The Duke of the Nuke has returned with Duke Nukem Forever, tracking the good, the bad and the fugly with it. Were all those years of work worth the wait? Let's break it down into the proper three categories.
Duke Nukem Forever was true to its word about being able to play as old-school Duke Nukem. They brought back some of the classic guns, such as the very sexy Colt 1911, freeze ray, pump-action shotgun with fore grip, the Ripper machine gun, rail gun, rocket launcher, shrink ray, Devastator and few other guns. The folks at Gearbox Software redesigned a lot of the characters and graphics, and while they could've been a tad better still managed to keep the spirit of the original game and taking heed of the current-gen appearances. They left off this game where Duke Nukem 3D ended, which makes me very happy because that was one thing they really could of messed up on. The strip club is awesome, but the only issue I see is you never get back into the strip club as (spoiler alert!) it's a dreamscape sequence. The executions are pretty sick, where if you're able to shoot up the aliens to the point where they drop down to their knees you can give them a big uppercut, curb stomp, or -- if it's a pig -- you can basically tear his head off.
One of the best levels in the game is where you blow up the Hoover Dam. You travel through the landmark, taking on the monsters trying to shut off the power. You can't shut it down, so you get some serious explosives and have the underwater mission begin. Once you get through the explosions it has a great part where you get tossed out the exhaust port of the Hoover Dam while you watch the whole thing explode.
I can see now why a lot of people are upset about Duke Nukem Forever. I'm still pissed that it took as many years for them to go through this process to make the freaking game! Someone had told me that there was supposed to be 25 hours of gameplay, but that was a lie seeing that the load times are wicked long!!! Next to that you are only able to carry two guns in the whole game. Come on, it's Duke Fucking Nukem! If he can bench press 600 pounds he can carry at least three guns. It's a pain in the ass sometimes running around killing the main aliens, and once you've spent all your bullets laying to waste aliens, you got to rock fists with steroids to kill the aliens faster.
Some of the levels have messed up on me, in which I had to reload the last checkpoints where it seemed to take FOREVER! The crane level where you take on the giant Octa-King was a pain, as you had to do a massive amount of button-mashing on parts where you knock down the bosses, run up to them, press the button to hop on top of them, then finally button-mash what ever button is on the screen. If you do it wrong the big asshole alien gets back up and knocks you down, having to restart the whole process again.
The worst level in Duke Nukem Forever was probably the starting point, where you're trying to get through the mansion after beating the mini-game in the start. When I had a friend over they got bored saying they want to kick ass and take names against the aliens. It seemed very dry considering how much time they had to make this game, and I think having the title switch hands back-and-forth between companies made the game what it is in some of its areas.
The online play is kind of spotty, as some of the people you end up playing with have crap for Internet connections. I ended up getting lucky with maybe a couple rounds of play, and then all of a sudden I got kicked off. It doesn't have a setup so you can play with the same level of people if you suck, so prepare to get your ass whipped if you don't know the levels or where the guns are. (I'm not saying I had a problem, as I kick ass and take names like always.) Then you have the set up where you battle online so you earn stuff for your place. That's where the babes come in, along with all the nice stuff. (Not sure I can comment more on what happens because I haven't gotten that far as of yet.)
YOU'RE NOT ABLE TO SAVE THE BABES!!! Yes, you get to see the naked girls, but the issue is you can't save them after seeing them caught by the pregnator aliens. To add insult to injury you have kill the babes before they explode with the aliens.
THE BALLS OF STEEL EDITION:
The Balls of Steel edition gives you two poker chips (meh), dice (good), and a small deck of cards, which is disappointing as there should've been naked ladies from the game, damn it! It also comes with a statue bust of Duke, which could've been a hell of lot bigger. The post cards are all right, as was the Duke Nukem sticker, though I wish it was a magnet. The cool parts of the package were the comic book and the 100-page hardcover book The History, Legacy & Legend: Duke Nukem Forever Art from the Vault.
I waited on for Duke Nukem Forever to come out for a long time, from back when I started playing the 1996 Duke Nukem 3D game. I even got the special pack where I was able to play the original Duke Nukem games. It was awesome to see them play some of the old game footage in the extras you opened once you beat the game. One of the big issues I had was that it seemed that they showed the old E3 videos which had a lot of the gameplay from back when Duke Nukem Forever was in the early stages. They seemed to have taken out a lot of the video game that 3D Realms had originally thought of putting into the game.
As a whole Duke Nukem Forever is -- at its best -- an 8.0 out of 10. This game is not for everyone. If you've got a lot of time to kill, it's going to take a lot of time to finish the game with how they designed it. For the most part it's around 6 to 10 hours of gameplay, depending on how many times you mess up and have to wait on the load time. I suggest either playing a friend's copy or rent the game before you buy it.
I feel that they should've taken this version of Duke Nukem Forever and put it on the back burner. I know it would've been an even longer wait, but I feel what they should have done is instead of just dropping the original Duke Nukem 3D game for you to play on Xbox Live Arcade they should've actually refurbished that title (which then would've looked like this Duke Nukem Forever game). This would've helped them figure out what they were doing wrong, and then they could've made Duke Nukem Forever what it was suppose to be. I have been hearing constantly about mess-ups between loading screens, along with actual in-game issues where people get stuck and have to restart from the last checkpoint. I hope that Duke Nukem Forever is a learning experience for everyone at Gearbox Software, and that they come back with an even better Duke Nukem game after this.
Game: Duke Nukem Forever
System: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Rating: 8.0 (out of 10)