The plot behind Unreal is the cliched tale of a damsel in distress. Your task is to travel across many lands to reach your sweetheart who has been captured by the Protector of Evil and she has been been locked in the P of E's castle. To reach the castle you have to travel through a number of 2D and 3D levels.
The first level is in 3D, here you control a dragon, which is viewed from behind. There are five of these 3D sections. The first one is in a prehistoric land where you fly (at a great speed) around shooting dinosaurs and avoiding rocks. The other sections are in a similar vein but with different scenery. The 2D levels are much more complex and challenging and form the meaty part of the game. Within these sections you cannot rely on anything being harmless. Nearly everything is there to prevent you from meeting your sweetheart Isolde, except the odd energy giving triangle and fire to arm your sword.
The graphics throughout the game are of an exceptionally high standard and live up to the reputation that French games have for their artwork. Many comparisons with Shadow of the Beast will be made but Unreal beats Beast hands down. The reason for this is that Unreal's graphics are much more detailed, there may not be 13 levels of parallax scrolling but the back and foregrounds excel over Beast's offering. Where Beast is better than Unreal is in the music department. Unreal's soundtrack is of an above average standard but nothing you'd want to dance to. But the sound effects are excellent with authentic spot effects and great atmospheric bird whistles and howling of the wind etc.
Overall the game is very challenging, whoops... what an understatement! This game is very difficult and only a few of the most skilled or most determined players will ever reach the final screen. All the puzzles within the game are solvable but usually take up a lot of energy in the process. This high difficulty level detracts from the playability of the game and can be infuriating at times. But if you like scrolling beat-em-up's with puzzles along the way then you will really enjoy this game.
Unreal is obviously designed to outdo Shadow of the Beast as a superlative demonstration of the Amiga's graphics and sound. The arcade-adventure levels have superb graphics, full of detail and imagination. The huge palette of colours, smooth scrolling and speed at which large creatures are whizzed about are something only an Amiga could do.
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