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Video Game / Unreal Tournament 2003

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Unreal Tournament 2003 is a multiplayer-based First-Person Shooter videogame developed by Epic Games with help from Digital Extremes and released in September 30, 2002 for the PC, Linux and Mac. It's the third full entry in the Unreal series, preceding Unreal Championship in the series as well as Unreal II: The Awakening on PC.

The game is a sequel to Unreal Tournament, and an attempt at updating the classic formula for the next generation alongside Championship. You're tasked with building a team to win the Tournament, but it introduces qualifying rounds where you must also take down other hopefuls before your sponsor steps in and gives you the chance of building up a team by picking five individuals. As for the rest, Malcolm, one of the many player characters, broke Xan Kriegor's long tournament streak as champion and dethroned him. Now he's formed a team alongside former rivals Brock and Lauren from the Iron Guard team. It's now up to you and your team to dethrone them. In addition, many new races and combatants are searching for the same objective as you and are also paired with other hopefuls and veterans, including gene-boosted Juggernauts, the Automatons (spiritual successors to the War Machines from Tournament), the Nightmares (a team comprised of experiments and other abominations), the Gen Mo'Kai and the Ancient Egypt-themed Anubans.

While in spirit the game retains the gameplay that made Tournament a huge success, many new features were introduced in this installment and Championship: for starters, every player's moveset has been extended, with players being able to do moves such as double jumps, wall jumps, dodge jumps, wall-dodge jumps and dodge-wall jumps. Lift jumps, which began in Tournament and Unreal as a glitch, now were polished and can give players quite the advantage in the right arenas. As for the weapons, the arsenal was mostly kept intact from Tournament, with a few inclusions (the new starting weapons are the Shield Gunnote  and the Assault Riflenote , there's also the Link Gunnote , the Lightning Gunnote  and the Ion Painternote  was added as an extra Superweapon), as well as removals (the aforementioned Impact Hammer and Enforcer, and the Ripper) and changes (the Rocket Launcher can only charge up to three rockets and can't launch them as grenades). And last, but not least, the item roster was reduced to three regular health items, two regular armor items, the Double Damage and Adrenaline pills, the latter of which allow players to unleash a powerful move with a command sequence which gives them either a boost on rate of fire and weapon damage (Berserk), a boost on walking speed (Speed), the ability to become invisible (Invisibility), the ability to regenerate health (Booster), the ability to become a piece of the environment (Camouflage, only with the Epic Bonus Pack) or the ability to get shrunk in size (Pint-Sized, only with the Epic Bonus Pack).

The game contains the following gamemodes:

  • Deathmatch pits a bunch of players against each other until there's one winner: the player with the highest amount of frags.
  • Team Deathmatch is the team-based version of Deathmatch. Unlike the original UT, at maximum only two teams are competing.
  • Capture the Flag pits two teams, each with their own base and flag, and the objective is to capture the enemy flag while preventing your team's from being captured.
  • Bombing Run is the game's version of Association Football: two teams, each with a base and a goal on it. There's also a ball which the teams must bring to the enemy base, scoring points for shooting the ball through the goal or jumping through it themselves.
  • Double Domination is a limited version of UT's Domination. It has two teams competing for the control of two areas of the map, a team scoring a point if they manage to hold onto both points at the same time for ten seconds.

In addition, the Epic Bonus Pack (see below) adds the following gamemodes:

  • Invasion has all players forming a single team and resisting wave after wave of classic Unreal monsters until one of the factions (either the players or the monsters) is eradicated.
  • Mutant is a free-for-all mode where the first to frag becomes a mutant, gaining all of the Adrenaline abilities (sans Regeneration/Booster) and the fully loaded set of default weapons (sans the superweapons), plus gains extra points for frags. The other players must frag this mutant, the one who does this becomes the next mutant and so on.
  • Last Man Standing is brought back from Unreal Tournament. It's a free-for-all game where each player has a set of lives and must deplete the other players' lives in order to win.

The many changes introduced weren't enough to satisfy the fans, so later in 2003 Epic and DE began working on a sequel to straighten up things, as well as (re)introducing many missing features the fans may have missed. This sequel is known as Unreal Tournament 2004, the "full" version of the game. Because of the sole existence of 2004 as said "full" version, the original 2003, outside of auction sites, cannot be bought legally any longer.

