I’ve heard it all: “They don’t make ‘em like they used to” or “Back in my day, games weren’t just about graphics”. Blah, blah, blah... Well, I have news for you. Over time, memory has a way of accentuating the good and forgetting the bad. But all this went out the window when I heard Duke Nukem 3D was coming to the Xbox as an arcade download. After all, it’s one of the classic first person shooters of all time.
You may remember Duke Nukem on the PC. Back in 1991 it was a side-scrolling game set on a space station where the goal was to kill a mad scientist. In 1996 Duke went 3D and upon returning from the space station discovered that aliens had taken over Los Angeles and Duke was the only one who could save mankind. Although in reality you only seemed to be saving hot babes… but nobody cared when game was so good and crammed with thinking man’s puzzles everywhere.
So, with my nostalgia at an all-time high, I started level one. The artificial intelligence needs some serious work, but the level design is good and I’m certain level two has more to offer. Ouch... it’s getting worse and the graphics are horrible. Okay, this game hasn’t stood the test of time, but if you’re a diehard fan you owe it to yourself to download a copy.
This is like the Jimi Hendrix of games. 3D Wolfenstein started the first person shooter genre and Doom got the ball rolling, but Duke brought realistic physics, fantastic guns and the need to think instead of just blasting everything. Downloading Duke Nukem 3D from Xbox Live Arcade is a good way to see how it all started. In case you’re wondering, the score assumes it’s still 1996.