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Unreal Tournament III - hands-on

These Machiavellian machinations are all well and good, but let's face it, however good the single-player mode is, UT has always been about the multiplayer. UT3 has six types of slaughter: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture The Flag, Vehicle CTF, Duel (one on one!), and Warfare: the brand new mode that's a hectic mix of Onslaught and Assault.

While Morris assured us that there was still balancing to do on the bots, the first Deathmatch resulted in an artificial intelligence 10-kill win in under two minutes, with us languishing in fourth place. Programming legend Steve Polge, he of the Quake "Reaperbot" back in the mid-90s, is again the man behind the bot tech in UT3 and it really shows - these are some of the most realistic AI opponents we've fought.



In team games, you can also issue voice commands to bots using a microphone headset, which means that the more socially-inept can still enjoy pure multiplayer deathmatches without having to interact with other humans.

Other levels we briefly skirmished included an ice level called Biohazard, a classic UT indoor techno level named Sentinel packed with industrial pipes and enclosed spaces screaming for the Flak Cannon, and a level set on the Necris home planet of Absalom, with ominous religious buildings and nanoblack pumping through the outskirts.

On the larger levels, the newly-added hoverboard (yes that's right - bits of UT3 have been inspired by Back to the Future II) becomes essential to zip about when there are no vehicles to commandeer, although it's worth remembering that you can't fire weapons while riding, and you take considerable damage if hit.

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