Review by VmprHntrD
"Remember Duke before 3D, I do, and this works well with that."
Duke Nukem, if you own a PC or any of the 32 and 64bit consoles you know him. To many though who learned of this foul tempered potty mouthed mercenary alien blaster he is one of the most entertaining 1st person shooter characters. To many who have had a PC for quite a long time knew that before he was a crank with a gun in a 3D world he came from a 2D side scrolling game series of two games with multiple chapters divided down into areas. To even the lesser in the knew he originally even spelled his last name as Nukum, yes with a u. A long story short after way too many years he has returned to the worlds that made him a hit on the PC. The questions though are: Does this game hold a candle to the original? Is it a fun game with a good challenge? To get the answers read below and find out.
The graphics of this latest edition of Duke Nukem in some ways mirror the beauty of the second side scroller on the PC. The first area looks quite a bit like them with the cages and glass cases with green ooze in them. In the levels you will come across pretty decently detailed and colored graphics that come from anything of the unexpected. At one moment you'll be in a brick complex, then outside, then back in a complex to drop down in something that looks like a 1950's wallpapers and furnished home. The graphics in the intro of the game are pretty neat looking, colored, and animated quite well which feels so much like the openers in the past. Every character that you will come across has some well done animations including Duke. As you can see below there are many movements for our hero such as cocking his shotgun.
The sound of Duke Nukem is extremely well done for a Gameboy Color title. The audio tracks sound pretty darn good for coming out of the Gameboy speaker. Each piece sets the mood quite well and seems almost like a toned down rock beat which does the environments well. The real gem of the audio package is not the music, but the sound as it is all digitized effects. Many of the effects are original, but also many have been borrowed straight from the second(and last) Duke Nukem side scroller adventure for the pc Duke Nukem II. Effects such as the cocking of the shotgun, the item collection sound, the effect played when you pick up power orbs are all taken from the old game. The new effects are just as impressive as well, and one set that really does stick out are Dukes own effects. When Duke takes a hit or falls far enough you will hear anything from a oof grunt to a loud screaming argh, and even a death cry as he falls over when his life is gone.
Theme & Fun
I haven't had a Gameboy Color or PC game like this since Duke Nukem II way back in the first half of the 1990s. The theme of all Dukes games though have him fighting off aliens that have taken over something, or have kidnapped Duke. In this latest adventure Duke is at a talk show talking to the host when he is tractor beamed away to an alien craft in orbit. These beings have decided that today is a good day for world domination and Duke could be a problem. To solve that problem and advance their cause they want to scoop out his brain and put it in their greatest war machine to power it. Duke of course shoots his mouth off and is teleported into a cell. Laughing Duke then pulls out his "explodo-molar" and blows away the wall of his cell and this is where the game starts off for the player. With the diversity of weapons, aliens, paths to take, bonuses, and more this game will retain a high values of fun in this alien squashing themed game.
The play control of Duke Nukem is quite tight and I feel has probably the best control of any of his side scrolling adventures. Duke can run, jump, grab on to ledges, fire a gun, and use weapons of mass destruction. When Duke grabs a firearm he can shoot in 7 directions which is key to keeping him alive in many cases. Fortunatley grabbing onto ledges in this game is quite accurate and easy to do as you only need to aim for a ledge and make sure the hands over his head hit it. Duke can also take control of such things as a tank and an alien rocket ship. Both these can fire at different ranges and move in as many directions allowed for such a device.
The challenge of the Duke Nukem games, including this title is pretty darn good. This game is nothing that you will just be able to barrel through in like 4 to 6 hours and wonder why you dumped $20-$30 dollars on it. With all the aliens and their attacks it will be hard to keep Duke healthy, let alone alive after just a few levels. While there are quite a few small and a couple large health restorers around they won't keep you alive without strategy. Fortunatley unlike sadly many Gameboy Color games this one does not use a crappy password system to save. This game gives you a battery, but in a very uncharacteristic twist gives you 10, YES 10 save slots! And trust me now when I say you will need these save slots so use them every chance you get.
Replay Value and Closing Notes:
Duke Nukem is everyones favorite merc alien ass kicker since the early 1990s on the PC. After a great deal of years he went to 3D and back to 2D again on the Gameboy Color. Because of the plot you are given, the options, and things of the unique and not so unique nature you will come across this has some great replay value. Given that you have 10 save slots you could save each level or two from the game in another slot so you can enjoy them over and over again at any given time.
Duke Nukem is an old favorite of mine from his original outting on the PC. Sadly today on the modern PC Duke Nukum I(yes it was spelled that way) won't work anymore. Duke Nukem II does and if you can still buy it from Apogee, now 3D Realms do get it. But in all seriousness get this game first and have a real fun time as it will last, then get the PC prequel as you won't regret it.
Overall Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 08/23/04
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