Unreal II: The Awakening is the fifth entry in the Unreal series. It was developed by the now defunct Legend Entertainment and published by Atari, and released on stores on February 4, 2003 for Microsoft Windows. It was later ported to Microsoft's Xbox on February 10, 2004.

Synopsis Edit

"Eight years after the Strider Wars ended, Earth resumed its expansion into space. The central government grew weak, and power passed to the major corporations funding the exploration and exploitation of new planets. Each of these corporations maintained a private force of mercenary soldiers to enforce its will, and law became largely a matter of “Might Makes Right.”

Unreal II – The Awakening opens, you are John Dalton, a Marshal in the Terran Colonial Authority. The TCA is an undermanned police force that patrols the outer reaches of space. Your job is similar to that of a Marshal in the Old West — you are the lone representative of governmental law and order, charged with keeping the peace in a vast and unruly territory."
- Unreal II manual

Overview Edit

The game is described as a sequel to Unreal, though many of the story elements, including the characters and locations, are entirely unrelated to the original, and you get to progress through the missions as an entirely new character. The presence of the notorious Skaarj in modest numbers is probably the viable reminder of the Unreal universe.

The player controls a former Marine John Dalton, a Terran Colonial Authority Marshal whose job is to patrol remote areas of space, which are far away from any real action. He is called back into service to retrieve seven pieces of an ancient artifact thought to make a powerful weapon when assembled. The plot follows a linear path like many other First Person Shooters, while the character goes to various planets in search of the artifacts. The level design at each location is also linear, with only a certain amount of puzzle solving and key finding.

The environments on each planet are quite diverse, ranging from tropical to desert, bunkers and industrial installations, alien cities and even cavities inside the bodies of aliens. During several missions, the player must hold a location against waves of incoming enemies, in some cases using NPCs as support. Overall it is a short game, comprising only 12 missions.

Development history Edit

The game was officially, yet quietly, announced back on 1999 by Epic Games. Primary development on Unreal II was performed by Legend Entertainment, with some assistance by Epic Games, and published by Atari Games. The official site launched in 2001. It was originally meant to be a singleplayer-focused game with multiplayer features, and was advertised as more of an adventure game than a casual blaster. The multiplayer mode got cut in March 2002 in lieu of the then-Unreal Tournament II (later Unreal Tournament 2003).[1]

Mike Verdu was initially the producer of the game, but left Legend Entertainment near the end of the year, and was replaced by Glen Dahlgren. Before the release of the game, Dahlgren told BU that the game's version of UnrealEd won't be binary-compatible with the version of the editor which came with UT2003, so it's not possible to use the editor to create levels for UT2003 and viceversa. It was also confirmed that Unreal II and Unreal I are set in different universes, and that there won't be a demo.[2] The game uses its own particle and skeletal system which is different from the one used in Unreal Tournament 2003. A lot of the arsenal in Unreal II is particle-based, allowing the dev team to create weapons and effects which weren't possible in the Unreal Engine 1.[3]

The multiplayer addon eXpanded Multiplayer was announced in July 2003. It was released as a free addon for Unreal II owners.[4]

Upon release, Unreal II utilized build 2001 of the Unreal Engine 2. Upon release of the XMP addon, the game utilized build 2226. The game appears to use a different series of build enumerations from the base Unreal Engine, as the XMP release was described as build 6496, with patches to 6497 and 7710 (the latest patch).

Demos Edit

After much delay, the Unreal II demo was finally released on May 1st, 2003. It included one level from the Single-player campaign.

The Demo for XMP was released on December 5th, 2003 and included one map, XMP-Garden, out of the 8 maps included with the XMP addon.

Release dates Edit

  • February 4, 2003 - Unreal II release
  • December 9, 2003 - eXpanded MultiPlayer (XMP) addon
  • December 9, 2003 - Unreal II SE (PC)
  • December 9, 2003 - Unreal II SE (Xbox)
  • Unreal Anthology
  • Unreal Deal Pack

Game content Edit

Gamemodes Edit

Main article: Unreal II: The Awakening Single player

The base game of Unreal II is a single-player mission. A multiplayer addon was released in December 2003, known as XMP (eXpanded Multi-Player).