The match is about to begin... 3... 2... 1... Play!note 

  • Aborted Arc: The original plot for 2003, used as the plot for the near-concurrent Unreal Championship, was an Alien Invasion which took control of the Earth and made dissidents fight each other for the Overseers' amusement. This arc wasn't further explored, being replaced instead for the actual sequel to Unreal Tournament's story.
  • A.I. Breaker: Many maps have one or two tricks which the player can do in Single Player or Instant Action matches to completely break bots.
  • Announcer Chatter: The game has four announcer voices: the default hamtastic sports commentator; a new, more subdued male voice; a female voice; and a sexy female voice.
  • Ancient Egypt: The arenas BR-Anubis, BR-TwinTombs, CTF-Avaris, CTF-Face3, DM-Serpentine, DM-DE-Osiris2 and DOM-SunTemple take place in the Anubis Moon, which is inspired by Ancient Egypt.
  • Arrow Cam: 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.
  • The Artifact: "Bombing Run" was created in the early stages of the Unreal Championship beta back in 2001, when the ball was indeed an actual bomb that must be delivered to the enemy area in order to blow their base up. The name of the gametype stuck, and it even made it to several zone names in certain maps such as BR-Slaughterhouse (which refer to the goal base as the "Bomb Gate").
  • Ascended Glitch:
    • The Lift Jump. After the first Tournament game, many maps feature areas with movable platforms where you're required to do this in order to gain an advantage, such as a shortcut to another area or an entrance to a secret area with an otherwise unobtainable item. It's still used in later installments.
    • Team boosting, also from the first UT, was made into an option for Instagib matches.
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: After you draft a team before exiting the preliminaries, the final qualifying match before the gametype ladders is a massive free-for-all against your new teammates, for you to prove yourself worthy to lead them.
  • A-Team Firing: Low-level bots behave like this. Don't try it, or you'll get murdered.
  • Auto-Pilot Tutorial: All the basic tutorials (for the Deathmatch, Double Domination, Capture the Flag and Bombing Run gamemodes) require you to sit through a non-interactive, video-like tutorial showing the very basics about not only those modes but also the game's movement (Deathmatch) and the Translocator (Capture the Flag).
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Superweapons have their disadvantages:
    • The Redeemer IS an extremely damaging weapon, but you should be careful while firing it (especially in closed areas) or you might end up killed as well.
    • The Ion Painter calls a Kill Sat, and said Sat is an awesome way to take down enemies in lack of a Redeemer. The downside is that, despite the high damage output, it's very difficult to score. Also, you can only fire it if you were in the range of said Sat. And if that wasn't enough, you can only use them on open maps.
  • Beam Spam: The Shock Rifle, either the normal or Instagib version.
  • BFG:
    • The Redeemer, a portable nuclear warhead carrier.
    • The Ion Painter is a variation, as the weapon per se doesn't inflict damage, but calls a satellite strike to deliver the powerful damage.
  • Blatant Item Placement: As expected for an arena shooter: piles of ammo near their associated weapons, weapons themselves in unlikely places, including more powerful ones (typically rocket launchers) in zones with some risk involved in grabbing them.
  • Blood Sport: Continuing the basic premise of Unreal Tournament, the eponymous Liandri Grand Tournament has warriors from all kinds of factions and walks of life fighting for their lives either on their own or as a team.
  • Body Armor as Hit Points: The only straight example in the Unreal series. Armor simply takes over completely for damage dealt to you until you run out of it.
  • Boss Tease: The opening cutscene of the single-player ladder features Malcolm's team facing Gorge's team in what looks like a regular match. You'll compete against Malcolm's team and the man himself in the final matches of the Ladder.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: The kill streaks and combos don't reward anything, but the game keeps counting them.
  • Breaking Old Trends:
    • This game, alongside Unreal Championship, extended the player's moveset by adding Wall Jump, dodge-jump, Double Jump, combo-jumps (i.e. Wall-Dodge-Jump) and polishing the Lift Jump (with certain maps having shortcuts or rewards for those who managed to pull them at the right spot). Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict would extend even more these movesets with chimney jumps and the third-person exclusive Jump Attack.
    • Both this game and Championship modified the Rocket Launcher vastly from Tournament, first by incorporating the "Instant Rockets" option that was all around UT into the weapon as its primary fire, then by reducing the amount of charged rockets (Secondary Fire only) fired from the weapon from 6 to 3. This would be the standard for the rest of the series.
