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Video Game / Urban Terror

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Firing LR300 on ut4_turnpike, the single most popular map in the game.

Urban Terror, commonly abbreviated as UrT, is a freeware multiplayer First-Person Shooter. Although it started out as a total conversion mod for Quake III: Arena, since 2007 it has been de facto a standalone game thanks to ioquake3, the open-source version of the Quake 3 engine. Its gameplay is explicitly characterized as “Hollywood realism” and “Fun over realism” by the developers, featuring more or less realistic weaponry and completely unrealistic movement. A promo video from 2009 gives a basic overview of the look and feel of the game.

Being one of the last survivors from the wave of realism mods from around the turn of the century, it’s often compared to Counter-Strike which started the craze. However, gameplay-wise it’s closer to the granddaddy of them all, Action Quake 2, and in fact many of the original developers came from the AQ2 community with the intent of recreating similar gameplay on a more modern engine. (Apparently Urban Terror got its very name from a popular map in AQ2.)


The game is still being updated after fourteen years, currently receiving bug fixes and new features every month or so. Its long-awaited next-generation version will be using Unreal Engine 4. Urban Terror HD, as it’s called, has a dedicated subforum and developer diaries on the official website.

No relation to The War on Terror which was still more than a year into the future when the first beta was released; the game has never featured terrorists of any kind.


Tropes found in this game are:

