[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/unrealmp6_9197.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:300:The game that started it all.]]

'''Unreal''' is a FirstPersonShooter made by EpicGames and Digital Extremes and released in 1998. It's the first game in the ''VideoGame/{{Unreal}}'' series.

You are Prisoner 849, being transferred to a prison moon on a starship called the Vortex Rikers. The ship goes off-route and crashes on the uncharted planet of Na Pali. As you escape the wrecked vessel and start taking in your surroundings it soon appears that the planet is inhabited by the Nali, a peaceful race of four-armed humanoids with a distinctly agricultural way of life. Not all is well on Na Pali, though, as the cruel and technologically advanced Skaarj race is invading the planet, pillaging its resources and busily slaughtering Nali left and right.

Your actions from this moment are governed by the simple desire to survive, which isn't going to be easy when the Skaarj have declared war against everything that isn't another Skaarj. During your attempts to avoid dying horribly you'll come across helpful Nali who think of you as [[TheChosenOne their messiah]], alien biology both neutral and hostile, mysterious LostTechnology - and quite a lot of instruments of death to fight your personal one-man war against the entire Skaarj race. One way or another, the path to freedom will be flowing with alien blood.

''Unreal'' stuck out from a lot of other FPS games at the time by being less of a total shootfest (think ''Quake'') and more like an adventure game. It achieved this by focusing the gameplay on fighting for survival rather than for the kill score and by making fights more like duels than fragfests, as you fight a smaller number of tough enemies that each provide a challenge rather than crowds of weak monsters that only have numbers on their side. The levels give the player significant freedom (for the standards of the time - [[WideOpenSandbox open-world]] games not being quite as widespread as they are today) and reward exploration with tidbits of backstory about the planet and the various races on it.

Of course, the main reason why everybody who saw the game was left with wide-eyed, open-mouthed astonishment were the graphics, which ''heavily'' exploited 3D acceleration and offered levels of detail and SceneryPorn previously only dreamt of. The [[CrowningMusicOfAwesome excellent soundtrack]] (made in [=ScreamTracker=] by the same people who made the music for ''JazzJackrabbit 2'' and later on ''DeusEx'') greatly helped the general atmosphere, too, and it all made for a sense of immersion no game had achieved before.

It saw a lot of critical acclaim and absolutely raving reviews, but it somewhat suffered from the release of ''VideoGame/HalfLife1'' a few months later. Then a year later ''VideoGame/UnrealTournament'' came out and did multiplayer so much better as to effectively make Unreal singleplayer-only, which hurt the latter's long-term appeal in the market.

An ExpansionPack called '''Unreal: Return to Na Pali''' was made, which starts after the events of the original game. You are recruited by the UMS, who gives you more equipment in order to go back to Na Pali and find a crashed ship. Three weapons are added (two of which mostly redundant) as well as several monsters. All-new levels (and a couple that got scrapped from the original release) make for a fairly long campaign, and the main character is ''slightly'' more fleshed-out by having them speak in inter-mission cutscenes.

As EpicGames decided to focus on the ''[[VideoGame/UnrealTournament Tournament]]'' side of the franchise, the rights for [[VideoGame/UnrealIITheAwakening the inevitable sequel]] were given to another company, LegendEntertainment. While not a bad game in and of itself, ''Unreal II'' was hurt by being the sequel to the most revolutionary game ever in a market that had since become much harder to revolutionize. That, plus various gameplay changes from the original, caused it to pass mostly unnoticed by those who didn't know the series and [[FirstInstallmentWins disappoint those who did]], with many reviewers giving it average to low scores.

Ultimately, ''Unreal'''s greatest merit is perhaps more in what it spawned than in what it was; the engine was so advanced and efficient that many developers ended up licensing it for their own productions, and Epic decided to continue development of the engine separately from the ''Unreal'' series itself. Since then it has evolved through four generations, powered hundreds of games from independent titles to huge triple-A ones, been adapted to genres wildly different than the one it was born to run (including [=RPGs=], racers and simulators) and ported to every modern gaming platform under the sun (including ''[=HTML5=] browsers''). It eventually achieved such resounding success that Epic decided to [[DoingItForTheArt release it for free to everyone]] and only profit from a small royalty, which simplified development enormously for independent studios. It's no exaggeration to say that it revolutionized gaming development on the whole.

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!!This game contains examples of the following tropes:

* AbnormalAmmo:
** The Stinger uses shards of Tarydium crystals meant for mining rock.
** The Razorjack uses rotating spiked blades.
** The Biorifle uses the most abnormal ammo of all: toxic, unstable tarydium sludge that gets shot in big explosive blobs that act as mines.
** The Flak cannon launches shells like a standard grenade launcher in its secondary mode, but in its primary mode it ''explodes the shell within the weapon'' and launches its fragments out the barrel.
* AirVentPassageway: How you get off the Vortex Rikers prison deck in the first level of the first game. If you look closely, [[ForeShadowing you can just about make out a Skaarj]] watching you through the fog from the other end of the tunnel, but he vanishes as an explosion rocks the corridor. The AirVentPassageway also turns up a couple more times in various levels throughout the series such as inside the ISV-Kran. In the ExpansionPack there are some in the UMS Prometheus and the Foundry Tarydium plant.