  • Capture the Flag: The eponymous gamemode, where the objective is to steal the enemy's flag and bring it to your base.
  • Charged Attack: All of them of the "Hold" variety:
    • The Shield Gun's primary fire deals extra damage and push.
    • The Assault Rifle's grenades can be thrown further.
    • The BioRifle's secondary fire launches a bigger glob which explodes in smaller ones if hitting any solid surface.
    • The Rocket Launcher's alternate fire fires up to 3 rockets in either a horizontal line or as a spiral.
    • The Ion Painter requires the charge for the satellite/bomber in an open field.
  • Competitive Multiplayer: Well, it is a continuation of a game series that really popularized competitive FPS multiplayer!
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Many maps are inspired by previous UT map DM-Morpheus, such as DM-Plunge and BR-SkyLine.
    • Invasion mode uses some of the classic Unreal enemies, and plenty of game mods restore the rest, as well as add more from the sequel.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: CTF-Magma, DM-Inferno, DOM-ScorchedEarth. Watch out when touching said lava, but standing directly to the side of it grants no damage.
  • Crapsack World: Several of the planets, ranging from blood-stained former mines to corporate-controlled hellhouses.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: Out of all the selectable players back in Unreal Tournament, it's stated that the canonical winner of that year's Tournament and the one who broke Xan Kriegor's streak is Malcolm.
  • Deadly Rotary Fan: In the center of DM-Insidious there's one. Being pushed onto it nets you death.
  • Death from Above: The Ion Painter calls a Kill Sat.
  • Discontinuity Nod: Somewhere between this and The Artifact, but there are still mentions of the Overseer invasion in 2003.
  • Double Entendre: There are a few, such as when someone gets killed from an explosion from his own rocket launcher:
    "X fired his rocket prematurely"
  • Double Jump: Players can jump at the height of the first jump for an extra boost. The Quad Jump mutator allows them to do so two more times.
  • Down in the Dumps: DOM-Junkyard takes place in, well... a junkyard.
  • Downloadable Content: In the same vein as previous Epic releases, 2003 received a bunch of post-release content in the form of two Bonus Packs:
    • "DE Bonus Pack", comprised of six maps: two for Capture the Flag, three for Deathmatch-based modes, and one for Bombing Run
    • "Epic Bonus Pack", comprised of ten maps: one for Bombing Run, two for Capture the Flag, six for Deathmatch-based modes and one for Double Domination; three new gamemodes: the aforementioned Invasion, Last Man Standing and Mutant; three new announcers: a more subdued male, a subdued female, and a "sexy" female; two new Adrenaline combos: the aforementioned Camouflage and Pint-Sized; and an in-game MP3 player.
  • Easter Egg: Several:
    • Mandible, from the Blood Fist team, has an ejection seat sticker.
    • Some weapons have inscriptions, such as the Redeemer's "Swallow This!" and the Rocket Launcher's warning sticker.
    • There's a trapped Gorge fan at the bottom of the pit in the map Gael.
    • There's a hidden picture of lead designer Cliff Bleszinski hidden in the Deathmatch map Asbestos.
    • Media players can be seen on character models (Gorge) and weapons (the Bio Rifle).
  • Elite Mooks: The Invasion mode has the Warlords and the Brutes; the latter did even more damage than the warlords.
  • Emergency Weapon: The Shield Gun is the fallback weapon when even the Assault Rifle has no ammo, combining the Impact Hammer's melee-only desperation weapon with a impenetrable shield.
  • Energy Weapon:
    • The Lightning Gun is the games' primary Sniper Rifle.
    • There's also the Instagib mode where everyone spawns with a OHKO Super Shock Rifle.
  • Flawless Victory:
    • Finish a match without getting fragged or with your team with perfect score, and the announcer will say this.
    • On the receiving end, there's "Humiliating Defeat", which is also the case if an Invasion match ends with zero beaten waves.
  • Floating Continent: CTF-Face3, as expected, takes place in a floating asteroid with two towers at each of its sides.
  • Game Mod: The main bread and butter of the game to the point that the game seems to be only a framework to load a lots of mods with. Mods ranging from custom characters, custom maps, custom mutator script (that is so powerful that it can even load completely new weapons, vehicles, and gameplay mechanics, and even whole new games.
  • Gatling Good: The minigun.
  • Ghibli Hills: Arborea, the planet where CTF-LostFaith, DM-Antalus, DM-TokaraForest and DOM-SeppukuGorge take place, and the home planet of the Gen Mo'Kai, is an entire planet made up of this sort of scenery.
    (DOM-SeppukuGorge's description) "Ah, nature. The earthy browns and lush greens of the jungle. The quiet hum of animal and insect life going about its business. The piercing battle cry of a gene boosted harpy bounding across the forest floor in her power armor.

