Oldschoolvideogamez - your best way to recall classical video games of the past. Old school video games: DUKE NUKEM 64 Old school video games: DUKE NUKEM 64

Thursday, November 7, 2013


How it was?

Anyone who has owned a PC for the greater part of 5 years will have heard the name Duke Nukem. Duke
Nukem 3D on the PC followed on from the very successful Doom. Its original coders 3D Realms, released Rise of the Triad a few months before, that title set new standards for the then "new" genre of first person perspective shoot-em-ups, and then came the Dukester. Duke Nukem 3D was released at almost the same time as the then new game from the Id stable 'Quake'. Head to head comparisons abounded, but it was generally agreed that Nukem piped Quake at the post for one player games, but Quake set new standards for multiplayer.

So now, Duke Nukem appears on the N64, amid much anticipation and controversy. Nintendo in their infinite "wisdom" decided to axe some of the more "risqué" subject matter, but the game still gets an 18 certificate. So what was the point? But less of the politics, and on with the review.

If you're familiar with the PC version, then you might as well skip to the end, Duke Nukem 64 is almost identical to the PC version. Yes, there are subtractions such as the "Red Light Zone" being completely changed, to the more acceptable "Gun Crazy" (Only Nintendo of America could think that a Gun Shop, is more acceptable and wholesome than a Porn Mag Shop!). And also the suspect absences of any kind of mirror anywhere in the game. On the plus side though, there are additions too. They are a number of scattered movie references, from a "13 monkeys" poster, to the new "jail" area in the prison. Featuring none other than the Liver eating "Hannibal the Cannibal" from Silence of the Lambs. Many of the Levels have been mucked around, For example on "Hollywood Holocaust", you'll find that the toilets have changed. The Bar from "Red Light Zone" is now a Burger Joint, and has a second entrance. This kind of change is common throughout the game. But other than these relatively minor (and arguably better) changes, the original game map still exists.

For those of you who have never seen the Dukester on any other platform, read-on.

Duke Nukem 64 has a typical story line that most of the first-person shooters seem to have. Basically Duke is the only guy around to be able to deal with the alien threat. And it's your job to help him save all the "babes" that he can find. Oh and to kick some Alien ass goodbye!

OK so lets get down to basics here, I'm sure everyone has seen a first- person perspective shoot-em-up by now. So I won't insult you by going over the idea of the game. What Duke adds to the genre is a little tongue in cheek humour, and an arsenal of mega weapons. No kidding that many of Duke's weapons make Goldeneye's Rocket launcher look positively old hat! From the low powered but accurate Pistol to the Shrinker/Expander, (Shrinks your enemies so you can stamp on them under foot, or Expands them to a super size before they explode just like Yaphet Koto in Live and Let Die!)..

The one player game really is a very good jaunt, and full of dark humour to boot. You'll be hard pressed not smile at some point during play.

Graphically, the engine has been updated a little, Everything looks much smoother and runs at the same pace as the PC original. What is nice to see is that the coders have gone to lengths to ensure that the N64 version utilises some of the N64's "anti-pixelation" features. So when you go up close nothing blocks up too badly. Its not perfect, and Doom 64's implementation was better. But it IS better than the PC version in this respect. All the original sprites have been maintained, and everything looks fine and dandy. However, one of the biggest noticeable improvements is the explosions in the one player game, (The multiplayer version uses old hat bitmap explosions to keep the speed up). The explosions in the single player game are awesome, with huge 3D effect shockwaves billowing outward from the heart of the explosion, followed by smoke which is similar to the effect in Goldeneye, but not quite as convincing. Unfortunately the coders didn't utilise this opportunity to upgrade the animation. But having said that, a complete overhaul would detract from the original too much. So what you are left with are sprites that have a little more animation than the demons in Doom 64, but not much more. Gore fans note, this game contains as much if not more blood and offal than Mortal Kombat ever did! Guts literally explode all over the screen!

In the Sound Department, Duke is again identical to its PC original. So no complaints there then. What is especially noteworthy is that of the "squelch" sound that seems to accompany every death I induce! Kill a "pig-cop" under a door, then shut the door to hear a wonderful sound (I think you get the idea! ;) ). Music is Spartan, in fact I only remember hearing any on the options screen, and during the intro (Which I won't go into, it's awful anyway!). The Music is OK, but I'm thankful it isn't included in game. During the game you get the ambient sounds that are always nice to hear, and give a great impression of being there.

Nukem's gameplay is addictive and fun. You'll spend many hours playing this, and it certainly has the "one-more-go" factor! Whilst Nukem lacks the fear factor of Doom, and the technical excellence of Goldeneye. It makes up for it with a nice liberal dashing of black humour.

Multiplayer games in Duke Nukem 64 are another thing altogether though. Whilst the 2 player is acceptable. 4 player is far too slow, its painful to say it because the rest of the game is really excellent. But if you want 4 player thrills, don't buy Nukem. There are two extra levels as far as I can tell for multiplayer, but you can go into any of the "main" one-player levels. So plenty of variety for two player dukematches. What I can applaud though is the inclusion of Co-op mode (something which would of made Goldeneye even better!), That rescues Duke Nukem from a below 90% overall total in my book. And gives two players some of the more memorable Videogaming moments (especially with friendly fire on < queue evil laugh! > ).

"Come get Some!" Duke Nukem if you want a playable and enjoyable first person game, that oozes gameplay and leaves you with a smile.


Graphics 81%
On the whole excellent, but the character animation, and some dodgy sprites let the side down. The 3D engine is smoother than the PC original in one player mode. And the explosions are have defiantly improved upon Duke's PC incarnation. 2 player graphics are slower, and the explosions are closer to the game's PC roots. I'm not going to mention 4 player, its just that awful.

Sound 85%
Identical to the PC original, which is no bad thing. The music only appears on the options screen and the intro, its OK but Nukem never had music that was worth writing home about.

Gameplay 75%
Really excellent fun to play. Addictive one player mode and a kick ass 2 player. Forget the fourplayer option though, it's truly dire.

IQ 68%
Surprisingly easy to play and to complete, but the multiplayer makes up for it.

Value 50%
Very over priced, but shop around for those second-hand deals.

Overall 90%
Could have been an absolute classic. But the dire four player mode, and silly use of Rumble Pak let it down. Very easy to get into, and the black humour adds something to the genre that no other Doom Clone has come close to. A good purchase to aim for once it hits the second hand market place. But not worth trading in Goldeneye for.
Rated 4.9/5 based on 91 reviews

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