Review of Urban Terror

Crouched behind the dumpster, with my LR-400 in hand, I wait in suspense for my enemy to come around the corner. Every sound seems amplified and heightens the suspense. I can hear a fire fight going on in the distance. One of my team mates is across from me and he makes a run for the flag, only to be taken out a few steps from his cover from a sniper in a window above. The sniper unknowingly giving away his position and enables me to prime a grenade and toss it through the open window. BOOM!!! The sniper's down and I make a dash for the flag. Gunfire opens up to my left and I take a hit in the leg, slowing me down. I spin to the left and fire a burst into the body of my blue opponent; he's out of the way.

I reach the flag just as one of my teammates takes out an opponent that had just came around the corner. Rounds of machine gun fire rip through the wall behind me as I run as more blue team members realize someone has taken their flag. My health is low and my wounded leg has slowed me down. I'm losing blood fast. BAM!! BAM!! A hidden attacker steps out of his cover from the door way to my right and pumps two Desert Eagle rounds into my chest. I'm down until I respawn in a few seconds, but my team mates catch the dropped flag and nail my assailant. They race back to our red base, winning the game for the red team, and ending another match in the game called Urban Terror.

My search for a good FPS

I've always been an In-The-Action kind of guy. I never liked being above, or on the same level as the action, I wanted to be IN and AMIDST the action. That's why I've always loved first-person-shooters (FPS): the games where you are a soldier of some sort, fighting in the heat of a battle. I've been playing these games since I was barely 6 years old.

My first FPS was a game called Duke Nukem. It was the most intense game at the time. It brought “3D” graphics and action packed missions fighting ferocious monsters, and blowing everything up with missiles and guns to your desktop. I say “3D” because the graphics back then compared to today's graphics, is like comparing a four-year-old's crayon drawing to the Mona Lisa. It was pretty much the coolest game I thought could ever be made.

Since then, computers, hardware, and software developments have improved dramatically. New games have been released with better graphics, more missions, and tons of endless action. Some of my favorite are Castle Wolfenstien: Enemy Territory, Battlefield 1942, Battlefield 2, Rainbow Six: Eagle Watch, Counter-Strike Source, Delta Force: Black Hawk Down, and many others. Each different FPS game had their pluses and their minuses, some with more minuses. With each game play (about an hour on Saturdays) I would be able to recognize what was good and what was bad in a game, what I liked and what I disliked.

One of the big factors for me was having a LOT of guns. Sure, most games have a nice selection of 5 of the most modern guns, but I needed more. I kept looking and looking for more guns. After many years of playing, I discovered Wolfenstien: Enemy Territory, a WWII geared FPS with tons of maps, and tons of gun options (most modified by players who know how to code). But, I'm a more modern warfare kind of guy, and after a while, WWII just gets old. So I decided to look for other games. In 2001, I bought Delta Force: Black Hawk Down, and it was an immediate love at first play.

The game had tons of maps, great guns, (though not much selection) and a great multiplayer feature. This game was the second multiplayer game I have ever played (Enemy Territory being the first), and loved it. Instead of just shooting up computer controlled bots, I could now battle against other human minds. It added a whole new definition to FPS, because all the players were at a different skill level, and each had a different tactic. It made the game seem more real. But alas, the game CD fell of a desk and broke, leaving me to search for a better game.

Battlefield 1942 was good but it only had one game type, limited weapons, and I couldn't get multiplayer to work. That got old fast. Battlefield 2 was cool, but the same as its predecessor, 1942. I played game after game, demo after demo, never seeming to be able to find a game I really could latch onto. I soon went back to Enemy Territory, but it got dull after a while.

After about a year, I made my switch to Linux. Enemy Territory ran natively on Linux so I was happy enough to play it for an hour a month. But Linux had its own goodies. Nexuiz, Alien Arena, and Open Arena were available and I gave each a whirl. But they are Sci-fi and I'm NOT into those genres of games.

I soon did a search online for a more modern (not future) FPS game. I stumbled across a multiplayer only game called Urban Terror and gave it a shot. The welcome screen was promising. Nothing super fancy, but not low tech. I clicked join game and a LONG list of current games going on opened up: another promising aspect. Usually when a game is bad, few people bother playing it. As I soon found out, this was far from being a halfhearted, or cheap knockoff FPS.

Why UT has surpassed other FPS games

A. Simplicity

To start playing Urban Terror (UT) there is little more to do than typing in you player name and clicking play. It's that easy. With other games, there always seemed to be some conflicting issue, or it was nearly impossible to figure out how to play the game without reading instructions. It's click and play for UT. The interface is very easy to use; while in the game you click Esc and a drop down menu will appear where you can edit your players look, weapons, and gear. With each respawn, you can either change guns, or leave everything the same. There's a red team and a blue team, and you pick one or the other. It's that simple.

