The original title and the basis of this site, Unreal is a single player-based shooter in which you, a prisoner in a prison transport vessel, crash land on a beautiful alien world. As you seek out a way off the planet, you will meet various races; primarily, the peaceful native Nali, and the hostile reptilian Skaarj who are occupying the planet to mine it for its mineral deposits.
With a powerful engine rendering some beautiful graphics in stunning levels, immersive sound effects and a superb musical score, this game has the power to create an atmosphere - which is probably why we like it so much here.
Unreal: Return to Na Pali
The official mission pack for Unreal sees the same character return to the surface after being rescued in space by the military. A military ship on a secret weapons research project has crash-landed on the planet and must be found. Returning to the Nali world, you find the Skaarj still in control and the Nali still suppressed, even though you killed the Skaarj queen.
The mission pack is a welcome revisit to the Unreal theme, released a year after the original game, although not introducing much really new. The additional levels are of pretty good quality and the soundtrack very good too. While it's not quite Unreal, it's still good stuff.
Unreal Tournament is Epic's multiplayer-based game, providing a variety of deathmatch-based games including Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Last Man Standing, Capture the Flag, Domination in which your team seeks to control three points on the map, and Assault where you work as a team to attack a level defended by the enemy team, completing objectives on the way.
Unreal Tournament features a great diversity of fighting arenas including high-tech facilities, ancient temples, space ships and stations, an oil rig, a galleon and many many more. An enhanced version of the Unreal engine produces flashy graphics, while a good soundtrack bolsters up excellent sound effects. There is no single player mission for the game besides a bot ladder, but UT with Usaar33's "Oldskool" mod is the platform of choice for many modern Unreal SP map packs.
Unreal Tournament 2003
Unreal Tournament 2003 has been developed alongside the Xbox title Unreal Championship. In a similar way to the console title, UT2003 is a sequel to the original multiplayer game of 1999. The first game released to use the new Warfare Engine, UT2003 presents high-adrenaline action in spectacular environments, and supports the classic gametypes of Deathmatch and CTF, plus new entrants Double Domination and Bombing Run. It does not, however, support any single player gameplay besides the botmatch modes. Unfortunately, the selection of maps shipped with the game is slightly disappointing - an issue remedied in part by the two bonus packs released for the game, but the balance of the game still feels "off".
Thankfully, the largely experimental UT2003 has been superseded by the far superior UT2004.
Unreal Championship is a sequel to Unreal Tournament and is available exclusively for the new Xbox console. While us PC hogs will not be able to play it unless we possess such a console, the recently released Unreal Tournament 2003 provides a variant of the game for the PC platform.
Unreal II: The Awakening
Unreal II: The Awakening is the single player sequel to Unreal. Using a heavily beefed up Unreal engine, this game takes place on several planets across flowing terrains and high-detail buildings. It takes place in the same universe as Unreal but bears no connection to Unreal except for the Skaarj. The game in itself is on the disappointing side, lacking atmosphere for many Unreal fans, but promises to be a strong development platform for good custom content.
Unreal Tournament 2004
Unreal Tournament 2004 takes the problems of UT2003 and remedies them, and the heap of original content provided with the game blasts its predecessor out of the water. In particular, the new vehicle-driven "Onslaught" mode provides for action-packed entertainment. Incorporating all the maps from UT2003 as well as its bonus packs as well as over 40 completely new maps, UT2004 truly is a behemoth of a game. However, there is still no support for single player gameplay out of the box - except for the rather intelligent bots, of course.