Duke Nukem is pretty standard fare as far as shooters go. You take control of Duke with the mouse and keyboard, and navigate a bunch of levels filled with aliens and obstacles.
Thankfully, it’s not just a mindless point-click-and-shoot.
You can interact with many objects in game – ogle at yourself in the mirror, and mess around with pinball machines to boost your Ego (your health), smash things, or otherwise blow them up.
An entire level requires you to drive around in a remote-controlled monster truck, jumping ramps and burning chasms, and ultimately, the boss fights at the culmination of every level require a fair bit of skill, and some common sense to master. Simply put, having Duke rush in half-cocked just isn’t going to cut it.
I'm riding in my RC, yo!
The game is much duller from a multiplayer perspective. Multiplayer mode features the usual suspects like Deathmatch, King of the Hill, and Capture-the-Flag (or Babe, in this case), with only limited maps seeded with a plethora of weapons. This aspect of gameplay was completely superfluous, and the game wouldn’t have suffered at all without it.
Pop some pills, and you get this nice, electric glow around your fists.
Why taze 'em when you can shrink, and then step on 'em?
And speaking of weapons, you’re limited to 2 of them now, so you’ll have to pick and choose just what kinda heat to pack. This lends itself to a bit of strategizing. Also, you’ll want to prioritize your steroid and beer use. The former makes your punches pack a bigger wallop, while the latter gives you a short invincibility stint, and these much needed boosts tend to be useful when you start getting mobbed, and are taking a real licking.
Graphics & Audio
I wouldn’t call Duke Nukem Forever a visual breakthrough. The artwork, environment design, and lighting effects were acceptable, but not particularly spectacular. With first-person shooters being the genre of the moment, you’d have to expect some semblance of technical competence afterall.
By comparison, the sound design was impressive. With surround speakers and amps blasting, the music bed proved to be rich and full, lending weight to the game. Similarly, the voice actors, despite the sheer camp and absurdity of some of the lines, delivered them with panache, livening up the overall experience.