EDIT: wrote this review because today is my 10 year anniversary on Steam and I was feeling nostalgic. And also because my graphics card has been dead since October and I haven't replaced it and I'm suffering "gaming-withdrawal".
I was 17 in '98. After a decade of console playing, upon graduating high school, that summer I decided to celebrate by building my own computer. Unreal was the first FPS I ever played, on my first homemade computer.
Funny: after my Windows '98 was up and running, I went to my local CompUSA to buy "Doom", since that's all I'd ever heard anyone talking about. It wasn't in stock, and the guy behind the counter said, "Yo, have you heard of Unreal?" And the rest, as they say, is history.
I was blown away. Sets were colorful, AI was challenging (oh SNAP i just shot him that ♥♥♥♥ faked his death!), music was atmospheric, weapons were fun, SP campaign was LONG. Every time I killed a Skaarj I triumphantly screamed ♥♥♥♥ YOU, B♥♥♥♥ and emptied my clip into his carcass just to make sure he wasn't faking me out. I played that game STRAIGHT for like eight months. Easily 300+ hours. Many times in the middle of the night with earphones blasting and my eyes popping out of my head like a cartoon: WTF IS THAT ♥♥♥♥ HOLY ♥♥♥♥ ITS COMING RIGHT FOR ME OH YOU WANT SOME TOO??????? DIE MOTHER♥♥♥♥♥♥RRRRRRRRRRR DIIIIEEEEEEEEEE XFGUDVTUFTYFBIYGYNGOGOIUMIP<:LKLK>*!@(Y
I only stopped playing when I went back to CompUSA in February 1999 and simultaneously bought my second and third video games for my PC: Half-Life and StarCraft. But that's another story.
Unreal's graphics are dated, yes. But the gameplay is still strong. I still get excited when I enter that dark slug temple and hear the tribal drums beating over the sounds of bullfrogs and waterfalls.
Unreal was the greatest, man.
(interesting side note: because of "No One Lives Forever" i never actually got to play Doom 1&2 until 2004, right before Doom 3 came out. wasn't bad...for sprites.)