Duke Nukem 3D
Category likeness to » DOS games. Added to Authentic Society 5 years ago.
Duke Nukem 3D is a popular 3D-shooter computer game developed by 3D Realms and released on January 29, 1996 by Apogee Software. I searched the internet for a good Duke Nukem 3D game review and was surprised that there really are not many such sites. Sure they mention some details and how great Duke Nukem 3D is, that it is better than Doom, that it has a lot of action and of course, hookers. Who can forget those anyway? But back to the point. I felt that as any game of substance, Duke Nukem 3D deserves a lengthy and detailed review. After all, this game holds an important place in the history of the video game entertainment industry.
The classic first level starts with the hero landing on the roof of a building in Los Angeles with a hand gun. After blowing up the containers with an explosive substance, Duke jumps into the broken duct passage and finds himself on the floor level of the street where he is instantly attacked by cop pigs. This association is not incidental, the game is packed with many humorous situations such as finding a dead marine from the game Doom in one of the secret areas of the first level, opening the door of the bathroom stall only to find an alien sitting on the toilet and reading a paper. Not to mention, the game is packed with hookers who will take their accessories off when the player comes up to them and presses the "Use" key. At that instant, you will see Duke's hand changing to holding a dollar bill instead of the gun. You can say that the designers of this game were very detail-oriented. The game has made a huge impact on the popular computer culture in the early 90s.
In the first level you gain an entry to a movie theater, also packed with pig-cops that seem to be heavily guarding the city. The player needs to get into the reel room and start the movie. You will actually see a short, repetitive movie on the screen of the movie theater! Aside from that, there are flying pigs, crouching pigs, pigs with double barrel shot-guns and lots of aliens to spare some lead on. Throughout the game Duke makes funny comments that were actually borrowed from the movie Army of Darkness. Some of the other comments are more relevant to the story of the game and basically give the player an insight into what's going on as far as the plot for the current level goes. However, this is an action game, and the story is as mindless as an action movie from Hollywood. There is usually such a comment at the beginning of every new level. For example at the beginning of one of the levels Duke says, "It's time to kick some ass and chew bubble-gum... and I'm all out of gum".
Even though not as realistic as Doom's, the graphics of Duke Nukem 3D are pretty cool and there is little to criticize about its visual appeal. The wall textures are detailed and well made by the graphic artists, whether it is the LA panoramic skybox in the classic first level, the sand and rocks in the desert, the underwater stages or the space ship interior design. In the consequent levels, some of the themes for the game are inspired by HR Giger's designs for the movie Alien. This can be said about many other games, for example Half Life. In Duke Nukem 3D however, we see familiar alien technology-like textures and an occasional appearance of a woman trapped in a caccoon asking duke to kill her to spare the pain. If you ask me, this is very similar to one of the Aliens movie in which living people were integrated into some kind of an alien tissue near the alien queen's lair.
The weapons. Duke starts with a hand-gun of some sorts of no realistic design in particular. This is the basic weapon. There is a heavy duty rocket launcher that can be found in the first level if you jump up the wall into the secret room (where you can find even more goodies) and then jump up to an adjacent wall. Believe me, it is there, and it works well against those annoying pigs found at the entrance of the movie theater. Going in there with the basic gun can prove to be challenging for someone with not a lot of experience with the game especially when the difficulty level is high.
The sound effects are above average and the tone of each sound defines the atmosphere for the entire game. The scream of the enemies, the weapon sounds, doors and switches, all are very well done sound effects. Not to mention the famous phrases uttered by Duke. When you come up to a game table in a game room from the first level in the game and press the "Use" key next to a game of Duke Nukem, Duke says "I don't have time to play with myself". These details and unique elements that didn't need to be there, but their addition into the game has surely contributed to the classic status of the game. This is how software entertainment should be done.
The game is highly entertaining and the controls are easy. The learning curve is not very steep and the player jumps right into the action within the first few seconds of the game. There is a final boss at the end of each level that gives Duke a bit of trouble. Some of the bosses have speech lines, others don't. You can also find special items like the holo-duke which is a deceiving hologram of the main character that confuses the enemies and makes them attack the hologram instead of the hero himself. Some of the elements of the game show the detail and care of the designers and programmers who created this classic. For example, in some of the rooms you will find a pool table. While completely unimportant to the game plot or functionality, you can "play pool" by shooting at the balls on the table.
Many-a-gamer have played hours of Duke Nukem 3D. I recommend playing this game, especially if you are a 3D shooter game designer and are looking to borrow some ideas from a true DOS classic. If you haven't seen or heard of it before, it is a sin not to play it. A must-play by any definition.
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