* AlienBlood: The Mercenaries have green blood. Notably, this isn't a form of violence censorship - ''your'' blood, as well as that of other enemies, is quite red.
* AlienSky: Some of the most breathtaking skies ever seen in a videogame, especially for the time.
* AllUpToYou: [[InvertedTrope Inverted]]; your only goal is to survive.
--> ''"Your first priority is to keep your already-battered body in one piece. Failure to achieve this will render any secondary objectives somewhat irrelevant."''
* ApocalypticLog: Many translator messages are these, especially the ones you find aboard the Vortex Rikers and the ISV-Kran.
* ArtificialAtmosphericActions: Krall are often found about to toss Nali off a floating island, sleeping, talking amongst themselves, or, most often, playing dice. Skaarj can also be found sleeping in Nali beds.
* ArtificialBrilliance: The Skaarj will change their tactics depending on how much health they have left, how many allies they have backing them up, and what weapons are being used against them. For example, if you are using projectiles they will try dodging your shots.
* ArtificialGill: The SCUBA Gear, available whenever the player must proceed underwater. They have a limited air supply that runs out pretty quickly. The expansion pack features a new one that not only lasts longer, but also recharges whenever surfaced.
* ArtificialLimbs: The Mercenaries' [[ArmCannon arm cannons]], effectively miniguns and rocket launchers built into one.
** Kurgan has a bionic leg.
** Dimitra seems to have most of her face covered in a bionic mask.
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking: The Skaarj, Krall, and Mercenary Elites. There's also the Skaarj Warlord and Skaarj Queen, who are in charge of all operations.
* AwesomeButImpractical: The dispersion pistol. In the beginning it really isn't awesome at all, as it has piddling damage and its only advantage is being self-recharging. It gets awesome later on, as it gets upgraded to the point of being able to OneHitKill most enemies - but it's still impractical because it fires [[PainfullySlowProjectile Painfully Slow Projectiles]] that are easily dodged by most enemies, and its ammo regeneration is ''achingly'' slow.
** The Minigun. The game behaves as if it's a {{BFG}}, but it's fairly inaccurate and eats ammo like crazy - ammo it shares with the very precise, single-shot Automag, compared to which it does less damage per shot. In everything other than short range a well-aimed Automag will actually deal more damage over time - and at short range you have the Flak Cannon anyway, which does a better job.
* BadassArmy: The Skaarj. The concept of "civilian" doesn't seem to exist in their culture; even the few seen doing scientific tasks will immediately drop everything and start shooting you to pieces the moment they catch sight of you.
* BangBangBANG: massively subverted by the original version, for good or bad. Most of the weapons had very original sounds, which came from them being rather unusual to start with, and even the few that didn't - such as the automag - definitely didn't sound like field cannons. A few, however, could really have done with a more convincing sound - like the minigun, which sounded for all the world like a blender.
** One of the patches eventually changed all the weapon sounds, making them louder and somewhat more standardized, bringing the game closer to the trope (though by no means playing it straight).
* BeastOfBattle: The Titans are giant, dumb berserkers who even the Skaarj themselves have problems controlling.
* TheBerserker: Skaarj Berserkers, as the name suggests.
* BiggerOnTheInside: levels set inside the Vortex Rikers, ISV-Kran, and Terraniux - done subtly though, as you rarely see the ''whole'' ship up close in any one level to gauge their true size, and they look suitably huge from outside. More blatant in the case of [[spoiler:the Skaarj mothership]], where the final core area consists of wide-open spaces.
* BittersweetEnding:
** In the main game, your character has managed to defeat the baddies and escape, [[spoiler:but is now drifting aimlessly in space in an out-of-fuel pod]].
** The expansion pack continues the plot [[spoiler:and gives your character a proper "positive" ending]], but when you think about it, the overall situation remains bleak: [[spoiler:the Skaarj]] are still alive and kicking, and though they have failed to defeat you [[spoiler:there's a whole planet full of peaceful Nali still waiting to be exploited]]. Later Unreal games also reveal that the Skaarj went on to a vicious war with humanity that ended up with them on {{Earth|IsTheCenterOfTheUniverse}}'s doorstep.
* BlackoutBasement:
** The Darkening, a level where you revisit the Skaarj Mothership after you destroy the generator, is entirely pitch dark. [[SuspiciousVideoGameGenerosity Good thing you got that]] [[InfiniteFlashlight Searchlight]] [[SuspiciousVideoGameGenerosity that was almost thrown at your face beforehand]], eh?
** The Sunspire also has shades of this. The Bathing and Sleeping Chambers only have scarce and very dim dark blue Tarydium wall lamps for lighting, while some other areas like the Kitchens are completely in the dark.[[note]]Thankfully there are plenty of flares and no less than eight flashlights in the whole place, and if you explored the previous level even half-assedly, you're guaranteed to have a full one in your inventory.[[/note]]
* BlatantItemPlacement: In general the game tries to keep this believable, with equipment found on dead bodies, in armouries, [[CargoCult put in boxes by confused Nali]], etc. It gets noticeable in the rushed final levels however, where you get the (almost) {{infinite flashlight}} right before you cut [[spoiler:the ship]]'s power knocking out all the lights, and a pair of infinite [[InASingleBound jump boots]] just as you encounter the FinalBoss. In ''Return To Na Pali'' the UMS weapons are inside of crates, some of which have been terrifying the local Nali village, as they've been known to slam into houses or unfortunate Nali.
