Vehicles are a new addition to the Unreal Tournament Series. Vehicles are allowed only in onslaught and to some extent, assault maps. Vehicles range from lumbering tanks, to speedy hovercraft and knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each vehicle is crucial.
Scorpions have a unique primary firing weapon. By pressing and holding down the primary fire button it increases the gauge that shows how big, or small the ammunition will be. The ammunition that comes out is a green strand that goes through the air horizontally until it snags something. When it eventually snags an object, vehicle, or person it then wraps around that thing and clings until it eventually 'pops', thus inflicting damage. A single, fully-charged strand can kill a player on foot or a manta. By outmaneuvering a goliath, you can take one out with three to four full strands, though in most cases, one hit from the tank's main gun will destroy the scorpion.
A Scorpions secondary fire are two long blades that protrude from the sides and stay extended for as long as you hold down the secondary fire button. Be careful with these blades, because they will break if you hit them off of a wall or some other inanimate object. To protect them from this simply release the secondary fire button and let them come back to the Scorpion's side.
The Manta is a unique vehicle, because it is the only one with the ability to jump. While riding in the manta simply press the jump button and it will fly up. The only time you can jump while in the vehicle is when you are on some type of surface and when the gauge is full.
A Manta's primary fire are small purple plasma shots coming from two firing mechanisms located at the bottom front of the vehicle. Its secondary fire is not dangerous at all, unless there is someone underneath the manta itself. Because its secondary fire is just a boost that sends it to the ground quickly. Holding this button down keep the manta grounded but you still have the ability to fly. this method is very useful in 'decapitating' your opponents.
A vehicle much like a HMMWV. It's quite slow compared to the Scorpion, Manta and Raptor, but faster than a Leviathan or Goliath. It's also quite large for a non-tank vehicle. It seats 3 players; a driver, a shock rifle-type "skymine" turret, and one zoom pulse turret.
The first seat is obviously the driver. Primary and secondary fire is a horn, which has no use other than to summon players to man the other turrets.
The second seat, the shock rifle turret, operates a like an inverted shock rifle. Primary fire is a shock core or "skymine", and secondary fire is a weak shock beam. However, if you shoot a shock core with secondary fire, the explosion is more powerful than a shock combo from a shock rifle and the beam will carry on and explode the next core in line. This way you can create huge chains of "skymine" explosions which are hard to outrun on foot (especially in valleys) or slower vehicles.
The third seat is the pulse turret. This doesn't appear to be very powerful, but if you charge it up to full, a single shot from it is enough to kill a player or a Manta instantly. Scorpions may survive one shot. This can also take down another HellBender in two or three shots and challenge larger vehicles. It's significantly easier to hit vehicles with this weapon however. The slow charging time means you have to be good at aiming, or else you will never hit anything before the vehicle gets destroyed. It has a zoom, but this doesn't help much if the vehicle is moving. If you're good at aiming however, especially whilst on the move, this weapon becomes deadly, capable of killing player after player and destroying any attacking vehicles before they can.
The HellBender's general strength is largely dependent on the skill of the players in it, and of course if there is any other player inside beside the driver (in which case it's very easy to take down). A comparatively bad driver and one other person not used to operating the pulse turret (or not so good at aiming) will lead to a weak and easily-destructible vehicle. If it's fully manned with a smooth, skilled driver and expert aimers however, then this vehicle can be a nightmare to destroy. The best way to take down a HellBender is to attack it with vehicles . Faster vehicles are hard to hit and can do continuous damage, whilst the HellBender's relatively poor armour means a tank shell or two will finish it off quickly.
The Raptor is a sleek-looking air-superiority fighter that can go quite fast and has low armour. The Raptor's primary fire shoots red or blue plasma depending on what team you're on. Its secondary fire shoots an air-to-air missile that will follow nearby Raptors, Cicadas (ECE) or Mantas. The Raptor is also effective against Goliath tanks as Raptors are extremely hard to hit with a tankshell. The easiest way to kill a Goliath is to hover directly above it and fire directly down as the Goliath has limited turret pitch. You can also get a "Top Gun" award with a Raptor by shooting down another Raptor.
