- Fandom Rivalry: With Quake III: Arena fans. To this day, debate rages on over which is/was the better game. Nonetheless, both games are still considered contenders for "Greatest multiplayer shooter of all time."
- Fanfic Fuel: The game started the franchise's custom of having descriptions for everything, be it venues, characters, teams, and in later games, even weaponry and itemry. All of these mention events which include wars, rebellions, family/friend losses, feuds... tons of ministories waiting to be told.
- First Installment Wins: Somewhat zig-zagged, as it not only surpassed the success of later games and ports, but also the original Unreal.
- The Shock Rifle combo. Covers a huge area and normally results in OHKs.
- The Sniper Rifle. It has a relatively fast rate of fire, deals a lot of damage, and your target generally has no idea where you're shooting from. There's a reason of why it got nerfed in later installments.
- The Rocket Launcher in the console games. While you must keep the crosshairs on your target for half a second to activate the homing system, this delay gets even more shortened, so you have a greater chance to home your missiles in onto your enemies.
- Good Bad Bugs:
- Team boosting, which abuses a bug in the game's physics. It works by using high-pushing weapons such as fully charged Rocket Launcher or the Instagib Rifle to boost a player to the enemy base.
- The Pulse Gun "saw", taking advantage of a quirk with the aforementioned weapon's alternate fire in order to deal extra damage.
- The Minigun likewise has its rate of fire based on the server's tick rate (i.e. how often the server updates what's actually going on), meaning that it deals more or less damage based on the tick rate - a simple 5-tick increase from the recommended default, 20 to 25, gives the Minigun a theoretical 25% damage increase.
- Suicide in Capture The Flag, originally just a debug command, because it allows you to quickly return to your base in exchange for losing your inventory.
- Harsher in Hindsight: The game has criminals and deranged psychopaths fighting for their lives and "fighting in the Tournament" as a penal sentence, basically doing what Gamer did several years later.
- Heartwarming in Hindsight: Malcolm being called "FenTech's finest creation". In later installments he became the nine-time champion of the Tournament and became the Series Mascot. He is, indeed, their finest creation.
- Hilarious in Hindsight:
- One of the hall of fame champions in the Trophy Room is called Pariah. Several years later, a videogame called Pariah, made by Digital Extremes, would be released.
- Visse's description in the Deathmatch ladder back in Unreal Tournament mentions that the female Necris (the "Blademaiden") favor cruelly formed bayonets and energy swords. The idea itself wouldn't crystallize until six years later, when the swords were made the melee weapon of the female Necris.
- Memetic Mutation: It's safe to say that each voice taunt or announcer voice was subjected to this, at least once. Especially those of Xan Kriegor:
M-M-M-MONSTER KILL!!! Kill!! Kill!
I am the Alpha and the Omega!
Witness my perfection!note
- More Popular Spinoff: This game is the most remembered game of the Unreal franchise. We'll forgive you if you don't know that this was a spinoff.
- Most Annoying Sound: You would want to turn off the announcer after hearing it for many matches. The famous "Headshot!" and "Killing Spree" sounds are so overused, it became a lead acetate version of Tastes Like Diabetes.
- Most Wonderful Sound:
- M-M-M-MONSTER KILL!!! Kill!! Kill!
- Congratulations! You're the winner!
- Porting Disaster: Even with the games featuring new arenas, the PlayStation 2 and Sega Dreamcast versions weren't well received. Some of the maps run slow as hell, using a controller is not recommended (though both consoles have keyboard and mouse support), and many of the new maps don't have an interesting layout at all. Plus, there are some oversights in the GUI, such as that the health bar doesn't show the amount of health the player has if it's over 100 points.
- That One Level:
- Due to your teammates being incredibly incompetent and the fact you can't be everywhere at once, any CTF level in single player quickly becomes an irritating hassle.
- DM-KGalleon. It's extremely intricate, with lots of obstacles, some weapons are in places which are hard to reach, and some passages are extremely narrow. Couple this in single-player with the fact that the "weapon stay" preferences are off, (this means that once someone pick up a weapon, everyone have to wait X seconds for it to respawn and take it again) and that the bots will be more focused on shooting you than their enemies, and you've got a huge challenge, probably even huger than the final match.
- The console version of the map lacks the lower floor, so it becomes somewhat easy, averting this trope. Of course, when you pair it with the issues mentioned in Porting Disaster, well... it becomes again a hard match.
- The final match. The stage is Hyperblast, Xan's ship. Large, semi-confusing, Xan's love of shock rifles knocking you into space, and the low-gravity. You WILL hate this level.
- Tough Act to Follow: To such extent that any Unreal game afterwards has been received with a lot of flak. Only UT2004 has managed to avoid this for the most part. But even that is generally considered to be inferior to the original.
- Unfortunate Implications: The fact that the Series Mascot and the biggest face of both the Liandri Grand Tournament and the Unreal games is a drug-enhanced warrior (in fact he's classified as a "Chem Killer"). Not helped by the description of another combatant which says that the Liandri has a "don't ask-don't tell" policy on "enhancement stimulants". Pretty chilling considering the plethora of real-life cases.
YMMV / Unreal Tournament