By Michael WORKMAN
On April 28, 1997 game developer 3D Realms announced the sequel to the popular PC title “Duke Nukem 3D” entitled “Duke Nukem Forever.” But due to release date pushbacks, a game engine overhaul and legal conflicts, “Duke Nukem Forever,” it seemed, would never reach store shelves. Since its announcement, it has become something of a joke in the game industry. Fans of the series have begun to call it “Duke Nukem ForNever” or “Duke Nukem (Taking) Forever.” But for those who patiently waited, reward has been received with the release – more than a decade later – on June 14, 2011 of “Duke Nukem Forever.” Tragically, it does not meet up with the hype.
In the time it took for this game’s release, there is now a whole new generation of gamers that never grew up with Duke Nukem. For those that are just being introduced, Duke Nukem is an over exaggerated 1980s throwback macho action hero who dropped silly one-liners as he blasted aliens. On top of being ultra violent the Duke Nukem series was infamous for having strip clubs as places for Duke to visit.
After 14 years, Duke is back in “Duke Nukem Forever” and the aliens he fought are out for revenge. The plot of the game is Duke has become a world famous celebrity and now owns and operates a casino in Las Vegas, but the aliens he defeated years ago have come back and are kidnapping all of Earth’s women and it’s up to Duke to save them. But ultra violence, scantily clad women and gross out humor couldn’t save this game.
The game tries too hard to be funny and relive the moments in “Duke Nukem 3D.” In one of the game trailers, Duke encounters an alien the size of a building that has three breasts, to which he states, “Hell, I’d still hit it.”
Some gags might produce a chuckle, but many fall flat though your mileage may vary.
But poor humor is not the biggest flaw with “Duke Nukem Forever.” The game mechanics feel clunky and unresponsive. Considering how ripped Duke is, he should be able to sprint further than 15 feet before being out of breath. The weapon and health systems seem to be modeled after the Halo series in that Duke can carry only two weapons and has his health regenerate after a few moments of staying out of combat. Instead of a health meter Duke has an ego meter. The bigger his ego gets the more damage he can take which means admiring himself in the mirror makes Duke stronger. Besides Duke himself the character models look very outdated and awkward, not to mention the voice acting can be quite cringeworthy at several moments.
Despite its flaws, it is completely possible that people who never played a Duke Nukem game before can find entertainment in this, but it is definitely not for kids as there are tons of gore and nudity.
For the longest time, “Duke Nukem Forever” was this mythical game that would raise the bar in what an awesome game should be. Sadly “Duke Nukem Forever” spent too much time showing off and admiring its own muscles and not enough on core gameplay mechanics.
Fans of the series will have to continue waiting for the great game they were promised so long ago.
I have to give this a rating of 2 joysticks out of 5.