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Duke Nukem: Forever - Nostaligic gaming goodness
Duke Nukem Forever (PC)
Member Name: agewills
Duke Nukem Forever (PC)
Advantages: it's classic duke, good fun, silly stuff
Disadvantages: it is dated, but it's still duke
It seems that the great majority of reviewers (and people in general) went into Duke Nukem: Forever thinking that it was a game that had been in production for 11+ years and therefore had to be fantastic. I, on the other hand, went to play Duke in the knowledge that NOTHING could live up to that hype or development time-line. Just like I expect Dr Dre's Detox album to be a let down, I went into Duke expecting to be underwhelmed and disappointed. After all, if you look at the historic screen shots and gaming videos of Duke Nukem: Forever over the years, it's such a mixed bag, how can it possibly be any good? Playing the game with this outlook, I was far from disappointed.
Duke Nukem 3D was innovative and amazing in its day. It broke the mould and changed the way things were done. Sure, it was rude, daft and had strippers, but it also had little quirks and game play elements which helped it stand out from the crowd. Alas, Duke Nukem: Forever has none of that. So don't expect to be blown away. In terms of game play, Duke Nukem: Forever is not very different at all from Duke Nukem 3D. In fact it might as well be called Duke Nukem 3D Part 2. But where most games would fall down for this, Duke Nukem: Forever wins prizes (in my book). It's DUKE! Come on!
I'm from that age group of people who played the original game when computers were still cream and games like Doom, Rise of the Triad and Return to Castle Wolfenstein were the dogs-knackers. Thus, I have hazy fond memories of fuzzy boobs, classic Duke Nukem lines ('Shake it baby', 'It's time to kick ass and chew bubble gum...') so the new game has a special place in my heart for helping me relive my youth without ruining the memories by trying to run the old game on an emulator.
Duke Nukem: Forever is an unhealthy trip down memory lane. Where we're kicking alien ass simply because they spilt our beer and had the cheek to steal Duke's babes.
There are plenty of complaints about the game - the graphics are naff, there's nothing new, you can only carry 2 guns, it's unnecessarily rude...blah, blah, blah. Well, all of those arguments are just daft. On PC the graphics are pretty good, sure, it's not eye-poppingly amazing, but reasonably spiffing. Yes, there's nothing new, but that's why its good - pump action shotgun, chugging beer, peeing in the urinals and enjoying strippers....what's not to love? You can only carry two guns, but that hardly matters as you'll be constantly running out of ammo anyway. There's plenty of different guns (pistol, RPG, devastator, rail gun, shrink ray, freeze gun, shotgun, etc, etc) lying about the place, so grab something new and have a laugh. The shrink ray is top fun, shrink a pig cop then stomp on them. What's not to love. Steriods, Duke hologram and beer make for a varied bit of game play. There's plenty of fun to be had.
Of course, you could argue (and some have) that this sort of shooter is dated and belongs in 1995. You'd probably be right. It's a corridor shooter, with limited ammo and bosses that are a pain to kill. It's a game from a different era, but that's why it's great because it's a classic revived. Sure, Duke Nukem: Forever will not be winning game of the year awards, but it's a good giggle and I don't regret purchasing it.
The other big argument is the game is rude, offensive and unnecessarily vulgar. Erm... It's a Duke Nukem game? That's a stupid argument. It's like saying the Pope is too religious. If there wasn't plenty of swearing, daft toilet humour and naked ladies you'd be disappointed and if you weren't, then quite frankly you shouldn't be playing Duke Nukem - go and play Halo, you noob.
It took me 9 hours to complete Duke Nukem: Forever on the 'Let's Rock' (medium) difficulty setting. And I enjoyed every minute. Then I was rewarded with 'extras' which included original trailers, screenshots, concepts and a Duke Nukem time-line. Looking through it you remember just how much went into this game. Yes, it could (and perhaps should) have been mind-blowing, but if you were seriously expecting that then frankly you're just being unrealistic.
There are however, some unexpected elements to Duke Nukem: Forever I wasn't expecting. For instance, there are several levels where the game essentially turns into a platformer as you run Duke around trying to find a way out of a room or across to a specific objective. As an example, you enter a room and the floor is electrified, you've just recently been shrunk into a tiny Duke and have to bounce across burger buns, shelves and microwaves in order to turn the power off. There are more parts of the game like this when you're shrunk and need to combat full-sized aliens. Luring them into a shrink zone so you can fight at the same size or simply pummelling them with RPG rockets until you win. There are a few levels where you tear about in a truck (or remote control car) and even an area where you use a fork lift truck to skewer pig cops. There's plenty of variety, yet the game is most definitely a corridor-shooter in the original sense. You have one specific path through the game and cannot make your own way. This is made even more clear when you realise that you cannot escape a room without killing all the enemies inside and the last one explodes against a wall, dropping a bit of ceiling so you can escape (or some such enemy-enabled escape exit). This can be frustrating and has been done to death, but Duke is meant to be saving the earth from the alien menace, so just get stuck into character and do what you're meant to and it's thoroughly enjoyable.
It's an absoloute joy to hear Jon St. John voicing the new itteration of Duke with his usual passion and class. There's plenty of current quips, daft references to other games and classic Duke one-liners. Thoroughly enjoyable. I only wish he'd said some more of the classics. But the extra bonus is when you've completed the game you'll get a Duke Nukem soundboard - probably so you can re-enact the Duke Nukem Ventrilo Harassment video (see youtube).
In the end, as a trip down memory lane, this Duke Nukem outing was well worth the wait. It's good dirty Duke fun. Remember, no one forced you to pick that turd out of the toilet and chuck it about. Or put that rat in the microwave. You did that all yourself, you sick bastard.
n.b. I've not played the multiplayer yet - watch this space for more...
Summary: If you ignore the hype and the haters and just enjoy it for the nostalgia value,this is a classic...
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