"In 2291, in an attempt to control violence among deep-space miners, the New Earth Government legalized no-holds-barred fighting. Liandri Mining Corporation, working with the NEG, established a series of leagues and bloody public exhibitions. The fight's popularity grew with their brutality. Soon, Liandri discovered that the public matches were their most profitable enterprise. The professional league was formed: a cabal of the most violent and skilled warriors in known space, selected to fight in a Grand Tournament. Now it is 2341. Fifty years have passed since the founding of Deathmatch. Profits from the tournament number in the hundreds of billions."
Unreal Tournament is a First-Person Shooter developed by Epic Games and released for PC in 1999. It takes place canonically after Unreal and Unreal II The Awakening, focusing on a tournament (involving both Humans and Aliens) which started as a way to occupy deep-space miners and eventually grew to become a massive sport event watched by countless spectators. It got lots of critical acclaim, and was considered by many reviewers as a superior game to its main rival, Quake III Arena.The single-player was, at best, an excuse to prepare the player for the multiplayer mode, and featured the player choosing a team, a face and a name, and fighting in different arenas with different weapons, different rivals, and in some of these matches with the team he/she has chosen, until he/she reaches the Tournament finals and fight against Xan Kriegor, the Tournament's corrupt champion.Its success was such that Epic Games decided to entirely focus on the MP side of the franchise for the future.It spawned two versions for Sega Dreamcast and Playstation2, featuring different maps and characters, in 2001, as well as three sequels: Unreal Tournament 2003, Unreal Tournament 2004 and Unreal Tournament III. There were also four official releases as small and free Expansion Packs, called "Bonus Packs". These were done respectively by Epic Games, Digital Extremes, Cedric "Inoxx" Fiorentino (the creator of the map CTF-Face, a.k.a. "Facing Worlds") and by the three of them for Christmas 2000.*
This is the only non-retail content to be mentioned in this page, as they are official releases and not third-party content.
Some characters from this game went big for the remainder of the franchise, as the character sheet shows.
The match has begun!
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Map related tropes
Acid Pool: Some levels (like DM-Deck16][) have these.
Convection Schmonvection: Many maps such as DM-Codex, CTF-Gauntlet, DM-Mojo][, DOM-Cinder and DOM-Leadworks feature lava areas which are easily escapable. You won't suffer any damage from standing near to it, but as soon as you so much as dip your toe into it you get violently gibbed.
The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Found a quicker way to enter the ship in AS-Frigate by using an impact jump in a certain area to reach the ship's dock and going all the way back? Well, there's another minigun cannon waiting for you.
Grimy Water: Several stages have pools with different water colors, often not good for your health.
Hazardous Water: Featured in CTF-Hydro16, (it's description states that a virus plagued the installation and killed everyone there, possibly also contaminating the water) CTF-Kosov, (the PlayStation 2 version's description called it the Pain River, and for a good reason) DOM-MetalDream, ("located near strange meteorological phenomenon", and the water appears similar to Hydro16's) DM-KGalleon, and DOM-WolfsBay (unexplained, but there's no way to get back onto the ships in question once you fall off).
High Altitude Battle: CTF-High, DM-Crane, DM-Morpheus, DM-Peak and space maps such as DM-Barricade, DM-HyperBlast, DM-Phobos, DM-Pyramid and DM-SpaceNoxx.
Hold the Line: The reason behind the Assault gametype. The first round of two starts with the Red team attacking and the Blue team holding the line, while the second round invert the roles. Should the Red team succeed in attacking, the Blue team has to succeed in a shorter amount of time to win. Should the Blue team succeed in defending, they must accomplish more objectives than their Red foes did in the first round in order to win.
Invisible Wall: You'll find these pretty much in any open level in any of the games, if it doesn't kill you.
"This volatile world has an extremely low orbit around a superdense gas giant. The resulting gravitational forces have caused the planetary mantle to collapse. Combatants are issued special gravbelts for each match."
Mineral MacGuffin: The map AS-Mazon, where the objective of the attacking team is to destroy a big crystal which empowers the defenders' defenses.
