Friday, 27 July 2012

Duke Nukem Advance (GBA)

Duke Nukem Advance title screen
Today I'm taking a quick look at Duke Nukem.... Advance. I didn't even know there was a Duke Nukem game on the Game Boy Advance until recently, which isn't usually a good sign. Not that I could even name more than like 20 GBA games (and that's using this site's game list to cheat).

I imagine it's either going to be a platformer like the first two games, or an isometric shooter like Max Payne Advance. Anything but a straight port of Duke Nukem 3D works for me, because I've written enough on the game already. Though I'd be impressed if they managed to get that running on a GBA.

Duke Nukem Advance difficulty select
Whoa, I never knew Duke Nukem had an office job before becoming a super agent. Plus it turns out that he's also Ghost Rider.

Duke Nukem Pig Cops with guns
It begins with an illustrated intro showing these two pig cops getting brought down to earth when Duke whips out a shrink ray and miniaturises them.

Duke Nukem's belt buckle logo
Extreme crotch close up out of nowhere to show them reflected in his belt buckle. Didn't really need to see that.

And problem solved.

Man, I love bacon bits
Yeah, I bet they're extra tasty when you lick them off your boots. Great, now I'm stuck wondering what movie he stole that line from.

Whoa, I was not expecting a first person shooter. It looks like a really basic version of Duke Nukem 3D with no music or shading. Oh, and it's got dialogue boxes. Apparently aliens have invaded Area 51 and I've been sent in alone to redecorate the walls with their brain matter, or its alien equivalent.


It looks like they've taken a lot of the graphics straight out of Duke Nukem 3D, though that Desert Eagle's definitely new. But I think I liked my old pistol better. I liked the way it could fire more than one bullet per minute.

The controls are sensible enough, I move and turn with the d-pad, strafe with the shoulder buttons, and B and A are shoot and jump. It actually moves surprisingly fast too.


LEVEL TWO.


Shame the graphics are so low res that anything in the distance just becomes a blocky mess. I unloaded a ton of ammo into that lizard alien before I realised he was dead before I got here. Hey, this must be where they do all those famous Area 51 alien autopsies!

It's also a shame that instead of music they put in this annoying alarm sound that goes off every now and again to make sure I haven't fallen asleep.

Duke Nukem 3D (MS-DOS)
All these identical white corridors are making me miss Duke Nukem 3D's city levels, where they made an attempt to make the place look like somewhere real and lived in, with a layout that made sense. I know the game wasn't all like that, but those were maybe the best maps in it.

Oh so the game does have shadows, they just chose not to darken sectors much. Actually, it just occurred to me that the game came out in 2002, before the GBA got a backlit screen. They must have made it this bright to give the player a fighting chance to actually see anything.

Oh right, keycards, I remember when games had these.

So far this is feeling more like Doom than Duke Nukem 3D somehow. It's a very flat map and it's missing all the little events and features like earthquakes, walls cracking open, giant spinning cogs in the floor etc.

Huh, I have a mission objective? I skipped through all the text at the start because I thought it was just giving me some justification to kill a bunch of aliens on my way to the exit door. You mean I actually have to do things?

Hey, at least I've got a map. And it's got a little tiny Duke head on it to show where I'm at. Guess I'm wandering into every side room until I've found a satlink laptop then.

Oh shit, that's not a Duke Nukem 3D enemy! Fortunately it seems to shares their weakness to high velocity lead, and he explodes into a red mist. That's one alien that ain't getting back up.

Oh shit, what? That means that if even one of those things is still walking around and breathing they could bring back all the enemies I just killed! Possibly.


LEVEL THREE.


Well this is a definitely contender for the most boring and ugly train level in a first person shooter. These enemies all seem like they're half asleep, and I know how they feel.

It doesn't help that Duke's reusing all his old Duke 3D lines again. Pop culture didn't suddenly end in 1992 Duke, there's plenty of newer movies out there to rip off.

Awesome, I've apparently just wiped out an alien hybrid army! Serves them right for trying to hide it in Area 51 really. Like that was ever going to end well for them.

