Review by friendlydude

Reviewed: 03/05/07

Time to kill this game

In my seemingly never-ending journey to discover old Playstation shooters, I arrive to Duke Nukem: Time to Kill. Even though the graphics are really weak (*much* weaker than the reviews led me to believe- hey it's 2007 after all, and the game was released 9 years ago) and the play control is about as bad as it can possibly get (easily comparable to Syphon Filter's annoying control system) just running around the streets blasting overweight, poorly-animated cops offers a pleasant way to pass the time. Okay, it's not exactly the biggest thrill I've ever had in a shooting game, but it's nowhere near the worst experience either. Time to Kill has a couple bright spots scattered throughout a mostly below-average game.

As I mention above- the animations and the graphics are clunky, old and therefore, uninspiring to the extreme. After playing Medal of Honor and MDK on the Playstation, I can't believe this Duke Nukem game came out in 1998. It LOOKS like it came out in about 1995/early 1996, when the Playstation was in the process of finding its innovative little self (which as we know, happened as early as 1997 with games like Resident Evil and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night).

It will definitely take a while to learn the controls in Duke Nukem: Time to Kill. In my experience with the game, there seems to be a LOT of moves such as rolling around, a quick turn-around button, and sidestepping. Some of them are probably unnecessary and only added to give Nukem fans something to cheer about to make up for the mediocre graphics. Most of them aren't very difficult to pull off. The difficulty lies in just trying to remember all the important moves.

Even though the graphics are quite grainy and unappealing, and the animations from the cops shooting and walking around are about as ugly and choppy as it gets (including Duke himself) there's actually an option in the game where you can speed up the gameplay, which means, if you allow the speed to go all the way up, you can actually run by enemies so quickly that any problems with framerate issues will suddenly go out the window.

However, many times zooming by an enemy is the wost thing you can do because they will always find a way to continue blasting at you from behind. This means, as you turn around to try and locate the enemy who is shooting like a maniac in your direction, sometimes a good 50% of your energy can be gone in an instant. So the best thing is to memorize where each enemy is located and prepare ahead of time for their presence.

Even then, many times the difficulty switches up in a matter of seconds and goes from pretty easy to insanely unfair. One minute an alien is shooting bullets that only drain a little bit of energy, and then, in the very next room, you might find yourself in front of some overweight cop who happens to have a gun where each bullet drains a good 10% of your health. Sometimes you might even come across a bunch of cops on the same screen that all have these devastating bullets in their possession. This makes the challenge go WAY up high.

Also, many times as you try and finish off an enemy as quickly as you can, they somehow ALWAYS manage to shoot at you first. If this keeps happening, and no health is anywhere to be found, you will eventually die. This is another big problem. It's unfair how many times I do everything in my power to kill the alien or cop as soon as I spot one on screen, and yet, they *still* get a few shots in. It's not like I can wait for them to walk towards me like in Medal of Honor. You have to go up to them and shoot, which is almost guaranteed to drain your health.

Honestly, if you've played Syphon Filter, the grainy graphics and confusing control system are so much alike it's not even funny. Or maybe it is, in an unintentional way. However, whereas Syphon Filter was almost impossibly hard to make any progress whatsoever, Duke Nukem at least allows you to complete a few levels without much of a problem. Important powerups such as ammo and health are located everywhere (at least, on the "Wussy" difficulty they are) making the challenge more appealing to a bigger variety of gaming fans. After all, if a game is challenging to the point where you can't make any progress whatsoever, the game won't stick around in your Playstation very long.

However, I simply cannot and WILL NOT defend the horrible way Duke jumps straight up in the air. It's *so* unattractive, and there's a split second delay from when you hit the jump button to when he actually jumps. I don't like it. This is one area of the game that definitely needed some work before the game was released. Maybe taking a few notes from Nintendo and the Mario series might have been in this game companies best interest. As it stands, it's probably about as awful and difficult to master as it gets.

Most of the challenge lies in just trying to get Duke to walk accurately towards the necessary location. Many times, turning left or right is easier said than done. It's especially annoying when you continue to get stuck to the side of a building or dumpster (or even the wall itself). When you get stuck, you stop walking completely, so you have to walk back and try again. Now imagine getting stuck in one of these situations and having to deal with a distant cop firing bullets at you nonstop. Yikes!

I think with practice you WILL find a way to get used to it, though. It might take about an hour to learn the controls, or at least reach a point where you're at least a *little* comfortable with them. At the end of the day however, if you like violent shooting games with plenty of blood, you might want to look elsewhere because, in my opinion, it's not worth the time or effort learning how to properly control Duke because it really is *that* much of a pain.

If I haven't mentioned it yet, the stages are pretty dark and hard to see where you're going. I also hate swimming around. The controls were made so when you hit the up button to swim up, you actually swim down. When aiming your gun, the up and down buttons are reversed again. It's the same way in Crash Bandicoot 3 and Spyro the Dragon. It wasn't that big of a deal in those games, but in Duke Nukem: Time to Kill, you already have *so* many moves to remember, that having to remember to hit the up button when you want to swim down is just another pain in the butt.

You have objectives for each level. If you want to know what they are, just press the Start button and they will be there for you to read. I also have to mention that I like some of the things Duke says when he reaches an important item. When he picks up a health pack for example, he says "I feel good". The way Duke says that line it's like he's about to start breaking out into the classic James Brown hit. The game has some nice humor thrown into the mix. Duke has a lot of lines. It also features some hot babes!

I'd laugh if someone tried convincing me Duke Nukem: Time to Kill was a lost Playstation classic. It's a pretty forgettable game that hasn't aged well.

Rating:   2.5 - Playable

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