* {{BFG}}: Notably averted. All the weapons you can find are reasonably powerful, but none has a clear damage-over-time-per-ammo advantage over the other. Even the six-barrelled rocket launcher isn't that absurdly powerful, in part due to its slow firing rate.
* BladeOnAStick: Krall staves when used in melee.
* BodyArmorAsHitPoints: Most armor absorbs a constant, high percentage of damage, which is subtracted from the armour's strength instead. Dying with armour is possible only if you were already near death when picking it up; in all other cases it effectively acts as extra health. The shield belt is this trope completely played straight, as it always takes damage instead of your health.
* BoomStick: Krall staves when used at range.
* BossInMookClothing: Brute Behemoths, Skaarj Berserkers, and Skaarj Lords.
** DegradedBoss: After your first encounters, you'll start to see these more often.
* CallARabbitASmeerp: Nali names for many things - for example starships are "thunderbirds" or "metal chariots", Skaarj are "the demons from the stars" (or just "sky demons"), while [[HumansByAnyOtherName humans]] are "two-armed soft skins". [[CallASmeerpARabbit Inverted]] with the Nali Cow and, appropriately enough, the Nali Rabbit (which looks more like a kiwi). In the level "Temple of Chizra" they put a rocket launcher on an altar and call it the [[CargoCult "stick of six fires"]].
* CaptainObvious: The game holds the Guinness World Record for "First Game to be Created Using the Unreal Engine."
* CargoCult: the Nali are a simple, agricultural race who can't quite figure out how the Skaarj could be doing what they do without magical assistance, and therefore immediately [[GodGuise label them as demons from the skies]]. The Nali do have some advanced technology, but it's implied they are [[LostTechnology relics from a long-past era]], whose scientific workings are impenetrable to the race's naive minds. They see such objects as holy relics, put them on sacred pedestals and use them in holy rituals.
* TheChosenOne: One of the Nali diaries specifically mentions a saviour ''princess'', which does raise questions if you're playing as a male character - although it should be noted that the original plan for the game contained only a female PC, with male options being added later. And not only does the Nali depiction of the lightning goddess Vandora look human (apart from the 4 arms), she has the exact same hair and face as Sonya, minus the respirator mask. Said princess usually refers to [[spoiler:a deceased sailor from a crashed Russian ship]] that managed to break out of a heavily guarded Skaarj area and murder her way to a monastery, after the local Nali are convinced she's the one - but if you're a female PC, some of the logs might ambiguously refer to you.
* CollapsingLair: As the PlayerCharacter's pod flies out of [[spoiler:the Skaarj mothership]]. Possibly justified by the damage that the escaped prisoners will be wreaking after you turned off all the force-fields.
* ConvectionSchmonvection: Several times, you're forced to move through lava-filled areas, such as the mines and the Warlord's lair. Only stepping on the lava itself will cook you.
* ConveyorBeltODoom: Foundry Tarydium Plant, in ''Return To Na Pali'' (see NoOshaCompliance below).
* CrapsackWorld: Na Pali after being overrun by the Skaarj, as they effectively enact a brutal dictatorship over the peaceful Nali. [[spoiler:Even after Prisoner 849 destroys the Skaarj Queen]] the race itself remains quite active and dangerous.
* CreatorCameo[=/=]SelfInsertFic:
** The second single-player level, [[SdrawkcabName "Nyleve's Falls"]], is filled with references to the mapper behind it, from the name itself (his wife's name backwards) to the Vortex Rikers's registration number ([=NC114-85EKLS=]) to the names of various characters mentioned in logs belonging to many of his friends.
** The ninth level, also made by the same guy, is called [[SdrawkcabName Harobed Village]].
** In the level "Bluff Eversmoking" there's a cemetery with many tombstones. One of them, tagged "Myscha", is the name of its levelmaker.
** At the beginning of "Edge Of Na Pali", the first mission of the expansion pack, you can find a drowned man at the lake who goes by the name W. Marshall. Warren Marshall is one of Epic Games's employees. Also, near the end you can find a dead soldier under the name M. Worch. Matthias Worch is one of the Legend Entertainment developers.
** The map "Neve's Crossing" from ''Return to Na Pali'' might be a reference to level designer Erik De Neve.
* DeadlyRotaryFan: Found in the Deathmatch level [=DmDeathFan=]. There's one in singleplayer as well, in the Skaarj-controlled mines.
* DeathOfAThousandCuts: Due to the ability of the AI to dodge nearly everything you throw at it (Skaarj especially), in many cases CherryTapping something to death with the Automag is the most effective solution - it being the hitscan (and thus non-dodgeable) weapon with the most ammo around.
* DefensiveFeintTrap: Injured Skaarj and Krall will sometimes retreat to lure you into an ambush, and some will feign death only to assault you when you've gotten close.
* DeflectorShields: The player can use shield belts which develop the wearer in a golden field and absorb damage until depleted. The Skaarj have their own versions: Mercenaries have one which grants temporary invulnerability and Skaarj troopers have an arm-mounted one.
