Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour (PC) Review

By Athanasios 17.10.2016

Review for Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour on PC

While extremely popular at the time of its release, Duke Nukem 3D slowly pulled back to the realm of cult classics. Duke's popularity plummeted ever lower when Duke Nukem Forever finally got out of its 15-year development hell(!), and turned out to be… meh. Fear not, fellow Nukers, because Gearbox Software has re-released the good ol' 1996 ode to purposely corny macho action and tons of pop culture jokes, in its new, improved, and expanded package.

Duke Nukem 3D came in the midst of the Doom frenzy, and, maybe in order to differentiate itself from its famous competitor, chose a somewhat different approach. While id Software's classic was a weird mix of Aliens-like sci-fi, and heavy metal-inspired satanic imagery (with a hint of Army of Darkness horror), the Duke was a melting pot of pop culture or raunchy and crude humour, and, for the most part, at least, lots of urban, "realistic" areas, instead of something more imaginary.

…And this is the first "flaw" here. This FPS surely looked awesome when it came out, since it had a far better engine than most of its kind, and yet it's hard for simple streets, bars, and nudie bars, to compete with something more otherworldly and striking… and, yes, that also goes for the nudie bars. Even worse? While this new edition adds a whole new episode, its levels include places like Amsterdam, Moscow, London, and so on. In other words: more concrete, more brick, and more blandness.

For those who haven't got a taste of what this game is all about, here's a brief summary: Duke Nukem 3D, like most of its '90s kin, is fast and in-your-face. It's not Call of Duty, it's not Deus Ex, it's not Fallout 4. Having said that, though, compared to Doom, Shadow Warrior, and so on, it's probably a bit slower and methodical, and that's mainly because it's surprisingly tougher than those.

Screenshot for Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour on PC

Going full Rambo on the enemies is not very advisable, since most of them pull no punches, and generally yield hit-scanning weaponry, so don't expect to simply strafe around danger. Furthermore, ammo is quite scarce, even for the measly pistol that Duke carries. Therefore, it's all about taking a good look at the environment, being steady and fast in your aim, and being sure to use the right tool in the correct time. Furthermore, one must be ready to explore more, since, besides a surprising amount of secrets and Easter Eggs, levels require a little more effort than just finding the blue keycard to open the exit.

Now, why is it that this never really remained as popular as it started? It was viewed by many as "Doom with an attitude!" and that's certainly a good thing, right? Well, while it does have attitude… it's not Doom. That's not a bad thing on its own - in fact, it's better that this plays a different ball game, it's just that that's not enough. After a short while, all levels start to feel the same despite their different textures, and the action soon gets repetitive, first, because the enemies have little differences between them, and, secondly, because there are only a few of them to shoot… and usually in small numbers.

The good news? This is, without a single doubt, the best version of the original. The 2.5D engine has got a welcome "true 3D" update while keeping the old-school look untinged - not to mention that it's easy to swap between the old and new visual style with the push of a button. The new tunes are, once again, courtesy of Lee Jackson, new voiceovers have been added, and the old ones have been re-recorded by the man himself, Jon St. John, and, generally, fans of The Nuke will surely have a blast here - lame pun intended.

Screenshot for Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour on PC

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

While far better, Duke Nukem 3D is somewhat like the first Mortal Kombat; something that mostly managed to be relevant due to its risky style and attitude. It still looks and plays alright, but, besides being a good show-off, the Duke didn't have what it takes to keep up with the competition. Nevertheless, the 20th Anniversary World Tour edition is, without a single doubt, the definite one, even though it doesn't do much to improve the experience.

Developer

Gearbox

Publisher

Gearbox Software

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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