Did you miss me?
Hello Duke Nukem fans! It's been a while since I last visited the N64 for some righteous ass-kicking. For a while I even thought about abandoning the Nintendo as a wimp system, because of that last lame Duke Nukem 64 game. But the Duke doesn't give up easily, and I've come back, this time with an all new time-travelling, alien-blasting adventure. Sound familiar? It is.
Those pesky aliens just never learn. Fine by me; I'm a patient teacher with a 12-guage ruler for slappen' them on the wrist. This time, they've attacked New York, and they've even brought a time machine along with them… again. Their plan is to monkey with earth's past and enslave the human race while the weapons are still weak and when I'm not there to twist their little alien heads off. No way I'm gonna let any alien take a bite out of the Big Apple. So it looks like it's Time To Kill.
Oops. My mistake. I got confused for a sec. Duke Nukem: Zero Hour is a totally original game, and not a remake of Time To Kill. Sure, they're both third person Duke games where I travel around in time blasting aliens, but the similarity ends there. Zero Hour is much more like the original Duke Nukem 3D and the little 3D Duke sometimes looks more like a bit of an afterthought. Unlike those other Lara-style games, I can't even really interact with environment at all; just run, shoot and jump. It feels just like a first person shooter. Been there, done that.
The graphics are pretty good for the Nintendo. They removed the lame sprite enemies from Duke Nukem 64 and replaced just about everything with 3D objects. You can see a fair distance ahead before the fog takes over, and the framerate is respectable. However, the graphics, especially the framerate, take a nosedive if you don't have the RAM expansion pack.
The level design is pretty average. The environments are nice and take you through modern New York, the Wild Wild West (without rap), and an apocalyptic future of alien design. Far too often, however, I found myself scouring empty levels, just looking for that crack in the wall that I missed, or that obscure last jump, so that I could finally get back to the fightin'. The Duke doesn't like to be kept from killin' things.
But who cares about that boring crap? Let's go down the official Duke Nukem checklist:
Guns - Check. Always gotta start with those beautiful tools of destruction. Zero Hour features a whopping array of 19 different ones: from the classic Colt .45 revolver, to spectacular alien death-rays.
Aliens - Check. Got a full brood of 27 aliens to contend with. Some of them look awfully similar, but they're all here: the lizardy ones, the pig cops (who don't look as much like pigs as they used to), the big floaty ones, some new human zombies, brood 'hatchlings', and plenty of drone sentries that do the dirty work for lazy aliens.
Crude Jokes - Check. The Duke ain't lost his sense of humor, and I've still got plenty of zingers for the whole family . . . well, maybe just half of the family. From Lewinski's Clam Juice to Mr. Plough, Zero hour is chock full of low humor and obscure Simpson's trivia.
Babes - Only partial credit here. There are babes, but they don't look very good, and they don't move. There's also no way to offer them any money! Chicks love that, and the Duke is known to be generous, but I still couldn't get a single babe to lift a finger, much less give me a show. This is one lame strip club.
That's the end of my list, and the whole story on Zero Hour. It's a hard game, which is good - blasting alien scum was never easy. But, it's a pretty un-original game too. You're still gonna have to do better, GT software designers. That pansy-ass Bond still has a better game than I do.