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Video Game / Unreal II: The Awakening

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Hot damn, Aida

"As earth expands in this sector of space, different corporations are establishing colonies on uninhabited planets. They do everything from creating vacation resorts, to mining exotic ores, to terraforming. We in the Terran Colonial Authority patrol between the planets to keep the peace. The corporations try to get away with a lot out here, and they hire mercenary forces to help them get their way. We often find ourselves fighting the mercs to defend civilians who work for their own corporation. If we run into something we can't take on alone, we call in the marines."

The first Unreal was well received, but it was Unreal Tournament the game which made the franchise famous all around the world. Epic Games decided that the next step should be taken by another company, and thus, Legend Entertainment made the next game of the franchise.

This game was Unreal 2: The Awakening, released for PC and Xbox in 2002.

In the game, the player takes the role of John Dalton, an ex-marine "space marshall" on a ship maintained by a small crew: Aida, his stripperiffic first officer; Isaak, his gruff weapons expert/engineer; and Ne-Ban, his Alien pilot. He's sent on a mission to find various ancient artifacts of extreme power which are also being hunted by various other factions and races.

The game focused on more story-driven set-piece laden linear levels and lots of character interaction, as well as pitting you against Humans for the majority of the game, with the only link to the original being a few cameos and battles against the Skaarj and armored versions of them, called Mecha-Skaarj, in the first two levels and the second-to-last level of the game. Its place in the Unreal timeline is set between the first Tournament game and Return To Na Pali.


The game was not well received, due to these changes, almost complete failure to deliver promises from early blurbs of the game, and being regarded as an average and somewhat derivative FPS even for the time. Perhaps, in part, to this, the SP side of the Unreal world has not been explored since then, although Epic Games have dropped some hints they may be willing to work on a sequel in the future.

See also


Recurring tropes for the series include:

  • Artificial Limbs: Isaak.
  • Blatant Item Placement: The game mostly keeps stuff in their logical places such as armories, but some items are placed in unlikely places.
  • Body Armor as Hit Points: Averted, unlike the previous games, there's no Shield Belt nor similar item here. The level of your shields affected their effectiveness. At full shields they'd absorb 100% of any damage you took, but below 90% or so you started taking partial damage to your health with the shields only absorbing a percentage of total damage, which got lower and lower as your shields dropped (i.e. at 50% shield strength your shields would absorb less than half of the damage of a hit). It's not uncommon to die with with your shields still at 33% or more.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The levels involving Izanagi and Liandri troops often have different colors for the different classes. Izanagi light ghosts are green, while their mediums are colored yellow, for example. The game's assets suggest that UT99-like four-team multiplayer modes were going to ship with the game, and some of these skins were instead reused for SP purposes.
  • Continuity Nod: The assault rifle and rocket launcher are based off of the same weapons found in Return to Na Pali, though with radically different designs.
  • Continuity Snarl: In this game we are told the Skaarj are socially highly fragmented and disorganized and often at odds with each other. The Skaarj uniting behind a single cause or leader is virtually unheard of. This directly contradicts the Skaarj in the first game where they were all united in opposition towards you in standard FPS fashion. There was even a Skaarj Queen controlling everything.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Some levels feature lava, and it doesn't hurt you unless you fall in.
  • Crapsack World: Many of the planets visited by Dalton are overrun by Skaarj or elite forces from any of the companies.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: The Rocket Launcher after Isaak upgrades it. Hitting four enemies with it is hard.
  • Emergency Weapon/Charged Attack: The Popgun energy pistol behaves more or less the same as it did in the first Unreal. You always have it as an emergency weapon, it recharges energy infinitely but has a lower-than-average rate of fire and relatively slow projectiles, and you can perform a charged shot with it (which, unfortunately, still isn't powerful enough to kill most enemies). The one key difference is that the Popgun doesn't have upgrades like the Dispersion Pistol, so it remains permanently in the Ranged Emergency Weapon function.
  • Energy Ball: The Shock Lance's secondary fire, an EMP blast that travels forward in ball form.
  • Hitscan: All kinetic weapons: the assault rifle, the "widowmaker" rifle and the magnum. The one exception is the cluster of bullets the assault rifle shoots on Secondary Fire.
  • Mega-Corp: The main companies from the Tournament/Championship games (except Phayder) are involved in the game's conflict.
  • Painfully Slow Projectile: The Shock Lance's secondary fire, to the point that it's extremely hard to hit it with the primary fire.
  • Powered Armor: Mostly everyone has it, and it isn't exactly top-notch protection.
  • Scenery Porn: In spite of its many engine problems, the game still features awesome landscapes, especially now that Dalton visits many planets.
  • Secondary Fire: All weapons have it, like in the first Unreal.