Single player maps for Unreal II: The Awakening
Acheron (mission)Avalon (mission)Avalon (preface)Dorian Gray (mission)Hell (mission)Janus (mission)Kalydon (mission)NC962VIII (mission)Na Koja Abad (mission)Sanctuary (mission)Severnaya (mission)Sulferon (mission)Swamp
eXpanded Multiplayer maps for Unreal II: The Awakening

Characters Edit

Characters from Unreal II: The Awakening
John Dalton
TCA Atlantis crew: AidaIsaakNe'Ban
Marines: Light MarineMedium MarineHeavy Marine
Other characters: Sector Commander HawkinsRaffDanny MillerJensenDr. Meyer
Mercenaries: Light Izanagi - Medium Izanagi - Heavy Izanagi - Light Angel - Medium Angel - Heavy Angel
Aliens: Izarian - Light Skaarj - Medium Skaarj - Heavy Skaarj - Light Araknid - Medium Araknid - Heavy Araknid - Light Drakk - Medium Drakk - Drakk Boss - Drakk Droid - Tosc
Passive creatures: Mukhogg - Seagoat - Rammer - Snipe - Kai

Weapons Edit

Dispersion Pistol Grenade Launcher Shotgun Flamethrower Magnum Pistol Shark Rocket Launcher Widowmaker Sniper Rifle Shock Lance Spider Gun Drakk Laser Rifle Takkra Singularity Cannon

Items Edit

Health Pack Energy Pack Health Station Energy Station Field Generator Auto Turret Rocket Turret Proximity Sensor

Vehicles Edit

Soundtrack Edit

Main article: Music#Unreal II: The Awakening

Jack Wall (Tommy Tallarico Studios), Clint Bajakian (Tommy Tallarico Studios), Jeremy Soule (Artistry Entertainment), Crispin Hands (Artistry Entertainment), Brian Min (Weddington Productions), Chance Thomas, Richard Schneider and original Unreal composer Alexander Brandon are credited for working on the music in Unreal II.

Reception Edit

While Unreal II received above average review scores from most of the major game news outlets, it was not received well at all. The most common complaints were that, while it looked pretty, the game did not have much depth nor any replayability to speak of. The game did gain somewhat of a cult following sometime after the XMP addon was released, however, this community focused more on the multiplayer aspect of the game, with the single-player campaign receiving very little time or attention.

Most people dislike Unreal II in name only. The game had relatively little to do with the original game, including leaving out any characters, location, and most enemies from the first game. Some people agree that the game is fine as a game, but is not by any means a sequel to Unreal.

Essential Files Edit

Main article: Essential files#Unreal II: The Awakening
Main article: Bonus content#Unreal II: The Awakening

Here you can find a list of official and unofficial, yet essential, files for your game.

Trivia Edit

  • During the Community Chat at BeyondUnreal, programmer Grant Roberts jokingly told the BU goers that he had an idea for "a 3D action platformer starring Ne'Ban called "Slug Saga: The Adventures of Ne'Ban"", but it was shot down quickly.[5]
  • The development of the Xbox version of Unreal II was done by Tantalus.[5]
  • Jack Wall, who composed Unreal II's soundtrack, went on to compose the soundtrack for three games from BioWare: Jade Empire (2005), Mass Effect (2007), Mass Effect 2 (2010).

Cut ContentEdit

Main article: Cut content of Unreal II

Exactly a half of the game was cut from Unreal II. The content that was cut include:

  • Three races that includes nine or more enemies (N, Striders, Shian)
  • Five weapons (Tractor Beam, Stun Baton, Mind Claw, Shock Rifle, Flak Cannon)
  • Seven SP maps, around 10 Tournament ladder maps and several more multiplayer maps
  • Various graphics, gameplay and sound technologies (MP3 music player, GOLEM tool for mod creation, Co-op support, multiplayer support, dynamic conversation system, armor changing)

However, this content isn't lost forever. Beta versions of Unreal II have survived, and eventually, they will be released, bringing all of this content back into the main game.

External links and references Edit

  1. Unreal 2: The Forgotten Game? @ BU
  2. Unreal 2: The Awakening Preview @ BU
  3. BU Interview: Scott Dalton @ BU
  4. Unreal II: XMP preview @ BU
  5. 5.0 5.1 Legend XMP Community Interview @ BU

See also Edit

Unreal (series)
Unreal series: UnrealReturn to Na PaliUnreal II
Tournament series: Unreal TournamentUT2003UT2004UT3UT4
Championship series: Unreal Championship - Unreal Championship 2