Duke is a relic of a bygone age %26ndash; a parody of eighties action heroes, powered by mid-nineties technology, and a game that%26rsquo;s aged harder and uglier than even Doom. It%26rsquo;s a fine port, though. The new Live Arcade functions are a great demonstration of just how an old game should be brought to XBLA. The controls work beautifully, and the new rewind function lets you pick a safe moment to respawn following death. Online, it%26rsquo;s a mess, and oddly, a far cry from the fun we had in online Dukematches back on the trusty old 56K modem.
But it%26rsquo;s Duke%26rsquo;s ambition that makes it feel so aged. Back in 1996, the interactive toilets, projectors, video cameras, and er%26hellip; exotic dancers made Duke feel as though it was a herald of the future. Twelve years on, and the impact is utterly lost. Those same tricks, implemented as poorly as they are in real-world locations still built like Doom maze maps, make Duke 3D seem sillier than straight, basic shooters like Doom or Quake %26ndash; also from 1996. It%26rsquo;s a relic, but one worth playing to see both its influence on modern games, and the archaic design choices, since thankfully cast into the ether.
Oct 17, 2008