- It's finally here so all those
"forever" jokes will stop
- Playing as a shrunken Duke
- Maybe it should have just been
left as a historical curiosity
- Unable to decipher if satire and parody was the goal, rather
than simple "EXTREME!" offensiveness
- Horrible load times
- Corridor gunplay from point to point
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Score: 4.0 / 10
don't like me, Bond. You don't like my methods. You think I'm an
accountant, a bean counter more interested in my numbers than your
instincts. James Bond: The thought had occurred to me. M: Good, because I think you're a sexist, misogynist dinosaur. A
relic of the Cold War... - GoldenEye (1995)
Duke Nukem is a bit of relic -- a character
completely out of step -- and is a complete misogynist dinosaur.
Everything about Duke Nukem Forever is about feeding Duke's galaxy-sized
ego, rapacious sex drive, and his cinefile tendencies.
Everything and everyone in Duke Nukem Forever exists as an extension of
Duke's self-centered personality. Even from the very beginning, which
commences with a
"flashback" of the ending of Duke Nukem 3D
(1996) while Duke is fellated by twin sisters, around every corner is
some ode to Duke's inflated personality. Besides the massive Duke
statues and paintings, nameless EDF soldiers and strippers pine for Duke
either to "Kick ass!" or bed them. After about 15 minutes of this
outlandish wandering through Duke's id, there's the understandable
start thinking of Duke Nukem Forever as some kind of protracted exercise
in satire or parody/homage at the very least.
Appreciating Duke Nukem Forever as satire hits a wall pretty quickly.
For example, an underground lair reminiscent of "Aliens" features
alien/necrotic boobs affixed to the wall. Duke can slap them and produce
sprays of fluid. His observation: Got milk? Then he gets an ego boost,
which increases his maximum health. On a thematic level, it makes sense;
this is Duke's wonderland. Helpless (and topless) females tied to giant,
slimy phallic tentacles fits right alongside "wall breasts" but it seems
more like "Hey, look how EXTREME! this game is!" than any kind of
Swiftian attempt at satire. Or even humor.
Hey, Duke can throw poop! Funny, right? Extreme, right?
The game is such a muddle. One can only
guess that this might have something to do with the protracted and
storied 14-year development of Duke Nukem Forever. It never feels
Duke spins referential one-liners like a handspinner out of control.
Everything from Total Recall (1990) to more contemporary references like
Dead Space and Halo. But for every hit, there are a dozen misses; lines
that would have been limp back in the mid 1990s. But keeping an ear out
for these nuggets is likely the only way to maintain any interest in
Duke Nukem Forever.
Except for one or two moments -- the shrunken Duke sections are
enjoyable -- Duke Nukem Forever isn't interesting; in fact, it's boring.
The gunplay is wrote, the weapons are holdovers from 1996, and the
levels aren't interesting or open enough to validate any kind of
Even extending the action into the
multiplayer realm can't pull Duke out of the quagmire. It's done better
by dozens of other games and the "Capture the Flag" mode where the
"flag" is a woman will likely offend a lot of people (just in case the
content in the campaign doesn't). There's some interesting shrunken Duke
options, but that's about it.
Duke Nukem Forever likely should have been left as a historical
curiosity. Just tell the gaming public all that the code was lost in a
Library of Alexandria-like calamity. In resurrecting Duke in this way,
dropping him from 1996 into 2011, with uninteresting levels tethered
together in a loose way, middling gunplay, and offensiveness trying to
hide behind parody and satire, even the thickest rose-colored glasses of
nostalgia won't hide the fact the game's not good or even fun to play.