Unreal: Return to Na-Pali - May 31st, 1999:

Return to Na Pali puts you back under the rags of an escapee. Only, this time around, a salvage ship picks you up and you have two choices: either die a slow death, or take up a mission. Assuming that you take the mission, your goal is to rescue the weapons research logs from the wreckage of the cruise ship, Prometheus... without dying by the claws, or missiles, of the many creatures that inhabit the Na Pali world.


Overall, RTNP was a fun romp through some of the left out levels of Unreal, a few new ones, and a few new weapons. RTNP added the Rocket Launcher and Grenade Launcher weapons, as well as a Combat Assault Rifle. The Rocket Launcher featured a lock-on system that would guide the rocket towards enemies. The Grenade Launcher featured remote detonation, which was incredibly fun in multiplayer if you could convince an enemy to run down a hallway that you had dropped some grenades in. The game also added a few more enemies, like the Marines, Pack Hunters (little dinosaurs), and spiders:

Two monsters later, the developers apparently ran out of ideas completely and created a third "new" monster: a spider. That's right - as seen in every other game ever made. In case you're thinking that in this implementation the spider does something interesting, let's just say that if crawling around and shooting poison is interesting to you, then, yes it does.


Return to Na Pali also added 6 new multiplayer maps to the mix, as well as some new gametypes: Marine Match, Gravity Match, Cloak Match, and Terran Weapon Match.

Nerf Arena Blast - November 1st, 1999

If you've been reading our previews, you know what a big surprise this game was to us when Stephen [IGN Staff Member] brought the game back to the offices and one by one, got us all addicted to it. It's a classic (I suppose we can say that now) first-person shooter done better than most of its competitors, and ups the ante by actually having the Nerf to rethink tournament play, instead of simply taking the existing formula and tagging on the Nerf label.

The game is structured like a giant obstacle course/gameshow, with different arenas providing you with a variety of formats to test your skills. Each arena is then split into three distinct games (Pointblast, Speedblast, and Ballblast), with bonus rounds included for high scores in certain arenas. Like UT, Nerf isn't limited by a plot per se, which means that the arenas are only separated by the designer's imagination -- the Seqouia arena has you jumping through trees and swimming through caverns, while the Orbital arena takes place on a space station, complete with anti-gravity and an airlock. Skycrapers are just around the corner from asteroid battles, and moon-top Nerfing is right next to the standard Nerf arena.


Nerf Arena Blast was an interesting take on Internet gaming, with the main focus being the same as that of Quake 3 and UT. Multiplayer. I have to admit that it was fun to shoot all kinds of random Nerf weapons, some of which have not and never will see the light of day. The game was also really kid friendly. “Killing” someone involved hitting them with enough Nerf balls/darts/rockets for them to be “out”. They never actually died; they simply stopped moving and then respawned elsewhere in the map. I think, personally, that I will enjoy letting my kids play Nerf Arena Blast long after the game has lost its community.

Wheel of Time - November 15th, 1999

The Wheel of Time game is set roughly a century before the events of the novels and focuses on the exploits of Elayna, an Aes Sedai. Unlike most Aes Sedai, the sorceresses that inhabit the gleaming White Tower in their city of Tar Valon, Elayna has no real ability to "channel the One Power" and instead must rely on artifacts known as "ter'angreal" to use magic. With forty kinds of such devices included there is no shortage of magic in the game (unless one selects the harder difficulty level at the beginning; then, there is rarely enough magic to even survive).


In my opinion, this was one of the sleeper hits of 1999. First of all, the singleplayer is an exciting jaunt through the world of Robert Jordan’s books. You hit a lot of the major locations from the books: The White Tower, Shadar’Logoth, and the Fortress of the Light. However, since the game takes place before any of the books do, some of the things you might expect to take place don’t. You run into a few of the Forsaken, and they are REALLY hard. In a way, however, that makes the game more interesting. Overall, the game had great graphics for it’s time, a pretty interesting story (if you’re interested in that), but most importantly was the multiplayer.

If you have read the books, you are familiar with ter’angreal, a form of magic “rune” that allows the holder to have a stronger handle on “the One power” than they normally do. The multiplayer makes use of these. There are two different modes, Arena and Citadel. Arena is your typical deathmatch, except with the ter’angreal as weapons. The game mostly being about using these artifacts makes the multiplayer very interesting. Some of the artifacts set up large areas where spells are not allowed. Others block magic from hitting you. Some swap your location with whomever you are firing at and all the “locked on” spells coming at you hit them. Overall, this makes the multiplayer fairly unpredictable which ultimately makes it more fun. Even more interesting is the Citadel gametype where you setup people on your team to defend your Citadel from being ransacked. You can set up traps as well as the bots to help you out, and your goal is to keep the enemy from stealing the artifacts in your Citadel. The gametype is pretty original, which we can expect from most Multiplayer experiences that Legend Entertainment, creators of Unreal 2 and XMP, has delivered to us.