Sunday, August 14, 2011

Duke Nukem Forever

Duke Nukem Forever, the long-awaited sequel to Duke Nukem 3D was first announced when I was in elementary school. Now, over 13 years later it's finally been released, and it is a shit-pile. They should have just called it Halo 4 or Doom Nukem.

In Duke3D, you had plenty of open levels to run or fly around in, filled with hidden passages that you could blow open with rockets or pipe bombs. DNF is more linear and there's really only one correct route that you can go. Rockets and pipe bombs are really only useful against enemies, and laser trip mines are completely worthless. You can only hold two guns at a time, with very limited ammo. Gone are the days of having an arsenal of weapons.

The health meter has been replaced by an "ego" meter, which is just a shield that regenerates when you aren't getting hit. No more med kits, no more relieving yourself or drinking out of broken toilets and fire hydrants to regenerate health. You can still use the urinals, but it doesn't accomplish anything.

Normally I wouldn't complain about vehicle handling in an action game since it isn't a racing game, but I'm going to since you spend so much time driving a pickup truck that's straight out of some redneck's wet dream. Trying to drive in this game is like trying to drive after drinking a gallon of liquor. You shouldn't even bother.

Being shrunk isn't temporary like in its predecessor. You stay shrunken until you find an expanding pad. There are all sorts of obstacles that you have to climb over, which is extremely difficult because even when you're normal sized you can barely jump and running only works about half the time. You can't shoot panels to open doors anymore, so they force you to run around the level to get to panels. Opening doors is a chore; in many of them after pressing the open button you have to tap space repeatedly for no apparent reason. I don't know what that's supposed to add to the game aside from annoyance.

Save points are setup randomly and in a nonsensical manner. Sometimes you will get to a new level and walk through one room before the game has to load the next part of the level. The game is littered with wooden crates that you can smash but there is never anything in them. You will occasionally get a weapon or two smacking a dead body around. There are boxes containing unlimited ammo that are scattered around and there are usually some around bosses, which is necessary because only explosions can hurt bosses and with only two weapons you run out of ammo very quickly. Especially since you're never fighting just the boss, there's always minor enemies attacking you at the same time. And since you can only use explosives on bosses and always stuffed into tight quarters, you have to try not to blow yourself up.

A lot of people complain about the water level in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, but that's nothing compared to the water levels in this. This is more like the water level from the original Ninja Turtles game on NES. There is no more scuba gear, you have to find bubbles to breathe and try not to get electrocuted. The controls that you use to open valves are hard to release from, so it's daunting at times to get to the air supply in time.

Despite the cheesy catch-phrases and obscene material, this doesn't feel like a Duke Nukem game. The target audience doesn't seem to be those of us that grew up with The Duke. It seems to have been made for the younger gaming generation.


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