No OSHA Compliance: Lampshaded in many of the stages: it's stated Liandri confiscated the factories involved due to unsafe working conditions, and then turned the facilities into Arenas.
The map AS-Rook has a glitching wall (in an area which couldn't be reached, anyway)
There's an invisible collision box in DM-Pyramid which wasn't fixed.
There seems to be a rare bug where just selecting AS-Mazon in the practice mode or server-hosting menu crashes the game instantly.
Storming The Castle: The Assault levels require you to do this, due to the nature of the game. Inverted in one of the maps (AS-Rook) which takes place in a castle, and where the objective is to escape.
Adaptational Badass: The Nali were non action guys in Unreal, pretty vulnerable and whose main utility was to guide the player to secret areas. Then, the first Bonus Pack was released, and transformed them into playable characters, suddenly turning their badassness up.
AFGNCAAP: Your player character is somewhat generic (no personality - there's not much a storyline, duh) and is just fighting in the tournaments to usurp the current champion.
Ax Crazy: Several of the AI players in the campaign are stated to be this.
Badass Crew: You must choose one of them in the campaign. Two (the all-male Raw Steel and the all-female Venom) are gender-dependent, and three (Iron Skull and Red Claw, obtained in the GOTY edition, and the console-exclusive The Corrupt) aren't playable at all.
Stripperiffic: The Aphex babes, the female Commandos, (Dark Phalanx) and the female Necris. (Black Legion) In the other side of the spectre, the Nali and Skaarj Hybrids. (Only the Arena Warrior and Cyborg Trooper classes)
Tomboyish Ponytail: The Female Soldiers (Thunder Crash, Iron Guard, Venom, Metal Guards and War Machines)
Took a Level in Badass: Both a Nali and a Nali Priest can be chosen after the installation of the first official Bonus Pack and in the GOTY edition.
The All-Seeing A.I.: Bots generally have a sense when a Damage Amplifier or other good powerup is available (and you can whore kills if you camp at said powerup), can call movers and platforms at will, (something the player can't) and allied bot ordered to assist you can always track you down to pinpoint accuracy. On the plus side, they can't or won't get to out-of-the-way powerups placed in areas requiring precision jumps.
A.I. Breaker: Bots have a limited FOV, which depends on the difficulty level, and they won't hit you if you're in an extremely long distance, such as CTF-HallOfGiants, from the second Bonus Pack.
The Redeemer's secondary fire allows you to take control of the missile, and guide it around until it explodes. You are left vulnerable, since you can't see what's happening around you in this mode, though.
Being gibbed at any point leads the player to a "head bouncing around-cam" shot.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: The Redeemer's description claims that it's exhausted after just one shot, but if you're patient and/or lucky, you can grab a second missile for it without having to launch the first one beforehand.
Set Swords to Stun: An automag bullet in the brain? No problem, it hurts a bit, but it only takes away 25 HP. Shock Rifle blast to the face? More dangerous, you lose 50 HP. There are however weapons that can insta-kill in certain circumstances, such as the Flak Cannon from close range, a direct hit from the Rocket Launcher, or a head/neckshot with the Sniper Rifle/Ripper.
The Translocator, available in some modes. The primary fire shoots a beacon; the alternative fire teleports you to it.
The Enforcer. Hit Scan automatic pistol. Players start with only one, but they can dual-wield them if they claim one from a foe's corpse. The alternative fire is a Gangsta Style fire, raising fire rate at the cost of accuracy. Shares ammo pool with the Minigun.
The Bio-Rifle shoots radioactive green glop in a parabolic arc. Primary fire flings a single ball; secondary fire charges up to eight balls together into a giant cluster mine. The glop hangs around for a bit on whatever surface it hits, doing damage to whatever touches it, and then explodes, doing damage to anything near it.
The Pulse Gun is the assault rifle analogue. It's alternate mode is a Lightning Gun.
The Ripper shoots sawblades which can ricochet off walls and around corners. The alternative fire shoots exploding, though non-ricocheting, sawblades. Headshots (or hits to the neck area) decapitate.
