It is time to kick ass and chew bubblegum. Sadly, I have neither. So I’m going to just talk about Duke Nukem 3D, a first-person shooter from the good old days of the genre, and like Quake, the fact that it was released a bit after my usual 1995 cutoff date (1996, in fact), doesn’t matter a bit, because Duke is still very much a classic, retro-feel game.
While Doomguy from Doom isn’t much of a talker, Duke Nukem, a typical tough-guy macho action figure come to video game life, spouts tons of one-liners. The game is very much a tongue-in-cheek play on the oh-so-serious FPS genre of the time without compromising its core gameplay. Even though it might not have the depth and complexity of Doom, instead relying on overpowered, insane, sci-fi weaponry to take down the “alien bastards” invading Earth. Much of the level design is very well done, with cool secrets, well-done architecture, and thoughtful flow to help progression through the game. One level even pays homage to the aforementioned Doomguy with his corpse in a hidden area, prompting Duke to quip that he’s “one Doomed space marine.” Nice.
Absolutely worth playing through, Duke Nukem 3D shows off the capabilities of its Build engine and furthers the strictly 2d platforming history of the franchise. Sadly, its long-promised and hyped sequel turned out to be mostly a dud that didn’t really capture the feel of 3D, but we’ll still have this game to play if we want to rip and tear through some alien guts.
Oh wait, wrong game. Suck it down.
Played in the eduke source port on GNU, which offers a modern and near-perfect way to get your Duke fix.