* DifficultButAwesome: The Razorjack; it is frequently dismissed as it seems slow (not to mention that the player can accidentally behead himself with it, due to the blades' bouncing), and yet once landing headshots with it is mastered it can kill most non-boss enemies with little ammo expenditure. Plus, each pack of ammo is worth a lot (and they're quite frequent), making it a borderline GameBreaker.
* DoomedHometown: Many Nali villages were thoroughly wrecked by the invading Skaarj, to the desperation of any surviving inhabitants. In fact, the entire planet Na Pali can count as a whole Doomed Planet, since even after the events of [=RTNP=] [[spoiler:there are still Skaarj on the planet, and they're ''pissed'']].
* DownerEnding: The level "Bluff Eversmoking". You spend almost the entirety of it reading diary entries of Kira, another ISV-Kran survivor, as well as those of several other humans who've attempted a rescue and some Skaarj who are attempting to recapture her after she broke out of imprisonment. It's subtly implied you might finally find an ally in her. [[spoiler:Unfortunately, by the time you manage to find her hiding spot, she's quite dead.]]
* TheDragon: The Skaarj Warlord, a hulking demon ''thing'' that is apparently in charge of Skaarj operations. You fight him twice - once in a torture dungeon that he uses for his personal amusement, and another after you try to sabotage the Skaarj mothership.
* ElaborateUndergroundBase: Outpost 3J, a Skaarj resupply and research base operating underneath a Nali sanctuary. Judging by the interior bearing no resemblance to the ship's external shape, and the length of the tunnel that [[spoiler:Prisoner 849's escape pod flies through to get out]] in the closing cutscene, there's also one of these under the Skaarj Mothership (the various teleporters presumably take you in and out of it). Well, either that or the Skaarj have [[BiggerOnTheInside TARDIS technology]].
* ElectronicSpeechImpediment: If the randomly exploding equipment, corpses strewn everywhere and general broken-ness of the vessel weren't already good indicators of how screwed the Vortex Rikers is, the onboard computer's voice acting up in all sorts of odd ways contributes to drive the point home.
* EliteMooks: The aptly-named Krall Elite and Mercenary Elite.
* EmpireWithADarkSecret: Locations such as Dark Arena, Velora Temple (which implies the altars there were sacrificial) and Nali Castle (which has a torture chamber in it), as well as some LostTechnology including very deadly weapons, suggest a darker, more violent side to the Nali's past. It's possible that their current spiritual and pacifistic nature are a direct consequence of that, though it's never stated explicitly.
* EnemyCivilWar:
** Can happen if a monster accidentally shoots another in the back.
** Skaarj Berserkers will fight with just about anybody.
** The Skaarj and the Mercenaries aren't of the same race and don't get along, judging by the Skaarj scout standing over a dead Mercenary and trying to find a way into the Terraniux when you reach the ship. It's mentioned in passing in a few logs, as well.
** The Mercenary prisoners in the Skaarj mothership. One assumes that the Skaarj were looking to eliminate the Mercs along with everyone else who crashed on Na Pali to protect the secret of their presence on the planet.
** There's also "Cellars at Dasa", where a bunch of Krall (who normally have teamwork as their [[PlanetOfHats hat]]) jump out and start fighting a Titan.
** A Skaarj scientist finds out [[UnstoppableRage the downside]] of supercharging test subjects with tarydium in the Mothership Lab. Said test subjects are completely psychotic and will attack everyone on sight.
* EnergyBall: The Dispersion Pistol and the Shock Rifle's secondary fire.
* EquipmentUpgrade: The Dispersion Pistol. Powerups can be collected that'll upgrade it several times, its projectiles changing colour and becoming more damaging at the cost of a slower rate of fire and higher ammo consumption.
* EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep: The Mercenaries.
* EverythingsBetterWithSpinning: One of the Skaarj melee moves is a SpinAttack. The Krall will sometimes twirl their staffs before firing, or when idle. And, of course, the questionably-useful spinning barrels on the minigun.
* EverythingTryingToKillYou: Some of the wildlife wandering around Na Pali is harmless, but if you look at their scripting in the LevelEditor, even they are set to "Attitude to Player: Hate." This is lampshaded by the [[AntiHero Prisoner 849]] in the intermission at the end of "Velora Pass" in ''[=RTNP=]'':
--> ''"I'm glad I made it out of there. I'm used to being bitten, hacked, shot, stabbed or blown up, but in there I could have been crushed, sliced, diced, or... skewered! Whoever built that place must have been a real sadist."''
* EvilAllAlong: [[spoiler:The UMS crew]] in ''Return To Na Pali''. They hire you for an important mission, and just when done, [[spoiler:they send troops to kill you]].
* EvolvingWeapon: The Dispersion Pistol, again. See EquipmentUpgrade above.
* ExtremeMeleeRevenge: Brutes, who if they take enough damage will forget all about shooting and charge you. Inverted by some Skaarj, who will respond to injury by backing off to make themselves harder to hit and sniping at you from a distance.
* FacelessGoons: [[spoiler:UMS space marines]] in ''RTNP'', and the ''player'', if they chose Dmitra or Sonya.
