Unreal Tournament 2003 is the long awaited sequel to the original Unreal Tournament (released in November 1999). The game was developed by Digital Extremes (and a little by Epic Games), published by Infogrames (otherwise known as Atari Games) and was released on September 30th, 2002.

The new game (not to be confused with Unreal 2 which is due out in the next few months) features GORGEOUS graphics powered by the Unreal Warfare® Engine. I don't know all that much about engine coding and design so I'll let someone else tell you how it works, but I can assure you that it works WELL. The same code is powering America's Army, the US Government's gaming attempt to get people involved in the military.

The basic storyline behind the Unreal Tournament(s) says that in the future, we live in such an archane society that a release for our anger and aggressions had to be found. The solution - a tournament. A tournament of blood, gore, death, and skill. Several combatants from around the galaxy were selected to compete. Opponents "frag" each other, or beat themselves within inches of their life to be teleported out, healed, and teleported back into the game at the expense of a point for the other players. In other words, the FOX network is the only thing left on TV and we all went insane.

You are the manager/leader of your team - assuming you are good enough to control your players. As you move your way through the brackets of teams in tournaments of each play mode, you may be offered trades for other players. You can't offer trades yourself, but it's still a nifty feature. Be carfeul not to get teammates that are too good though, they may not follow your orders. If you aren't good at giving orders and strategy, you may not fare well in some of the game modes.


UT2K3 has the steepest system requirements of any game to date (the previous record holder being a tie between Deus Ex and Black and White). You need fast processing, good graphics, and lots of mem.


    Operating System: WIN 98/ME/2000/XP
    CPU: Pentium III or AMD Athlon 733MHz processor
    Memory: 128 MB RAM
    Hard Disk Space: 3 GB (2.54 really...)
    CD ROM or CD/DVD ROM: 8X
    Audio System: Windows® compatible sound card
    Video System: 3D Accelerator card with 16 MB VRAM
    16 MB TNT2-class DirectX® version 6 compliant video card.
    DirectX® version 8.1 (Included on game disc 3)

    Multiplayer: Internet (TCP/IP) and LAN (TCP/IP) play supported. *Internet play requires a 33.6 Kbps or faster modem


    Operating System: WIN 98/ME/2000/XP
    CPU: Pentium III or AMD Athlon 1.0 ghz processor
    Memory: 256 MB RAM
    Hard Disk Space: 3 GB (2.54 really...)
    CD ROM or CD/DVD ROM: 8X (doesn't matter, once it's installed you only need the cd to start the game)
    Audio System: Sound Blaster Audigy with 5.1 speakers
    Video System: NVIDIA GeForce 2/ATI Radeon
    DirectX® version 8.1 (Included on game disc 3)
    Multiplayer: 56k+ speed internet access or LAN


    Operating System: WIN 98/ME/2000/XP
    CPU: Pentium IV or AMD Athlon 2.0 ghz processor
    Memory: 512 MB RAM
    Hard Disk Space: whatever it takes to install the game
    CD ROM or CD/DVD ROM: 8X (doesn't matter, once it's installed you only need the cd to start the game)
    Audio System: Sound Blaster Audigy with 5.1 Klipsh Pro Media speakers
    Video System: NVIDIA GeForce 4 Ti4600 / ATI Radeon 9700 PRO / GeForce FX
    DirectX® version 8.1 (Included on game disc 3)

    Multiplayer: 1.5 mbit speed internet access or LAN


The basic premise behind Unreal Tournament 2003 (henceforth referred to as UT2K3 to save my typing time as I am lazy) is that of any other first person shooter - Run and FRAG!!! But if that's not enough for you (you greedy, selfish, and ingrateful pig dog!), the game offers many other styles of play that require *GASP!* actual strategy! Those game play modes include:

    Standard Deathmatch: Most every FPS since DOOM! has featured this form of game play. The objective - kill anything that moves. For that matter, shoot whatever doesn't move that looks at you funny. The first person to kill a desginated number of moving things, or the person that kills the most before a designated time limit, wins! Any number of players up to 64 (and up to 64 spectators) can compete at one time.

