Duke Nukem Forever

Duke Nukem Forever, long thought of as the ultimate vapourware, is finally on the way, and a demo is available via Duke’s First Access Club.. I got a key thanks to my copy of Borderlands 🙂

I played Duke Nukem 3D back when that was new, when my access to multiplayer back then was via LAN.. which meant very few people to play against.  This led to frustration, as I knew nobody else who wanted to play as often or for as long as I did, especially if I did too well.  There was a good selection of weapons, steroids for speed boosts, multiple routes around the map and little secret areas.. and the jet pack and a hologram device used to pop out a hologram of Duke as a distraction were fun and great for getting the jump on a rival, and usually the reason for me doing so well.

The game had very little in terms of story.. aliens invading, humans being mutated, Duke being the only one able to save the world..  so the single-player was about shooting aliens and mutated pig-cops, with Duke’s random comments and references to popular films here and there too.

So.. the demo.. starting off, I find myself being taught how to use a urinal..
Done with “pissing around”, as the first joke has it, I decided to try interacting with everything else I came across.. a little indiscriminately.. which is how I found myself flinging poo in the shower room.  Duke wasn’t too happy.. “What am I, a chimpanzee?”!

The graphics are better than I expected, though I guess they’ll have been undergoing tweaks throughout development, and the sounds are pretty good too.. but the jump animation.. uh, wow.  Disappointingly bad. 🙁

Outside of the shower block there were soldiers preparing themselves for the enemy.. they ran off as I headed towards them, leaving me to discover that I could draw on the tactics whiteboard while the remaining Marine cheered me on.

I left this room and headed out down the tunnel, where I got a glimpse of the enemy before he fired a rocket into the tunnel and collapsed it.  In the next corridors I met more marines and was given a dual-rocket gun before being let out onto the field to face the Cycloid, a one-eyed rocket-firing beast which is meant to represent the final boss from Duke Nukem 3D.

I felt like I ran out of ammo a little too fast during the fight, and although more ammo was available via airdrop onto the pitch, I felt like I spent too long running.

After knocking the Cycloid down I was able to climb up onto him and pull out some tubing from the back of his head.. killing him resulted in a slightly gruesome opportunity for a goal kick with the eye..

This led to a short cutscene which slightly irritated me as it featured a pair of bimbos kneeling before Duke, wiping their mouths.
This was a bit too gratuitous for my liking..

Back in Duke Nukem 3D there was a bit of a controversy over the “exploitation” of women.  There were strippers in various locations in the game.. 2d sprites if I recall correctly.. which if shot would be replaced by falling money, or in one case, by an enemy.  There were also a few XXX posters and porno shops, and Duke was supposed to be some kind of babe-magnet.. but it certainly wasn’t anything to take seriously.

With Duke Nukem Forever, it seems they’re using the strippers and seedy side of the game as a selling point.  I’m not overly bothered if there is sex or prostitution in my games, but being put in the role of a man receiving a BJ.. I feel more like I’m being forced to watch some guy’s fantasy than playing a video game.

Next up was a driving segment with a monster-truck and a turbo button.  Pressing space allowed four-wheel driving, and tight turns..

Running the pig-men down may or may not have been the intended way of getting through the level, but it was fun and fast.  Once I ran out of gas for the truck though, I hit the two-gun system.  There were plenty of weapons laying around, but aside from my pistol I was only able to have one of those at a time, meaning more running around if I wanted to play with a different gun.

The shrink-ray was pretty cool, and I liked being able to stomp on the shrunken enemies.. however, when it came to the explosives I got annoyed with having to press ‘3’ to throw the pipe bomb.. perhaps this is something that can be mapped to another key.

A ship was the boss for this section, and again I found myself having to run around more than I wanted, looking for pipe bombs and hiding behind rocks when the EGO (health) meter got too low.

Overall, I felt a bit disappointed with the demo.  It lacked excitement.  If this demo is representative of the full game, then it’s basically going to be Serious Sam without the hectic fun of swarms of enemies.. in that case I’d stick to Serious Sam..