The Leviathan is, statistically, the strongest vehicle in the game. It can be manned by up to 5 people: a driver and 4 plasma turret operators.
The driver is, obviously, the one who controls the Leviathan. Primary fire is a rapid stream of missiles which home in on the nearest valid target. These can be deadly to other vehicles and can help guard against attacks from the air. Secondary fire is a horn, but if held down and the Leviathan has enough space, the Levithan will deploy. It can no longer move, but the missiles have been replaced with a ridiculously powerful ion cannon. Although slow-firing, it is deadly to anything caught within the huge blast radius. However, when deployed, the Leviathan is somewhat weak to attacks from faster vehicles or air attacks, especially if the turrets aren't manned.
For the plasma turrets, the secondary fire and primary fire do the same thing. These turrets are the only things which can really defend the Leviathan from air attacks.
If you need to attack and destroy a Leviathan, try to get a group of vehicles (optimally, another Leviathan) to focus on it. Even if it is fully manned and deployed, it shouldn't take much to destroy it. Although a group of players on foot can also attack a driver-only Leviathan without much fear of being killed (so long as it's not deployed) standard weapons (that doesn't include the Redeemer, or the painters) do little more than scratch the paintwork of it. AVRiLs do very little damage to it too, surprisingly, so it'd take a lot of players each with strong weapons to take one down. If it deploys then every nearby player will die anyway; if it's aiming in your direction you can't outrun a Leviathan ion blast on foot.
The Ion Tank is a powerful two-seater vehicle that normally only features in the map AS-Glacier, where you need to steal it and escape the base with it.
The first seat is the driver. Primary fire is an ion cannon shot which has an immense blast radius and is an instant kill to any player caught by it. It also has a laser sight (of sorts) that appears before the blast to indicate where the blast will go. This weapon is incredibly powerful indeed but be wary that it has a slow reload time. Secondary fire is a blue shockwave that kills enemies standing near the tank.
The second seat is the gunner. This is a minigun which operates in the same way as the Goliath minigun. Primary fire is a stream of bullets which don't spread at all (useful for agile targets) and secondary fire is a zoom (good for hitting distant targets).
Alone, the Ion Tank is quite easy to destroy. If multiple people are standing at a distance around it, the ion blast won't be able to kill everyone and you're out of range of the shockwave attack. If it has a gunner and/or additional players for protection it's a good deal harder, but employ the same tactics. You should be able to destroy the tank before the ion cannon and minigun kills everyone. The Ion Tank is a vehicle exclusive to the Assault Map "AS-Glacier" and is not found anywhere else.
These vehicles are unique to the level AS-Mothership. The attackers spawn in Human Spacefighters while the defenders can use Skaarj Spacefighters; the difference between them is purely cosmetic. Unlike the Raptor and the Cicada, Spacefighters cannot hover in mid-air; instead, the forward/backward buttons now function as accelerate/decelerate buttons, shown by a gauge on the lower right corner of the HUD. To make up for it, Spacefighters have insane speed and maneuverability. The strafe keys function simiarly, but the Q and E keys cause the fighter to roll left and right, respectively. It also includes a 2D radar, showing the position of nearby enemy fighters.
Both Spacefighters have the same weapons. Primary fire is a rapid-firing laser cannon which hits nearly instantly. Bots seem to have ridiculously good accuracy with this weapon, even on lower difficulties. Secondary fire is a missile which is slower and very visible, but it can lock onto a specific target. Unlike with the Raptor, the Spacefighter's pilot can select the target himself, indicated by a green rectangle around it. Although this missile can be dodged, it is a bit hard to do so, seeing that both the missile and the fighter are moving at very fast speeds and that AS-Mothership offers little cover against enemy fire. On the other hand, the missile can only track until a certain angle; if you fire one onto an enemy incoming from dead ahead, it is probable the opponent will narrowly avoid it and the missile loses target lock.
