The days of the classic gaming always seem to be making a comeback, especially on easy to access platforms like Steam. Now, this generation of gamers can experience one of the best first-person shooters to ever make it onto the market. Kids, on the other hand, probably shouldn’t be within an eye’s view of this crazy, crude, over-the-top action game.
You play as ex-soldier Duke whom, aside from his love of women and alcoholic beverages, is trying to save the world by destroying evil aliens bent on kidnapping women. There isn’t much beyond that to note, and other than a few handfuls of pop-culture references and Easter eggs, storytelling isn’t Duke Nukem’s style in the slightest. In rather juvenile fashion, there are tons of instances in the game that show off women in what could be considered an offensive light. Honestly though, how couldn’t it be so juvenile with the only premise being “Nobody steals our chicks… and lives!” None of this is truly worth noting though, because, love him or hate him, the one feature of Duke Nukem 3D that truly stands out is its amazing gameplay.
There are five different chapters to play through, and each is very fun and satisfying. There's an added Steam Workshop mode that lets you download user created maps to play when you want a little bit of variety. The game plays differently from modern first-person shooters and is worth noting if you aren’t familiar with such roots. Each level follows the same general formula with the exception of the boss stage. In the majority, you kill, find secrets, blow stuff up, find key cards to get through doors, and find the exit to the stage. Simple, yet challenging and fun. The boss stages work the same way except there's a boss monster that needs to be dealt with in order to complete the level.
Formulaic as it sounds, not every level is the same. There is a lot of variety in weapons, enemies, and stages that makes each level feel unique and fresh. Switch-based puzzles are plentiful and hidden doors hide secrets begging to be found, so no level ever seems too dull, even for the seasoned player. There are a few points where the game does drag but that was more an issue of getting lost and not knowing what to do rather than the game’s overall fun factor. Unfortunately, if you haven’t already mastered the stages over the past twenty years, it can be very easy to get stuck and have trouble figuring out what to do. By no means is any of this bad, it’s just a bit too challenging in some sections.
Typically, first-person shooters aren’t the best place to find an awesome soundtrack. Duke Nukem 3D is. The music deserves high praise for its composition alone but with the added audio enhancements, it sounds better than ever! Every stage has a unique theme that will definitely keep the energy flowing throughout the entirety of your violent rampage. Not to mention it might stick around in your head after you’ve finished playing. I found that even the most well-known and prestigious games of the era can compare with the pleasing tunes that Duke Nukem 3D has to offer.
The notable difference in the 20th Anniversary edition when compared to the original game is the fifth chapter; it doesn’t exist outside of this game. The original DN3D development team got together after twenty years to make a brand new set of levels, and they might be even better than the original set. Each of these new stages are based off of popular landmarks and real world locations, such as the Golden Gate Bridge. They’re all colorful, vibrant, balanced, and well-paced, not to mention that they have some really awesome tunes. Aside from this, there are some graphical changes that help make the game hold up a bit better on digital television screens and monitors, and re-recorded pieces of dialogue to make those crazy one-liners much easier to hear. Probably one of the more interesting features is the addition of developer commentary, which provides some really cool dialogue between the developers that any existing fan can surely appreciate. Most importantly, mouse aim has been completely revamped and is much easier to use. In the end, if you’ve already experienced Duke Nukem 3D, it might not be worth the hefty entrance fee of $19.99.
There were some notable problems with the game, such as the intense speed of Duke’s running mixed with a bad field of view leading to some motion sickness after a while of playing. While I understand this is somewhat common for some people, I’ve never experienced it until I played Duke Nukem 3D. Thankfully, not everyone will experience this issue, but I found that putting it into windowed mode helped solve that problem quite nicely. It is a bit disappointing that none of the expansion packs are included in this package, but the Steam Workshop compatibility instantly nullifies this issue since they’re all available through that service. For hardcore fans that play on console, this may pose to be a bit of an issue with hardcore fans.
Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour ultimately is a tweaked version of the original game with a touch of new content, though it neglects the content included in its expansion packs. It’s a bit easier to play, and the sound is vastly improved, but beyond what was already great, there isn’t too much else to offer outside of a new episode and developer commentary. The game is still fantastic and holds up very well thanks to this version of the game, which can be a hard thing to do with classic games in the same genre. It’s unfortunate that World Tour doesn’t stand on its own, but it would be a big lie to say that I didn’t enjoy playing through it.
Most of my time is dedicated to tearing apart games and movies, then telling you what I think about it. I've been a gamer since birth, practically born with a controller in my hand. I've always spoke my mind, so critique was a natural fit. Twitter: @Jsrf38