Duke Nukem is a video game characters that has achieved a type of elite status. Not elite in the way a Mario or even a Sonic might be, but elite in the fact that his games have done so much for the evolution of video games that he deserves our respect even if you’ve never played one of his titles. Coincidentally, Duke is probably the type of guy to kick you and your respect square in the face while he lights up another cigar with the flaming head of a decapitated alien pig. That is the quintessential Duke Nukem attitude that has come to define him as a legendary video game hero and keeping that, along with everything else, intact for the Megaton Edition is what makes this package such a success.
Duke Nukem 3D is one of those titles that is looked back on with general fondness by most everyone who grew up with it. Not from a graphical or even necessarily a mechanical standpoint, but for the pure nostalgia factor. Developers Abstraction Games obviously realize this and they have done very little, if much of anything, to the core formula the 3D Realms established years ago. Graphics still look like they did when you first played and the early FPS control scheme that Duke helped to popularize still functions exactly as you remembered. Some may decry the developers for not fine tuning some of these things, but to do so would be to ignore the purpose behind this release which is to give longtime fans like myself a chance to revisit an untainted version of a beloved classic; as well as introduce new fans to a classic title that paved the way for a world filled with Call of Duty, Battlefield, and Halo.
That’s not to say that the developers didn’t leave any of their fingerprints here. Porting a title this old to new consoles is no easy task and the developers did an amazing job. While graphics are still old school and even a little crude, they look great on my Vita’s HD screen. Colors pop satisfyingly and everything runs silky smooth. Swapping between guns is handled by a simple tap of the touch screen and although this mechanic works quite well, I found myself accidentally swapping between weapons by accidentally brushing the screen with a fingertip. It’s not a huge problem, but one that pops up enough to be annoying. There’s also a fantastic, two layer overhead map that gives the player a great “Baldur’s Gate” view of the battlefield. I didn’t use the map too extensively, but it came in handy when I was trying to find a door or room that I had lost track of.
Multiplayer is also present and accounted for and it works just fine over the Vita’s built in Wi-Fi. I live out in what some people term as “the sticks” and I never had any problem with my connection; although I did sometimes have trouble finding other players online to jump into a match with. Leaderboards have also made the leap over and it’s pretty satisfying to see how you stack up to other players in both multiplayer and single player missions.
On top of all that, the Megaton Edition comes with all the add on packs that have come in the years since Duke Nukem 3D was first released. In addition to the complete core game you also get Duke It Out In D.C., Duke Caribbean: Life’s a Beach, and Duke: Nuclear Winter. If you’ve played the add on packs, then they’re still great fun to back and revisit. If, however, you missed them the first time around, then this is the best possible way for you to experience them.
Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition was exactly what I wanted it to be. Everything that I loved about his game when I was younger is still just as fun today and I had an absolute blast shooting and kicking my way through the alien hordes. All that being said, Duke is an acquired taste. Not everyone will appreciate his unique brand of humor and some younger players might just find the whole package laughably archaic. If, however, you’re a longtime fan like me, then you owe it to yourself to talk a walk down this outrageous memory lane.