Duke Nukem II – Review
Follow Genre: Platformer
Developer: Interceptor Entertainment
Publisher: Interceptor Entertainment
Platform: iPhone, iPad

Duke Nukem II – Review

Site Score
4.8
Good: Old-school entertainment, decent platforming.
Bad: Game struggles with modern screens, lack of proper controls only leads to frustration.
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0
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DN3  Here’s an icon from ages past; it’s the Duke. For those who don’t know; before Duke Nukem 3D gave the world a foul-mouthed, sexist 90s idol, Duke was a synonym for great, action-filled platformers.

That’s in two dimensions folks, no silly 3D stuff like polygons and pole-dancing hookers that turned into filthy pigs -a trap if I ever saw one.

For those of you who missed the first pair of Duke Nukem games, there’s now another chance to get your grubby hands on a classic piece of nostalgia.

The question is: does it hold up after we’ve mercilessly crushed our pink glasses?

Story

You kill stuff.

Seriously, if you really expected a Duke Nukem game to feature an engrossing story, you should lower your expectations by quite a lot.

Sure, there’s this whole alien invasion going on, but all it amounts to is Duke gunning down everything in sight.

DN4

Graphics

Duke Nukem II is a game that once launched promising “256 eye popping colors.” By today’s standards that’s a few million too little. The matter of fact is that this is one game that aged poorly. The limited amount of colors manages to make levels look cluttered.

Add to that glaring problems when playing the game on a modern screen, like an iPad’s, and you’re left wondering if maybe nostalgia got the better off you after all.

Let me clarify. When played on an iPad, Duke Nukem II has some obvious framerate issue, the same way old NES, Megadrive, etc. games look when played on a modern flat screen television.

On the iPhone’s -or iPod’s- smaller screen, the game’s aged graphics -again- make it difficult to discern independent elements in the environment.

Personally I would love to see a Duke Nukem I and II remake along the lines of Bionic Commando Reloaded. Now that would be a worthy comeback.

DN1

Sound

Duke Nukem II’s chiptune soundtrack still shines even twenty years after its release. Cheerful music accompanies Duke on his quest to kick ass and chew bubblegum.

This is the highlight of the game and I wouldn’t mind adding the soundtrack to my personal playlist.

Gameplay

Duke’s running and jumping in two dimensions in this one.

Essentially this means he has to make his way through maze-like levels, collecting keycards and power-ups while searching for the exit.

Oh and he needs to kick alien-ass badly.

I’m certain everyone knows the drill by now, there’s no sense explaining platform-basics yet again, so let’s keep it simple. Duke can collect several weapons aside from his default handgun; there’s a flamethrower, a laser and a rocket launcher. Each adds more firepower to Duke’s arsenal.

Here’s something worth mentioning: Duke Nukem II had achievements before they were cool. Each level offers a challenge, rewarding players with 10,000 points upon completion. Think stuff like destroying certain things.

What damns the whole experience though, are the clunky virtual controls. This will obviously be no surprise to many of you familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of touchscreen-gaming, but a virtual d-pad limits the amount of precision you get in games.

When dealing with Duke Nukem II’s more hectic situations, it’s therefore frustrating to go on.

DN2

Conclusion

If I’d ask myself if Duke Nukem II is a bad game, I’d immediately answer with a clear ‘no’. There are far worse platformers out there, and as a game that relies one a clear no-nonsense approach, playing one of the Duke’s earlier adventures is still plain old fun.

Only not on a tablet or smartphone.

Clunky controls and graphical issues keep this game from reaching it’s full potential. My advice: Good Old Games -among others- offers the original PC and Mac version with support for modern computers. Splurge on that one.

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