  • A.K.A.-47: Averted. All weapons are named correctly (save for some minor inaccuracies like the Beretta 92G actually being 92FS Inox).
  • Ascended Glitch: The possibility to put the pin back in and cancel the timer of a grenade was a bug, but unlike some other exploits this is a recognized and allowed technique everywhere and will probably never be fixed.
  • Body Armor as Hit Points: Averted. Vest only protects your torso and helmet your head, and neither one helps when you get hit in legs or arms or protects you against grenades (let alone drowning).
  • Broken Base: The current 4.2 version had a long and troubled history, having been cancelled altogether in favor of a complete remake (called HD) and then picked up again when HD took longer than expected. The result, while not quite an Obvious Beta, had a multitude of issues (for example nasty edge cases affecting stamina drain) that made many players declare 4.2 garbage and refuse to touch it to this day. Leagues upgraded quite early on, as soon as the most egregious issues were fixed, forcing competitive players to choose a side, while those pub players who like any of the unofficial mods have necessarily stayed on 4.1.
  • Bullet Sparks: Most hard surfaces and even kevlar helmets spark very noticably.
  • Character Customization: Minimal: you can choose your sex, marginally different skins, and armband color. There are also console commands for “funstuff”, allowing things like horns, goggles and hats.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer: Player skins have changed a lot since the realistic-looking first versions, becoming brighter and more easily distinguishable. Nowadays the red and blue team indeed wear red and blue by default (although in the latest version it’s possible to choose quite arbitrary combinations).
  • Concealment Equals Cover: In most cases. Due to engine limitations, all materials are either breakable (like glass) or completely impenetrable (although one can shoot through doors or very thin walls, if the target stands right next to it).
  • Critical Existence Failure: You can shoot perfectly fine until a bullet takes your last percent of health. (Being injured wreaks havoc with your stamina though.)
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The 1.x series had no stamina or sprint, completely different HUD and menus, no secondary weapons, a flashlight (rather useless due to engine limitations)…
  • Easter Egg: Some death messages only display rarely, like “New_UrT_Player lit his/her own fart” when you blow yourself up with a grenade. Several older maps feature references to coinbird (an early meme).
  • Excuse Plot: The earlier versions made a pretense that the game is about mercenaries waging a shadow war, the default maps being what you’d expect (industrial and urban areas). The 4.0 release changed that to SWAT team and a criminal gang named Red Dragons (presumably freshly escaped from prison, as evidenced by their orange overalls). None of this has any relation to gameplay or the selection of weapons though, and one of the oldest default maps still in the game in fact depicts a scene from Saving Private Ryan
  • Fackler Scale of FPS Realism: Used to be considered a special case and listed under "other" due to being all over the place.
  • Flawless Victory: In Team Survivor and Bomb a round win with no deaths merits a “Flawless” caption added to the announcement. Three wins in a row results in “* team is teh un-lose!”, and continued domination adds a particularly large “Coned!” text. note 
  • Game Mod: Started out as a total conversion mod for Quake 3 and can still be run as such. From another angle there are various gameplay mods done by hex-editing the compiled QVMs; while the developers do not like these they only ask you to mark your modded server as such and keep all discussion off their forum.
  • Game Within a Game: You can play Breakout or Snake while waiting for a respawn.
  • Goomba Stomp: Called “curb stomp”; whenever you fall from a height that would normally injure you, landing on another player kills them instantly, producing a rather satisfying plonk sound. Very difficult to pull off and most likely to happen by accident, killing a teammate.
  • Have a Nice Death: The default kill/death messages describe your demise in a rather elaborate detail, whether it’s getting a lead enema or becoming a peppered steak. Most famously: “New_UrT_Player did the lemming thing”.
  • Healing Potion: Medkit allows you to heal other players to nearly full health regardless of their injuries. The process does take a bit of time though and you’re unable to shoot while doing this.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Most of the weapons (except for Desert Eagle and Remington SR8 sniper rifle) can use a silencer that reduces their firing sound to a nearly inaudible level. It does not affect the power of the weapon though.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Averted. Player can actually carry less than an actual infantryman or a special operative does (although, armaments-wise, carrying a rifle, a pistol, and a submachinegun or a shotgun isn’t exactly common in real life).
  • Invisible Wall: Most of the maps today have rooftops and other high places clipped off to avoid excessive camping. Knowing where those walls are makes for some creative jumps.
  • Knife Fight: Happens occasionally. Some servers are dedicated to this.
  • Laser Sight: An item that decreases the weapon spread. Very common in competitive play; consciously keeping your crosshair away from where enemies might see the red dot is an important skill.
  • Le Parkour: So very much. Videogame Physics means that players can achieve very high speeds just by jumping in a certain way, and escape uninjured when smashing into a wall. Walljumping, strafe jumping and circle jumping (as well as so-called powersliding) can make the gameplay very fast and unpredictable, as good players can use completely unexpected routes to reach their destination in seconds. These features — especially walljumping — gave rise to the jump mode where the only goal is to reach the other end of a particular creatively-built map.
  • Magnet Hands: It’s impossible to lose your weapon regardless of the running, jumping, falling or kicking you engage in. Even your accuracy remains pretty much the same with most weapons.
  • Night-Vision Goggles: Called “tactical goggles”, these tint everything green (or whatever color you prefer) and allow you to see through smoke. The image does not become any brighter. Goggles since 3.x have smart display, placing a rectangle around players and grenades. Infamous for being used by beginners who then merrily proceed to teamkill — the main disadvantage of the goggles is that they overlay all players in a monochromatic glowing layer, meaning that you have to identify friendlies by their health bars that pop up when you aim at them.
  • No Scope: The sniper rifles are extremely inaccurate when not zoomed in; as in many other shooters, a noscope kill is hard to pull off and never attempted deliberately.
  • One Bullet Clips: Averted. When you reload, you lose the ammo left in the previous magazine.
  • One-Hit Kill: The SR8. Regardless of whether you wear a helmet or kevlar vest, a shot in the head or torso deals 100% damage. Also the goomba stomp.
  • Press X to Die: Done by typing /kill in the command console.
  • Right-Handed Left-Handed Guns: Except for SR8 and Negev. This was inherited from Action Quake 2 — ejected casings flying across the screen added to the visual appeal.
  • Rule of Cool and Rule of Fun: Most of what makes this game unique exists purely because of this, be it walljumping and sliding, safely breaking your fall by grabbing a ledge, or un-cooking a grenade by switching weapons…
  • Run, Don't Walk: Urban Terror is definitely one of those games where stealth is rarely needed. Not to mention that running is actually quite slow compared to fully utilizing the Le Parkour aspects (see above).
  • Sentry Gun: Shows up in some maps with dedicated spawn rooms. Mr. Sentry mows down players of the opposing team as well as anyone trying to hide a CTF flag in a spawn room.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Horrible spread means that the shotgun is strictly close quarters-only weapon. Even then, using it effectively is difficult because buckshot isn't very good against body armor which nearly everyone wears.
  • Soft Water: No matter what height you fall from, water will do no damage to you and will save you from death.
  • Sprint Meter: Your Life Meter doubles as one; if you sprint for too long or jump too much, you’ll start panting and eventually your movement slows to a crawl (and you can’t jump higher than few centimeters).
  • Standard FPS Guns: And nothing more. However, unlike in most FPSes, there's no rocket launcher (the grenade launcher ammo does not explode on impact either).
  • Team Killer: While even most public servers have friendly fire enabled, an interesting twist is present in competitive wave CTF. Wave respawns mean that all dead players respawn at the same time; usually it’s more practical to kill your injured teammate as the timer is nearing zero rather than lose time and make yourself vulnerable by healing them.
  • Throw-Away Guns: You always spawn with full equipment and by the time you run out of ammo the round is over or there are plenty of bodies to loot. Dropping weapons avoids the problem of cycling to an empty gun at the worst possible moment.
  • Wall Jump: One of the more universally useful elements of the game; see Le Parkour above for its applications.
  • Your Head A-Splode: The sniper rifles and Desert Eagle blow your head off unless you’re wearing a helmet. It’s pretty clean though, only resulting in some blood splatter.

“Anyone need a medic?”