Hail to the king! Duke Nukem 3D gets hit with the shrink ray down to pocket size.
There’s few gaming characters quite as iconic as Duke Nukem and fewer that have aged quite as poorly, so it makes sense that an Android release would take us back to Duke’s crowning achievement: Duke Nukem 3D. While it wasn’t as technically impressive as other first person shooters released back in ’96, it won more than its share of attention with its attitude and creative levels. Duke Nukem 3D isn’t much more advanced than Doom as far as graphics is concerned, the levels are 3D but you’ll be fighting a demonic selection of two dimensional enemies. The enemies are creative but their selection isn’t particularly diverse, it’s the levels that remain one of the most memorable assets of the game. For $1 you get the first third of the levels with the following two chapters also costing a dollar a peice. This pricing works out pretty well as those looking back to Duke 3D for nostalgia will likely get what they need from the first handful of levels. If you’re looking to get Duke Nukem 3D so you can find out what this classic game is all about, well, you’d be better off looking at other options.
Today’s smart phones are over ten times as powerful as the old PCs that were running Duke Nukem back in the day, so asking for a near perfect port of the PC classic shouldn’t be an unreasonable request. Many sacrifices have been made in the Android release: there’s a total lack of music (even in the title screen), the multiplayer Duke Match is also absent and there’s even a few graphical and sound effect problems here also. The missing multiplayer is a big disappointment but it’s the missing background music that really sticks out while playing. The tunes in the original did a large part to set the tone and their omission leaves the experience feeling somewhat hollow. Fortunately the one liners from Duke are still here because I can’t imagine what shell of a game would be left without them. Unfortunately the issues don’t end here. By far the largest problem Duke Nukem 3D has on Android is the unbearable control method. Attempting to do something as simple as turning while firing is a clumsy maneuver and trying to do anything that involves a well timed jump is nigh impossible. The behavior of the movement controls are far too loose and imprecise as if you’re moving around on ice. There’s a second control method offered which adds extra difficulty to the controls and there’s sadly no option to re-map controls onto a hardware keyboard or a control pad.
For a single dollar it’s great to re-live Duke’s finest moment on the go even with these issues, but the tougher the levels become the more trouble the controls become and the less fun the games becomes.
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