Tropes exclusive to U2 include:

  • Absurdly Short Level: Several.
    • The initial level, "Avalon (preface)", is about Dalton receiving a briefing of the situation and then departing to either the first planet or the Video Game Tutorial.
    • The "Atlantis" intermission levels usually consist of Dalton going through the ship, receiving the briefing from Aida, and then departing to the next mission. However, the ship itself holds countless of easter eggs and key conversations for both the main plot and Character Development, as well as some cutscenes depending which levels have been finished.
    • "Polaris (Entrance)" is only a mid-sized passage leading to a cargo room with several Elite Mooks.
    • The first level of NC962VII (Suspicion) is just Dalton entering into the base in order to recover the last Artifact. Likewise, the final level of the planet (Solitude) is just a big dome, but in this case it holds one enemy: the Drakk Caretaker.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Liandri Angels. Also Bald Women.
  • Arm Cannon: The singularity cannon was part of the arm of the Tosc, until you sever the first one and surprisingly be able to use it.
  • A Space Marine Is You: The entire game, with the sole exception of the characterization of the main characters (technically you and your crew are more like the Space Coast Guard, but pretty much play like a Space Marine). It's somewhat of a running gag of Dalton complaning about how he should have been one.
    Marine: Hell Dalton. You should have been a Marine.
    Dalton: Don't get me started.
  • Bee Bee Gun: The biomass ejaculator, a gun that shoots spiders. And yes, it's officially called an ejaculator tube.
  • Big Dam Plot: The Severnaya-mission, with the twist that you are the one who has to destroy the dam, rather than prevent someone from destroying it.
  • BFG: The Tosc Singularity Cannon. Anything in it's path is warped into the micro-black hole. In fact, if you use it while the console is up, it claims the target has been sent "to a dimension beyond".
  • Boom Stick: The Izarians use the Shock Lance, a spear capable of projecting energy bolts. Dalton can pick one up and use it, but it's heavily neutered at first since the Skaarj are savvy enough to not give their slaves too much firepower; after he brings it back to the ship, Isaak removes its power limitations and it becomes a pretty awesome weapon.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Various individuals have different colored clothes or aesthetics, depending on the environment. The Marines wear red in lush areas, and blue in cold environments. The Izanagi Ghost Warriors wear red primarily and yellow or green in lush environments.
  • Creator Cameo: Many of the non player characters names are references to Legend Entertainment's programmers and artists.
  • Crosshair Aware: The Drakk robots will track the player with a laser, and then zap whatever is painted by it.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to Unreal Tournament 2003 and 2004, although still Lighter and Softer than the first Unreal given you interact with various personalities throughout the game.
  • Dead Guy Puppet: In the Sanctuary mission, this is how the Izarians are introduced: Dalton has just entered the facility, witnessed a Liandri operator getting mauled, and went through a corridor after witnessing a creature. In the next room, an Izarian is using his Shock Lance to play puppet with another dead Liandri operator.
  • Degraded Boss: The Heavy Skaarj at the end of Sanctuary, the first planet, becomes more common in Avalon (near the end of the game).
  • Dialogue Tree: Whenever Dalton rans into someone who isn't about to die or trying to kill him, he can talk to them, and dialogue is divided like this.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: Dalton spends most of the game traveling from planet to planet picking up pieces of an ancient artifact. When the artifact is finally assembled and used, see Eldritch Abomination below.
  • Downer Ending: Although Dalton managed to avenge the death of his crewmates and decimated the TCA, the last we see of him is him drifting into space in an escape pod, all alone, watching the final words of his late crew recorded in the burst transmission. It's also left unclear if all the Kai in the universe are turned into the Tosc, not just the one in the Dorian Gray spaceship that was just destroyed. However as the game somewhat still counts as canon, it seems like the Kai didn't appear anymore. And if that isn't enough, the death of Ne'Ban has all of the potential to spawn into a conflict of its own.