Spacefighters have a weak energy shield that protects against frontal hits to a small degree, but one missile is instant kill, regardless where it hits. Because of this, you must be a very good pilot to avoid hits. Zig and zag erratically to prevent enemy fighters from hitting you. As with the Cicada and the Raptor, a visible message alerts you of an incoming missile. When this happens, either dodge into cover (just avoid turret fire) or suddenly bank sharply to one side if you can see the missile is very close.
AS-Mothership offers two possibilities to take out Spacefighters: either you "fight fire with fire" and jump into a Spacefighter yourself, or you use a fixed plasma turret. The latter is only recommended if you have really good aim. If nothing else works, try to haul enemy fighters into teammates' crossfire; if their fighter is very damaged, you might try to ram them: if you manage to take out an enemy fighter this way without destroying yours, you will be credited for the kill.
Editor's choice edition vehicles
These vehicles are not available in the original version of Unreal Tournament 2004, but are available solely in the Editor's Choice Edition. Maps with the "(Bonus Vehicles)" tag next to their name are maps available in the original version of UT2004, but have the new vehicles replacing some of the old vehicles.
The Paladin is a light-duty tank, which moves a bit faster than the goliath, but has lower armor. It's primary fire is a purple plasma-type cannon, which has very good range and moderate splash at point of impact. It's damage is less than that of a goliath, but the turret moves faster, and the barrel has better vertical range, making it easier to hit flying targets. The secondary fire opens up a purple plasma shield that can be used to defend the Paladin, other players, or, most importantly, captured energy nodes. The shield has a time limit, and then a recharge time of a few seconds before it can be used again. If you fire the primary while the shield is up, the blast explodes against the shield, creating an effective defense against close enemies.
The S.P.M.A. (Self Propelled Mobile Artillery) is a long range artillery unit. It is sometimes referred to as the "spammer" becaues it can constantly rain down fire. The primary fire button shoots at a target with a large projectile. The secondary fire shoots out an "aimer" projectile that hovers in midair, and a green crosshair appears on the ground. Once this appears the forward, backward, and strafing keys can be used to move the crosshair onto a target. When primary fire is pressed now, the large bullet is shot towards that spot. There is a second seat on the S.P.M.A., which is the same as the second seat weapon on the Hellbender; a shock rifle-esque "skymine" weapon.
The Cicada is a two-seater air vehicle. It's a bit stronger than a Raptor health-wise and a lot better at attacking ground targets, but is not as fast and agile, and not as good at attacking other air vehicles.
The first seat is the driver. Primary fire launches winding pairs of missiles quite rapidly. Secondary fire locks onto a specific point and begins to fill up missile banks as long as the button is held down. When the bars on the crosshair reach full, the Cicada releases a swarm of 16 missiles which each home in on the point.
The second seat is a downward-view turret. Primary fire is a rapid-fire accurate turret which can quite easily kill an unprotected player, hit and destroy fast vehicles, and harass larger, stronger vehicles. Each shot doesn't do that much damage though, so don't expect to destroy Goliaths or Leviathans easily. The secondary fire launches a harmless yellow ball of energy. Seemingly useless, but this directs away AVRiL rockets and Raptor air-to-air missiles. Since AVRiL rockets can destroy a Cicada quickly indeed, this can buy valuable extra time for the driver.
If you need to destroy a Cicada, try and get two or more AVRiLs aiming at one. The energy ball may be able to mislead a missile but it doesn't fire that fast and an AVRiL rocket can get through in between. Either that, or a weapon that can hit quickly over long distances. Cicadas are much easier to destroy if they only have a driver, since the winding missiles that it fires are generally quite useless against more agile targets unless the Cicada is quite close, where it is more vulnerable anyway.