* FlechetteStorm: The Stinger, which fires shards of Tarydium crystal as stake-like projectiles. The flak cannon is a shotgun version, blowing out loads of razor-sharp scrap in one go.
* FloatingContinent: Multiple floating islands, one of which ("Na Pali Haven") you actually get to visit.
* ForceFieldDoor: Quite common. They stop working on the prison ship ''Vortex Rikers'' - enabling your escape - when the ship crashes.
* {{Foreshadowing}}:
** The translator messages often make reference to future levels, even ones some distance down the line.
** The Sunspire you visit about halfway through the game is a massively tall structure clearly visible in many other levels' skyboxes.
* FrictionlessIce:
** The multiplayer map DM-Tundra has an area where you find the Shock Rifle in a frozen lake.
** The level "Gala's Peak", from ''RTNP'', features this in a bridge, though you can keep from accidentally falling off a ledge by crouching.
* GameMod: The Quake games had already given the world its first taste of extensive modding, but making mods for them required some knowledge of how to manipulate and recompile the source code. Unreal was the first game that allowed one to open up the editor, tweak a few values, and save the result as a file that could alter - sometimes dramatically - gameplay aspects. For instance, all it takes to make the Stinger shoot rockets or flak shells is to change the projectile type, and now you have a rather more dangerous weapon at your disposal than anything available in the stock game. More radical modding was only a few steps away, especially once people started importing their own 3D models and the level editor became well understood. It only took a few months for entire CD-ROM compilations worth of mods to spring up.
* GangstaStyle: The alt fire mode for the Automag, with a near 100% corresponding drop in accuracy. Most shots beyond melee range will miss.
* GatlingGood: The Minigun, obviously, though its Gatling-ness is rather unusual compared to standard rotary cannons - it has two rotating barrel assemblies that intermesh, but no separate firing mechanism behind each barrel, leading one to wonder if all the spinning isn't there more for [[EverythingsBetterWithSpinning aesthetic]] than for practical reasons.
* GeniusBruiser: The Skaarj. On the outside they may look like superhuman-reptilian creatures who merely [[{{BloodKnight}} fight because they get kicks out of it]], but they have amassed a great amount of scientific knowledge - enough to conquer other planets, no less.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar:
** In "Bluff Eversmoking", there's a log with one:
--> ''"Jailer Hrang of the Red Hand Tribe: We have captured a Terran girl. Some of my soldiers want to try and ''take liberties with her''. I guess that's OK as long as they watch those boots! She kicked my in the ''hrangos'' last time."'' In this case, "take liberties" mean "beat the shit out of". Krall are monsters, but they're not rapists. They're just sadists.
** Later, by the same author:
--> ''"I am in DEEP SHIT. If captain [[BadBoss Duk'choroth]] comes and finds out [[spoiler:I let her escape]], I'll be de-hrango'd for sure!"''
*** And then subverted: later on a Nali diary describing the same incident reveals that "hrangos" are teeth, not testicles.[[note]]Which kind of makes more sense, as this means that the jailer's name translates as ''Fang'' and not ''Balls''[[/note]].
** Another log, in "Dasa Mountain Pass", shows that even Kralls [[TeethClenchedTeamwork don't want to work together]]:
--> ''"Bridge Foreman Khan Vhranna: I've about had it with Grok Vhul'rath. He's such a pompous ''son-of-a-'''Bulrach''' ''. If he makes us fix the drawbridge one more time in the rain, I'm going to ''bust his face in''."''
* GrimyWater: The Terraniux levels have several areas full of green toxic-looking water.
* HandCannon: The Brutes dual-wield ''rocket launchers'' as pistols.
* HailfirePeaks: The Sunspire combines ItsAllUpstairsFromHere with a side order of BlackoutBasement.
* HeroicMime: In the first game the protagonist might as well be a mute. In the second she speaks during intermission cutscenes, and it actually feels jarring because that's the only time she does it - and by then you've gone through the entire first game without so much as a word being spoken, ever.
* HitScan: The Automag, the Sniper rifle and the Minigun, as well as the Assault Rifle in ''RTNP''. The Shock rifle is weird, in that it's hitscan gameplay-wise but its visual effect is not - so if you fire it at a faraway surface you'll see the impact shockwave instantly, followed by the projectile reaching it a short time later.
* HyperactiveMetabolism: while generally averted, with the player gaining health from logical things like bandages or medkits, the player can also occasionally find seeds that get stored in the inventory. When planted they grow into mini-trees with delicious fruits, eating which restores up to about a third of the health bar. Stopped from being a game breaker by the fact that the growing process is not at all instantaneous, making the seeds useless in the heat of battle.
* ImprovisedWeapon: Many of the weapons in the game, like the Stinger, did not start life as firearms but as tools. Not that they're any less effective because of that...
* InfiniteFlashlight: {{Downplayed|Trope}}. The Searchlight, a later-game item, is an extremely powerful and wide-beamed flashlight with a family-sized battery. Exactly how long it can run for is unknown, but it's a '''long''' time: when it's gotten almost at the end of ''Unreal'' - [[BlackoutBasement when it's all the light you'll have to navigate the mothership's corridors]] - barely 10% of it will be consumed until you reach an area with normal lighting. In ''Return to Na Pali'' one can be found at the UMS Prometheus, a bit short of halfway through the game, and even then a reasonable player will get to the end with a comfortable half-full battery. To note, it '''''can''''' get exhausted, whereas it's discarded just like the crappier flashlights from beforehand, but any way to play that leads to that happening is such a ViolationOfCommonSense that the devs didn't even bother with making a dedicated message for when it dies out.
