Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Duke Nukem 3d (Xbox Live Arcade)

Game: Duke Nukem 3D
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade
Publisher: Apogee Software
Developer: 3d Realms
American Release: September 24, 2008
Reviewer: Dan

Twelve years ago my father brought home twelve zipped floppy disks worth of Duke Nukem 3D. Unfortunately I played this game at a sweet 30 frames per minute. I hit right on the keyboard, I would turn 90 degrees… after a 12 second delay.

Eventually I went legit, saved up my allowance, and bought the Duke Nukem 3d CD ROM. I thought this was one of the greatest games ever created. My twelve year old self thought the dick and fart jokes were hilarious, and had an odd fascination with the strip club.

Flash forward to September 2008, and I still this is one of the greatest games of all time, and I still think the dick and fart jokes are hilarious. The boobs however have changed from an odd fascination, to a known fascination

For years I had been trying to convince my computer that it was much slower than it was so I could load Duke up again, but to no avail. The moment I heard Duke Nukem 3d was to be released on Xbox Live, I checked my “Microsoft Space Bucks” balance and paid the cool 800 points to relive this experience.

The enhanced menu briefly registered an 11 on my excitement meter, hoping against all hope that the reason Duke Nukem Forever hadn’t been released was because some of the guys at 3d Realms had been enhancing the classic. Unfortunately the menu, and the frame around the screen were the only things enhanced.

The moment I heard “I’m going to kick ass and chew bubblegum” I completely forgot 12 years of graphical leaps.

Looking up and looking down still bend the lines to give the illusion of a 3d world, the sprites still only have something like 6 angles, (front, back, side, side, kind of side, kind of side) and the sound effects are still B-movie lame. (An alien roars and a machine makes the same roar when it spawns.) I didn’t care. Erased from my mind were Halo, Call of Duty IV, and Bioshock. This was the top of the line shooter.

Duke Nukem 3d plays surprisingly well for a counsel port. (Need we remember the N64 version) Die hard first person shooter fans will still argue you can’t play this genre without a mouse, but remember at one point the mouse merely worked like the arrow keys. It moved your person, not your view. I actually find the game much easier to play with a controller than sitting a foot from a low resolution monitor, hunched over a keyboard.

The game still poses a challenge, but I don’t find myself stuck on levels like I do sometimes in the Doom arcade port. The Co-op is also much of an improvement. Mark it up to technology, but I remember spending hours trying to set up a simple LAN death match. Now it’s as easy as inviting a friend in.

Like the Doom arcade version, the death match is only moderately fun. This is attributed to the only strategy for dodging bullets is jumping and strafing. (A strategy still prevalent in most Halo death matches.)

I hope at some point more downloadable content becomes available. I remember having the Duke it out in D.C. expansion. I also remember downloading endless amounts of user created maps. I think the possibilities for 3d Realms to refill their bank accounts are almost endless. With only 200 achievement points available, and 250 points allowed to arcade titles, I think we can expect some more content down the line.

Duke Nukem 3D is definitely in the top 10 games available on Xbox Live Arcade. Honestly, where else will you get an achievement for paying to see pixilated boobs?

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