Welcome to part 2 of our comprehensive review of Unreal Tournament 2003. Part 1 covered Visual Presentation, HUD/Menu, and Weapons/Items. In this section we'll take a look at all of the DeathMatch, DoubleDomination, and BombingRun maps in the retail game.

*Note - I've rated the maps in my commentary below each map. The rating is based on the retail maps only. Obviously these are professional quality maps, and each would rate much higher in comparison to most user made maps. The score I've given is indicative only of my opinion and not of the BU staff. -hal

DeathMatch Maps

Antalus - "Raia Antalus, or Valley of the Hunters, is an ancient meeting place for the warriors of the Gen Mo'kai. Encamped along the valley floor, dozens of warriors gathered in the Temple of linu to greet the dawn, hoping to draw upon the powers of the Kana stone embedded in the rock above them. Over the centuries, the temple fell into disuse, and through treaties, has become a popular venue for Tournament events."

A circular, natural arena dominated in the center by the three pronged rock formation. Bone bridges connect the surrounding ledges to the center mound. Lifts scattered about yield plenty of airborne z-axis fighting. Trees look down from the surrounding cliffs like gods looking down on the damned. A sublevel temple room under the center of the map is accessible by several descending tunnels, in which mysterious lights dance around a SuperShield Pack.

This map is a showcase for the new terrain abilities of the update Unreal Engine. The layout itself is a showcase for all of the new moves (double-jump, wall-jump, etc.) available. No matter where you are, there is always a shortcut to someplace else via jumps. Dead-end? No problem. There IS a way out. The map is beautifully realized and executed.

All of the weapons are in this map (except ION PainterGun). All items are present as well, including vials.

RaptoR: Although DM-Antalus is a visually impressive map, it won’t hurt your framerate too much. Antalus is a DM map with great flow, great visuals and lots of z-axis usage. This map gets a thumbs-up from me.

hal: A defining level for the game. The look, the deep gameplay, and strategy all come together in this map. Too large for a one on one, but it's one of the few maps in the game that are able to handle a 4 on 4 Team DeathMatch. 9/10

Asbestos - "The scrubs do their best to clean up the remains of each battle, but it's never enough. The tarnish and rust slowly devour the last few pristine surfaces as entropy and bloodsport have their way."

Asbestos is an industrial map filled with catwalks, lifts, and machinery. The atmosphere is fully realized with complex detail.

This is not a twisting, winding, maze-like map like GrooveMachine or Curse, but is a classic room-corridor-room map, lending itself well to Team DeathMatch. The layout is more linear and does contain dead-ends.

All of the best weapons are risky to reach. The RocketLauncher sits in a shallow pool at the bottom of a map, with the Damage Amp and Minigun sitting directly overhead. The ShockRifle is placed between ramps and pillars (not the ideal place to battle with a ShockRifle), with the only good shot being down the end of a long hallway coming from the LightningGun room.

The room with the platforms and sewer is among the more difficult to navigate, but it lures the player in with a Keg-O-Health, Shield Pack, Redeemer, and lots of adrenaline.

RaptoR: There’s no denying it, DM-Asbestos leaves a lot to be desired as far as flow goes, which is a shame because otherwise it’s a fairly decent map, if a little dull.

hal: This map plays totally different than any of the other DM maps in the game. It won't suit the hardcore DM-type, but it there is plenty of room for big firefights, making it a nice TDM map. I give it credit for that. I don't like the Keg room, the flow isn't the greatest there, but the rewards definitely are. This one reminds me of Unreal maps like Tundra.. large and linear with a style all its own. 7/10

Compressed - "Discipline is my sword, faith is my shield. Do not leap blindly into uncertainty, and you may not live to reap the rewards. - Overseer Grimal"

A classic DeathMatch map. Two cylindrical rooms with three floors each, wrapping around the edges, and an open center in each. Pathways connect them on multiple levels on either side. In between the two cylinders is a pair of lifts facing opposing directions, housed in a single wide pillar.

Most weapons are present in this map. The SuperShield Pack and LightningGun are suspended on platforms in full-view of the respective room they are in. The Damage Amp is most cleverly hidden, and only those that master lift-jumping will ever find it. (There is a hint in the storyline)

This map is sized well for one on one, or a small TDM match. The look is alien-industrial, with lots of nice touches.

RaptoR: Like Asbestos, DM-Compressed is really nothing special visually, but flows really well, and is great fun to play online or offline. Get eight players in this map for the ultimate fragfest.

hal: I like this map a lot, but the hidden room will aggravate many people in 1 on 1 matches. It manages to be stylish without going overboard. 8/10

Curse - "Feel the walls closing in on you? A little claustrophobia, maybe? When the Flak starts flying and the Shock Combos fill the air and you find yourself backed into a corner by a relentless pursuer, you'll come to learn the meaning of the word 'Cursed'."

The storyline is full of truth. The walls are closing in. At least that's what it will feel like to anyone who has played the previous two versions. This map has somehow shrunk into a great 1-on-1 DeathMatch. Maybe a 2-on-2 or 3-on-3 TDM match wouldn't be too uncomfortable. There are certainly weapons enough to go around. There is an alternate custom version available that widens the lower hallways at the expense of some wall decor.