* ItsPronouncedTroPAY: The "j" in Skaarj is silent, although we only find this out in the expansion pack as no-one in the original game says the word aloud.
* KickTheDog: Every sentient enemy in the game seems to utterly hate the ultra-pacifistic, wouldn't-hurt-a-fly Nali, and will beat them up, torture or just plain murder them for the hell of it. The [[VideoGameCrueltyPotential player can do it too]], and there's a situation in Chizra's temple where you have the option of murdering a Nali priest to get the Super Health Pack he's levitating over. [[note]]Although there is another solution - you can lure the Slith closer to scare him off the platform.[[/note]]
* KingMook:
** The large, psychotic Skaarjs with glowing "pseudoinvisibility" effects fought near the end, and a fourth (orange) one that escapes from [[spoiler:the Mothership Lab]], though you don't actually have to fight that one. They were all part of an experiment to mutate Skaarj with tarydium so they would have natural energy shields. Unfortunately it had the [[GoneHorriblyWrong side effect]] of sending them into a constant UnstoppableRage, so they were locked up. Of course, once the PlayerCharacter [[spoiler:destroys the generator powering the forcefields...]]
** ''Return To Na Pali'' has an unusually large, 15 foot tall Skaarj Lord with double the normal amount of health as a surprise boss at the end of the "Bounds of Foundry" level.
* LastBreathBullet: The warlords ''attempt'' to do this to the player as part of their death animation. Similarly, if a Skaarj warrior is decapitated he will swipe blindly at the air with his claws before falling down.
* LateToTheTragedy: Happens repeatedly. Though you sometimes ''hear'' other survivors being killed, the closest thing you see to another living human is a body being thrown across a corridor by a Brute. Or possibly the captain of the Vortex Rikers, who spasms and dies as you approach.
* LemonyNarrator: The manual, as several of the quotes on this page demonstrate.
* LethalLavaLand: The level where you fight against a Warlord for the first time.
* LightningBruiser: All types of Skaarj except for Brutes.
* LockedOutOfTheFight: In the first level you come across a locked door behind which some people are getting massacred by a lone Skaarj. You only get to access the room after the carnage is over - which is probably for the better, as you have no weapons yet.
* MegaCorp: Inuit, the company that owned the ISV-Kran.
* MercyKill: Putting crucified Nali out of their misery is [[VideoGameCaringPotential occasionally rewarded]].
* MightyGlacier: the Brutes. Big, heavy and armed with rocket launchers, they'd be a huge problem if they weren't so ''very'' slow.
* MisguidedMissile: The player pulls this on [[spoiler:the UMS Bodega Bay]] in the closing cutscene of RTNP.
* MonsterCloset: The game generally averted this trope, placing enemies in sensible positions, but still plays it straight once near the start by [[spoiler:opening up a room containing a previously-unseen enemy of a superior level to anything you've fought up to that moment. This happens as you're walking back in a corridor you already passed through once without being bothered - after the lights switch off one by one. The combo of the new, fast monster and the progressive darkening scared the living daylights out a lot of players in the years]].
* MoreDakka: The Minigun spits out quite a high volume of lead.
* MuzzleFlashlight: The Dispersion Pistol does this very well. Not only does it regenerate ammo, but each shot creates enough light that it can easily render flares obsolete in confined corridors. The Eightball Gun and GES Bio Rifle also work to a lesser extent - rockets create a lot of light when they explode, and the Tarydium sludge generate a fair bit of it, added to the fact that the globs stay in place for a good three seconds so they can work as very short-term flares.
* {{Nerf}}: In the earlier versions, when you paired the Dispersion Pistol (no matter its upgrade level) with an Energy Amplifier, the resulting bolt was a one-shot kill against everything - including the [[GiantMook stone titan]], whose inability to move fast made for ridiculously easy fights. And '''the end-game boss'''. The developers eventually figured out this was undesirable, and a patch vastly reduced the amplified Pistol's power.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: Nice job [[spoiler:killing the Skaarj Queen and starting the Human-Skaarj wars]].
* NonActionGuy: The Nali as an entire race are this. Although you find several dead Nali with weapons next to them, and some Skaarj logs make reference to "rebellious activity", which suggest that at least some of them are actively fighting back. The novel ''Prophet's Power'' based on the game develops this idea further, as do a few [[GameMod mods]].
* NoodleIncident: To this day, the reasons of the main character's imprisonment remain unknown.
* NoOSHACompliance: some of the levels, like the Tarydium foundry plant, look decidedly unsafe.
--> ''"It has been 0 days since our last accident."''
* NothingIsScarier: In the Rrajigar Mines. When you press the two buttons to bring down the force field, suddenly the music stops, and some bars pop out, blocking the exit. And then the lights turn off one by one, and the player is left in the darkness. The lights suddenly flick back to life, blood red, and [[spoiler:a Skaarj Scout rushes at you]].
