Totally Unreal is a compilation pack featuring computer games from the Unreal series for the PC, from Epic MegaGames. The pack was released quite a while ago, but may still be available in big computer game stores. If not then the games in the pack should be available separately. The pack may even see a surge in popularity and be brought back into the stores, due to the fact that a sequel to Unreal Tournament (Unreal Tournament 2003) has just been released, and a sequel to Unreal (Unreal 2: The Awakening) is in the works. The pack is published by Infogrames and is available for about £20 in the UK (Or at least it was when I bought it). I would guess about $30 as the Price in the US, but if any can give a me a better figure, let me know. The pack includes:
- At it's time, this was probably the most beautiful FPS game ever made. It's main rival at point of release was Quake 2 but I much prefer this game - the scale of some levels is simply mind blowing. The basic premise was that the character (you can select either male or female, and pick from a choice of skins) is on board a prison ship (the Vortex Riker if memory serves correctly) as a prisoner being taken to a detention planet. All does not go to plan, however, and the ship crashes on an unknown planet. Luckily, this gives the player a chance to escape the ship - this first level contains no enemies (except one mysterious Skaarj that you see far ahead a few times, but you cannot kill him or be harmed by him) but is probably the best, most atmospheric introduction to a game that I have ever played through. The player picks up a translator in this first level, which proves to be an invaluable tool - it can translate what natives of the planet say to you, what computer readouts say, what signs on the wall mean, and what dead people did last (most human corpses in the game will carry a log which provides background information about the story, and sometimes information about what is up ahead.
As the game progressed and the plot developed (an enslaved native race, the Nali, have been waiting for a saviour to come from the sky and save them from the evil Skaarj) you truly began to feel the plight of these people, which usually just made it all the more fun to blow apart their oppressors in a hail of blood. Weapon design was brilliant, with the Biorifle and the Flak Cannon in particular brilliant examples. Level design was fantastic, with many varied settings. Some are truly disturbing, such as the one set in a colloseum where Nali were killed for entertainment of the Skaarj - when you step into the main arena and realise what the level is, it's one of the best moments of the game.
I could go on, but suffice to say that this is one of the best single player FPS games ever. You need it.
Unreal: Return to NaPali
- This add on for the main game was not receieved too well overall, mostly due to the fact that it was made by a different development team. Even so, some new weapons and a whole new adventure to play through make this worth your while. I myself have not played it for any length of time so I cannot say whether it matches the brilliance of the original. The team responsible for this are now working on Unreal 2: The Awakening.
- The game that, along with Quake 3: Arena sparked off one of the biggest fights ever - which was the better deathmatch game? As anyone with brains will know, they are both excellent games, but Unreal Tournament always did it for me. Taking the good but lightweight multiplayer options from Unreal and making a game out of them would never be easy, but Epic MegaGames pulled it with style. Brilliant weapons which each had secondary functions, the world destroying Redeemer and furiously intelligent bots which gave you a run for your money without simply jumping constantly in the way that Quake 3 bots do. Different styles of play apart from deathmatch were included, with great team games such as Capture the Flag (a simple flag stealing exercise), Domination (where your team had to hold domination points around the map for as long as possible to score points.) and finally, possibly the best mode ever, Assault. This involved your team trying to take an objective, whether it was to destroy an artillery gun from a beach landing, Omaha Beach style, or to get to the front of a moving train, while fighting off the other team, all within a time limit. If it sounds chaotic, that's because it is. It's also a lot of fun however, even with bots.
By the time of this game, the Unreal engine had improved vastly, allowing huge areas to be rendered. CTF-LavaGiant, for those of you with the game, is a truly awe inspiring map, with bases for each time a good few minutes walk apart. Graphics were also greatly improved, although it has to be admitted that Quake did have superior visuals.
Overall I would reccomend this pack to anyone, especially if you can find it cheap somewhere. If not, then I'd still try and pick up UT and Unreal (they should be reasonably common in budget ranges), because they were truly two of the greatest games of the Nineties.