    It's times like these that I miss the city."
  • 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 Death: "X was X'd by X." "X cratered", often seen in maps where you can fall into space... or lava.
  • Hazardous Water:
    • BR-Canyon specifically states the water to be unsafe for swimming.
    • CTF-DoubleDammage (only the part without any buildings) takes place in a dam whose non-building area is a hazard.
    • DM-IceTomb features highly cold water unsafe for swimming.
  • High-Altitude Battle: Aside from the space platform maps, we have:
    • BR/CTF-DE-ElecFields and DOM-OutRigger (atop of a power facility and an oil rig respectively).
    • BR-TwinTombs (atop of two pharaohs' tombs).
    • BR-SkyLine and DM-Plunge (taking place atop three skyscrapers whose layout vary per map).
    • CTF-Citadel (taking place in a nightmarish world atop three mountains).
  • Hold the Line: The Invasion mode puts all the players in a map in a single team defending themselves against waves of monsters from the first Unreal game. As you may notice, the monsters grow more difficult every time: near the fifth wave there are Skaarj, and in the wave 11, there are Warlords. The last wave is a Warlord-only wave.
  • Human Resources: In the description for the map CTF-Geothermal:
    "Thanks to the Tournament we've been able to add protein bales to our list of exports. Don't worry though, it's no one you know."
  • Ice Palace: DM-IceTomb takes place in a gelid structure with cold waters in the entire area.
  • Idiosyncratic Combo Levels:
    "Double Kill!"
    "Multi Kill!"
    "MEGA KILL!!"
    "ULTRA KILL!!!"
  • Implausible Fencing Powers: The Shield Gun (and vehicles and turrets which uses shields) can deflect energy weapons like shock cores and link pulses.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: The map CTF-DoubleDammage takes place... in a dam. note 
  • Invisible Wall: You'll find these pretty much in any open level that doesn't go for Border Patrol.
  • Kill Sat: The Ion Painter is used to call one in the open maps which have the satellite.
  • Kill Streak:
    X is on a killing spree.
    X is on a rampage!
    X is dominating!
    X is GODLIKE!!
  • Large Ham: The UT2003 announcer, who sounds like an excited game show host who SHOUTS EVERYTHING, and the "Sexy" announcer, who moans and screams with excitement at damn near anything.
  • Lethal Lava Land: CTF-Magma, DM-Inferno and DOM-ScorchedEarth.
  • Lighter and Softer: In contrast to Championship, and despite technically the same game with many additions, the game retold the story as an intergalactic tournament game and starts with a cutscene resembling a Professional Wrestling match.
  • Lightning Gun: In two flavors:
    • The Link Gun's secondary fire, which locks on to enemies and delivers constant DPS until it leaves the enemy a charred skeleton.
    • The Lightning Gun is, ironically, a subversion: it's a more damaging version of the default Sniper Rifle, at the cost of announcing your sniping position to everyone who can see the lightning bolt.
  • Limit Break: The Adrenaline system. By collecting Adrenaline pills scattered through the maps, completing objectives (scoring in Bombing Run, capturing flags in Capture The Flag or Double Domination points) or outright fragging, you fill the Adrenaline meter. Once it reaches 100 and the Announcer exclaims "Adrenaline Full", you need to introduce a sequence in order to gain an advantage, which can be either a boost on damage, rate of fire or speed, or health regeneration. This lasts until the meter is down to 0, though you can still do the required stuff to make this mode last a second more. Also, Adrenaline drains faster if you carry a flag or the Ball.
  • Marked Bullet:
    • Flak shells have a smile face painted on the front, but require a high texture resolution to see.
    • The Redeemer gets "ADIOS!" written on the side.
  • The Maze: DM-Serpentine seems to be a flat level, but a pair of ramps lead to an underground level (visible from the immediately upper level) shaped as a maze of sorts.
  • MegaCorp: Liandri (main organizer of the Tournament), Axon (backer of the Juggernaut team).
  • More Dakka: The minigun's primary fire.
  • Multi-Mook Melee: The Invasion gametype pits you and your Enemy Mine teammates against hordes of enemies ranking from loads of Pupae to tougher Warlords.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Subverted. Some weapons fire their charged shots when you release the trigger, or when you die.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Lampshaded in a lot of the stages: it's stated Liandri confiscated or shut down the facilities involved due to unsafe working conditions, and then repurposed the facilities into arenas for the tournament, with all the horrifically-unsafe parts left as an extra challenge.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • No matter how much health, armor, or shield you have, get shot by a fully charged Bio goop, a well-placed Shock Combo with Double Damage, or the Redeemer or the Kill Sat's beam and you're done.
