Duke Nukem 64Duke 64 still retains the incredible level design
and great weapons and item selection of the original.
Publisher: GT Interactive|
Genre: First-Person Shooter
I ain t afraid of no Quake. One of Duke s one-liners in the LA Rumble level best describes what to expect from GT Interactive s latest first-person shooter, Duke Nukem 64. The giant PC hit from two years ago is finally available for the Nintendo 64, and all in all, it s a pretty smashing conversion.
The game is essentially a sci-fi parody that casts you in the role of the smart-talking action-hero stereotype, Duke Nukem, who returns to Earth to find the planet taken over by aliens. From there, players are thrown into a first-person action fest -- jumping, ducking, strafing, and most of all, blowing pig-faced alien monsters to bits. When it first came out on PCs, Duke managed to stand out from the glut of Doom-clones with its blatant macho humor, solid graphics and intelligent level layouts. Luckily, those elements all transferred beautifully to the N64, despite some minor adjustments by Nintendo s censors.
Gameplay: Players shoot their way through tons of well-designed levels, from the streets of LA to a distant space station, and then into the heartland of alien territory. You can walk into all directions, strafe sideways, look up and down, jump, duck, and shoot. Unlike in games like Doom or Turok, the use of items is actually a key element to making it through the levels. For example, you will have to find scuba gear to breathe underwater, use medipacks, switch on nightvision goggles to find secret passages and even take to the sky with a jet pack. In a nod to Total Recall, Duke even lets you create a decoy of yourself with the Holo-Duke, distracting enemies long enough to shoot them in the back.
Duke 64 features over 30 levels, some from the original Duke, and some from the optional Plutonium Pack. There are tons of challenging puzzles that elevate the game beyond the usual get the key and get out playing style of the genre. Sometimes you have to find a grenade launcher to shoot a hole into a wall, key in code sequences to blow up a building, shrink yourself to fit into a tiny passage, or lure enemies to a certain spot to set off a laser bomb system.
Most of the weapons from the original Duke game make a return in Duke 64, but the Ripper Chaingun, the Devastator, and the Freeze-Ray have been replaced them with John-Woo-style sub-machine guns (one in each hand), the Expander (makes people, well, I don t know how else to put it, pop ), a chargeable plasma cannon, and a grenade launcher. Add to that pipe-bombs, laser trip mines, heat-seeking missiles, and the ever-popular shrink-ray, and you know the action in Duke can get pretty intense.
Control: Turok fans will be happy about the default setup (move with the C-Buttons, look around with the control stick), and GoldenEye players can change the control to the more conventional analog movement. Using the D-Pad to switch weapons and icons and L to activate them may seem awkward at first, but becomes quickly second nature.
Graphics: Forget Hexen. Duke 64 runs at fast framerates without the much-lamented fog found in some N64 games. The graphics are pretty similar to the PC version, however, bi-linear filtering gets rid of the nasty pixelation. Unfortunately, the textures are sometimes dreadfully low-res, which can be very disorienting when in close (especially in multiplayer modes). The environments are all polygonal, with sprite objects, guns and enemies.Although the animation is just as bad as in the original Duke, there is one notable improvement over the original: The explosions have been greatly pumped up with some cool polygonal effects, and even leave smoke lingering in the air.
Sound: There are tons of one-liners and sampled sound effects in Duke 64, from Rip em a new one! to Owww, does it hurt? Explosions and ambient effects are well-done, although audio-maniacs will detect some breaks and crackling in the sounds (especially when they are looped). While that s just nit-picking, one disappointment to me was the exclusion of any music during gameplay. The cool title track raises hopes for more classic Duke tunes in the levels -- but Eurocom decided to leave them out in favor of ambient sounds and voice samples. In the end, the game doesn t really suffer by the omission, but I have to admit that I greatly enjoyed the PC midi tracks and was hoping for more.
