Unreal: Return to Na Pali Review

Nebojsa Radakovic
Unreal: Return to Na Pali Info


  • N/A


  • 99 - 99


  • GT Interactive


  • N/A

Release Date

  • 12/31/1969
  • Out Now


  • PC


“You Have Returned, Foolish Man-Child”

Four bloody years it took them. Four bloody, dripping years of programming,

sketching, modeling, attending conferences on the id and the self, held at “clothing

optional scenic seaside locations.” It took that long, and all that treacherous

work, to make Unreal. Unsurprisingly, Unreal

had the mark of polish and quality that the untrained eye could easily see.

So what happens when you take less than one fifth of that time to craft an expansion

pack? Well, you get something that lays somewhere on the sunny side of crap.


Return To Na Pali
is an expansion pack for Unreal. Produced by Legend

Entertainment (who will also be making Unreal 2), Return to Na Pali

picks up directly where Unreal left off. You’re floating in orbit of

Na Pali after escaping the surreal nightmare on the surface. You are then picked

up by a terran ship, the Bodega Bay (Yes, like in Hitchcock’s The Birds)

and are sent back to the surface to retrieve some top secret weapons information

from a derelict space craft, the Prometheus (Yes, like the Greek legend).

Once on the surface, you must battle through 17 levels, encounter one or two

plot twists, utilize three new weapons, shoot three new types of badasses, and

make a thoroughly anticlimactic exit. There are also a few new multiplayer maps

and modes tossed into this mixed salad.

For your killing pleasure, three new guns: the Combat Assault Rifle (CAR),

the Grenade Launcher, and the Rocket Launcher. The CAR is a high-accuracy, high-velocity

machine gun that can also shoot out a burst for added effect. The Grenade Launcher

launches… grenades. It can also be set to drop a grenade and detonate it later

at the touch of a button. The Rocket Launcher launches… rockets. It can also

function in the same way as the Laser Guided Half-Life variety, vectoring to

where the launcher is pointed.

The weapons are a welcome addition. They all feature much more satisfying

sounds, and bloody results, being therefore weapons of the coveted ‘kick-ass’

variety. As opposed to the classic Unreal weapons, which always felt

a bit like killing someone with a tissue paper and feather dusters.

And to give you something new to shoot at, three new enemies have been added:

the Spider, Pack Hunter, and the Space Marine. The Spider is… a really big

spider (Squash it! Die Arachnid Die). The Pack hunter is a very quick lizard

that tends to attack in groups, closing the distance with careless abandon and

gnawing off your knees (Well not actually, but one can imagine). The Space Marine

is sent down to kill you by your “employers.” Unlike their “Aliens” brethren,

your average colonial marine will not lend a helping hand like Hicks, but rather

ventilate your middle like Barbara Striesand.


levels are the great disappointment in Return to Na Pali. Although none

of the levels are quite so blatantly amateurish to fall into the pit of Klingon

Honor Guard
, none are half as compelling or convincing as those found in

the original game. Unreal had you trekking through a finely tuned mysterious

world, each site topping the last in awe and wonder. Return to Na Pali

has neither the polish nor the inspiration to compete.

Graphically, Return to Na Pali also falls short. Although it’s still

Unreal and therefore pretty, nothing substantial has been added. The

new weapons and enemies are impressively modeled and skinned, appearing quite

pleasing to the eye, but the environs are largely similar to those already found

in Unreal. If any new textures were added you’d be hard pressed to locate

them. The inferior level design and a tendency not to use the high-detail textures,

cause Return to Na Pali to actually be less attractive than Unreal


Graphics aside, it does introduce four new multiplayer modes: Gravity Match,

in which gravity is greatly reduced. Cloak Match, in which a reversed game of

tag is played, centered around a guy with a cloaking device (a cool effect by

the way). Terran Weapon Match, in which only the new weapons are used. Last

is Marine BotMatch in which all the opposing bots are Space Marines. The new

modes breath a little more life into Unreal Multiplayer but sadly don’t

add anything to keep you playing for longer than a few games.

Where Unreal evoked quality, polish, and ingenuity, Return to Na

merely blurts mediocrity. It is a decent diversion for Unreal

fans who want a little more Unreal and don’t care too much about anything

else. But as a simple expansion pack, Return to Na Pali does little

to expand. In fact, much like the abhorrent Mysteries of the Sith

expansion pack for Jedi Knight, it makes the whole game

seem like less instead of more. Pick this one up if you have to kill time while

waiting for Unreal Tournament. But tarry not too long, and look elsewhere

on the shelf for that spark of creativity that makes the great games.


Good New Weapons
Good New Enemies
Bad Levels
Bad Use of Some Graphics
Nothing Inspiring