    • There's also the Instagib Shock Rifle in the games with the eponymous mutator, which kills everything it shoots in one hit.
  • Player Elimination: Last Man Standing, a gamemode enabled with the Epic Bonus Pack, is a single-round mode where all players get a life and they battle to be the last one on foot.
  • Quad Damage: The Damage Amplifier. Doubles the effect if it's used with the Berserk adrenaline combo.
  • Remixed Level: Quite a lot this time:
    • The main game came with CTF-Decembernote , CTF-Face3note , CTF-Orbital2note , DM-Curse3note , DM-Flux2note , DM-Insidiousnote , DM-Phobos2note  and DM-Plungenote .
    • The DE Bonus Pack came with two versions of ElecFields, one for Capture the Flag and another for Bombing Run, as well as a remix of UT's CTF-LavaGiant as CTF-DE-LavaGiant2 and a remix of the console version's DOM-Osiris as DM-DE-Osiris2.
  • Scenery Porn: The games have many gorgeously looking maps which take advantage of many of the Unreal Engine 2's features.
  • Sex Is Violence: The female sexy announcer (yes, she's actually called that) really enjoys the combos.
  • Shout-Out: Check the page.
  • Single-Biome Planet:
    • About the only thing you'll be able to see in the Allerian Penal Colony (DM-Oceanic) are technological concrete buildings... and sharks.
    • Arborea, home of the Gen Mo'kai, is another one of these. Every single map stated to be set on the planet is a dense jungle of some variety.
  • Single Player Gauntlet: It contains an introductory five-rung Deathmatch Qualification ladder: two 1-on-1 fights, a three-way match, a five-way match, and a final five-way match where you must earn the right to lead your team by beating them. This Gauntlet is set prior to the four Team Gauntlet system introduced in Tournament, which this time have the player's team go through the Team Deathmatch, Double Domination, Capture the Flag and Bombing Run gamemodes. Beating the four Gauntlets unlocks the Final Challenge, a 3-on-3 Team Deathmatch game against the returning Malcolm, Brock and Lauren, and a 1-on-1 match against Malcolm.
  • Standard FPS Guns: Largely averted. Most of the weaponry has a different feel to it, and one of UT's selling points is that its weapons invariably have some function attached to the alt-fire button. How weapons differ:
    • The Shield Gun is the melee weapon, replacing the Impact Hammer. Unlike other FPS where melee usually consists of a punching or stabbing motion, this item uses a Charged Attack as it's primary fire. It also has the namesake shield, which can deflect energy projectiles and lasers.
    • The Assault Rifle replaces the Enforcers. The Alt-fire is a grenade launcher. Also can be dual-wielded.
    • The Bio-Rifle remains unchanged. The primary fire shoots slime goops which can adhere to a wall. The secondary fire is a Charged Attack.
    • The Shock Rifle remains unchanged. The primary fire is a laser, while the secondary fire is an Energy Ball; as in the previous game, the secondary fire can be shot with primary to release a massive explosion that's all but guaranteed death to anyone caught within it.
    • The Link Gun replaces the Pulse Rifle as the game's assault rifle analogue. Primary fire remains the same, but its altfire beam can repair allied vehicles and control points, and supercharge an ally's Link Gun efforts (good luck getting non-clan players to do this, though).
    • The Minigun has both of its attacks switched. This is, both attacks are those of a typical Chaingun, but the primary fire is less accurate but noticeably faster, while the second fires more slowly but is more accurate and deals twice the damage per bullet.
    • The Flak Cannon remains unchanged. The primary fire shoots shards which bounce on walls and lasts a few seconds, while the secondary is a projectile which explodes upon impact.
    • The Rocket Launcher can fire one (primary) or up to three (secondary, which is a Charged Attack) rockets in a horizontal line, a tight corkscrew, or locked on to an enemy player in any of the previous modes if you give the gun a second to acquire them.
    • The Lightning Gun is a sniper rifle which uses lightning instead of bullets. The primary fire shoots a lightning thunderbolt, while the secondary fire uses a Zoom function.
    • The Redeemer remains unchanged. The primary fire shoots a mini-nuke missile. The secondary lets the player to take control of the nuke.