* {{Novelization}}: ''Unreal: Prophet's Power'' and ''Unreal: Hard Crash'', covering the events of the game.
* OffscreenTeleportation: Some of the enemy spawners indeed only spawn enemies when you're not looking at the particular spawner. Bodies of slain enemies only disappear when your back is turned.
* OhCrap: Your first encounter with a Skaarj - see NothingIsScarier above. You're happily walking along to get back to your objective, in a passage you've already crossed with no enemy activity whatsoever, [[spoiler:and suddenly the lights start going out, one by one. You can't run, because the corridor is now blocked. You start to hear growling noises. This is where you say the trope, right before a whirling mass of blades and hurt dives straight for your face]].
** Reaching the bridge in ''Return to Na Pali''. [[spoiler:You know the Marines are plotting to execute you]], but as you reach the bridge, the ship begins to rock, and beams of light come down from the sky... and [[spoiler:heavily armored space marines with the incredibly damaging combat assault rifle you were given]] land to give you hell.
* OneBulletClips: Subverted by the Automag (oddly, the only gun in the game that needs to periodically stop firing to reload). You don't have a reload key, so the automag simply gets reloaded when it's out of bullets. If you hear the telltale "click" that signals the clip is down to five rounds, and you know there's a big fight coming, this forces you to change weapons to force a reload by wasting ammo.
--> ''"Try to keep track of how many bullets are left in a clip. Attempting to change clips with a pissed-off Skaarj in your face is not advised."''
* PainfullySlowProjectile:
** The Dispersion pistol. After a few upgrades you can charge a full-power bolt that would one-shot any non-boss enemy - if they didn't have the disagreeable tendency to, you know, ''move''.
** The Bio rifle has this by design, as it's more of a toxic-substance vacuum switched to reverse than an actual weapon. It's actually more of a mine-layer than a rifle, though the arc is workable in close quarters. Just don't get too close, as the splash damage will affect you.
** The Ripper fires saw discs, but its slow rate of fire ensures that nearly all enemies will autododge it from far away. The secondary fire allows the disc to be guided, but makes the disc ''even slower''.
** Gasbag fireballs and Titan rocks. The latter are especially jarring, but necessary to make the Titan beatable at all, as they're otherwise OneHitKill against the player.
** Other weapons vary, but most can be dodged if your reflexes are fast enough. The Skaarj are also aware of this trope and will ''dodge'' your projectile weapons.
* PlayingPossum: Skaarj do this on occasion. However [[spoiler:the fact that they lie in a different position when faking makes it quite easy to tell if they are "really" dead or not]].
* PoweredArmor: The Mercenaries and Skaarj Troopers, and the UMS space marines in RTNP.
* PrisonShip: You start out on a crashed prison transport named "Vortex Rikers".
* ProudWarriorRaceGuy: The Skaarj:
--> ''"Vigilance is the guardian of honour."''
* PunchPackingPistol: Two examples:
** The aforementioned Dispersion Pistol, which goes from a weak RangedEmergencyWeapon to a HandCannon as you collect upgrades for it. With the Power Amplifier activated, it reaches {{BFG}} levels.
** Don't disregard the Automag just because it's weapon number two. On primary fire it's a perfect SniperPistol with no bullet spread and reasonable damage per shot that stacks quickly, while [[GangstaStyle secondary mode]] fires at three times the primary's fire rate and [[InstantDeathRadius badly hurts anything that gets within one meter of your face]]. If that versatility wasn't enough, bullets are plentiful throughout the game and it's more powerful per shot than the [[GatlingGood Minigun]].
* QuadDamage: The Energy Amplifier, which only affects energy weapons but makes them tremendously powerful, to the point the Dispersion Pistol can beat the [[MiniBoss Stone Titan]] in a few shots (used to be a single shot, but it got understandably [[{{nerf}} nerfed]]).
* RightManInTheWrongPlace: Prisoner 849. [[AntiHero Unlikely survivor of a crashed prison ship]]? Yep. Inexplicably proficient with every weapon you come across? [[GangstaStyle That's probably what got you locked up in the first place]]. No real motivation for fighting the bad guys other than "they're shooting at you?" Check. Singlehandedly free several areas of the planet from an army of reptilian nasties and cyborg slavers? Bingo bango.
* RocketJump: Somewhat doable with the explosive weapons, though the effect is less pronounced than in other games and rarely very useful.
* SceneryPorn: The game that started it all. The first level fools you into thinking it's just another shooter in enclosed spaces with prettier graphics (for the time). The second level... doesn't. If you played the game without first reading reviews of it, the surprise was mindblowing. Lush vegetation, colourful moving skies, animals hopping and flying about, and the sheer ''size'' of all the scenery was something completely unseen for the day, along with some perfectly fitting music to set the mood. It remained exclusive to ''Unreal'' for a while, too, as everybody else's [[GameEngine engines]] weren't geared for open spaces and would choke on the sheer number of polygons.
* SecondaryFire: Every weapon, except the "Sniper" Rifle, which originally had one (mentioned in the manual, no less) but got changed to a poor man's zoom very late in the game's development process. In some cases, this mode is the more effective one.