Anyway the alien army is dead and Area 51 has been retaken, so I guess that's my job done then. Time to go home and wait for the next catastrophe.


BUT THEN (A BIT LATER).


Oh right, obviously your full army would be located elsewhere. Thanks for telling me that by the way, because I was all ready to go home and put my feet up until you appeared. Boy would I have felt stupid when I woke up the next morning to find the Earth had been conquered.

A bit early for a boss fight though isn't it?

Quick Duke, ask him where the army is before you fire any more rockets at him! Threaten him with death unless he tells you the location. Steal some lines from Jack Bauer if you can't think of any phrases of your own.

The boss circles the outside of the room firing missiles at me, while I circle the inside of the room firing right back. He's definitely scoring more hits than me, but fortunately he seems seems to be armed with kid-safe rockets that only mildly sting when they explode, so I'm still hanging on.


AND THEN I KILLED THE BOSS AND WENT THROUGH TO LEVEL FOUR.


We're in Egypt now? Damn, a Duke Nukem game getting inspiration from Serious Sam, that's just amazing.

It turns out that I didn't need to figure out where the rest of the boss's secret alien army was hidden, as he'd already set up a teleporter leading directly to it. He apparently reasoned that no one ever visits the pyramids anymore, so it'd be the perfect place for a secret base.

Got any clever quotes for this situation Duke?

Time to walk like an Egyptian,
into the Temple of Doom to deliver some Max Payne.
Holy shit!

I can't believe that dialogue just happened in an actual game. Duke, ignore what I said about you needing some new material. It'd be best if you stick to your classic lines from now on.

Fuck, that background made me jump. I thought it was an enemy for a second...

SHIT!

Well these things are just like I remember them. Annoying.

You don't need a keycard mate, it's a stone door in an ancient Egyptian temple. Sometimes a yellow door is just a yellow door.

This level's really reminding me of Doom now. It's a central hub surrounded by locked doors and passageways. I have to find the open door, go through to grab the keycard or flick the switch, then get back to the middle to figure out which door I've been allowed to go through next.

Hey, is that an ancient Eygptian MP5 I spy? They never gave me one of them in Duke 3D.

Speaking of things that aren't in Duke 3D, this level art is all brand new. I wasn't certain about the Area 51 base, but I'm pretty sure these textures never appeared in the game.

Well that's what the MP5 looks like in game in case you were curious. Seems to get the job done, though it's no chaingun.

I've got a theory about what that yellow stuff is meant to be, and I'm pretty sure it's not gold. Though a room full of treasure would have definitely made more sense than a hall flooded with lava. In the Egyptian pyramids.

Well the evidence definitely seems to support my lava theory. Sadly I couldn't find a way out in time, and pressing 'A' just put me right back at the start of the level. No quicksaves, or checkpoints, though it does at least let me save between levels.


A BIT LATER.


Duke's in denial.


LEVEL SIX.


Another bloody boss fight, and some more classic dialogue. I guess The Mummy Returns must have come out recently.

Or The Scorpion King I suppose, now that I think about it.

Hah, now that's more like real Duke Nukem. I lured the boss into a crusher and killed him in one hit. Something's on the level's actually moving and doing something!

And then I had to escape from an exploding temple within a two minute time limit, with the camera jerking around all over the place. Just when I was finally happy they had to drag me back down.


LEVEL EIGHT.


Oh shit, it's an actual city level! (I think. It's a bit hard to tell with these graphics). I'm in sunny Sydney rather than late night LA, but then it wasn't really likely this game would ever take me anywhere dark.

'Duke Nukem in Babe World', wasn't that one of the PlayStation spin-offs? Well I've found a cinema so I think I'll quit now and pretend it looks like Duke 3D's first level in there.


You know I think I might have come across as disliking the game more than I do. My knowledge of early handheld fps games is pretty limited, but I wouldn't be surprised if this turned out to be one of the better ones. It feels more like a lost predecessor to Duke Nukem 3D though than a spin-off or sequel. The enemies are slower, the levels are less interesting, the graphics aren't as good, and it doesn't have the atmosphere. Of course it's no Doom either, but it kicks Wolfenstein 3D's ass.

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Semi-Random Game Box