    Team Deathmatch: Same premise, but with racism. Shoot whatever isn't the same color as you. Team with the most points wins.

    Capture the Flag: Just the way you used to play in your back yard! ....but with guns. You and your teammates must guard your flag, steal the other team's flag, and return the flag to your base before they get your flag. The team that completes this objective the most before time runs out or reaches a designated number first wins.

    Domination 2.0: A good old fashioned game of King of The Hill. In this mode, there are two designated control points on the map. Your team must capture, hold, and control BOTH points for ten seconds to score. Once this has occurred, the points become neutral for about 5 seconds before you must capture them again. Really, you can just stand on the damn spot and keep killing. Pretty simple.

Unfortunately for those of you that enjoyed the "Assault" mode of Unreal Tournament, it is no longer in the game. It has, however, been replaced by a mode of play called

    Bombing Run - also known as football with a bomb. Basic point - one guy on your team has the bomb in a bomb gun, you have to get him to the other team's base where he shoots the bomb through a hoop to blow up the base, scoring points for your team. Standard deal with points determines the winners.


The weapons in UT 2K3 are basically the same as UT, but a few changes have been made:

    ASSAULT RIFLE: Replaces the standard pistol. This gun is a fully automatic rifle and grenade launcher. Strength: weak.

    FLAK CANNON: Beloved by many, this gun shoots accelerated shrapnel at your enemies or a ball of shrapnel that explodes on contact. Shrapnel will reflect off surfaces. Strength: medium-strong depending on distance and accuracy.

    LIGHTNING GUN: Replacement for the sniper rifle but MUCH cooler. Same basic deal, one shot to the head kills, variable zoom etc. Adds the effect of knowing where your attacker is shooting from if he misses your head. Strength: Extreme

    MINIGUN: What FPS would be complete without a chain gun? Firing off several rounds per second, who cares if it's accurate? Rail your friends, kill your enemies! Strength: Medium

    ROCKET LAUNCHER: A few slight changes to the old UT Rocket Launcher - there is no longer a rocket lobbing mode. You can shoot one rocket, two, or three, that's all. Decent speed and large impact range make this a weapon of choice. Strength: High

    SHIELDGUN: Reflects some projectiles and energy beams. Also usable for melee combat. Strength: weak from any distance, only strong when next to opponent.

    SHOCK RIFLE: In it's primary fire mode, it's quite accurate and does a bit of damage by firing out a plasma beam. The secondary fire mode shoots a mobile ball of plasma towards your target. Sould you shoot the ball with the primary fire, it will cause quite an explosion and do much damage. Strength: high

    ION PAINTER: Tracker of sorts, tells the Ion Cannon where to fire. Strength: None

    ION CANNON: Replacement for the Gun Turret of UT. Shoots the tagged target from an orbiting satellite of Earth. Vaporizes anything w/in 50 meters. Strength: Extreme

    BALL LAUNCHER: Used only in Bombing Run - shoots the ball through the hoop or to another team mate (thank you MightyMooquack for reminding me of this), "passing" it if you will... Strength: None

    BIORIFLE: Nicknamed the "Goop Gun", this shoots green blobs of explosive biohazardous waste. Quick firing in single mode to annoy people, or large blobs of secondary fire for death on contact. Very Sticky. Strength: Low-High

    LINK GUN: Replaces the old plasma cannon. Shoots balls of plasma in primary mode, or one big beam in secondary. Has the odd effect of not harming teammates, but instead allows them to amplify their link gun. Link three teammates for a damn strong weapon. Strength: Medium-Extreme

    TRANSLOCATOR: Teleporter, shoot the pad, warp there. Strength: None

    REDEEMER: The BFG of the UT world. Personal nuclear device. Kills lots, fast. Secondary fire allows for missle cam :) Strength: mmmmmmmmm...... death......


Your standard "pick me up to do good things for you!!" thingies:

    HEALTH VILE: Adds 5 health, max health = 200

    HEALTH PACK: Adds 25 health until you hit 100

    BIG KEG O' HEALTH: Back by popular demand, adds 100 health

    SHIELD PACK: adds 50 to your armor rating

    SUPER SHIELD PACK: adds 100 to your armor rating

    DOUBLE DAMAGE: What do you think it does!?