  • Dummied Out: The presence of simple point based deathmatch during the tutorials and death messages on console indicate that this game would have featured a full-fledged multiplayer. There's a botmatch mode hidden in the code with a bunch of mutators; it only requires a Game Mod for the menu.
  • Electric Boogaloo: Unreal II: The Awakening.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The artifact you collected, after assembled, turns a silent, voiceless, servant race called Kai into a hulking four legged mass with arm that shoots black holes called the Tosc. After you managed to sever the arm of the first Tosc and eliminate the Tosc with the Singularity cannon, it turns out that all the Kais are turning into Tosc.
  • Eleventh Hour Super Power: The Singularity Cannon dropped from the Tosc, (and capable of killing one instantly) although every Tosc has one too.
  • Escort Mission:
    • In Sanctuary, a Liandri tech forces you to clear the area so since he won't give you the item you're going for until he's safe.
    "Here you go. Just kidding. The second I give you it you're going to leave me here to die. So you get me safe and I'll give you it."
    • In the "Swamp" mission, in the same planet, you escort a pair of crashed Marines from their crashsite to the evacuation point.
    • In the second mission of planet Hell, you need to escort a scientist in order to clear a fire.
    • In the last levels of planet Janus, you need to escort another scientist to the rooftop of a building.
    • Finally, back in a Skaarj-overrun Avalon, at one point you're tasked with defending a tech from the rooftop of the building you've started the game in while he tries to restore power to the area.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: The MechaSkaarj, who also have the ability to deflect bullets with their claws, reducing the vulnerability to rapid-fire weapons they displayed in the original Unreal.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Multiple opposing factions are after the artifacts, including Izanagi, Liandri, the Skaarj, and the Drakk.
  • Evolving Weapon: Many weapons, after Isaak tweaks them.
  • Expy:
    • The Kai happen to be just like the Nali, a peaceful race.
    • The Izarians, who are the new slaves of the Skaarj, are very similar to the Krall.
  • Faceless Goons: The NEG space marines and the Izanagi mercs(when they're wearing a helmet at least).
  • Fission Mailed: Two instances:
    • The first one happens in the Sulferon mission. It's impossible to prevent the destruction of the computer with the secret Izanagi data, no matter what steps the player takes to prevent it. This is because its destruction is necessary to trigger the second part of the mission.
    • Also on the last Avalon mission, you may have done everything good on your end, but even then, that doesn't prevent the TCA Atlantis destruction and the death of Dalton's crew.
  • Genius Loci: One of the planets, Acheron, is practically a sentient entity.
  • Giant Mook/Heavily Armored Mook: Heavy Soldiers. Used by all human factions as well as the Skaarj, they wear a 7-foot tall suit of Powered Armor, have strong shields and armor, and are armed with rocket launchers and flamethrowers. The Skaarj version also fires explosive, heat-seeking energy balls. The flip side is they're quite slow.
  • Hive Queen: The Araknid Queen, and the Drakk Caretaker. (The last real boss you fight, although there are a couple levels after it)
  • Hold the Line:
    • The mission "Swamp" in Sanctuary requires you to fend off a bunch of Light and Medium Skaarj coming in waves until a dropship appears to pull both you and the crashed Marines out of the planet.
    • The Kalydon planet mission requires you to enforce the trenches and fend off the attacking waves of Liandri angels.
    • The second half of the Sulferon planet mission requires you to organize a squad of four Marines in order to defend a tech who's repairing damaged equipment inside.
    • The end of the Janus missions has you fending off Izanagi forces with a bunch of Marines while you protect a scientist who's repairing the communications antenna.
  • It Has Been an Honor: The final words of Aida to John, on behalf of the entire crew.
  • Jerkass: The scientist on Janus who you've been tasked with rescuing; he spends pretty much the entire mission berating you with incredibly petty slights while you're busy protecting him from bloodthirsty mercs.
