The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, February 28, 2000, Page 10, Image 10

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    ‘Unreal Tournament’ beats ‘Quake L? in game war
By Cliff Hicks
Staff writer
First-person shooter games have
been a staple of the computer-gaming
industry since the early days, when
“Wolfenstein 3D” grabbed game
players’ attentions.
In 1996, the war between gamers
concerned which game was better
-“Duke Nukem 3D” or “Quake.”
Then “Quake II” came out and it
seemed like a new watermark was set.
When “Unreal” came out in 1998,
it looked beautiful. But less-than-sta
ble network code made it unplayable.
rast iorwara to now. 1 ne tmra
incarnation of the “Quake” series,
“Quake III Arena,” is out, but now it
has a rival, “Unreal Tournament.”
When id software announced
“Quake III Arena” would focus on
deathmatch only, many gamers were
upset. This was compounded by Epic
Games’ announcement that the new
“Unreal” title, “Unreal Tournament,”
was doing the same.
Both games are reasonably good,
but gamers are a notoriously fickle
bunch. Following is a list that breaks
down key pieces a good FPS needs.
Graphics
“Q3” is pretty. Everything looks a
little more refined than “UT.”
“UT” is using an updated version
of the “Unreal” engine and it doesn’t
look bad. “Q3’s” big problem is its
color scheme.
There are people who defend the
“Quake” series’ use of three colors -
brown, red and an extra-thick dosage
of brown - but it gets dull after a
while. “UT” borders on going to the
other extreme. On very rare occa
sions, “UT” seems to put a few too
many colors, lights and effects.
“Q3” can’t be beat for looks.
Winner: “Quake III Arena.”
Levels
This is very simple to summarize.
“Q3” equals cramped and crowded.
: - Quake III Arena &
7 & Unreal Tournament
Is";. g
¥f SYSTEM: PC
DEVELOPERS: id
software & Epic Games
GRADES: B- and A
FIVE WORDS: There’s a
new FPS king.
“UT” equals open and airy.
In “Q3,” levels give the feeling of
being trapped in a tiny box. Maybe
part of the goal was to get fewer peo
ple on a server, but “UT” blows that
concept away.
“UT” sweeps the floor with “Q3”
when it comes to level design. “UT”
levels aren’t about being in tiny little
rooms, they’re about being in caverns
or large hallways. The colors also
have a big impact.
Winner: “Unreal Tournament”
Models
“Q3” also holds the trophy here,
for the volume of models available.
“UT’s” models are human-shaped.
“Q3” goes all out with exotics, even a
running eyeball with a pair of arms.
“Q3” fails to have damage-specif
ic areas. Hitting a character in the
head is the same as hitting them in the
foot. Not so for “UT”. The game is
organized into hit-zones, so when a
character is shot in the head, they
know it. “Q3’s” variety of models is
overwhelming.
Winner: “Quake III Arena.”
Weapons
“Q3’s” weapons pale against
those of “UT”.
In “Q3,” people run for the rocket
launcher or railgun. Both of these
weapons can kill instantly, but they
end up detracting from the fun, as
they are the only two regularly used.
Every weapon in “UT” has its
use. Some weapons are readily appar
ent on how to use, like the Flak
Cannon. Others, like the Razorjack,
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are more specialized.
In “Q3,” players begin armed with
a machine gun, but it’s worthless.
“UT” starts players out with an
Enforcer, a basic pistol, though not
the greatest, is still usable.
If you run out of ammo, “Q3”
offers the Gauntlet, an annoying com
bination of chainsaw and fist which
hurts people up close. “UT’s” impact
hammer also hurts people up close,
but those with patience and good tim
ing can use it to deflect rockets.
Winner: “Unreal Tournament.”
Interface
“UT’s” bots can be so human, it’s
scary. They make mistakes, yet they
learn from the player’s tactics. If a
player takes a path, the “UT” bots
learn and try to counter it.
“Q3’s” bots are useless in team
oriented games, such as Capture the
Flag. Giving them orders is unwieldy.
Giving orders to a “UT” bot is
painless with the voice clip command
menu. Players can issue orders to a
whole team of bots which will then
execute the order.
Winner: “Unreal Tournament.”
Gameplay
Memo to Carmack & Co.: Time to
move out of the stone age. It’s not all
about the deathmatch any more.
When the original “Quake” came
out, it was all about deathmatch - a
mentality that led to everyone shoot
ing everyone.
“Q3” has Capture the Flag, but it’s
weak and feels rushed. And that’s not
what it’s about for “Q3.” It’s all about
deathmatch. And not a whole lot else.