      The Ion Painter, a laser which designates the strike zone for a Kill Sat. Primary fire produces the laser, altfire zooms for precision targeting.
  • Stat Overflow:
    • The game features a rare, usually well-hidden item which gives the player 100 hitpoints called Big Keg O'Health that surpasses the standard cap of 100. The player, however, won't be able to pick up other healing items until their life meter drops below 100.
    • Health Vials can overheal at a rate of 5HP.
  • Strategic Asset Capture Mechanic: The Double Domination gamemode works similar to Unreal Tournament's Domination gamemode in that two teams battle to control specific locations in a map, except that this time there are only two points, Alpha and Bravo, which both teams battle to control and hold for a determined amount of seconds (usually 10). Once a team successfully captures and holds both points, that team earns a point, and a new round starts.
  • Teleporter Accident/Teleportation Sickness: The In-Universe explanation for the charge limits on the Translocator (namely, a slowly-recharging number of times you can teleport to the disc after placing it).
    "The technology has saved countless lives, but not without cost. Rapid deresolution and reconstitution of the subject organism can have several unwelcome effects, including increases in aggression and paranoia, as well as increased probabilities of respiratory and cardiac arrest. Artifacts of synaptic disruption accumulate in the biological snapshot of the individual, leading to Teleportation Related Dementia (TReDs), an incurable disease that has stricken some of our greatest champions."
  • There Can Be Only One: In the Last Man Standing mode, every player starts with a set number of lives. Every time a player loses all of its lives, they are eliminated and become a spectator. The objective is to be the last player with lives left in the game.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The Redeemer and the Ion Painter have a huge area of effect and can decimate anything in the range of its attacks.
  • Travel to Projectile: The Translocator launches a beacon (with primary fire) that teleports the player on command (with alternate fire), but it may also be damaged by the enemy. Said module can be retrieved too, by using the primary fire after launching it. This game added a 6-charge count to prevent constant use.
  • Wall Jump: Players can jump to a wall and dodge away from them in order to reach new places. Can be combined with the dodge-jump or dpuble-jump to get horizontal or vertical extra boosts. The Quad Jump mutator also allows players to quad wall jump.
  • A Winner Is You: The Single Player Tournament mode ends with the shot of the trophy room and a booming voice that proclaim you as the champion, while Awesome Music plays that continues on to the main menu until you start another game.
  • Zerg Rush: In the Invasion mode, the weaker units such as the Pupae, Fly or Manta are a cake on their own. However they become a nightmare in big numbers, especially when you also have to face Skaarjs and Warlords.

"You have WON the match!"