Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition Review + Video Review

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Title: Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition
Developer: 3D Realms, Devolver Digital
Game Type: PlayStation Vita
Download: 485 MB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download 

EU Availability: Digital Download
PSTV Support: Yes

As we have stated in a previous review, shooting games are a bit of a rarity among the PlayStation Vita.  While there are some native games to play, they are not plentiful.  Off the top of my head, I can only think of three shooting games for the Vita.  Those are Borderlands 2, Call of Duty Black Ops Declassified, and Resistance Burning Skies.  Not exactly a plethora of available shooters.  However, that is changing.

Something we also mentioned in a previous review was that the Vita had recently gotten a new shooting game.  This new game is nothing new, though.  It is a blast from the past.  Veteran gamers should think back to how shooting games were in the 90s.  You should think back to the style of game that many believe defined the genre from the PC and onward.  I am, of course, referring to the age of Doom and games that took ideas from it.

Veteran gamers will surely be at home when they look towards Doom and similar games.  More recent gamers may have to take some time to adjust to this old-school type of game.  A blast from the past and now gunning its way onto the Vita and PS3 both, here is our official review of Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition!

Story

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Megaton Edition is an enhanced version of the original Duke Nukem 3D, which takes place on Earth during an alien invasion.  Duke Nukem was coming home from saving the planet from alien invaders.  However, on his way back, he has found that aliens have once again decided to invade the Earth and make it theirs.  After a crash landing, Duke is set on a mission to destroy every last one of them and stop the invasion once and for all.

The story of Duke Nukem 3D isn’t an immensely involved story, but you do hear dialogue points throughout the game as well as bits and pieces of a storyline progression as you get past the boss of each Episode.  The game is full of violence, movie parodies, but isn’t a deep and emotional plot.  This is more about Duke kicking ass than anything else, so don’t go in and expect an incredible and deep plot as you play through this game.

One thing to make mention of is the amount of sexual slang in the game.  You will find exotic dancers and many sexual innuendos as you play the game.  The game even goes as far as giving you audio of Duke having sex during one of the scenes, though it doesn’t show anything.  There is a big presence of sexual slang as you play through the game.  It never goes too far as to be utterly crude, but it’s probably a good thing to know before you dive into the game.

Gameplay

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Duke Nukem 3D, just as it was back when it was first released, is a first-person shooter with 2D sprites and character renders.  While it looks very different than what we know of 3D first-person shooters, that is the genre it is associated with and how it plays.  You will be spending the entire game shooting down enemies, one after another, until you either finish the map or defeat the boss of the area.

The game plays out in Campaign Mode and Multiplayer Mode, which allows you to do a multitude of things, like Death-match and more.  The game contains the original Duke Nukem 3D as well as three of the expansion packs released for the game: Duke it out in D.C., Duke: Nuclear Winter, and Duke Caribbean: Life’s a Beach.  Packing a total of 64 missions to go through, there is a lot for you to do, even if you’re a veteran of the original game.

Each episode plays out in a sequence of levels leading to a boss fight at the end of the episode.  The way these levels play out is what makes this style of shooter unique and different from the shooters of today.  While you are gunning down enemies as you run through each area, the game has an emphasis on exploration and is much less linear than today’s shooters.  Each level will have you searching for key cards, switches, secret areas, and more to be able to open up areas to move closer towards the level’s exit.  You can’t just run and gun through an area and expect to finish the level.  You have to think and explore to be able to get through each level.

This style proves to be quite challenging, even for the experienced gamer.  Finding key cards and secret wall panels takes patience and tactical thinking.  There are even areas where something will open from a switch and you’ll have to leave and look for it to be able to find it and move on.  Tying all of this will taking down waves of enemies with limited ammunition makes this a pretty challenging game.

Completing the game will be a matter of knowing how to use each of the weapons you find and when.  Find the shrinker that can essentially kill an enemy instantly, and you won’t want to use it on normal grunts.  You’ll wait until the bigger enemies and mini-bosses appear to start using it.  One wrong move with some weapons and you can easily get yourself killed.

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Dying is one of the biggest aspects of this game that makes it manageable.  When you are killed, you can re-spawn.  Not only can you re-spawn, but you can do so at any moment of the game.  Getting killed takes you to a time-line where you can move and look at every single second of your play of that level and spawn at any moment you want.  So, if you walk into a room with enemies on the right, spawn back right before you enter the room and you already know where everything is.  This is, by far, my favorite aspect of this game.

