Review by Shady

"Cool. Just cool."

Duke Nukem 3D is a first person shooter (FPS) that was released in 1996. After the success of classic FPS games such as Wolfenstein 3D and Doom, game companies across the nation were ready to try their hands at the unique genre. The developers behind Duke Nukem 3D, 3D Realms, did a great job bringing Duke into the 3D world. In fact, the game kick-started Duke's new era and has brought upon many sequels since.

The basic idea behind Duke Nukem 3D is to shoot everything in sight. Since Duke is fighting to save the world, you will encounter many unusual forms of alien enemies that need to be killed. Aliens aren't the only things that can be shot at, though - most of the environments are very interactive. If you shoot at a wall with your measly handgun, there will be bullet holes in the wall. If you shoot at it with an RPG, it will usually blow up the better portion of the wall. The interactive environments add a touch of replay value to the game.

There are nine different weapons that can be used in the game, along with Duke's 'mighty foot'. The weakest weapon is the pistol, while the freezer is arguably the best weapon. Each weapon has its own set of effects when fired. For example, if you shoot at something too close with an RPG, Duke will feel the effects of the blast and will become injured or even killed. All of the weapons are also very creative, with such artillery as 'shrinkers' (shrinks the enemies for several seconds) and the 'freezer' (freezes an enemy for a few seconds). Duke Nukem 3D isn't really a serious game, so off the wall weapons aren't out of the ordinary here.

The stages in the game all follow the same formula - find different color access cards to finish the level while killing whatever is in your way. Finding the access cards is a pretty straight forward process - most can be found fairly easily. Sometimes they can be well hidden, but just think about it for a few seconds and you will usually find them.

There are three different 'episodes' to choose from in the game - L.A. Meltdown, Lunar Apocalypse, and Shrapnel City. All of the episodes contain several different levels. Each level is very large, but they are also somewhat linear so you shouldn't get lost very often. There are also four sets of difficulty levels - Piece of Cake, Let's Rock, Come Get Some, and Damn I'm Good. The only difference in the difficulty levels is that the enemies increase from each level - in the hardest difficulty, the enemies respawn! Wonderful.

What sets Duke Nukem 3D apart from other FPS games is its adult theme. Besides all the blood and gore, there are many strippers in the game. In fact, one of the places that you must go through is a strip joint. Throw some money at the strippers and they'll flash you. The game truly earns its 'mature' rating.

Since the game was released in 1996, the visuals don't look so great anymore. Everything is incredibly pixellated, especially if you move up close to an object. Still, the game looked awesome when it was released. The enemy design is very cool, and Duke himself looks like a real badass. The blurry graphics don't really take away from the gameplay, though, so there's nothing to worry about.

Duke Nukem is widely known for his many witty comments throughout all of his games. Duke Nukem 3D is no exception - Duke is full of clever remarks. Some of them appear to be ripped off from the Evil Dead movies (''Hail to the king, baby!''), but all of them are entertaining to listen to. If you look into a mirror, Duke will remark ''Damn, I'm lookin' good'' in his deep, trademark voice. When Duke isn't saying anything, sounds of gunshots and pig snorts blare through the environment - they are the main sound effects you will hear. Music also plays during the background - it's the kind of music that makes you want to kick some ass. I really liked the sound as a whole.

Overall, Duke Nukem 3D is a marvelous FPS game that everyone should try out. I bought my copy for $10 new, which is a great deal on a great game. If you can find it for $20 or less, then definitely buy it. That is, if you aren't bothered by pixellated blood and breasts.

Best Feature: Easy to pick up and play.
Worst Feature: Dated graphics.

Final Analysis:
Graphics 6/10 - very pixellated, but awesome for its time
Sound 8/10 - several witty remarks from Duke, great music
Gameplay 8/10 - big levels, cool weapons, a lot of fun to play
Control 8/10 - CTRL used to shoot, various other buttons used for small functions
Replay Value 6/10 - fun to play through again every once in a while
Challenge 6/10 - decent challenge, but you can always start over from the last place you saved if you happen to die
Overall 8/10

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 10/07/01, Updated 10/28/01

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