The Minigun is just like other FPS counterparts; it's altfire makes it go twice as fast, but at the cost of accuracy. Shares ammo pool with the Enforcer(s).
The Flak Cannon is a shotgun on steroids: it fires molten crumbs of metal that will bounce off a surface as long as they're glowing. The alternative fire lobs a shell instead of firing it, in the form of a ball which explodes into crumbs upon impact with an object or surface.
The Rocket Launcher can shoot between one and six rockets at a time, in either a cluster or a spread pattern. The alternative fire lobs them as grenades intead.
And finally, the Redeemer is the tactical mini-nuke. The alternative fire lets the player pilot it with a missile's-eye view.
Swiss Army Weapon: With their alternate firing modes, almost every weapon is one of these. Special mention goes to the Shock Rifle and the Rocket Launcher, each of which has more than two ways of killing opponents.
After the End: The game takes place after the Human-Skaarj wars, initiated with Prisoner 849's actions in the first game and its Expansion Pack, which left a devastated Earth, with many rebellions between groups of Earth's survivors. In fact, many of these rebellions led to the creation of the Tournaments. Many of these events are also referenced in the backstories of both maps and AI characters.
Boom, Headshot: Despite that the first Unreal game already allowed the player to nail headshots with the Rifle, this is the game which introduced the Headshot announcement. This later carried on to many games.
Combos: Double Kill. Multi Kill! ULTRA KILL!! M-M-M-M-M-MONSTER KILL!!!
Organic, by Michiel Van Den Bos, was never featured in any official map.
Dummied Out: Since this game has all of Unreal's original assets (sans maps and music), this was to be expected. With the right cheat codes it's possible to use elements of the original game such as the Acoustic Dampener (a silencer) and the Nali Seeds/Healing Fruits. Of course, since this game is a highly moddable game, many user-made maps feature these "hidden" items. A few mutators even add Unreal's monsters into the levels for additional fun.
There're also some mutators which were unfinished, such as Minigun Arena and Impact Arena, as well as a gametype (Tournament Darkmatch) which hasn't maps.
There's a small room in DM-Codex, opened by hitting a wall-lamp, which shows a picture of its creator, Cliff "CliffyB" Bleszinski.
Firing a Redeemer missile or a Flak shell with the playersonly cheat allows you to see both a message and a face, respectively, drawn on them.
The maps DM-Mojo][ and DM-Shrapnel][ have the UT logo hidden in some parts.
Follow the Leader: Maybe Doom and Quake began the multiplayer experience in the FPS genre, but the first Tournament game, along with its rival, Quake III Arena, paved the way for multiplayer FPS. 10 years later, it's still one of the biggest feuds.
Green Rocks: Blue glowing crystals (tarydium) that pretty much everyone uses as a power source. Similar to Real Life nuclear power, in that it produces dangerous waste material when used for such a purpose. Unlike nuclear power, said waste is then used as ammo for the Bio Rifle.
"Have a Nice Day" Smile: As a consolation for unfortunate recipients of live flak cannon grenade rounds, the front end of each grenade is adorned with one of these.
Screw The Rules I Have Money: The Liandri Mining Corporation. Just look at any description on any game starting with this one which mentions them. Hell, they even were one of the main forces behind the Tournament itself!
Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Perhaps done intentionally, but the award goes to Thunder Crash. (A.K.A. "Thunder Cash") They are the first squad you're shown while starting a new ladder, if you select another team, they take their place in the ladder, they are the only full team to return intact in Unreal Tournament 2004, (Iron Guard and Iron Skull came reformed, as well as the Guards and the Necris Black Legion in UT3) and, well... we all know what happened to their leader, Malcolm.
Updated Rerelease: Unreal Tournament: Game of the Year edition, which included Rocket Arena UT, Chaos UT, and the first three Bonus Packs.
The PS2/DC editions included most of the Bonus Packs' stuff, plus original content.
It should be noted that all of the upgrades and features available in the updated releases (sans for some of the exclusive maps of the console versions) are also available as free downloads to the owners of the original game.