  • Kill 'Em All: Only Dalton survived.
  • Kill the Lights: In a Call-Back to the first game, in the first mission, "Elara V: Sanctuary", John Dalton is going down in an elevator when it suddenly stops in the middle of the trajectory, then the lights go out, and a Light Skaarj falls from above, damaging the counterweights and sending Dalton plummeting to the lower floor.
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: Aida lampshades that, if the Dismantled MacGuffin forms a dangerous galaxy-threatening superweapon, why the heck is he collecting all of it's pieces instead of just taking the 3 or 4 pieces he has already and dropping them down a black hole? Sadly, Dalton is a military man through and through, and replies that orders are orders.
  • Make My Monster Grow: In Hell: Disclosure, when reaching the biological laboratory, you find out the large spiders you encountered so far used to be the smaller spiders, but some yellow energybeam allows them to grow supersized. Some other animals caged up in the lab will also walk through the beam and become gigantic if you set them free.
  • Mecha-Mooks: The Drakk.
  • Mêlée à Trois: The different enemy factions are coded to be hostile to each other (as can be seen if you use the console to spawn in a bunch of them), but this almost never comes up during normal gameplay since they almost never appear in the same level. The only notable exception is a couple brief fights between Izanagi mercs and the Drakk units they've inadvertently awakened in one of the later levels.
  • Mid-Boss:
    • The planet Sanctuary features a Heavy Skaarj as the last opponent.
    • The planet Hell features the Araknid Queen (Heavy Araknid).
    • The planet NC962VII features the Drakk Caretaker (Heavy Drakk).
  • Misbegotten Multiplayer Mode: Inverted. While the game is SP-oriented, it had so many weak points, you'll be pardoned if you thought it was an afterthought at best. The official multiplayer addon, XMP, on the other hand, although online-restricted, not only featured a solid gameplay, but also laid the foundations for what would became the Onslaught and Warfare modes, as well as properly introducing vehicles and player classes into the Unreal universe. It says a lot that, while Unreal Tournament 2003 and Unreal Championship had a very short lifespan (with both being eventually replaced by UT2004 and UC2 respectively), the U2XMP community was still around when Unreal Tournament III was released.
  • Number of the Beast: The Black Hole Gun starts with 666 ammo.
  • One-Winged Angel: See Eldritch Abomination above.
  • People Jars: The Drakk's specialty, with a healthy side of Nausea Fuel due to bizarre, nonsensical experimentation.
  • Plot Coupon: The pieces of the Artifact of Doom.
  • See You in Hell: Literally. Ne'Ban, who doesn't speak English very well, tells you he is on a course for Hell, because your mission officer Aida told him to go there. Then you go and talk to the Aida, who casually tells you that your next mission is on a frozen moon called "Hell". Later, when Dalton jokes about Aida making him sweat, she tells him to go to Hell, he responds, "Already there, toots."
  • Shoot the Medic First: The best tactic against the Drakk.
  • Space Police: The Terran Colonial Authority.
  • Standard FPS Guns: Defied, many of the later weapons are unorthodox (such as deployable force fields, a Spider Gun that shoots colonies of spiders, and Drakk Takkra that can turn into insectoid drone or spherical attack drone) and even early guns have secondary function.
  • Swiss Army Weapon: The Hydra Grenade Launcher, capable of launching six different types of grenades and capable of employing timed or impact fuses.
  • What Does This Button Do?: Asked almost literally word for word by Ne-Ban when he tries to help fixing the Atlantis on Kalydon.
  • Unorthodox Reload: The Drakk Laser.
  • Unwanted Assistance: During the Kalydon mission, Ne-Ban keeps trying to help Isaak fix the Atlantis, but only ends up making things worse.
  • Unique Enemy:
    • In the Acheron mission, after grabbing the artifact, you have to escape while evading mindless floating Spores.
    • In the penultimate map of the Drakk Homeworld mission, there is a Skaarj with a human male's head that is trapped inside of a bubble cage. If you press a button to zap it a few times, it will break out and attack you.


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