Options: You can switch on a crosshair for improved aiming (do this!), use auto aim, and even get rid of friendly fire and blood. You can save your game to a controller pak and explosions will rumble your controller (if you have a Rumble Pak).
New Additions: Apart from the explosions, a true 3D polygon engine, a polygonal boss, and some new weapons, Duke 64 also has slightly changed level setups. There are some new secrets and (necessitated by Nintendo s censorship of sex, religion and alcohol related themes) graphically altered locations. For example, the porn mag shop turned into a gun store, the bar turned into a burger joint, and the nude women turned into partially clothed women. It s not really as bad as it sounds, though. There is still all of the violence and plenty of potty-humor (the movie theater plays a film called Uranus Attacks and you can of course go to the bathroom), and some of the changes are actually for the better. Posters on walls range from jokes about 12 Monkeys, Clockwork Orange and Apocalypse Now, to obvious puns about your gun.
Also, instead of shooting women, you now have to save them. This may turn off some die-hard Duke fanatics, but it does add a new twist to the game. Although some things were left out (such as mirror reflections) the environment is highly interactive. You can play with the pool table, drink from toilets, switch on lights, and you still leave tracks when you walk through puddles of blood ( Time to make tracks ). Too bad the cool lighting effects from the Saturn version didn t make the cut.
Multiplayer: Duke 64 features multiplayer death match battles for up to four players, and even a two-player co-op mode that lets you fight side by side against the alien maggots. The co-op mode is a worthy addition, but the restrictive split screens (even in the two player modes) limit your field of view quite a lot. In the end, multiplayer turn out to be surprisingly less playable than in GoldenEye, partially because of the blurry textures, but also because of Duke s narrow field of view. The good news is that Duke 64 offers all of the one-player levels in multiplayer and even adds some original ones exclusively for death matches. Another cool feature is the ability to switch on Duke Bots, computer drones that take over when there are not enough human players available. While they are pretty stupid and get stuck in doors once in a while (ugh, ugh, ugh, agh, agh), it does add more depth to the game.
Overall: Duke 64 may be late (GoldenEye beats it in everything but speed), but it still retains the incredible level design and great weapons and item selection of the original. Eurocom did a great job with the 3D engine, the one-player mode is fantastic, and the polygonal weapons effects (one-player mode only) are a sight to behold. Unfortunately, the multiplayer modes are bogged by the limited visibility, but turn out to be quite fun when all players know the levels by heart. Duke Nukem 64 is definitely a better and much more intense shooter than Hexen and Doom 64, and currently the best N64 game whith a two-player co-op mode. If you don t already own the PC or Saturn version of Duke, do yourself a favor and get it. A solid and fast conversion of an awesome PC title.
1. Matt's Duke Nukem 3D Page 2. Michael's Duke Nukem 3D Site 3. Tek's Duke Nukem 3D World 4. The Duke 3D Pond 5. *Psycho's Nuclear Gaming Zone* 6. Andyman's Duke Page 7. Yellopee's Duke Nukem Page 8. DaDuck's Pond - Online Gaming Guide 9. Aadvark's Duke3d Page 10. Hairy Rumps Elite Duke Nukem Maps 11. Sleepalot's Duke Nukem3D Site 12. SOME-ONE ELSE's Cool Duke3d Page! 13. J-BIRDS BIRDCAGE 14. Arjan's Duke Nukem 3D Site 15. Jesse's Duke Nukem Forever 16. Chris's Duke Nukem 3D Page 17. DOOMED SPACE MARINES 18. Duke Lacasse's page 19. The Duke3D Clan (DUI) Homepage 20. DSM Homepage #2 21. Paul' Duke Nukem 3D Page 22. Killer7011's Levels 23. Lee's HomePage 24. Inferno's Duke Nukem Home Page 25. Dan's Gaming Alley 26. Ww Solo wW - Duke Nukem Levels 27. Debo2's Duke 3d Domain 28. Reality Bytes Home Page 29. Woj's Duke Nukem Page 30. KaNuCkZ Killah Duke 3d zite