This is the classic stacked maze DeathMatch map. You're never more than a jump away from going up a level or down a level. There's always a way out of a situation. The layout is, by now, a classic, so it's hard to fault a tried-and-true map such as this. I'm not sure if the intent here was to go for a smaller player-count, but that is result. Unfortunately, especially in the lower areas, you aren't really able to take advantage of the new jumps because of the closed-in corridors, and there isn't any health to lure you down there.

The 'flubber' skybox is gone from the versions previewed on video, but the overall look of the map is pure beauty. The new wall decor is amazing (if you can get over sacrificing the room), and the living, breathing stairsteps up to the hidden Amp closet is simply stunning.

RaptoR: DM-Curse3 is the inevitable successor to UT’s Curse2, and in my opinion it doesn’t do either of its predecessors justice. What happened to the long, open spammy corridors that made Curse2 an absolute blast to play online?

larrystorch: I like the close quarters afforded in the lower level. Makes you think twice when equipped with the rocket launcher. Turn a corner with an itchy trigger finger and you'll be respawning along with your foe.

hal: There is a custom user-made version of Curse (Curse3-ZEfinal) that really opens up the bottom corridor. It doesn't look better than Cliffy's map (I really like the look of the terrain), but it's a better compromise and more faithful to the original in corridor size. I'm not a big fan of cramped corridors. It's a beautiful map though, and is one of the few in it's category in the retail selection. 7/10

Flux2 - "Deep in the ice chasms of the Hollis Expanse, an abandoned supply depot becomes host to a game of death. The winner rides out in style, while the losers enter cryostasis the hard way"

The layout of this map is fairly simple: A large room filled with winding ramps. Doors open in six places to let you out to a snow filled cavern that winds three-fourths of the way around the depot. Plenty of room for a 4-on-4 TDM here.

There are lots of spots where learning the new jumps will pay off. There is a nice shortcut from the second to the third level using a steam vent, and you'll never reach the Damage Amp unless you master the dodge-jump.

This is one of a handful of UT2003 maps showing off the environment effects. Step outside and be greeted by a snow storm! Nice reflections on the metal walls, and a dreary lighting scheme really convey the "depot buried in ice" theme.

RaptoR: DM-Flux2. I can take this map or leave it. I often find myself pressing F10 when I see Flux2 loading on a server. Visually it’s nothing special, and although the map’s littered with three floors of action, it turns into a spamfest when loaded with its ‘recommended’ number of players.

hal: This is a map that plays smaller than it is. When the full player load is indoors, it gets pretty crowded. There are plenty of reasons to go outdoors, however, with two of the power weapons and Damage Amp to be found. I wish the outdoor area had more connetivity to the inside. Despite the six doors, there were too many long corridors outside. 7/10

Gael - "Nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide. Deathmatch up close and personal."

That pretty much sums up this remake of DM-Morbias (Unreal/UT). A circular arena with a second level around the edges, an enclosed lift at each end. This map, like Curse, seems to have shrunk in the move. Whereas Morbias could hold 6 to 8 people, you'll want no more than 3 here. The smaller lift rooms take away any chance you had to hide, though you can still drop off of the lift on either side.

The Lightning Gun does very little for this map. The Rocket Launcher and ammo are plentiful, and they will be used the most. This map is all about fast and furious action.

The random item spawner in the middle of the room is a nice touch. It will lure players out to the center of the arena where they are easy pickings. There will be no camping around that center area, however, as it's centered over a nasty pit.

Again, a classic map with nice lighting, shadowing touches. Some may argue the wall decor gets in the way, but then again, will you really live long enough to notice?

RaptoR: DM-Gael is simple and fun. You can’t argue with two floors, a Rocket Launcher, a Lightning Gun and a pit.

hal: Simple and fun, yes. I can see why they'd want to include an arena, though I think a larger one would be more suited to the increased area of coverage you have in UT2003. 5/10

Inferno - "Paradiso. Purgatorio. Inferno. Those who have fallen from grace have little more to look forward to than an eternity of torment among fire and brimstone. They, and the soulless creations of the automata, will seek to destroy you and claw their way back to glory. Your job is to send them to hell."

Definitely a map created to show off the Nightmare class of character. This hellish, cavern holds four elaborately decorated towers surrounding one central tower. Lifts, bridges, stairways and catwalks connect them all, and a beautiful fire effect surrounds the mound on which it all sits.

Alternating between extremely claustrophobic corridors and narrow walkways, this map will keep you on the edge of your seat. There is plenty of z-axis for a map of this type. Weapon placement is good. Powerful weapons like the Rocket Launcher are at the bottom of the map, meaning that you'll have to spend a few minutes fighting your way back to the top before you can rain rockets of death down on your opponent. The shield is at the bottom on a risky platform, and the Keg-O-Health sits at the top of the map with the Sniper Rifle.

This is one of those maps that you show off to your friends. There are some truly beautiful textures and prefabs at work here. The smokey atmosphere and the crackling fire complete the look. This map plays best with four or five players max.

RaptoR: DM-Inferno is turning into my favourite UT2003 DM map. Visually stunning with its wall of flames, this map plays well with 2 to 16 players, and gives you several different levels to fight on, both indoors and outdoors. Crank up texture detail to highest for a real treat. Listen up, Id, this is how you do hell.

hal: A visual feast. I like the up and down flow of the map, but it would be nice to have more room inside the outer towers. Lots of open lifts make for plenty of lift-jumping opportuinities. 6.5/10