Duke Nukem Forever Hands-On Preview - Mine Crafts
Written Friday, March 18, 2011 By Dan WebbView author's profile
The Duke loves PAX. It’s true. He got his first re-unveiling at PAX Prime in September last year and this year, he was armed to the teeth to take on the crowds of Boston at PAX East. Rather than let the masses tackle an entirely new piece of code though, 2K brought with it PAX Prime’s code… and then some.
Picking up where the PAX Prime code left off – the same code we played last year – we jump into the Duke’s shoes moments after we’d taken down wave after wave of pig-faced foes with a chain gun emplacement and a huge spacecraft thanks to the handy placement of a rocket launcher. Just another day for the Duke. After watching the spaceship crash, creating a ramp up to the next level – that was rather handy! – we race across the scorched sands of the desert and set off on a mission to get us some gas for our four-wheeler truck sat around the corner.
By this time we’d had enough fun using the Shrink Ray on the onslaught of alien invaders and felt it was about time we ventured into the dingy mines that obviously housed the gas we had needed to continue on our travels. That’s not before Duke makes an obligatory Half Life reference, noting that he needs a crowbar right about now to dislodge the planks of wood that stand between Duke and his way into the mine. Screw that! This is Duke, after all, and he doesn’t need crowbars to do anything – maybe to unlock a certain chastity belt he might – so we continue to beat them down with a melee attack.
The subsequent mine section in Duke Nukem Forever is a far cry away from the testicle field goal kicking, monster truck racing and desert pig slaughter filled gameplay that we’d previously gone hands-on with. In other words, you might have to use your noggin a little – that’s ‘head’ to my non-English friends. And when I say a little, I mean just a smidgen.
What stood between Duke and the way forward into the mine was a small gap over a section of previously destroyed rail cart track. Being Duke, the man who can bench press a camel, we naturally thought, “Screw that, we can jump this!” Apparently not. Call it an issue with not properly signposting the objective or our inflated opinion of Duke himself, but that was not the way forward. In fact, the way forward was the way back... if that makes any sense whatsoever.
Peeling off from the main track, up a hill that stretches the opposite way to our eventual direction is a mine cart full of heavy duty barrels of toxic sludge – well, we assume it’s toxic sludge or is that known as stereotyping? It’s time for Duke to stretch his muscles and lift the barrels to safety. After clearing the cart and pushing it to the peak of the track, it was time for Duke to get inside and pull that lever to get the show on the road. Careening down the tracks we go, safely making the jump, but unfortunately for Duke, after picking himself up from the inevitable crash, it’s time to dispose of some bugs that are about to get all up in his face.
Strafing around, we pick off waves of tiny and not so tiny bug-type creatures who pour out of a hole in the mine’s wall. And by pour, we mean trickle. After sending them back to whence they came with the power of the double-barrelled shotgun – see, Duke’s still old-skool! – and picking up some gas canisters, we’re left with a bit of an awkward platforming section as we ascend a stack of scaffolding on the left hand side of the level.
This series of events is pretty much rinsed and repeated – fall in hole because you think you can make the gap, find cart, push cart, ride cart, jump gap – until you climb aboard the final cart, which sends you on a long rollercoaster ride through the mines, back into the desert and back over to your monster truck. Shotgun to the face. Dead pig faced scum. Shotgun to the legs. Execution. Two dead pig faced scum suckers... and the level finishes.
If the latest hands-on with Duke Nukem Forever has taught me anything, it’s that it’s not looking to sell on the strength of its gameplay, which in truth, does seem a little dated by today’s first-person shooter standards. It’s looking to sell almost purely on its humour and spirit. With nods to games like Half Life, more machismo than a Jean Claude vs. Sly Turkish wrestling match and more one-liners than a Bruce Willis/Arnie hybrid, it’s clear that Duke Nukem Forever is aimed at fans of the original. Sure, it may create a few current generation fans, but going hands-on with Duke is an experience fuelled by nostalgia... and we’re more than okay with that. Hail to the King, baby!
Duke Nukem Forever is scheduled for a May 3rd and May 6th release in North America and Europe respectively.