Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition Review (PC)
Duke Nukem 3D Megaton Edition is a re-release of the 1996 original Duke Nukem 3D. For those of you that don’t know about Duke Nukem 3D, it is a first person shooter. It was one of the first FPS that didn’t have a silent main character, but one that spoke and even swore. It was the reason that Duke Nukem Forever was such a big deal when it was finally released, and why it was also a massive disappointment.
The game is split into four episodes with each episode split into different levels. The objective of each level is simple: get to the end of the level without dying. What set Duke Nukem 3D apart form others games at the time was that there were different routes that players could take. Some routes require the player to find key cards to unlock doors, while others require the player to destroy terrain to progress. The level design still holds up to this day with the game containing some of the best levels in any FPS. Each level contains many hidden areas which makes exploring them fun. The levels feel alive and fresh as Duke can interact with the environments. If there’s a switch, Duke can flip it, if there’s a button Duke can push it. Hell, if there’s a toilet Duke can piss in it! In one level there is even a pool table that you are able to pot the balls.
The game controls like any other FPS, though Duke moves as if he was Master Chief on steroids. His normal running speed is faster than most games sprint modes, and he can jump twice his own height. Unlike most modern FPS games that limit the player to two weapons at a time Duke has no carry limit. No wonder he knocked back the Spartan armor in Duke Nukem Forever! This game has some of the best weapons that can be found in any FPS. Unlike most games there are no duds. All the guns are both effective and satisfying to use. It has conventional weapons like pistols and shotguns which are used mostly in the early levels. It also has weapons like the shrink ray that shrinks enemies down so that you can squish them with your boot. The best weapon has to be the devastator. A shoulder mounted rocker launcher than can launch hundreds of rockets in a few seconds.
Unlike modern first person shooters which are rendered in 3D using polygons, Duke Nukem 3D uses a 2D engine that gives the appearance of 3D. Even so, the games environments still look decent, though obviously a bit dated. It does look like that you are moving through a 3D environment. What hasn’t aged well are the 2D sprite objects in the game. From enemies to the toilets, they do look out of place. No mater what angle that you look at them they always face you head on. Add in the fact that enemies only have a few frames of animation it sometimes seems like your being attacked by poor quality gif images. Though this Megaton Edition does not improve the quality of the games graphics, it does render the game in HD. It gives a unique look at how a game from seventeen years ago would look if they supported 1080p at the time.
The sound quality does show its age as Duke voice overs sound as if its a voice mail recording. Unlike in Duke Nukem Forever, Duke’s one liners don’t make him sound like a dick, but rather the bad-ass that he is. The music doesn’t have the same sound quality issues and still sounds good.
The Megaton Edition comes with the expansion packs Duke It Out In D.C, Duke: Nuclear Winter, and Duke Caribbean: Life’s a Beach. In Duke It Out In D.C, aliens have invaded Washington D.C and have kidnapped the president. This expansion pack is the most professional of the three and could have easily been a chapter in the original game. It contains no new weapons or enemies, but all the locations are new. The levels are well built, especially the White House which contains plenty of hidden areas to explore.
In Duke: Nuclear Winter aliens have brain washed Santa and it’s up to Duke to save him. This is the lame duck of the three expansions. Not all the levels are new as it contains a few levels from the original game. The other levels are not designed to the same standard. This expansion does contain new enemies as well as re-skining previous enemies with Christmas items.
In Duke Caribbean: Life’s a Beach the aliens have invaded the Caribbean resort that Duke is staying in. This is easily the best expansion of the three. Unlike the original games darker levels Life’s a Beach is bright and colourful. Even the enemies both old and new are dressed up for the beach. Duke’s boots are replaced with sandals, and he eats bananas instead of using med kits. All the guns have been replaced to fit the holiday theme. His pistol is now a water pistol, and his shotgun is replaced with a Super Soaker. The levels play really well, though the other holiday makers can get annoying.
Duke Nukem 3D Megaton Edition is the definitive version of Duke Nukem 3D. If you were a fan of the original and want to give it another go then get this version. Duke Caribbean : Life’s a Beach alone is worth the purchase. The levels are still as fun as they were 17 years ago. The weapons are still some of the best you’ll find in any game. If you haven’t played Duke Nukem 3D before but enjoy FPS games that play like Halo then give it a try. For all you Modern Warfare kids though this game wont be for you. Not like that would be a problem as your probably not old enough to play Duke Nukem 3D anyway!
8 Asses kicked without bubblegum out of 10