“UT” opens new fields of play
with a diverse number of play modes,
including Domination and Assault.
In Domination, each level con
tains three command points that must
be held. The more points your team
holds for longer times, the better.
In Assault, one team has a series
of objectives to complete; the other
team’s objective is to stop them.
Winner: “Unreal Tournament.”
Overall
For pure deathmatch, “Q3” prob
ably will trip your trigger. For other
players who like variety, it’s “UT” all
the way, baby.
The deathmatch game just doesn’t
feel like enough any more. “Q3” ren
ovates all the things it’s had for years.
“UT” innovates and is simply more
fun. It’s got an intangible quality that
just brings players back again and
again.
Both game engines are up for
licensing and I imagine players will
see a lot of great games made with the
“Q3” engine, but game against game,
“UT” not only frags the hell out of
“Q3”, it leaves the gib splattered
against the wall.
Winner: “Unreal Tournament.”
For the full text of this story, check
our Website at www.dailyneb.com.
Interface makes a big difference.
One of the reasons so many people
play “Half-Life” online is because it’s
easy to navigate.
In “Q3,” everything is rudimenta
ry. There isn’t a browser. Mods aren’t
easily accessible. The server browser
doesn’t display enough information
about the game or players. “Q3’s”
interface is utilitarian and ugly.
“UT’s” interface is a work of art.
Emulating the best elements of the
Windows/Macintosh design, it uses
pulldown menus and a clean design.
Everything is easy to find.
Winner: “Unreal Tournament.”
Bots
For those who don’t want to brave
Internet combat zones or have slower
connections, computer opponents, or
“bots,” are available opponents. .
“Q3’s” bots don’t feel human -
they run around on track loops and
have easily discernible patterns. On
mixed games (some human players,
some bots) it’s easy to tell them apart.
When the difficulty level on the
bots is raised, they don’t get smarter
or move better; aim just improves.
Fox \swears off exploitative reality TV
I NEW YORK (AP) - Fox says it is
swearing off exploitative reality TV
shows. But the promise sounds similar
to one made in January - a month
before it aired the wedding of two
strangers and a irfotorcyclist’s jump
over a moving train.
Battered by bad publicity over
“Who Wants to Marry a
Multimillionaire,” top Fox executive
Sandy Grushow said in Friday’s edi
tion of The New York Times that the
network was shutting the door on the
programming genre it pioneered.
“They’re gone,” he said.
But Grushow, appointed last year
as chairman of the Fox Television
Group, told reporters in January that
he wanted to move away from the
stunts because programs like “When
Good Pets Go Bad” had damaged
Fox’s reputation.
“For a while, those programs bril
liantly masked many of the growing
problems on the Fox schedule,”
Grushow said in January. “But, unfor
tunately, this overreliance, oversatura
tion, has really come back this season
to bite us on our collective Fox
behind.”
A month after he said this, Fox
aired “Who Wants to Marry a
Multimillionaire.”
The show was a sensation, draw
ing nearly 23 million viewers when
Rick Rockwell and Darva Conger
exchanged vows. Fox immediately
announced plans to rerun a part of the
broadcast a week later.
When questions were raised about
Rockwell’s background, including
allegations that he hit an ex-girlfriend,
Fox quickly retreated. It canceled the
rerun and said it wouldn’t air any
future multimillionaire weddings.
This week, however, Fox aired
another special featuring daredevil
Robbie Knievel in a live motorcycle
jump over a train. He emerged unhurt.
Grushow hasn’t responded to
interview requests from The
Associated Press to address whether
this month’s specials contradicted his
earlier stated intentions to back away
from the reality genre.
He tried to draw a distinction in
January between “blood and guts”
reality specials that featured car chas
es and shootouts, and “entertainment
reality,” which would seem to include
prime-time weddings. Fox has likened
Knievel’s stunts to watching a circus
tightrope performer.
He also said Fox would still air
some reality shows because they had
already paid for them. “Right now
we’re sort of on the methadone pro
gram,” he said.
These specials are enormously
tempting for television executives
because they are far cheaper to pro
duce than traditional comedies and
dramas and often get strong ratings,
said Tom DeCabia, executive vice
president of the media-buying firm
Schulman Advanswers NY.
It’s unclear whether any Fox exec
utives will lose their jobs in the
“Multimillionaire” fallout.
Mike Darnell, Fox’s executive vice
president of alternative programming,
conceived the special and is the indus
try leader in creating reality shows.
In January, Grushow described
Darnell as “one of the finest creative
executives working in the business
today.”