At the end of each level, you will find a self-destruct button, which will blow away the level and move you to the next level.  Once you complete a level, you will then be shown the Leaderboards and be able to upload your score of play time, secrets found, enemies killed, and more online and compare it to others players, or even the developers themselves.

The Multiplayer of this game is something that should be mentioned.  This game is cross-buy with the PlayStation 3 version of the game, which means you get both versions when it is bought.  Along with that, it is also Cross-Play.  This means that when you go online to play against or with others, you’re playing with PS Vita owners as well as PS3 owners.  This is something that isn’t common in Vita games, as of late, along with the fact that you can upload save data to switch between versions.

As far as length goes, it depends on how much of a veteran you are with these games.  I’m a Doom veteran, so I was very familiar with the gameplay style, though it still took me a long time to beat this game.  While the top times for each level can be as much as only 5 minutes, I would wager anyone going in for their first go will be taking at least 15 minutes per mission to figure everything out.  Knowing this, I would estimate the game to take about 10-15 hours your first time through, and easily half that on your second time through the game.

Controls

The controls for this game are a mixed bag.  On one hand, you have PC gamers trying to adjust to console controls, and on the other is the fact that there are more controls as there are buttons on the system.  The touch screen will pretty much be used, no matter how you want to play, unless you take out some controls as you play through the game.

Controlling Duke is done with the Left Analog Stick and moving the character/your aim is done with the Right Analog Stick.  The face buttons are used for the most interaction outside of combat.  The X button is used for jumping and Triangle is used for crouching.  Square is used for interacting with doors and people, and Circle is used to active your currently-active item (like the Jetpack, Scuba Gear, or portable Health Packs). Cycling through Items and displaying Leaderboard information is done with the D-Pad.

Weapon interaction is done with the touch screen and triggers.  The touch screen is used to switch weapons.  The triggers are used for attacking.  The L button will use your melee attack, which is in the form of a kick.  The R button is used to fire whatever weapon you are currently equipped with.  You can also hold down either for continuous fire.  They can be held down for both at the same time as well.

All in all, the controls are not hard to adjust to.  However, it will feel strange for those used to a keyboard and mouse, or those not wishing to use the touch screen on the fly as they’re taking down a mob of enemies.  All of the controls can be redirected, but there are more controls than there are buttons.  You can always take out some of the D-Pad controls (like displaying the Leaderboards) for something you wish to put there.

Note that these controls are exactly the same when the game is played on the PlayStation TV.  The extra R and L buttons on the controller will not be used at all.

Presentation

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The visual style of this game is very nostalgic and, to some, very dated.  The game consists of 2D visuals, even though it’s a 3D game.  Everything from the enemies to the babes and environments are set up in a 2D fashion in how they’re drawn and formed.  There are also lots of uneven edges with the style the game was made on.  Note that this isn’t because of the Vita.  It looks like that on every system the game is on, because of how old the original game is.

The one thing veterans will notice is that it takes a lot from Doom.  The level design and even the sounds are taken straight from the setup Doom had shown the world when it debuted on the PC.  There are a lot of borrowed elements, especially sound.  Doom fans will notice that the noise the normal enemies make when they are attacked or die are straight-up ripped audio clips taken from Doom from when its normal enemies are killed.

The way the game plays is one thing that should be addressed.  While the game does look optimized, there are some lag issues to be talked about.  When you’re playing through the game, it will lag and jump every few minutes.  The game’s frames will all-out freeze for 1-2 seconds and you’ll appear where you were headed before.  This doesn’t happen incredibly often, but it does happen.  There is also a substantial amount of lag during Multiplayer games.  It is something to be patched, but it can be a very big annoyance, especially if it happens during a boss fight or while you’re fighting off waves of enemies.

 

 

Summary

Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition is: Good
Duke Nukem returns to the gaming world in what some people may call the definitive console edition of this game.  On the downside, there are some lag issues to be worked out and the style of game is dated.  With Cross-Buy, Cross-Play, and a lot of shooting action, this is a nostalgic shooter that gamers, new and old, can be pulled into.

8/10

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