Remember when Duke Nukem was an internet meme? Well, Duke Nukem Forever will finally will be out on May 5, 2011, from Gearbox Software and not the original developer, 3D Realms. I had a chance to play an Xbox 360 build of the game on the show floor of PAX East. Yes, there was a throne, and many fine ladies dressed up as school girls showing off the game, but how did it play? Well, you start off in a bathroom/locker room and just about everything can be interacted with, including the “facilities” and even a white board.
You start off the demo where it all ended, fighting a gigantic monster in a football stadium. This is the tutorial level that ends with you destroying the monster with rockets and then the game transitions to Duke playing a video game and ladies standing up from doing things. This ends the first area and you move to an area that has Duke driving in a flame-riddled monster truck to rescue those gorgeous ladies. The environment looks good, but doesn’t have a ton of life. Remember, this is a preview build of the game and may be edited in time for release. In this area, you run out of gas and search for some fuel, all the while fighting space pigs.
The weapons you are able to use throughout the demo are staples of the franchise: shotgun, pistol with laser sight, rocket launcher and the fan favorite rail gun. All of these felt like how you would imagine, except when trying to take out a drop-ship during one part of the demo. I hope Gearbox has some more unique weapons in store, because what I used did not interest me. This leads me to the enemies. The pigs, which flanked and jumped, were quite formidable to fight. I am not sure it was balanced, or which difficulty I was playing, so they could be easier or more difficult in the retail game. I also was able to squash some bugs in a mine shaft, but that was about it. Hopefully there will be more bosses that are massive, like in the opening area.
To finish off the Duke Nukem Forever demo, I had to make it back to my monster truck with the gas. Along the way you find a mine cart, which needs to be driven. Yes, you read that correctly. A mine cart level in a first-person shooter. It doesn’t last too long, but you still get to destroy more enemies and watch them explode, with body parts flying everywhere. It was a cool way to end the demo, but was it necessary? Of course not, but knowing that this game has been in development for 12 years, are you surprised?
The demo was about 25 minutes long, but in that time I killed a huge boss, drove a monster truck, shot down a drop-ship, manned a mine cart, went to the bathroom, drew on a whiteboard and more. Duke Nukem Forever may not be the best looking game on the market, but it is made up of one over-the-top moment after another. Duke Nukem Forever will finally be released in early May 2011, over 14 years since the last Duke Nukem game, and I can’t wait to see what Gearbox Software has done with this ridiculous (in a good way) game.