I’m not sure many girls played the Duke Nukem computer games when they first were released, but I spent hours tapping away at the keyboard exploring Nukem’s two-dimensional world and trying to take down Dr. Proton. I played a number of the various MS-DOS based incarnations of the game — from 1991’s Duke Nukem: Episode 1: Shrapnel City to 1993’s Duke Nukem II — before I lost interest (in Nukem, not in video games). Had I known that the late nineties brought Duke Nukem 64 and Duke Nukem: Zero Hour for the N64 gaming console (my video game system of choice at the time), I would’ve purchased them immediately and played them for hours at a time, but unfortunately I was unaware until recently that the Duke had survived what I perceived at the time as a major shift in gaming from computers to consoles.
Knowing all of this you can probably imagine both my surprise and my delight when I discovered recently not only that I could obtain the previously mentioned N64 games for cheap (I still have my N64 system set up, although I generally use my Xbox 360 now, because the fact remains that nothing will ever top the 007: Goldeneye and Mario Kart games available on that console), but that Duke Nukem will be entering the video game world once more when 2K Games and Gearbox Software release the aptly titled Duke Nukem Forever (12 years in the making) for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and Windows PCs on May 3rd of this year.
Even more exciting, however, is the fact that my lovely Fandomania colleague Summer and I will have a chance to play Duke Nukem Forever at this year’s Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) in March at the 2K Booth (FYI, according to the press release you must be 17 years or older to participate). You can bet that I’ll be one of the first people lined up at the 2K Booth to play (most likely with Summer right behind me), and once I do I’ll have the full scoop on whether the game is worth pre-ordering (Amazon, GameStop, Walmart, and other retailers are accepting pre-orders already) or if you should wait and get it on the cheap at a later date.
Both the president of 2K Games, Christoph Hartmann, and the president of Gearbox Software, Randy Pitchford, have weighed in on the game’s forthcoming release, acknowledging the ridiculous development time that elapsed as well as the impact that Duke Nukem Forever’s release will have on long-time gamers like myself. “All great things take time… a lot of time,” Christoph Hartmann commented recently. “After a hiatus from the video game world, Duke Nukem is back and better than ever. The return of the King from the glory days of shooters will satisfy our patient, die-hard fans, as well as a new generation of bubble gum-chewing, flat top and shades-wearing bad-asses. Make no mistake about it — Duke Nukem Forever is a testament to the era of when shooters were bodacious and fun.”
Gearbox president Randy Pitchford was ecstatic when asked to comment on Duke Nukem Forever: “Hail to the king, baby! It’s unbelievable, it kicks ass and it’s totally going to happen! Gearbox has enabled die-hard key Duke Nukem franchise builders and skilled veteran game makers to stand together and deliver. All gamers deserve a happy ending and after all of us gamers feeling the full range of emotions about Duke Nukem Forever, I am thrilled to be in a position with the trust, power and means to make it happen. Am I crazy? Balls of steel, baby, balls of steel!”
Publicity for the new Duke Nukem game is, as expected, extremely positive, and Duke Nukem Forever is touted as providing long-time fans (who have waited over a decade for this release) with the “babe-lovin’, cigar-smoking, beer-chugging and ass-kicking action” that they have come to know and love since the release of the original Duke Nukem computer game in 1991. As I mentioned, I haven’t played any of the console games of the Duke Nukem franchise (I’ll let you know what I think when it comes in the mail and I have a chance to play it), but I have heard from numerous other gamers of my generation that it left much to be desired.
It’s hard to say whether Duke Nukem Forever will be able to live up to the hype generated by over a decade of anticipation or to the nostalgic memories many of us have of the game, but I’m hopeful that this won’t be a repeat of my disappointing experience with the Xbox version of Wolfenstein 3D, another of my favorite computer games growing up (needless to say, it didn’t translate to the console very well).
Like its predecessors, Duke Nukem Forever pits our hero against pig cops, alien shrink rays, and daunting alien bosses in an effort to save the world, save the babes, and to be totally bad-ass while doing so. I was very excited to learn that the game will feature the series’s characteristic over-the-top weapons (after all, that was half the reason any of us played the game, right?) and I’m intrigued about the “unprecedented levels of interactivity” described in recent press releases. Apparently gamers will be able to shoot hoops, lift weights, read adult magazines, draw crude messages on whiteboards, and ogle the game’s numerous sexy ladies in addition to blasting giant aliens. What I want to know is whether we’ll see giant cans of soda propelled across the screen like a rocket with flames shooting from the bottom… ‘cause, you know, that’d be kick-ass.
So, what do you think about the resurrection of the Duke Nukem franchise? Let us know in the comments if you’re excited about Duke Nukem Forever or if you think the game will be a giant letdown.
For more information and a brief preview of the new game, head to www.dukenukem.com, and stay tuned for more updates from us here at Fandomania.