B. The Options

There are numerous weapons possibilities. If you want a clean and exact kill, go for the SR-8: One shot to the body, or head will eliminate your target immediately. It also has a very high powered scope, making long range shots a breeze. Need a small, but high powered machine gun for close quarters? The MP5k is just one of the slick, modern weapons that are available to do the job. With other games, such as Delta Force, the weapons were not well designed, and didn't have the “feel” that the UT weapons have.

C. Game Types

Bomb, CTF (Capture the Flag), FFA (Free For All), Team DM (Team Death Match), etc: There are so many fun game types to play with. This is also one thing that games such as Battlefield lacked, where you only had one type of game (Take Over: which was a game where the winner took over the most landmarks on the map), and, in Counter Strike Source, you only have the Bomb game type. Unless they've changed that in the last 2 years. Unlike these other games, UT has several different games, and each one has a different approach to game play.

Capture the Flag (CTF): There are two teams, and each team has a flag at its base. The goal is to get the other team's flag all the way back to your teams base without them taking it back, or the other team stealing your flag.

Free For All (FFA): Everyone is an opponent. The winner has the most kills at the end of the game.

Team Survivor: There are two teams. The object is to eliminate all the players on the other team, and still have players on your team left alive.

Bomb: The objective is to find and defuse the bomb that the other team has planted, before it goes off.

Team Death Match (Team DM): There are two teams. The goal is to kill as many players on the opposite team before the time limit, or kill limit is reached. Once a player is killed, he will re-spawn (come back to life) and continue playing in the game. The winning team will have the most kills at the end of the game.

So, with UT, whatever game you feel like playing, you just search for the game type on the list of servers and click to play.

D. Maps

Maps, maps, and more maps. Maps are the worlds in which the games are held. I've never played a game where there are so many maps that you don't know which one is your favorite. It makes it hard to get tired of the game. Each map is like a little world, each having its own landmarks and quirky twists and turns. New maps are being continually created as well. So there's never a time where you have to say to yourself “when is the next version of this game going to come out so we have more maps?”

E. Cross Platform

One of the absolute coolest features of UT is that it is available for all three major OS's: Mac, Windows, and Linux. So you never have to say to your buddy, “I just found the awesomist game but it only works for PC.” No, now you can say “Hey dude, you gotta play this wicked game!!! You can even play it on your Mac!!!” One thing about most other multiplayer games that I really disliked was that my Mac or PC friends couldn't join in the fun. It made me feel like I was leaving them out, and that's not cool in the Ubuntu world, where everyone helps one another, like a family.

F. Graphics

While good graphics are important to some, speed is more important to me. Urban Terror has both. It provides a fun, interactive, and detailed environment,(yeah, the graphics aren't dark like in Battlefield 2142) while still keeping the memory usage to a minimum. The Battlefield games I'm going to bash a little bit here because their a good example of an overly “good” graphic game. They seem to try to make the environments look real and feel real, but this takes so much system resources that it no longer becomes a game; it becomes a resource hog that is choppy, and only fun if you have a super computer. UT looks good, and is fast, keeping you playing more, and waiting less.

Downsides of UT

I've never heard of a truly perfect game. It's sad but it's true. Seeing that these games are created by non-perfect people like me, it would be impossible to create a perfect product.

One big downside is that it's only a multiplayer game, meaning that you need the internet to play it. This can be a problem when you're bored on vacation, in the middle of nowhere, or your internet is down for a while.

Another issue that some may not find as offensive as others is that there seems to be no restrictions on player's names. This means that many of the players of the game have obscene names. There also seems to be no way to turn off the chat function on the bottom of the screen, where some players seem to abuse their right to type whatever they want. The latter can be fixed quite easily with the use of a sticky note. Just slap the note on the bottom left corner of the screen and you're safe from the chat. There may be some way to turn of the player names, but I haven't bothered looking into it. I'm usually so into the game that my only focus is what my opponents team is doing next.

Other than that, there doesn't seem to be any other downsides of the game. So happy UT'ing!!!

The Addictiveness Test

A couple months ago, while on lunch break at work, I decided to try something out. I wanted to see if , just by showing a game to someone, if I could truly get them addicted without any forcing. So, I downloaded UT onto our computer in the shipping department and, during one lunch break, decided to show my co-worker, Josh. I played for about 2 minutes before letting him take the wheel. I had no idea what I had started.
He picked up on the game very quickly and now, about 4 months later, Josh plays UT for the majority, and some times the entirety of his lunch break. My tactics worked like a charm. One afternoon, during the lunch hour, we had a UPS guy drop off a couple packages. While he was unloading the boxes, he took a moment to look over Josh's shoulder. “Nice game dude!” said the UPS guy and watched for a while. Who would have thought that a little demonstration to such a game could grab ones attention so easily. Chuckle. I still laugh when I remember that day when I first showed Josh. What a memory.

Final Evaluation

With its fast paced action, great gun selection, or easily understood interface, Urban Terror is quickly placed at the top of my list. It's a perfect game for those who love the multiplayer world, while the strategist and the computer vs. human crowd may not like it much. I love it, and play it when I can. One warning to new players: It's EXTREMELY addicting!!!!! Have fun with Urban Terror!!!