Wednesday, February 23, 2011

VGR Duke Nukem

You know what I've been doing in anticipation to the long-time coming release of Duke Nukem Forever? (15 years, man!! 15 long years to have this sequel to DN3D!!)

Playing through Duke Nukem 3D, trying to kill all enemies and get all secrets once and for all!

I always found it funny when the 3D era came down on videogames and all sequels were labeled "3D" when they weren't the 3rd episodes in fact. (Gex 3D is the 2nd Gex game, Sonic 3D is the 4th one, Wolfenstein 3D was the 2nd, Worms 3D was the 10th or something...)
Only a handful of "3D" were actually 3rd episodes, like Earthworm Jim 3D, Bubsy 3D, Lemmings 3D...
And you know what else was a second sequel too?
VGR: Duke Nukem
From Apogee Software
Played on PC Dos
Also available on /

Type Sidescrolling action game
Year 1991

Yeah hell friggin' Duke Nukem for today's review!

What? No! Not that "Duke" Duke.
Not that one above.
This one below:

That's right!
The original classic sidescrollin' Duke Nukem!

It was the 90s. The videogame genre was blooming like never.
Back then, the studio behind 'teh Duke, 3D Realms, was simply called Apogee Software.

Strong from their relation with iD software as their publisher and co-developer in 1990, the guys at Apogee decided to make their own original ip the following year.
So was born Duke Nukem.

The idea was to offer the most arcade-like experience (inserts and ads even called it "Genesis-style")for PC gamers.
The Commander Keen games and the likes used to ran on Dos, and so it was a lot harder to make them as smooth as console or arcade games. (since computers weren't made for gaming afterall)
After struggling finding publishers on Keen (Nintendo refused to fund them since there "wasn't a market" on PC) Apogee published their own games (and iD software's).

"Don't get your panties all in a bunch"

The story takes place in the near future...of 1997!!!

I guess that makes it in the past now, heh.
Well, for 1991 it was sort-of a near-future anyways!

So...hum..where was I? Oh!
...of 1997!!!
A crazy evil scientist named Dr. Proton wants to TAKE OVER THE WORLD! (of course!)
He launches an army of evil robots called Techbots to take over several places.
The CIA sends the so-called hero Duke Nukem (who, with a name like that was kinda predestined to save the world from a huge invasion).
His story would take Duke all over the world to space itself and even across time!!

The game is set in the year 1997 (which was the "near future" at the time of game release). Dr. Proton is a madman, determined to take over the world with his army of Techbots. Duke Nukem, the eponymous hero, takes upon the task of stopping him.

"It's time to kick ass and chew bubblegum…and I'm all out of bubblegum."

All in all, the game's a simple "run&gun", kinda like what the consoles had with Mega Man or Contra on the arcades. 
But done specially for the computers of its time.
Sure it ain't really pretty, nor as imaginative or colorful as the Commander Keen games. But it is kinda fun!

The game's a simple sidescroller where you can run, jump and shoot.
There are some power-ups for the gun, with several different effects.

The goal is to find the exit in pretty huge - vertically and horizontally - non-linear stages. Sometimes you'll have to collect blue, red or green cards to open the path ahead to get to the exit door/place.
You can also save your progression in-between levels.

The game's composed of 3 unique episodes, as it was usual for Dos games of the early 90s. (for shareware releases and to buy them on separate floppy disks). The first episode takes place in "America", on city backdrops. The second one will take Duke against Proton in space. And in the last one, Dr. Proton escapes through time so Duke has to follow him across other eras.

takes place in the devastated city. In the second episode, Duke follows Dr. Proton to his secret moonbase. In the third episode, Dr. Proton escapes into the future, and Duke pursues him through time, to put a permanent end to his mad schemes.

"Shit happens…"

Now you're gonna say to me: "Hey! What's up with that title screen above?"
Is this game called Duke Nukum??

So I'll simply let the guys at 3D Realms answer instead:
"There is frequently a great deal of confusion over the correct spelling of one of Apogee's most prized characters, Duke Nukem. The original spelling for the name was "Duke Nukem"; however, during the code fix stage between v1.0 and v2.0 of the original game, Apogee found a character overseas named "Duke Nukem" that was thought to be copyrighted. (note from Eyz: and that character was one of the main bad guys in Captain Planet!) So, for v2.0 of the original Duke game, the name was changed to "Duke Nukum." Then, during the programming of the next Duke Nukem game (Duke Nukem II), it was discovered that the character they found overseas was not copyrighted after all -- and so the original name was reinstated. "Duke Nukem" is also the spelling used in all successive games that featured the character.

The spellings "Duke Nuke 'em," "Duke Nuke'um," "Duke Nuke'm," "Duke Nuk'em" or other variations are not, and were never, correct.   The correct spelling of the game is "Duke Nukem"."
Now you know!

So the game was a simple mindless fun action game for the PC.
It's a perfect example and one of the best attempts of the genre during the whole shareware era.

Sure it's pretty limited compared to '91 Nes or Megadrive games, but it still fun and pretty decent to have on your computer for those times don't have a thing to do (and it doesn't take much place or resources)
If you're used to console gaming you'll find some details you might not be able to overlook, like the fact the scrolling is done bloc by bloc (dos is pretty limited) and not the whole background like you'll find on the much more capable 8/16-bit systems.

Overall, it's fun. Maybe not "great" and far from perfect. But fun.
Trying to score lots of points by killing all enemies or destroying everything in the level is always fun afterall!
For retro values, it's a great trip back to the past.
Duke's a badass character, even with his limited color palette on.

The game's available on most Duke Nukem 3D releases on disc! (like mine's!)

Like many small-developers produced games, it borrows elements from other games. Some graphics come directly from other Apogee published ports on Dos, like the PC versions of Mega Man, Turrican, etc...

The game that spawned an iconic gaming legend! 

It's not incredible to look at or hear (no music here!) but it sure is nice to spend time with!
Try it if the whole thing inspires you, the others, move away!

I give it:

 1.5 / 3 Invaders!

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