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Unreal is the first game of the Unreal series, and was the first 3D venture by Epic Games and Digital Extremes. The game was approved by GT Interactive in 1996 and released on May 22, 1998 to the world, however by several accounts work on the engine actually started sometime around 1994. It was also the first game to use the Unreal Engine.

Unreal provided a single player experience along with a multiplayer mode that allowed for up to 16 players. It was rated 'M' for Mature by the ESRB for intense violence.[1]


"Your prison ship has crash-landed on the fastest, sleekest, most dangerous 3D world ever created. Look around, crystal clear water shimmers, shadows dance and shift, alien architecture fades into the horizon. Discover the secret of this mysterious planet and find out what caused a peaceful race to be enslaved by vicious merciless aggressors."
―Box art description

Development historyEdit

Work on Unreal began in 1994 when James Schmalz, founder of Digital Extremes, showed Cliff Bleszinski a side project he had been working on. At the time, Schmalz was creating all of his own content, and programming the game all by himself. The game had not yet been fully realized, and Schmalz was creating all of his levels on paper.

A short time later, Schmalz showed what he had been working on to Tim Sweeney, founder of Epic MegaGames (later renamed to Epic Games). Tim was impressed and began working on a level editor for Schmalz to use to build his engine. As time went on, many people became involved in the process. Some of the key people of the remote employees were Mark Rein which was brought in to do PR, Steve Polge that was hired to work on the AI and Shane Caudle who was called to make some of the game's maps. For a time, many of the people working for Epic were doing so remotely.

The game was initially planned for an April 1997 release. A beta was released that year, allowing player to get a feel of the gameplay. The beta was seen at GDC (Video Game Developer Conference) '97. Those who saw the demo expected the game to be complete by this time; however, the AI was unfinished, the levels, lacking variant textures, looked repeating, the sound effects were bad, and the game was overall too long to complete in a fair time. This resulted in the development team, up to that point using a "Virtual Team" scheme, all centered in Digital Extremes Waterloo offices, returning to their homes a year later, after completing the game. Roughly one year later, the game was released and its level of detail put video game publishers on notice: a new age of gaming had arrived.

A demo was alluded to many times by various people at Epic Games throughout the life of Unreal, however the only demos that were ever released came bundled with various hardware. Many people saw this as a negative to Unreal as there was no real way to try the game before you bought it.

Release datesEdit

A full version of Unreal was released with certain S3 Video Cards to show off Unreal's S3TC capabilities. This version came with several S3TC showcase levels that can be found online.

A free trial of Unreal was released with certain Creative products to show off Unreal's EAX capabilities.

Game content Edit

Gamemodes Edit

Main article: Unreal Single player

Aside of its campaign, which features both solo and coop modes, Unreal features four multiplayer modes: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, King of the Hill and Darkmatch. With the exception of the latter, the rest of the multiplayer gametypes use the Deathmatch maps.

Single player maps for Unreal
Vortex RikersNyLeve's FallsRrajigar MineDepths of RrajigarSacred PassageChizra - Nali Water GodThe Ceremonial ChambersDark ArenaHarobed VillageTerraniux UndergroundTerraniuxNoork's ElbowTemple of VandoraThe TrenchISV-Kran Deck 4ISV-Kran Decks 3 and 2ISV-Kran Deck 1Spire VillageThe SunspireGateway to Na PaliNa Pali HavenOutpost 3JVelora PassBluff EversmokingDasa Mountain PassCellars at Dasa PassSerpent CanyonNali CastleDemonlord's LairDemon CraterMothership BasementMothership LabMothership CoreSkaarj GeneratorIlluminationThe DarkeningThe Source AntechamberThe Source
Darkmatch maps for Unreal
Deathmatch maps for Unreal
Bonus Packs: DmBayCDmCreekDM-CybrosisDmKrazyDM-LettingDmLockeDM-LoxiDM-MojoDmScruularDM-ShrapnelDM-TwilightDmVilla

Human characters Edit

Monsters and creatures Edit

Weapons Edit

Items Edit

These are divided in two categories: Inventory Items and Pickup Items.

Inventory Items can be picked up and then used during the course of the singleplayer game and a few are available in multiplayer levels. Use the bracket keys [ ] on your keyboard to select an item visible in your inventory icon bar (default controls). The currently selected item is bounded by a white box. Use the Enter key to activate an item. Activated items are highlighted in red. Press Enter a second time to deactivate an item.

Pickup Items are activated or put into use as soon as you pick them up. For this reason, it is often wise to leave a Pickup Item on the ground and come back to pick it up when you need to use it.

