Good HD remakes and re-releases play on a gamer’s nostalgia and allowing them to enjoy games of yesteryear with updated graphics, but with the same old, usually hardcore, title that you know and love. Bad HD remakes and re-releases manage to make what was once a great game and actually make it play and look worse than it did when it was originally released; step up Duke Nukem 3D Megaton Edition.
The package on offer is quite sizable: the original Duke Nukem in all its glory, the same game with supposed upscaling on graphics, and three other expansions, covering the White House, Christmas and a bizarre Summer expansion that swaps all of Nukem’s guns with high end water pistols. The best one out of all them is the original Duke, by far, with only the attack on the White House having any particular saving grace. The reason you play Duke Nukem is to blow up aliens with guns, not to shoot bikini clad babes with a water pistol (which mysteriously makes them explode into blood and guts) or to kill weird offspring of a satanic Jack Frost.
The main difference is the attempt to improve the graphics in the games, aside from the original, but this just doesn’t seem to work. The added 3D backgrounds manage to make the whole game look worse, not better, and I found myself playing the original far more than the hi-res version. It is somehow baffling that the developers have managed to make the sound worse than the first game as well, with Duke’s voice having horrible quality, and guns managing to sound more pathetic than the same noises used over 15 years ago.
The whole package just reeks of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ syndrome. Duke Nukem is still fun to play and is has all of the same thrill that it had when it first came out. There is still plenty to kill, it still boasts one of the most satisfying shotguns in gaming history and it never takes itself too seriously which is delightfully refreshing after the consistent realistic run of military shooters we have at the moment.
The original still gets high marks, and is still worth playing. The other expansions are OK as filler if you want just that bit more of Duke and the bizarre situations he finds himself in. The actual Megaton Edition of the original just isn’t worth your time as it adds literally nothing to the game other than an unnecessary mix up that it never needed. It’s not all doom and gloom though, as there has been talk of further expansions, which will likely add a good few hours to the experience, as well as the eventual installation of a multiplayer feature. Although it’s always good to have support for a game, what the edition has got at the moment isn’t anything to shout to the rooftops about.
Although the first round of Duke Nukem hit before I could properly appreciate it, the complete madness and ridiculous humour has always led me to have a bit of a soft spot for the series; heck I even enjoyed Duke Nukem Forever. Although the original comes highly recommended, and the White House/Caribbean/Winter levels are mildly amusing, the rest of the content just isn’t that amazing and the 3D ‘hi res’ version is just plan rubbish. Sorry Duke, stick with kicking alien backside rather than threatening people with a slightly wet shirt.