    ADRENALINE: very cool new feature. Each pill bumps your adrenal count a bit, or you can gain it through killing. Once you hit 100, you can get such effects as a BOOSTER (adds 5 health per second for 100 seconds unless life fills, which causes it to add to armor instead), speed burst (doubles running speed for 100 seconds), invisibility (I refuse to explain this one), and berserk.


A few advancements in player mobility have been made. The most noticeable are the wall jumps and double jumps. A player can get an extra boost to his jump if he jumps again at the peak of the first jump or can bounce off the wall by dodging in the opposite direction of the wall he/she is touching. As well, there is a new taunt - no longer does one simple thrust his pelvis in your general direction, but now you can retaliate with an ass smack!


There are about 30 new maps and 50 some odd characters to choose from (though my beloved Nali War Cow of Unreal Tournament has been left out). The game also includes all the editing software you'll ever need to create maps and skins. Along with the game, you get a copy of Maya Personal Learning Edition, UPaint, the new Unreal Editor, and KAT (karma engine). So for those of you that know what you're doing, I'm sure there's enough software to let you do what you want mod and skin wise. I've already seen a few old maps ported over, see what you can do! This section will be updated when new mods are released that are worth mentioning.


Fuzzie has informed me that the game also comes with the linux binaries for it - which is quite rare.
A slightly more detailed write up of the weapons of Unreal Tournament 2003 is called for. The short version is that every weapon is good -- the creators of UT2k3 did a very good job of tossing out the junk weapons of UT99 and replacing them with more useful versions.

Assault Rifle : The assault rifle is a basic starting weapon and is quite capable of taking down enemies all by itself. Its primary fire mode sprays weak bullets at a decent clip with a moderate spread, however the secondary fire bounces a grenade that does a great deal of damage. Hitting an opponent with a grenade and then finishing the target off with primary fire is the most efficient method of dispatching enemies with this weapon. Holding the secondary fire down increases the velocity of the fired grenade, and when the pressure is maxxed out this weapon almost behaves like a single shot rocket launcher… which is quite advantageous, to say the least. Low ammo (4 shots) on the secondary fire is this weapon’s primary drawback.

Shield Gun : This is the second starting weapon every player begins his life with. In primary fire mode, does a huge amount of contact damage when you ram an opponent with it firing. Note that while this fire is engaged, it automatically discharges on contact with an enemy – though clever maneuvering is needed in order to actually touch an opponent. The secondary fire of the shield gun radiates a barrier in front of the user, reducing the damage done by projectile weapons from the front. Note that attacks from the back and side still do full damage. This shield will eventually run dry after a rather long period of time, and recharges naturally when out of use. Energy weapons (shock rifle, link gun) are deflected by this shield, and if the reflected beams should happen to kill an opponent, you are credited with the kill. One often-overlooked use for the shield gun’s barrier is in the prevention of falling damage – if you land on the shield (ie, its facing down as you fall) a great deal of impact damage can be prevented. Despite the fact that the shield gun is often used as a weapon of last resort, it is a very versatile weapon that is overlooked by the majority of players.

Minigun : A very powerful weapon for the accurate player. In primary fire mode, the minigun spews forth a stream of low-powered and inaccurate bullets whose sheer number is usually enough to shred an opponent. Good tracking skills are needed to take full advantage of this weapon, as it is very unforgiving to those who cannot keep their target in the crosshairs. The secondary fire of this gun fires a more powerful, more accurate stream of bullets at a reduced rate. While the minigun will never be a preferred ranged weapon, this secondary fire gives extra life to a weapon whose ranged power has been traditionally limited.