Soundtrack Edit

Title Author(s) Filename Duration Used in
Flight Castle Alexander Brandon FlyBy.umx 00:51 Flyby Intro
Vortex Rikers Alexander Brandon Vortex.umx 02:28 Vortex Rikers
Dusk Horizon Alexander Brandon Dusk.umx 03:23 NyLeve's Falls, Sacred Passage
Dig - Shareware Version Alexander Brandon DigSh.umx 05:24 Rrajigar Mine, Depths of Rrajigar
Chizra Alexander Brandon and Michiel van den Bos Chizra1.umx 03:57 Chizra - Nali Water God
SETI Michiel van den Bos Seti.umx 04:40 The Ceremonial Chambers
Nali Chant Alexander Brandon Nali.umx 03:48 Dark Arena
Hub 2 Michiel van den Bos Hub2.umx 04:40 Harobed Village
Night Vision Alexander Brandon K_Vision.umx 04:47 Terraniux Underground and Terraniux
Hub 4 Michiel van den Bos Fourth.umx 06:14 Noork's Elbow
Unreal Crypt Alexander Brandon UTemple.umx 05:11 Temple of Vandora
Hub 5 Michiel van den Bos Fifth.umx 06:46 The Trench
Unreal #9 Michiel van den Bos Newmca9.umx 05:20 ISV-Kran Deck 4
Unreal #9 Michiel van den Bos Kran32.umx 05:20 ISV-Kran Decks 3 and 2
Unreal #9 Michiel van den Bos Kran2.umx 05:20 ISV-Kran Deck 1
Hub 3 Michiel van den Bos Spire.umx 08:12 Spire Village, The Sunspire
Surfacing Alexander Brandon Surface.umx 05:25 Gateway to Na Pali
All Hallows Sunset Alexander Brandon SkyTwn.umx 03:02 Na Pali Haven
Isotoxin Andrew 'Necros' Sega Isotoxin.umx 04:09 Outpost 3J
Guardian Alexander Brandon Guardian.umx 01:43 Velora Pass
Bluff Eversmoking Michiel van den Bos Eversmoke.umx 04:26 Bluff Eversmoking
Unreal #7 Michiel van den Bos Newmca7.umx 05:56 Dasa Mountain Pass and Cellars at Dasa Pass
WarGate Alexander Brandon WarGate.umx 04:58 Serpent Canyon, Nali Castle, Demonlord's Lair
Warlord Theme Alexander Brandon and Michiel van den Bos Warlord.umx 02:27 Demonlord's Lair and Skaarj Generator
Hub 7 Michiel van den Bos Crater.umx 05:56 Demon Crater
Erosion Dan 'Basehead' Gardopée Unreal4.umx 06:48 Mothership Lab, Mothership Core, Skaarj Generator and The Darkening
Extreme END Alexander Brandon EndEx.umx 01:16 The Source Antechamber
Queen of Death Alexander Brandon and Michiel van den Bos QueenSong.umx 04:28 The Source
Unreal - Main Title Alexander Brandon and Michiel van den Bos Utend.umx 04:42 Ending Sequence
Unreal #13 Michiel van den Bos Newmca13.umx 06:56 Another mix was used at Bluff Eversmoking
Unreal #16 Michiel van den Bos Newmca16.umx 03:07 Unused
ALF Alexander Brandon Opal.umx 02:05 Unused

Reception Edit

Unreal was given very good reviews and was generally accepted very well by gamers. However, shortly after the game's release, it became apparent that the multiplayer network code was not up to scratch for the 56k modem connections in wide use at the time. Due to this, the Epic MegaGames message board filled up with hundreds of posts of complaints about the poor quality of the Unreal netcode and the general need for a patch. This led to Epic's message boards being nicknamed the "Epic FlameBoards". In response, Epic released dozens of patches to the game, later including Direct3D and OpenGL support to the Software Rendering and Glide support.

Essential files Edit

Main article: Essential files#Unreal
Main article: Bonus content#Unreal

Here you will find all the links to the downloads of the essential files for your Unreal installation.

Trivia Edit

  • There is an unfinished weapon in the game, the Quadshot, named from it being a quad-barreled shotgun, which is never seen in the game. Its mesh, sounds and script, however, can be seen in the Editor. It was overpowered and redundant with the Flak Cannon, hence its removal. Some mods (one popular example being Seven Bullets) have working weapons using this mesh.
  • The song "Isotoxin" is featured as the opening song of another game, called "In Pursuit of Greed".
  • A dragon, gargoyle, chameleon, squid, and some other creatures were shown in tech demos and displayed on pictures and ads, but none of them where ever used in the final, finished game. Some weren't seen in the game because the places which they were in were cut to avoid making a game too long to complete, others were either replaced (like the Krall, who took the place of a centaur-like creature) or removed altogether (like the Dragon), because they disturbed the quality of the game, the team behind which had the goal to make the game live to its full potential.
  • Unreal's manual lists the Rifle's alternate fire as a three-shot burst, when it is, in fact, a zoom function. This is a leftover from the Unreal betas.
  • Many were the maps cut from the final version. Some of them are: Soledad, Morose, Nexus, Nexus End, FHub6, Cryox, and The Gateway.
  • A full install of Unreal uses around 420 MB of hard drive space.

External links and references Edit

  1. Entertainment Software Rating Board

See also Edit

Unreal (series)
Unreal - Unreal Mission Pack: Return to Na Pali
Unreal Tournament - Unreal Tournament 2003 - Unreal Tournament 2004 - Unreal Tournament 3 - Unreal Tournament 4
Unreal Championship - Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict

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