Friday, June 3, 2011

VGR Duke Caribbean

With Duke Nukem 3D's success, expansions were inevitable. (not too shy of being the first game to have done lots of things as seen in its review, probably making all these some of the earliest form of expansions PC games have known as well)

This add-on is actually the 2nd developed by Sunstorm Interactive.
And it takes Duke (and the player) to a much needed change of settings.
VGR: Duke Caribbean: Life's a Beach
From Apogee Software/3D Realms/Sunstorm Interactive/WizardWorks
Played on PC 
Also available on /

Type FPS/Expansion
Year 1997

After the release (and the very good reception) of Duke Nukem 3D, 3D Realms released the tools the fans could use to make their owm Duke 3D levels. People were able to play with the Build Engine, fans and pros alike took this occasion to be creative and have fun with one of the earliest and best 3D engines that was easy to access.
With so much creativity around, Apogee organized various contest to select some of the best creator levels which would end sold officially under their guidance.
Some of these level packs became actual Expansions rather than just new levels put on a CD.

Sunstorm Interactive developed 2 Add-ons containing brand new exciting maps and even some story.
This is their second official expansion for Duke Nukem 3D.

It all started on a beach...

In this all new adventure, Duke Nukem is finally taking his well deserved vacations in a tropical island...when suddenly trouble ends up finding the Duke as usual.
It seems that the aliens are also having their own vacation on that very same island!

The aliens have set up a brand new breeding ground in the Caribbean and are starting to wreck havoc on the islands...
It seems it's once more time up to Duke to clean up their mess and save the babes.

Once again, the player has to take the role of Duke Nukem in a whole new episode set in the sunny Caribbean islands, killing hordes of monster and facing a big baddie at the end. (once again the Emperor, back for more!)

Life's a beach!

This add-on was based around the original Duke Nukem 3D, so it's once again an old school 32-bits era 3D FPS, using most of the same controls and gimmicks.

This new episode is set over 7 new levels (plus an hidden 8th level!).
The levels are rather long and fairly large. I find them even larger than some actual Duke 3D levels, with lots more ground to cover and new interactive elements to have fun with.

The tone is definitively less serious (as possible as it is) and funnier than past episodes.
The game's biggest selling point is its sunny Caribbean atmosphere and theme. Everything is tuned to reflect these new settings.
New redone sprites, enemies sporting Hawaiian shirts, babes in bikinis, beaches, hotels...

The best part is probably the weapons.
There aren't any "new" weapons per say. But they were all redesigned to fit the theme. Duke now uses water compressed guns, a coconuts bazooka, explosive pineapples..
The ice gun's now more comical, so is the shrink ray/voodoo ring, etc..
And even the Red/Blue/Yellow Cards are now Credit Cards, health is measured in bananas, the shield is now sun cream.... it's complete different approach to the usual world of Duke Nukem.

It's time to limbo!

It's a very funny and complete new episode!
Maybe a bit short, but the larger worlds to explore quite make up for it.
The secrets are maybe a tad bit simpler to find, cracks are easily spotted on walls and there aren't any "stay here to make a panel shift" or "jump through the 4th window on the 2nd floor to find hidden room" type of secrets here.

Duke travels through various original settings on his faitfhul Kobayashi Maru boat (ha!), from voodoo caves to an amusement park, passing through a cruise boat and more!

Overall, easily the best official expansion done for Duke 3D, probably amongst the best expansions for any game I've ever played myself honestly!
The game may not have been done by 3D Realms, but it is a true Duke game in spirit.
It even features new voice work by Jon St. John, THE voice of Duke Nukem!

Sadly on the negative aspects, it was made from the original Duke 3D, so it doesn't take advantage of some of the "Atomic Edition" updates (like weather conditions, 3D tables and objects, etc..) nor its new enemies and weapon.
And it is only one episode long, so pretty short. (take this as a new episode rather than a new "game")

Charlie Wiederhold, who created several levels for this add-on was later hired by the actual 3D Realms to work for them. He then started working on the would-be Duke Nukem Forever sequel...only to end up quitting to join Gearbox Software. (strange turn of events!)

Gameplay's great like the classic game. Level design quite original and the game itself is very funny.

Even the music is pretty darn' good! The title theme is a mixture of Hawaii Five-0's theme with Duke Nukem 3D's Grabbag. Amazing combo!
And there's lot of fun tunes for the rest of the games, always fitting the mood of the different levels and playing with the tropical theme.

I give it:
 2.5 / 3 Invaders!

1 comment:

  1. Dave Manuel, an impersonator, did the voice for this one, not Jon St. John, contradictory to popular belief.