pre-release form as part of a cyber party where I and a few friends create a LAN and play games for hours. The game play and graphics are so incredible and adrenaline-building, I was hooked for a while. I even installing the production version to further evaluate whether or not I wanted to purchase the game. That's when I realized that there is no pretense in this game about the designed-in attitude toward violence. As written in the review, violence against your neighbor is the purpose of the game, and the violence is graphic. The level of gore/dismemberment and type of allowable taunts might be adjustable, but when playing, the violence of what your weapon does to the opponent is ALWAYS extreme. And I realized that I had been suppressing a sense of revulsion at the violence for the sake of the engaging gameplay and action. So, I uninstalled it and returned the game while asking the Lord to help me learn from this. If you are playing this game, I encourage you to question to what degree you are becoming insensitive to wanton, gruesome violence against your neighbor. Soldier-play has its purpose, even for Christians, but this game goes too far. My Ratings: [2/5]
   —Bruce Bawcom, age 33

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

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