It's good to be the Duke
That's right. The long-anticipated, often-delayed, nearly-dead-then-alive-again game that is Duke Nukem Forever is now on shelves (for some of us, ironically the all-American badass hit foreign shores before the USA got their hands on him). And it appears that, while the packaging has not aged well over the years, Duke himself is more than capable of throwing down with the best of 'em.
The story kicks off (quite literally) at the end of Duke Nukem 3D
, retold at the beginning via. Duke himself playing the game whilst two beautiful, provocatively dressed twins playing with, *ahem*, Duke. And they're not using controllers, if you can read between the lines. Anyway, as it turns out the aliens have returned after 12 years of absence, and the U.S. President is trying to negotiate for a peaceful solution. This being a Duke Nukem
game, you can probably guess how well that goes. Hint: Not well.
This quickly delves into a return to memory lane, though, as most of the aliens are rehashed enemies from 3D
. Kind of understandable, given that they are the same ones coming back for more ass-kicking, but a little more variety would have gone down a treat. It's not all bad, though, as they now drop their guns which means you can kill them with their own hardware. The Pigcops now also have a larger variety of weapons, meaning that you won't have to be stuck with umpteen billion dropped shotguns (Again, not a bad thing anyway, the shotgun is awesome).
Same deal with the weapons, actually. Most of the ones in 3D
make it to Forever
, with two exceptions: the Expander (As seen in Duke Nukem 3D: Atomic Edition
), and the Mighty Foot, which does get a shout out by being the name of Duke's monster truck.
Yes, Duke drives in this game. These driving sections, however, are pretty much token actions, being nothing more than brief distractions from the bang-bang shooty fun of the regular gameplay. Most are even merely used to help solve some of the puzzles thrown into the game to also be a distraction from the bang-bang shooty fun. The monster truck mentioned above is an exception, as it runs out of gas so often you don't really get much of a break from the bang-bang shooty fun.
And it is the same Duke you know from Duke Nukem 3D
. The same wisecrack spouting, lady smittening, ass kicking Duke you know from many years ago. His ability to spout off references to Starship Troopers
as well as making fun of Halo
simply helps cement him as the closet-geek-slash-testosterone-powerhouse
he has always been.
He's even as egotistical as he was, which is where the regenerating-health mechanic kicks in. Duke is so egotistical, a blow to his image of himself hurts more than any bullet. Fortunately, Duke can permanently inflate his ego by performing morale-boosting actions such as taking out bosses, winning at Pinball or Air Hockey, taking a whizz and pumping iron. Even better, you can do curls with some dumbells, then toss them at a pigcop and watch him tumble.
The graphics are not the most spectacular out there, with noticable pop-in and texture issues occasionally, particularly during the first few levels. It gets better as you go along, but it can really set you off at the start.
Which doesn't nearly matter when you consider the game's main strength: it is incredibly immersive. The various developers that had their hands in this particular proverbial broth seem to have really raised the bar on animations-boosting-immersion. You will never feel like you're just telling Duke to go somewhere and shoot that, you'll really feel like you ARE the Duke, in all his hyper-testosterone, ass kicking glory.
Given the frankly bile-loaded reactions from people who, like me, share the fortune to have been able to get the game on the non-American release date, this fact is lost on a lot of people. They simply can't look past the graphical issues and lose themselves in the experience.
And for this, I pity them.
Hail to the King, baby.