Review by GlucoseJoe

Reviewed: 05/28/00 | Updated: 05/28/00

Lobotomy: did they sell their souls for these programming skills?

Duke Nukem 3D…I found Duke 3D for a measly $20 (new, by the way), and boy was I surprised at how it turned out on the Saturn! A smooth, rock-solid 3D engine, nice controls, great tunes, and even Duke's trademark “grittier-than-thou” attitude, and all on my supposedly 3D-handicapped Saturn? did Lobotomy do this?! After you turn on the game, you're immediately thrown into Duke's post-apocalyptic nightmare world. Duke’s on a rooftop. Some mutants have stolen lots and lots of women. And they even committed the ultimate sin…they blew up Duke’s bike! So how does the world-renowned butt-kicker and all around tough guy Duke Nukem handle this situation, boys and girls? Does he hide in the corner shivering like a schoolgirl while clutching his teddy bear Wuv-Wuv? Naw, he busts out the heavy artillery and fries himself up some of them piggies, that’s what! Uh, well, MATURE gamers can bust out the heavy artillery with Duke; this game earns its “M” rating big-time, with violence, and gore, and strippers (oh my!). Younguns can play elsewhere, as Duke’s playground is not for them. Duke begins his adventure on the rooftop, armed with a pistol, and of course, “The Mighty Foot” is available to kick some arse when Duke’s out of ammo. Along the way, you’ll only be shooting with the pea-shooter pistol, and-hey, wait! What kind of first-person shooter would only give you a pistol to play with?? Certainly not this one! Duke will be kicking butt and taking names with not only his boots and pistol, but with the always welcome Shotgun (use it up-close-and-personal…heh heh heh…), the ever-popular Chaingun (for rapid-fire annihilation), the powerful RPG Launcher (no, not Role Playing Game Launcher! Rocket Propelled Grenade Launcher!), toss some Pipe Bombs (for laying traps, or just chuck ‘em for fun), the Shrinker (reduce your enemies and crush them with your boots!), the Devastator (powerful bang-bang, here), Tripbombs (stick them on a wall, and when enemies walk through the laser trigger, BA-BOOM!), and finally, the Freezethrower (freeze your enemies solid, then shatter them with another weapon). Phew! Duke has a lot to play with! Duke can jump, fins health items, body armor, scuba gear (for extensive underwater exploration), a jet pack (how cool is this? Fly around to find hidden areas, or to blast enemies from the sky!), steroids (um, not recommended for use in the real world. Duke gets an adrenaline charge and becomes very fast, and can use the powered-up Mighty Foot to mash enemies easily for 30 seconds), protective boots (to keep you safe from toxic waste), and even night vision goggles (need to see in the dark? Use these puppies). Duke has plenty of missions to blow through (including a Saturn exclusive level), and of course, Lobotomy hid a secret game, Death Tank Zwei, in here for you to find (er, it’s pretty easy to find if you have a Saturn Quake save file in the Saturn’s internal memory while you’ve got Duke in there at the same time, though). The levels are usually pretty large, and sometimes require backtracking and of course, key finding is usually needed to progress. Search everywhere for secret areas and hidden shortcuts; there are plenty of them. There are lots of different enemies to toast, and the bosses are big and bad. Duke’s adventure is a great single player game, and if you’ve got the Saturn NetLink, you can go at it with other NetLink Dukers in the Dukematch. I myself do not have the NetLink, so I cannot comment on how it plays in this mode…but the single player adventure is enough for me.

Graphics: Hm...Let's see...Outside of Quake and Powerslave, Duke Nukem 3D really doesn't have any other first-person-shooter competition on the Saturn that looks this good (horrid memories of Saturn Doom…shudder…). The frame rate keeps rock steady most of the time, and I can always make my shots count when I need to. And, boys and girls, you will be shooting. A lot. The enemies get pretty pixelated when you're right on top of them, but hey, you're supposed to drop 'em before they're breathing down your neck, right? The city areas look like they are actual places that have been ransacked, and have nice detail to them. The first area and Red Light District have so many little things in them that just make them seem like living, breathing places…The enemies are all pretty gruesome, and you’ll see a pretty wide variety of them, too. The weapons all look sharp, and most of their effects do too.

Sound: The music tracks are well done in this game, and they're spread out enough so you aren't listening to the same one over and over again every few levels. The explosions are nice, and most of the weapons sound menacing. Duke's sometimes hilarious and dirty voice effects could be sharper, but the Saturn is not known for producing crystal clear voices anyway. Besides, Duke's not there for small talk...

Control: Plug in your analog pad and go to town. The ever-handy button configuration screen is right there in the options menu, so set up the layout any way you please. You'll get the hang of manipulating Duke by the end of the first level, even if you’re used to a mouse and a keyboard for your first-person shooters.

Funfactor: Duke's world is not Disneyland, and you’ll learn that in a hurry. There are lots of ways to get Duke killed in a hurry, and some levels will definitely put your FPS skills to the test. But who wants a cakewalk? Little babies, that’s who! Just grit your teeth, get back up, lock and load, and try it again! The game is a pretty long haul, but not extremely long. It’s pretty much “just right” length-wise…

Replayability? You're gonna have to replay to get all of the secrets; some are very well hidden. The enemies will not just roll over and die, either-they’re out for Duke’s blood, and don’t want to let him pass on by without a tough fight. Don't forget to shoot all those toilets...! GlucoseJoe

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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