Friday, June 10, 2011

VGR Duke it out in D.C.

With Duke Nukem 3D's success, expansions were inevitable.

This add-on is Sunstorm Interactive's first expansion to Duke 3D.
This time, Duke visits actual real-life landmarks, in....
VGR: Duke It Out In D.C.
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 compilation CD.

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

Fun factoid: this above is actually a real quote from Bill Clinton.

The aliens attack the capital, Washington D.C.!!
This time around, the plot is merely an excuse to explore D.C. rather than a proper continuation of the story in Duke Nukem 3D.

Aliens land into the Capitol and start wrecking carnage on their path.
It's a good thing it happens while the Duke was already there. Bad thing for them then. These alien scums won't see it coming.

While they destroy government locations around Washington, with Duke Nukem on their butts, the president gets kidnapped (never referred to as, but implied with actual pictures shown on walls to be Bill Clinton).

It's a new episode composed of 10 new levels (with one of them being a secret one to find) where the player must defeat the new invasion, rescue the president and stop the Cycloid Emperor one more time. (resurrected? the guy keeps getting his butt kicked by Duke, why can't he learn from his past mistakes...)

Come and get some...and visit the capital!

The game uses the same exact gameplay as the original Duke 3D.
It's once more time an FPS, where you'll have to collect various keys to progress over non-linear maps. Duke can equip himself with a variety of weapons (same returning from the original game, no alterations). There's lots of secret zones to find and loads more one-liners from Duke. (sadly, no new lines were recorded for this expansion apart from the use of some obscure already recorded sentences put into good use here)

This time Duke will actually visit real life locations, based around the actual Washington!
Most levels were inspired by their real counterparts, and it's always fun to realize or recognize these places recreated in the BuildEngine. Even if like me you haven't visited Washington city, seeing these places in the game is pretty fun.

You'll visit landmarks such as the White House, the Capitol, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Smithsonian Institution..
And worry not, it's never dull, you'll also visit a secret marine base (and a huge submarine in the same level), secret passages in the above list of location and a top secret base (as the top secret level).

Time to do like my car keys and get lost.

Considered by some like the best expansion to Duke Nukem 3D and like the worst by the others, the levels in Duke it out in D.C. are huuuuuuge!
But really, huuuuuuge!

The "Smithsonian Terror" level for example is based around the real life massive museum. It's huge, goes on forever, contains very large corridors, various zones and multiple floors.
You'll often find yourself lost and will need to spend some time with each map to finally be able to go on without getting completely stuck in some place.
The game isn't that long per say. There's only one secret level and the levels contain very few secret (between 2-5 secrets in general, there's even a level that doesn't have any secret! blasphemy!).
But this expansion is made of what might easily be the largest, biggest maps done for Duke Nukem 3D!

Besides that? The game is pretty good. Some good music was composed for this new episode.
Bill Clinton makes another one of his famous appearance from the 90s (that president was everywhere back then, Animaniacs, Ready2Rumble, etc..).
There's not much pop culture references this time around... besides a Red October parody, H.G. Wells' Time Machine making a surprise appearance (and part of a level design)...

Overall, a good expansion, but none I'd call "essential".
If you're a fan, check it out! Wanna play some more Duke 3D? Give it a try!
But try to track it down on bidding least, don't put too much money into this one. You might be able to score a copy for pretty cheap if you find a place that has old PC games in second hand.

No new weapons, no new enemies... 
Not much new sprites done specifically for this episode, since it recycles most of its graphics from the earlier games.

The level design is pretty good...although too large and kinda confusing. (I didn't had much problems myself...apart from  one or two times where I got lost/wasn't sure where to go to continue)
It doesn't take too long to complete either.

Most levels were designed by Robert Travis, winner of Total Entertainment Network's contest  scoring him "Best independently designed and produced maps".

Finally, it's easily the most difficult expansion to get working properly on a modern computer nowadays...
You might have either a problem booting up this one or end up having the music being replace by DN3D's original score rather than the original new tunes.

I give it:
 2 / 3 Invaders!

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