* ShaggyDogStory: Despite the Prisoner 849 [[OneManArmy rampaging across the planet]] [[spoiler:twice]], and [[spoiler:killing a Skaarj Queen and two Warlord leaders]], along with various references to being [[TheChosenOne the Nali's Savior]], the ''Tournament'' games - which, according to the Manual, are set several years later - still reference the Skaarj hunting Nali. Not to mention that the resultant declaration of war against humanity devastated their colonies, and Earth itself.
* ShoutOut: Na Pali is named after a state park on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.
** ''Vortex Rikers'' is a play on Riker's Island prison.
* ShowsDamage: Played with - players who are badly hurt hunch over, but only when standing still, and it doesn't affect their abilities in any way. Of course, this is only apparent if you stop in front of a mirrored surface, or switch to the 3rd person view. Played with ''even more'' with the enemies within the game, as some are more likely to enter flinch animations (which don't affect their speed or damage once completed, but make them slightly easier to take out in the interim) when heavily wounded.
* SortingAlgorithmOfWeaponEffectiveness: Weapons fall into two categories - those that trigger the AI's auto dodge, and those that don't. The ones that don't are far more effective against agile enemies like Skaar and Krall.
* SpaceElevator: An anti-gravitational, cable-less elevator carries people to the floating islands from the Sunspire. It's presumably high stratosphere rather than ''space'', but then again it's not perfectly clear how orbits work in Na Pali.
** In RTNP you can find it again, this time on the bottom of a lake with a log beside it suggesting two humans tried to use it during a storm.
* StarScraper: the Sunspire is an incredibly tall building, so tall it's visible in the sky in other levels. Its purpose is to serve as a station for the SpaceElevator that brings people up to the floating islands.
* StockScream: In the first level, many screams sound like you've heard them numerous times. The air vent filled with green fog is especially flooded with them.
* StormingTheCastle: The last levels of the original game requires you to do a raid on [[spoiler:the Skaarj Mothership]] and terminate the BigBad.
* SuperWindowJump: A Skaarj gets the drop on you this way in the Sunspire.
* SuspiciousVideoGameGenerosity: You find an almost-InfiniteFlashlight right before you blow the Skaarj Mothership's generator to pieces, [[BlackoutBasement plunging the whole place in pitch darkness]]. Also, a pair of jump boots with unlimited charges? Surely that'd alter gameplay too mu-- ah, there's the door for the final boss arena.
* TeethClenchedTeamwork: The Kralls aren't happy of working alongside of the Skaarj, as a log shows up in the Bluff Eversmoking level:
--> ''"Shipping Log: Grorq of the Red Hand Tribe. I am really getting sick with the way the Skaarj are treating us. Constantly bossing us around and making us watch over their pathetic Nali Slaves. My troops are getting sick of this situation."''
* TeleFrag: The expansion features a level with no exit - until an enemy is teleported into a wall.
* TenSecondFlashlight: Apparently in the future we've achieved interstellar travel but we've completely lost the ability of making decent batteries: the flashlights scattered around all of Na Pali last for exactly one minute, and they dim constantly for the last five seconds. Once spent, they're dead and discarded, so you're back to using flares or your MuzzleFlashlight until you find another one. The Searchlight [[InfiniteFlashlight is another story entirely]], but it's unavailable for most of the game.
* ThereWasADoor: The [[MightyGlacier Brutes]] are fond of this. In their first appearance in Nyleve's Falls, a Brute smashes its way through a door behind you (which is sneaky as you'll more likely be focused on the Brute ''in front'' of you that has just thrown a human survivor against the wall and [[LudicrousGibs annihilated him with a volley of rockets]]). In Foundry Tarydium Plant, a Brute bursts through a '''rock wall''' to get to you.
* TheUndead: Absent during the game itself in a traditional sense, but gib models (models of generic, heavily mauled corpses with exposed bones and missing organs), of which there are five, are playable as characters.
** BloodSplatteredWarrior: Their own blood, actually.
** BodyHorror: The face is completely missing from most of them.
* TheUnreveal: What exactly is the "Talon Project", the top-secret data you are sent to retrieve from the UMS Prometheus in RTNP? Who knows - the PlayerCharacter [[spoiler:flies off into the sunset]] with it, and s/he isn't telling.
* UpdatedRerelease: ''Unreal Gold'', which is basically the same game in the ''VideoGame/UnrealTournament'' revision of Unreal Engine 1 and bundled with ''Return to Na Pali''.
* UselessUsefulStealth: The invisibility power-up is great for sneaking past many Titans but never seems to work on more intelligent enemies like Skaarj.
* UseItem: The game features a cyclable inventory.
* VideoGameCaringPotential: There are many poor abused Nali throughout the game, and keeping them alive usually results in them leading you to a valuable item or a shortcut.
* WeWillMeetAgain: Your first encounter with [[spoiler:the Skaarj Warlord]]. After being defeated he just taunts you and teleports away, only to reappear - and be KilledOffForReal - aboard [[spoiler:the Skaarj mothership]]. The expansion pack has you fight another Warlord, but doesn't specify if it's the one you already fought the first time around - making this a double example - or if it's a whole other one.
* WolverineClaws (with occasional {{Energy Ball}}s): The weapon of choice for the Skaarj warrior class.
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