Review by Tom Clark

Reviewed: 10/20/01 | Updated: 10/20/01

The best Duke game in a long time.

What can I say? This game is superb! I was lucky enough to get it for Christmas in 1999, and I still come back to play it every few weeks! Although it lacks the depth of Game Boy Color games such as Pokemon or the Zelda Oracle games, this is still way up there in the 'best Game Boy Color games' list. Read on as I try to explain why.

This is old-school Duke and no mistake. The one-liners are gone, the first person view is gone, the Tomb Raider-esque style of recent Playstation offerings is gone..... This is back - to - basics, platform / shooting action. And darned good it is, too.

I lost count of how many levels there are in this game, but believe me there are loads. Most levels are huge, too. It's quite easy to find yourself lost when playing this game, although don't take that as a criticism: the near-perfect gameplay means that exploring the spaceships and military bases of the game is a sheer joy. While exploring the levels the more eagle-eyed gamers may find letters in hidden (or not so hidden in the early levels' case) places. Collect all five in a level to spell out N-U-K-E-M and at the end of the level you are rewarded with an extra life. Trust me, you'll need it. The game can be saved after each level, and the game boasts a large number of save files, so you can have several games on the go at once. Trust me, you'll want to do this.

There are also several different weapons at your disposal, including the standard shotgun, a flamethrower and a powerful bazooka. Although weapons collected can't be taken to the next level with you, most are available in each stage: you just need to find them! In some levels it is even possible to get behind powerful machine-cannons that are fixed to the ground. Little touches like this add just that little extra hint of quality to the game.

The levels are also quite varied. Although most stick to the simple platforms 'n' guns action, you'll occasionally face a screen-filling boss, or take to the skies in an R-Type-style shooting level. There's even a level that sees Duke get behind the wheel of a tank. Great stuff!

The plot in Duke Nukem is clichèd stuff: Duke is about to make a TV appearance when he is abducted by aliens. Therefore he sets out to kick their extraterrestrial butt, and possibly even save the world for good measure. But the plot is very much second fiddle to the action, so this hackneyed storyline can be forgiven.

The game is well presented, too. The graphics are bold and colourful, and full of nice little touches - for example, if a zombie takes you by the throat, shooting it in the stomach rips it in half, and it's legs walk away a few paces before falling over. The sound, too is very impressive for the humble GBC.

All in all this is a truly outstanding game, although due to it's virtual disappearance from game stores after only a few months it seems that this game really didn't sell well. So to all of you who didn't buy it, shame on you! Just don't do the same when the promised GBA sequel hits the shelves, or I'll have to send the Duke round!

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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