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   Action Game of the Year

Unreal Tournament
Publisher: GT Interactive
Developer: Epic Games

"Unreal Tournament is the most complete first-person shooter available." - Jeff Gerstmann, GameSpot Review

click to enlarge
Going into 1999, it was pretty obvious that the two biggest contenders for Action Game of the Year would be Unreal Tournament and Quake III Arena. Both games pushed new engine technologies, and early screenshots of both seemed very impressive. Both touted a new approach to traditional first-person shooters, and they both blended the fast-paced action of multiplayer deathmatch sessions with the tactics involved in squad-based teamplay. However, with the original Unreal's lackluster multiplayer capabilities floundering and Quake II multiplay mods flourishing in 1998, it was assumed that Quake III would emerge as the clear winner between the two. But that assumption was wrong.

What makes Unreal Tournament so good is its breadth of gameplay options. While Quake III is a better deathmatch game, it doesn't offer much to players interested in variations of the classic deathmatch. With modes like assault, domination, capture the flag, last man standing, and tournament team matches, Unreal Tournament ensures that players will have plenty of gameplay options to choose from. The game's 35-plus levels are all varied, both in size and semblance, and they keep Unreal Tournament from falling into the genre's syndrome of repetitive and generic levels. The weapons are not only improved from the original Unreal but are some of the most balanced we've seen in any shooter to date. Add to that a tournament-ladder-based single-player mode, great sound effects, and the ability to customize and command all the bots in the game, and it becomes plain to see why Unreal Tournament is 1999's Action Game of the Year.

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