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Download Unreal

867 kb



This game made a lot of commotion when it came out. Similar to other fantasy games that looked amazing at the time (such as Shadow of the Beast), this game pushed the limits in graphical appearance. Amiga's great graphical capabilities were used to create some beautifully colored and detailed backgrounds and creatures, making everything look "unreal". Other aspects are not as amazing, but the game will be remembered in the Amiga world. The gameplay is a mixture of 3D flying and third-person shooting (similar to Space Harrier and After Burner), and more common 2D side-scrolling jumping and fighting. The flying part is much faster - you ride a fire-breathing dragon and have to avoid obstacles to collect power-ups while shooting large creatures. In the slower part, you play as a muscular, almost-naked blonde warrior. Besides jumping and fighting with a sword, you will have to deal with some logical problems as well.

The DOS version can't possibly be compared to the Amiga version as far as the graphics are concerned, but it is among the best-looking DOS games of the same period. What separates it from the other games are large sprites of various creatures that surely looked stunning back then. There weren't many games where you could see such big and detailed enemies. However, everything is poorly animated. All the creatures are brought to life with just two or three sprites that are almost the same. They only differ from each other in parts that move, like wings, legs or arms, so you have a creature that is moving by being drawn to different coordinates of the screen limb by limb, but lacking the real feeling of movement. When playing with the warrior (who is not blonde in this version), there is no sky. The background is simply black, giving the impression of a nightfall. Landscapes are nice and detailed and so are the creatures, but everything is somehow static and slow. Not exactly what you would expect when playing with a muscular sword-wielding warrior.

Compared to the Amiga version, the game is shortened and simplified. There are three levels and each level has two parts: flying a dragon and playing with the warrior. This means that two flying parts are missing. Also, the DOS version lacks the great pictures between levels you get in the Amiga release. The flying parts in the DOS version are generally good and fast, but they present almost no challenge. You get solid firepower right away, which makes most upgrades useless unless you are a really bad flier (upgrades appear as colorful fans or something). If you crash, you only lose points. If you crash four times, your firepower is reduced by one. This way, the only purpose of the dragon part is collecting points. Each level has a separate point counter and you need ten thousand points for an extra life, so shoot everything you can, even trees. Once you get familiar with the level, just keep holding the fire button.

The warrior part is very linear and puzzles are reduced to a minimum, making everything completely action-oriented. It all comes down to learning the dangers and enemy appearances in the level. You will need to learn how to deal with them and you'll need some precision and reflexes. The game may seem hard at the beginning, but after some play time, only the last level will present a challenge. Most players will miss the faster gameplay from the flying portions. With those large, good-looking sprites of creatures and landscapes that are mostly slow or static, playing the warrior part feels more like a big pile of illustrations that are put into the game, in hopes that the appearance alone will compensate for the lack of dynamics. You will have to reach the third level to finally test your skills. You initially have five lives and no visible energy meter. You can collect small brown objects to recover some energy. You can also upgrade your sword into a flaming one. It is a very interesting feature since you can use any sort of fire to do it - ordinary fire, dragon fire, candle fire, etc. If you hit a flame with your sword, you will set it "on fire" and your attacks will become much stronger. Too bad that's the only thing you get, because the Amiga version has more sword upgrades to offer.

Compared to the Amiga version, one thing is better - sword wielding. The warrior makes a stabbing motion while standing or crouching and performs fast attacks in Golden Axe style while in the air. It can safely be said that using the sword on the Amiga is inferior; the warrior doesn't even stretch his arm, but keeps his hand close to his body, shaking the sword up and down a bit like he's scratching someone's back with the tip, and uses the same motion both on the ground and in the air. The DOS version at least gives some feel of fighting.

It is very hard to mark Unreal. You expect so much from a game like this and get a poor impression. Something is simply missing, besides better-looking backgrounds. Apart from those huge enemies and two nice repeating tunes (especially the one in the flying part), you really don't get much. The flying part has solid speed, but is turned into a simple bonus level for extra lives, while the warrior part is too slow to give you the proper enjoyment. The last level may be a bit more fun, but you'll master the first two levels after a few tries. There isn't much in them, besides the graphics, of course. But at least this game is a mixture of two different concepts of gameplay. That, combined with the graphics, grants the game an average mark. For a game like this to leave such a pale impression - that's really unreal.


Reviewed by: marko river / Screenshots by: marko river / Uploaded by: Ermuli / share on facebook

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