This is Gaming Cypher’s PC Review (done by John Pruitt) of Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary Edition World Tour Review by Gearbox Publishing.
The original first person shooter bad-ass returns after five years following Duke Nukem Forever. Here, we have a remastered version of the 1996 Duke Nukem 3D with some additional content including a new fifth level. If you have ever had the pleasure of rampaging through the original game, then you may be interested in revisiting those days with the 20th Anniversary World Tour.
Keep in mind that a remastered edition, or an anniversary commemoration, is not a reimagining of the game, but is the original game including some changes, many of which are subtle. The episodes include: “L.A. Meltdown,” “Lunar Apocalypse,” “Shrapnel City,” “The Birth,” and “Alien World Order.” There are a lot of areas that you can tackle the alien hordes with either your friends at your side, or with your own Rambo impulses.
I would definitely recommend trying to live up to the game’s cover. You really can’t expect too much in the way of a graphical update considering the enemies are 2D and the environment is the only thing that is consistently 3D. The performance, however, is years beyond its predecessor. You can notice that the gameplay is a lot more fluid, faster paced, and somewhat better looking. The challenge is still there, and, while frustrating at times, it feels fair.
The game on PC has partial controller support, which could prove to be an asset to plenty of first person shooter lovers. If you have the misfortune of getting blasted in the face by a pig with a shotgun and die, you have the opportunity to respawn at any point of the level that you played. That is a really cool feature, but if you don’t choose the right moment, then you may be in for a world of hurt and frustration.
The level design is not too complicated to figure out to progress through the campaign, and the designers even leave some amusing Easter eggs behind, my favorite of which is finding the Doomguy in the Death Row section. Healing items are plentiful, but you may find you are losing health as fast as you are finding it. When in doubt, however, you can always use the toilet to restore Duke Nukem to his fighting state.
Some of the most enjoyable aspects of the game come from Duke’s rugged charm, and the game’s critiques on modern pop culture. This is made even better with the additional commentary made possible by Jon St. John, Nukem’s original voice actor. I would not call all of his lines poetic or witty, but they are definitely enjoyable. Even when you are getting slammed by the enemy, you can still get an internal chuckle at Duke’s aggravated “This sucks.” I tended to get pumped when I started off the missions with “Let’s rock!” and it’s that subtle rustic charm that makes Duke Nukem a memorable series.
The soundtrack brings me back to better times, but it does not cause me to lose track of what I’m doing. I would argue that it is repetitive, and there lies the possibility of getting sick of the main theme having listened to it for far too long. I like the newly added musical components as well. Lee Jackson definitely does a great job with the overall design of the newly included episode.
My only complaint that really comes to mind is the asking price to play this game. I would feel more comfortable purchasing this game as it goes on sale. There are a lot of gamers who should take the time to live through the original 1996 Duke Nukem 3D, especially because this is where a lot of the heart and soul of first person shooters come from.
If you’re looking for a complex and innovative story, then you may find the game lacking. Though, if you’re in it for the gameplay, the challenge, and perhaps the nostalgia, then this is definitely the right game for you. I think a fair rating for this game would be an 8 out of 10 for keeping true to the spirit of Duke Nukem, the inclusion of new features, and refinement of the original game so that it can be enjoyed on the modern PC.
Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary Edition World Tour is now available on the PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft, and Windows PC via Steam.