“ Duke Nukem 2 - Full game. Duke Nukem 3D - 6 Level Version Only. & Terminal Velocity - 9 Level Version Only. „
On the budget-looking box of 'Duke Nukem Plus', Focus Multimedia promise "3 Awesome Titles!". And they're right - 'Duke Nukem II', 'Duke Nukem 3D' and 'Terminal Velocity' are all great titles. What a shame that the games - if you can call them that - behind the titles are so awful.
Well, to be fair, it's not the games that are awful as such, but rather the entire package. The way this boxset is marketed is misleading and I'm pretty sure bordering on illegal. I remember buying it when I was younger, thinking I was on to a cracking deal, and being disappointed and peeved at what was actually in this box. Let me explain.
Duke Nukem II is a side-scrolling shoot 'em up originally released in 1993 by Apogee Software. Duke, for those who don't know, is a bad ass with a crewcut, apparently born to save the world through the application of heavy weaponry and witty one-liners. This is typical classic shoot 'em up fare - pick up one of four guns and blow down the aliens and robots preventing you from reaching the end of the level, breaking crates and picking up soda cans to keep your energy levels up. Not bad, really - not the most revolutionary game nowadays, or even in 1993, but it's ok as part of a three game bundle, right? Well, it would be, but Duke Nukem II is the only complete game in this collection. That's right, the side-scrolling relic from '93 is the only complete, beginning-to-end game in this package.
Duke Nukem 3D is a brilliant experience and should have been the main selling point, with the other two games simply surrounding it and sweetening the deal. But what Focus Multimedia have done here is taken a classic gaming moment and turned it into a rip-off. Duke Nukem 3D is a first person shooter, an evolution of the gameplay style of Doom, which matches intelligent level design with crude comical moments (visiting a strip club, or urinating in a public bathroom) and voice actor John St. Jon's wonderful one-liners ("Hail to the king!", "Those alien bastards shot up my ride!", "Fire in the hole... asshole"... I can still remember them ten years on). The full version of Duke 3D is an absolute joy to play, and I recommend it to anybody, but this isn't the full version. It's a piddly six level shareware version. That's right - shareware. You've just bought something that could have been downloaded for free a decade ago. And, to make things worse, you thought you were buying the proper game. What a rip.
Termical Velocity is the last chapter in this god-awful Bible of Lame, and you guessed it, it's a shareware version. Nine levels. A 3D flight sim, Terminal puts you in the cockpit of the TV-202 starfighter which fights in a war which includes Earth vs. the rest of the universe. It has nothing to do with Duke Nukem, or even games like Duke Nukem, so that throws the theme of the pack out of the window. I guess it was included because it was cheap. Not a bad game at all, but again let down by its incompleteness.
I would live to sit here and talk about Terminal Velocity's levels and Duke Nukem's brilliant array of weapons and secrets, but my enthusiasm for the genuine articles might accidentally lead to some of you wanting to buy this. And I don't recommend that at all. In fact, the only positive thing I can say about this is that it's near very difficult to buy it nowadays. If you do insist on trying it out, you'll need to run it through DOS or an old computer. Please don't. You can download your own shareware, and a complete copy of Duke Nukem 3D can be bought for just about any console for around a fiver.
What a rip-off.