Duke Nukem 3D
Once again, alien scum has invaded earth, seemingly annihilating everything and everyone, aside from a handful of exotic dancers. And they do seem to be a handful. Duke has recently returned from fighting these creeps in space and is welcomed home by the very same hideous pigs in police uniforms. Traces of a dirty society locked within its vices continues to permeate a dirty, war bound LA. Duke readies himself to overcome hordes of enemy filth, spouting out a range of gamingís most quotable one-liners.
Duke Nukem has a good variety of weaponry and ammunition at his disposal, all scattered about the locations which fill out his quest. He blasts away with a shrinker gun, turning the opposition into ugly, mutated midgets, and crushes them with the sole of his boot. When in close-quarters combat, Duke elongates his leg, thrusting his trusty footwear into the enemyís face. There are also the standby weapons, of course: pistols; rocket launchers, dual-wielded devastators, trip lasers, etc. Adding to his powerful arsenal are special pick-ups such as jetpacks and holograms of Duke himself, cleverly devised to fool the enemy.
Duke Nukem 3D follows the original without fault. Some might say 3D Realms has followed the original a little bit too closely. But itís a port, with some of the levels introduced in the various console versions of the game (there’s thirty-something of them, in all). Playing through the game, itís readily apparent that the game doesnít need changing and if it were altered, it would probably hamper whatever it is that makes it so great. Be ready to undergo bouts of frustration and often times, confusion, as the level design is often impractical at best. There are many locked doors and access cards scattered throughout each area.
There is a neat new feature that allows players to record their gameplay. This is good for people interested in speed runs, and competing over the leader boards that way. The recording feature works extremely well, and some of the dedicated gamers whoíve topped the rankings system have some incredible gameplay videos which will help out whenever you canít figure out where to go in single player. Playing through on co-op online definitely lightens the load, as well.
Iíd put Nukem up against any one of todayís shooters in every category aside from the visuals. Even the graphics are acceptable, albeit a little aged. It can be difficult at times to tell whether your shots are making contact but youíll usually be able to tell by the satisfying amount of blood which spouts from the opposition.
In terms of multi-player, Dukematch holds up extraordinarily well, allowing for up to 8 players to throw down in a steroid-infused battle royal. Perhaps due to the inevitable delay of Forever, the Nukem community has continued to support the game and any time youíre online, thereís bound to be a load of like-minded individuals looking for some healthy competition.
For some reason, 3D Realms doesnít seem to support the game with updates to fix the few glitches which remain in the port. Perhaps they really want to stick with the original formula. If itís not entirely broken, donít fix it. There are a couple gripes I have about the gameplay, though. The majority of the spawn points are ridiculous. Seasoned players know just where they are and I couldnít tell you how many times Iíve been picked off before I could scramble away to find some heavier weaponry. Which leads us into the next problem. Once spawned, Iíll often find myself unable to move more than a few steps in any direction. However, this quickly breaks off. Unfortunately there are some new rumors which have surfaced about 3D Realms folding, so itís unlikely that any of these issues will ever be brought to light.
What Duke Nukem 3D lacks in relevance it makes up for with the same solid, reliable formula that converted so many first person shooter fans, in the early nineties. How well this game has aged is truly a testament to the series. Itís only regrettable that we may never get a true sequel to one of the most iconic entries in gaming history.
Hail to the king, baby.
Nine out of ten
- Challenging single player and co-op action.
- The game has aged well.
- There are still plenty of people online, playing Free For All Dukematchs.
- Some single player levels just don't make sense (in terms of layout).
- You'll find yourself throwing out Duke one-liners in the middle of conversations sometimes.