Duke Nukem 3D

For a game that, for quite a while, I only ever played the demo of, I have very fond memories of Duke Nukem. Some ten-plus years ago, I was but a mere whipper-snapper heading off for the bright lights of a Uni course in Colour & Polymer Chemistry (woo) and my mate Justin had the demo on his PC. Only the demo, mind, we were students after all and didn’t have the money to spend on new-fangled games (especially once you’ve bought a Playstation, you’re really strapped for cash – although the title did later appear on the PSone, and it was bought and played to death!).

So finally, a Duke Nukem game arrives on 360. It’s not Duke Nukem Forever which has been in development for, well, forever but it’s something at least. So, buckle up and get your downloads going because it’s time to kick ass and chew gum, and I’m all out of gum.

The first thing to say about Duke’s Arcade outing is that it has that really annoying border that you find on almost any Namco Arcade release. The first thing I did was increase the playing area as much as I could – I’m not a big fan of the bordered games – they look a bit guff, in my opinion – but luckily in this case the gameplay won through.

Duke is, of course, an FPS shooter of the old-school variety, If you played it way back when you’ll notice very little difference between then and now. This is a good thing. Duke Nukem 3D needs very little fiddling – sure it would have been nice if the graphics had been spruced a little, but it would have completely ruined the experience. This game is pure 18-rated nostalgia – Duke does tend a swear a bit as you play so sensitive ears should be covered. Actually, if you’re that sensitive what the heck are you doing downloading this in the first place?

The thing with this game is that it’s a FPS that does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s purely and simply a shooter. There’s no fancy gimmicks (well, just one – tell you in a second), no complicated button presses just pure run-and-gun gameplay. And it’s funny as well… get hold of the shrink gun and reduce your enemies to teeny-tiny sizes before stomping on them. That will never grow old! The levels are well designed and packed with secret areas – some of which are just as hard to find now as they were 10 years ago (damn you first level) – and the available difficulty levels mean that you can tweak the gameplay to how you want it. Go straight in on “Damn I’m good” and you’ll be restarting an awful lot, though!

Ah yes, restarting. This version of Duke has a nifty little rewind option for when you die. You can basically go back to any point in the level and start from there. This is handy if you’re standing too close to a pipe bomb or accidentally fire a rocket into the wall you’re standing next to, and end up with only a few points of health to take down two or three shotgun wielding pig cops. Just die, rewind to before your unfortunate friendly fire incident and try again. Or maybe you’ve picked up a health pack that you find yourself needing a bit later. If you die, rewind to before you picked it up and carry on your merry way. It’s not a revolutionary system, but it removes the annoyance of starting a level again or dying two feet from a checkpoint that can be a smidge annoying in other games.

From a single player point of view, there are 39 levels to be played through as you take down the alien scum, and if you hop online then the multiplayer side of things offers you Dukematches – regular run-of-the-mill deathmatches – which are fun to play. I hopped into a few games, and had my arse handed to me on several occasions but it was all good fun. I have to say, though, that there’s nothing more annoying than being on the wrong end of a shrink ray.








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