Review by transam

"Jetpacs, explosions and chicks oh my!"

Duke Nukem 3D came pre-quake and in my opinion was better than quake. It was more playable, more fun and had fun goodies to add to the experience.

Instead of cloning Doom’s atmospheric brilliance Duke seems to focus on making filling its maps with the everyday. You really get the idea, in the first and third stages, that you’re on earth. There are well designed textures for buildings, shops, cars and street lamps etc. Sounds for sirens, water and other ambient effects are used very well. The maps are well designed with good progression and puzzles, but not so hard as to frustrate you. Secret areas are fun to find.

The graphics and sound all look good for the time, and still looks good now. It doesn’t have to be SVGA polygon 3D to make a game fun. It will run on a Pentium 75 quite well.

The badguys aren’t all that inspiring though. The cats & pigs don’t match the other-worldy appeal of Doom’s Zombies and Imps but it fits the cartoonish plot and game style. Duke isn’t for getting immersed in, as Doom was, but for getting in and having fun. That’s where the game excels.

Among your weapons are a freaky shrinker, a serious piece of rocket launching equipment and some fun time delay stuff in the form of trip-bombs and switch triggered pipe bombs. With the addition of a water environment to swim in and a jetpac for flying around you get a real 3d feel. Quake’s water was technically better, but tended to annoy.

Duke nukem has a sense of the ridiculous. The ‘chicks’ thing is too tongue in cheek to be genuinely offensive. The end of level baddies are way too massive, and pretty powerful to boot. Imagine being able to play as one of them in dukematch mode! Infact duke match is hours of fun given the variety of weapons and tricks the dukes can get up to.

The atomic edition cam with 4 levels. A great ‘on earth’ mission with shops, water, a spooky canyon and a secret space rocket launchpad levels. There is a well designed space mission with space station and moon maps, and another ‘on earth’ mission which ends in a football stadium shoot out. The fourth mission introduces a new alien, the expander gun and some more well designed levels.

Overall you have a great game, which can still (2001) be found on budget labels, with ongoing support from the net. The build engine that comes with the game lets you build maps on the fly in 3d mode! There are thousands and thousands of maps and modifications on the web, even total conversions that can be amazing. Duke Nukem lives on!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 04/26/01, Updated 04/26/01

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