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     " I had to wash my chair with bleach when I was done playing "

   Title: Unreal Tournament

   Format: PC

   Reviewing Monkey: Strange Bananas

   The Hype: If Industrial Light and Magic had sex with Quake III Arena in order to steal it's powers and take over first-person shooters- it might look something like this.

      What This Monkey Thought...

   Graphics: Dude? Dude? Dude. This was the first game I played when I graduated from my little 8mb Velocity AGP card to Creative's Riva TNT2 Ultra. Needless to say, I had to wash my chair with bleach when I was done playing the first couple of rounds of this graphical madman. Beautifully rendered people, places, and things. The faces on the players, the dynamics of the weapons they hold, and the straight up easy-to-read HUD all put points into the graphical pot. And the lighting effects? Oy vey! But then again, lighting flares always made me squeal. The final nail in this perfect score is out of the post-release bonus pack -- adds a bunch of new levels and new characters, including my favorite: the WarHog. 5 out of 5

   Sound: Nothing' new in the sound department. Stereo imaging is fairly solid (i.e. I always new from which side I was getting my ass kicked from) and music is classic and unobtrusive. This game should be getting a 2 out of 5 due to the amount of nothing new that was put into this, but the boys thankfully added an interactive section - taunts and orders. Hold down the 'V' key get a nice set of vocal commands and taunts organized in a nice hierarchy of menus. "Cover the base!" "You suck!" "Same team!" and my personal fav - "Die, bitch." Are just a few of the priceless treasures that differentiate depending the vocal set you chose for your character. Down at the bottom of that list is a set of gestures which enable your character to do things like a pelvic thrust, a touchdown dance, or just plain wave. 3 out of 5

   Game Play: You've been getting your arse kicked for the last couple rounds. You're tired of it. You managed to find a sweet rooftop spot in which you can see a majority of the level. Switched over to a sniper rifle and set the scope to zoom to a good 5.5 or 6. Start taking' out players like hot dates on a Friday night. Not catching up fast enough? Aim for the head and start in on the one-shot kills. You've been discovered and are starting to get an ass full of titanium disks from somebody's Ripper. Switch to the rocket launcher and dump a load of rockets into his eye sockets. Time to jump down from your location? Hit the secondary fire on the rocket launcher and drop rocket grenades to clear yourself a healthy path to being the unreal deity of ultimate destruction. In the next round, the server turned on the "Fatboy" level mutator. Now, the more you win the fatter you get, and the bigger target you are. Sweet. Monkey Frickiní Sweet. 5 out of 5

   Level and Environment Designs: How to build a level - Lesson One: Check out maps contained in the game Unreal Tournament. Space stations, garages, high-rise rooftops, pirate ships, ghettos, Tim Burton-esque castles, naval frigates, moving trains, and ocean floor stations you need to swim to get to. About 75 maps in all with the free bonus pack - every one a masterpiece in design. 4 out of 5

   Multiplayer: I feel a little silly writing anything too extravagant for this category considering the entire purpose of Unreal Tournament is to play with other people. With that alone, the game gets a solid 3 out of 5. The other 2 points come from the team aspect. The game mode "Domination" puts players in two teams battling for control of three major areas in each level. "Assault" mode gives two teams several objectives (i.e. storm the gunship, take out the generator, and gain control of the bridge). Throw in the usual Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Capture the Flag and you can stick a fork in it. 5 out of 5

   Replayability: The AI in this beast takes a majority of the cake in this category. Sure the game itself gives it a Strange Bananas lifetime of 1 to 1 1/2 years (not bad), but the bots and their somewhat unpredictability in following orders and freelancing makes me feel like I'm playin' with new guys every time. 4 out of 5

   Story/Dramatics: It's a futuristic galaxy with corporations of the universe controlling everything. In order to appease the public, one company starts these gladiator-like tournaments in rundown and abandoned areas. Soon the tournaments become the largest...whatever. 1 out of 5

   Instructions and Learning Curve: My roommate hates playing games that require more than 2 minutes of learning how to control the damn thing. It is for this main reason that he doesn't play much of anything in the way of electronic entertainment. What he does play is Unreal Tournament. At the same time, there are still plenty of advanced techniques and functions that you are able to discover with experience. Now, you guys make a game my girlfriend will play, and I'll give you the perfect score. 3 out of 5

   Installation and Real System Requirements: You got the system to make Bill Gates jealous? This game will show it who's boss. How about that Celeron laptop with a 4meg video card? Turn down a few features and switch the software renderer and you're running' just under 30 fps. Don't worry, plenty of detail on the guys head as you sever it from his body. 4 out of 5

   The Verdict:

       Young, old, dead, and undead. This is a classic interface finally done right. Add in enough new features and AI to stuff a monkey, and you're off to the software store to pick up your copy. Well, at least the Epic Games website to download the fully playable AND networkable demo.

   The Good: The good? How about the great? Graphics, sound, design, AI...wait. Yup, I just had one.

   The Bad: Bad...bad...bad. Hm, I guess the only thing negative on this one is that it's not perfect. No complaints from this chimp.

   The Overall Ugly: Hard day at work? Not so hard day at work? Bring in the kids; it's slaughter time.

   What it's Worth: $40, $35 if you know where to look.

Buy it now from Amazon.com

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