Duke Nukem 3D recently got a much-needed update which addresses our main issue: controls. Now the analog sticks perform mostly as you would expect, and while they are not as silky-smooth as what you get in Modern Combat: Sandstorm, they do their job well enough and make this port much more playable.
We’re raising our rating from avoid to caution. If you enjoy Duke Nukem, this is a decent port for your iPhone, and the controls are a bit easier to tolerate now. Hail to the king, baby!
Duke Nukem is a classic franchise that has been progressively dying lately. Ever since the cancellation of the long-standing Duke Nukem Forever project (now known by fans as Duke Nukem Never) and announced bankruptcy of 3D Realms earlier this year, the future of this macho and controversial hero has not been so bright. This rotten port of the 1996 FPS Duke Nukem 3D further digs his grave.
In this game you play as Duke Nukem, a strapping badass who chews his iconic cigar, spouts catchy one-liners, saves the world from an alien invasion, and still has time to wave money at strippers in nightclubs. His adventure takes him through interesting locations, like a porno theater and a slimy alien spaceship.
Due to these awful controls, Duke can’t kick ass and chew bubblegum at the same time.
The main issue that makes the game fall flat on its face are broken controls that render the game unplayable. The first control choice is analog, which consists of two joysticks. However, they will often respond incorrectly or ignore you altogether. The other option, digital, has arrows all over the screen and was an immediate turn off. Tiny action buttons underneath the pause button initiate jumping, door opening, and crouching.
Shooting is slightly easier, as you can tap anywhere to shoot whatever is underneath the crosshair. However, the weapon selection button (which is invisible) often gets in the way and opens an extra screen, which we found quite annoying.
After this bad game, we’re going to need a little R and R.
The controls can be moved around the screen to your liking. We ended up placing the arrows from digital mode in a D-pad fashion, although this still seemed quite unresponsive and overlapping controls (something that was not avoidable due to large buttons) created issues.
A feature of this game that reminded us of the far better Wolfenstein 3D port was that all the levels are unlocked from the get-go. This way, those who have already beaten the game in its previous iterations who want to skip to their favorite part can do so, while others can start from square one.
One positive point to bring up about the game is that Duke Nukem’s character has remained unchanged. He still makes hilarious remarks about strippers, aliens, and his surroundings. The personality from the original is still one of the best parts of this game, but it’s much harder to enjoy because of the shoddy port.
Duke Nukem 3D is a port that has been beaten and bruised to the point that it no longer functions correctly. We highly recommend staying away from it until some serious updates are released.