Before we start this review, I should add that I’m a huge fan of Duke Nukem games. I’ll never forget the first time I got my copy of this game, from a friend in high school back in 1996, in the form of 10 floppy disks with .rar files on each one. Very exciting times, even though it was a shareware version..
After that I had to go purchase the Atomic edition, which I still have a copy of. (And here’s a random fact, Duke Nukem 3D originally was refused classification, and hence was censored in Australia due to the over-excessive violence, and nudity. Thankfully the content was left intact in Atomic Edition). Years have passed and newer computers came into my life, as well as consoles.
Only later being one of many to get an iPhone, I found that everything about the device was handy for my day-to-day adventures, be it for work, or home, for information, or for entertainment. And here I am reviewing the Duke Nukem 3D port for the device.
Now one would ask me “Dave why on earth would you review Duke 3D for the iPhone? and not the original on DOS?” Because the write-up I present to you might as well be for the PC version, with the exception of some really horrible aspects in this port. Allow me to explain:
So the storyline (enjoyable yet clichéd to the teeth) is as follows, you’re Duke Nukem. A hero who saved the planet from aliens, but oh no, they’ve returned, taking over major cities around the US, whilst capturing and impregnating all our women!
This game was released around the same time as the competitor to ID Software’s Quake, thankfully was also a 486-friendly game, which unfortunately Quake wasn’t.. No really, I had to play that thing in 320×240 in the smallest screen size to get any loving. At least with Duke3D, it was smooth sailing!
Anyway, back to the iPhone version, the port itself is quite faithful, the graphics are the same as you would remember it from the PC version, granted the enemies and some other sprites would be smoothed up with 3D acceleration, and of course the levels are the same. Although I have noticed fairly obvious and unavoidable discrepancies.
Firstly why wasn’t the background music included? Sure we have the title music blaring away for homage’s sake, but there’s no level music! Doom on the iPhone did it with no problem on performance, and both games were pretty much MIDI. As well as that, other more complex first person shooters available on the App Store include include not just background music, but highly audible ones too (mp3/whatnot).
Next and the most critical of issues, the controls. Take a look at the screenshot below
The circle on the left is for strafing/moving forward and back, the circle on the right is for moving your aim. The rest from top to bottom are options, menu, jump, shoot, activate, and crouch. Now take note that you CAN customise the location of the controls on the screen. With that said though, the most annoying factor is when you move your thumb outside of either of the circles, the function ceases.
In Doom on the iPhone the controls are very well done, as for example, the cross on the left can stretch out to other areas of the screen to give it a robust feel when playing, so you can keep the thumb to the screen when shit hits the fan for say strafing, or confronting a tough enemy. To be fair of course, Duke Nukem 3D incorporated a lot more controls that Doom didn’t have like being able to look up and down, crouch, jump and use inventory items.
Oh well. Thanks, but I rather not touch there.
Would I recommend this port? Sadly not. Granted it is only AU$1.20 on the App Store. You might have better luck at playing this game than me. Unless done right, 1st person shooters on the iPhone are very “hit and miss”, especially ports of retro games. Although some have done it right, this unfortunately isn’t one of them.
– Graphically a faithful looking port to the classic Duke Nukem 3D
– No background music
– Controls are sloppy and implemented horribly