Duke Nukem Forever: Hail to the King, Baby!
Duke Nukem is the B-movie of first-person shooters. It doesn’t have the brooding quality that you find in Bioshock or Left 4 Dead, and it doesn’t have the graphic wonder of Call of Duty or Halo. Duke Nukem is a pure guilty pleasure: a spur-of-the-moment blast it all, complete with a highly offensive main character.
The game is unabashedly and delightfully profane. I wouldn’t recommend playing it in front of your grandmother (unless your grandmother is delightfully profane as well – you know her better than I do). The opening scene is of Duke taking a leak into a urinal, complete with “splash damage.” Characters in the game drop s-bombs and f-bombs with regularity. Blood flies and hookers do what hookers do.
The first two Duke Nukem games came out before the ESRB existed and are one of the reasons that it exists today. This instalment is (obviously) rated M for Mature, citing blood and gore, intense violence, “mature” humor (although that might be debatable), nudity, use of drugs and alcohol… all the things that make Duke Nukem, well, Duke Nukem.
Changes have been made to the Duke Nukem universe. No longer does Duke have hit points, he now has an “Ego” meter. The meter is depleted as Duke takes hits from enemies, but it can be restored to full by defeating enemies or doing “Duke”-style things like drinking beer or photocopying your butt. Other ways to increase the meter include checking yourself out in the mirror and even taking a whiz.
The new installation is a far cry from the old eight-bit platforms. While not as stunning as some games out there, the graphics are still great and the world is completely interactive. The control is smooth, easy and responsive. Mini-games abound, including pin-ball and pool, and others that you must play in order to access items you need and advance.
As the game opens, aliens have invaded, the same aliens that troubled the world of Duke Nukem previously. They claim to be arriving in peace and the President of the U.S. is more than happy to accept them on their word. Duke Nukem, however, knows better and is out to kick their alien butts back to their home planet, using whatever kind of tactical arms he can scrounge up.
The game play is essentially the same as in previous instalments – you work your way through levels by killing aliens that are dropped from the sky, crawl out from behind detritus, or teleport behind you.
Each level is self-contained, but you are free to move around within the level. Along with guns and bizarre alien weaponry, you will use items that are found in the environment, such as cranes, barrels, freight cars and so forth. The use of these items weakens the aliens and leaves them open to Duke’s famous execution-style moves.
You can’t help but laugh as Duke moves through the world, uttering his cheesy one-liners, belching and being otherwise disgusting. This is a game that doesn’t take itself seriously in the least, and sometimes that can be a great relief.