Bio Rifle : After the shield gun, the bio rifle is perhaps the least used weapon in the game. It rapidly consumes its ammo in primary fire mode, lobbing slow moving but powerful globs of hazardous goo that are, quite frankly, simple to dodge. These globs, when they miss (and they do) lay around for about 5 seconds and then explode, damaging people that are really, really close to them. The primary fire is envisioned as a weapon that creates a ‘minefield’ of sorts for defensive purposes, but the gun has too little ammo and the globs have too short a lifespan for this to be effective. The secondary fire of this gun slowly loads multiple rounds of ammo into the chamber, to be fired simultaneously when the fire button is released. The maximum amount that can be fired in this way is 10 rounds – which is enough biosludge to instakill any target, without question. When the redeemer or ion cannon is unavailable, the secondary fire of the bio rifle is the preferred method of killing a heavily armored opponent, though the slowness of the reload usually limits this instagib to a single attempt.

Link Gun : The primary fire of the link gun sprays an area with moderately-quick plasma shots that do a moderate amount of damage. In this mode, the gun is nothing special – its good for spamming an area at moderate distance, but little else. In secondary fire mode, the link gun shoots out of beam of continuous damage death, which rapidly erodes the health of any enemy it is in contact with. However, the range of this weapon is limited, and the gun must continuously nailed to the target to take full advantage of its power. As players become more accurate and experienced, the secondary fire of the link gun becomes a very effective tool. In cooperative matches, two players of the same team, if both armed with link guns, can ‘link’ them together – on player targets the other with the secondary fire of his link gun. After this link is established, it will eat ammo like nothing else, but the link will remain until the fire button is released. The player who is being linked too will experience a huge increase in the power of his link gun, turning the secondary fire into an unstoppable laser beam of death. However, due to the relative weakness of the link gun, this tactic is rarely used.

Lightning Gun : The sniper rifle of UT2k3, the lightning gun does severe damage when it hits the body, and truly obscene damage when it hits the head (not, as it might be thought, an instakill). The primary and secondary fire modes of this gun are essentially identical, though the secondary mode engages the gun’s zoom. It is not encouraged that the user rely too much on this zoom, as it the lack of peripheral vision allows the user to be blindsided quite easily. Instead, the player should improve his accuracy until he can reliably hit targets without the zoom, and preferably while moving. The most advanced players of the game use the lightning gun almost exclusively due to its long ranged, powerful, accurate shot.

Shock Rifle : Often argued to be the best weapon in the game, the shock rifle is certainly the most versatile. In primary fire mode, the weapon behaves like the sniper rifle – with a long ranged, unzoomed, powerful shot. The shock beam is about half as powerful as a lightning round, but fires twice as fast. In addition, the beam imparts a good deal of force to the target – it is blown backwards several feet. This is quite disorienting, and experienced shock users can use this blast to predict where the target will land, to immediately hit them with another shock. This juggling technique is very difficult to defeat once mastered. The secondary fire of the shock rifle produces slow-moving balls of energy that do moderate damage. These are quite easy to dodge, and are generally only useful for close range spamming, however they do a good deal of splash damage, so it is possible to hurt yourself with this technique. The real power of the shock rifle lies in the employment of the Shock Combo. This attack is executed by shooting a shock ball (secondary fire) towards your opponent and then hitting it with a shock beam (primary fire). This causes a massive explosion centered around the shock ball, eating up 5 rounds of shock ammo and usually obliterating everything nearby. This is a very powerful attack whose expert use has given rise to the taunt “Combo Whore” – proof positive of this technique’s effectiveness.

Flak Cannon : My preferred weapon. In primary fire, the flak cannon shoots a spray of hot metal, which does huge amounts of damage at close range. At longer distances, this shot gradually spreads apart to cover a wide area with moderately damaging flak. In addition, this flak will bounce off walls and floors to cause damage – careless aim often damages the user. The secondary fire mode produces an arcing ball that explodes on contact with floor, walls, or enemies, producing a wide area of splash damage. This is useful not only because it can be used to strike targets not immediately in view (by arcing it over barriers, onto platforms, etc) but because it has a very good fire rate and impressive damage. This weapon is weak at distance, but is exceedingly powerful at close range. Like the primary fire, the secondary fire can also damage the gun’s user if the flak ball is exploded nearby.

