Saturday 23 March 2019

Duke Nukem 3D (Tiger review)

Developer: Tiger Electronics
Publisher: GT Interactive
Released: 1997

Duke Nukem 3D is a first-person shooter that was originally released on MS-DOS in 1996.

There's three episodes (with four levels each) and your job is to destroy the aliens and foil their plans to destroy Earth. Weapons consist of a Mighty Boot, Pistol, Shotgun and RPG, and your health can be replenished by collecting Medkits and Armor. Instead of 360° movement, Duke moves on a grid where you can walk one block at a time; no turning is involved (apart from when you're approaching the end of a corridor) and instead you can only manoeuvre up, down and strafe left/right. The graphics impress with huge sprites, detailed textures and interesting locations such as a Movie Set. However, the trade-off is performance as the controls are unresponsive and the game engine struggles to keep up with the action, freezing for brief moments often. Another major issue is the repetitive gameplay; the arena sections are littered with the same four alien types and you simply have to keep strafing from left-to-right while inching forward through dark rooms to find the next door. Once you've endured that you'll enter narrow corridors where you shoot enemies and then repeatedly turn 90° to find another alien waiting for you immediately, killing any suspense; irritatingly, unless you have an RPG here (for one-shot kills) you can take unavoidable cheap hits due to your inability to strafe in these corridors. Despite all of the above, the most annoying part of the entire game is the music with its repetitive and primitive bleeps and bloops that cut out whenever you walk or shoot.

While Duke Nukem 3D is a brave and interesting curiosity, the novelty wears off quickly and it's difficult to find many good things to say about its glitchy, laggy and uninspired gameplay. In reality, it's just too ambitious for the under-powered and the end result is a forgettable title that fails to excite.

Random trivia: Various cheats are available by entering certain button combinations during the pause screen.

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