Duke Nukem 3D - Xbox Live Arcade review

  • New XBLA functions
  • Controls work well
  • Tongue-in-cheek humor
  • A mess online
  • Archaic design choices
  • Poorly-aged graphics

Duke is a relic of a bygone age – a parody of eighties action heroes, powered by mid-nineties technology, and a game that’s aged harder and uglier than even Doom. It’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’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’s Duke’s ambition that makes it feel so aged. Back in 1996, the interactive toilets, projectors, video cameras, and er… 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 – also from 1996. It’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

More Info

Release date: Sep 24 2008 - Xbox 360 (US)
Available Platforms: Xbox 360
Genre: Shooter
Developed by: 3D Realms
Franchise: Duke Nukem
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood and Gore, Strong Sexual Content, Violence
PEGI Rating:
Rating Pending


  • Graham - October 18, 2008 9 p.m.

    It's a shame to see a classic at an age when it should be put into a home. At least XBL is giving Duke a chance to reach younger audiences. Lord knows 3D realms aren't trying very hard. *grrr*
  • Fluxnard - October 19, 2008 3:48 p.m.

    I'm here to kick ass and chew bubblegum and I'm all outta gum Although I agree with the problems...I love Duke too much. Now, lets see when I we get DN: Forever *waits*
  • thochaos - October 20, 2008 6:35 a.m.

    Brilliant game. Well worth the points.
  • Defguru7777 - October 18, 2008 3:46 a.m.

    FIRST!!! I don't know. I played the trial game and I thought it was really good.
  • contallica - October 18, 2008 12:26 p.m.

    i used to ave it on ps1 it was such an ace game
  • Alcyones - October 19, 2008 4:39 a.m.

    I haven't gotten the chance to get this ( Castle Crashers , MegaMan 9 ) , but I will most definitely get this when I have the chance .
  • tomservo - October 25, 2008 12:50 a.m.

    This game has not aged well, but the Duke abides... When will we see your likes again?
  • austinite04 - November 22, 2008 8:32 a.m.

    an awesome game, since dos is history anyways, dosbox isnt the same. i still like this game after all these years. i dont have issues onlin like the reviewer dud. i even made new buddies on this game, well worth the dogh to visit fond memories of endlessly tipping strippers!!

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