Rocket Launcher : The rocket launcher, as the name suggests, fires single, slow-moving, powerful rockets in its primary fire mode that cause splash damage when they hit. A single well-placed rocket is enough to kill an unarmored, unboosted opponent. In secondary fire mode, rockets slowly fill the gun’s three chambers to fire up to three rockets at once. This produces a huge amount of havoc in a wide area with little accuracy required, and as such is the new players’ universal weapon of choice. After the third rocket is loaded into the chamber, all three rockets will immediately discharge (ie, there is no holding 3 rockets), which often causes extreme discomfort for the user if he does not vent the rockets properly. Also, if you only have two rockets left and are charging the gun’s secondary fire, the rockets will discharge after the second rocket is loaded, which is again often unexpected and detrimental to the user. If, while charging the secondary fire, the primary fire button is tapped, the secondary fire rockets will emerge in a spiral pattern, striking a single point for obnoxious damage. In addition, if the user can get an enemy continuously in his crosshairs for about three seconds, the gun will achieve a lock on the player and the rockets will home in on this target – though their turning radius leaves quite a bit to be desired. In all, this is a very powerful weapon that should be a high priority for every player.

Ion Painter : The new super weapon in UT2k3, the Ion Painter sets up a target for the orbiting Ion Cannon, which instakills everything in a huge blast radius. The painter’s beam (primary fire) must be held on a single, outdoor point for several seconds for the ion cannon to achieve a lock, after which it fires. The ion painter’s secondary fire is a zoom identical to that of the lightning gun. In practice, the Ion Painter/Cannon is the closest thing to a useless weapon included in the game. The necessity of targeting a stationary point (with the zoom often required) usually requires the user to be stationary as well – which is just begging for death. The painter’s beam is clearly visible while it is focusing on a target, which, of course, leads the way right back to the stationary user, like a big flashing “I’m helpless, shoot me” sign over his head. Related to this is the long wind-up the cannon has before firing, which gives targets time to duck behind a wall or a barrel or anything, which completely shields them from the blast. In all, kills with the ion painter are more luck than anything else, and this gun should be avoided unless there is very good reason not to.

Redeemer : The portable nuclear weapon is the most powerful device in the game, and widely shunned amongst polite company. Such is the thoughtless devastating power of this slow-moving projectile that many players consider it too cheap to use and avoid it, however if you are looking for the most death for the least effort, the Redeemer is the way to go. In primary fire the gun fires a single, slug-slow rocket that explodes in a gigantic fireball, pulverizing everyone in the blast’s line of sight. Damage from the redeemer bypasses shields and is generally an instakill. Secondary fire paralyses the user in favor of actually piloting the missile, which is one of the cooler aspects of the game. The turning radius of this missile is surprisingly good, which combines with its slow movement to make for interesting plays. However, the user is both blind an immobile while piloting the missile, which is the simplest way of getting killed. If you are killed while piloting the redeemer, it explodes immediately, but you are not credited with any kills it might inflict. In addition to this, if the missile is hit by a weapon (most frequently the lightning rifle or the minigun) it explodes harmlessly. Like the ion painter, the most trivial of barriers completely shields the target from the nuclear blast, meaning all targets must be in direct line of sight of the explosion point in order to be effected.

Translocator : A utility weapon that is disabled on most hardcore servers, the translocator can serve to add another dimension to combat, reach otherwise inaccessible areas, keep tabs on important places, make quick escapes, and inflict instakills. In primary fire, the translocator fires an arcing projectile that acts as a teleportation beacon. After the beacon is planted, pressing the translocator selection key will activate the camera mounted on the beacon, allowing the player to observe the immediate area – however the player will also be immobile while this is in effect. Employing the secondary fire teleports the user to the beacon, while pressing the primary fire again recalls the beacon to the user. If an enemy happens to be standing on the beacon (or you have shot the beacon onto the enemy) and you recall to it by way of secondary fire, you will instakill the enemy by way of the telefrag – the most humiliating way to kill someone. If the server allows the translocator it is strongly recommended that all players adapt to it quickly, as it is an invaluable tool in combat. Translocating quickly can disorient your target in skirmishes, putting you in superior position to surprise and damage the target. In all, this weapon adds an element of wildness to games that many players to be against the spirit of certain game types – traditional deathmatch in particular.

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