Duke Nukem Forever Review Or: How Duke Finally Shot His Load

The Duke Nukem Forever Review

Or: How Duke Finally Shot His Load

I just finished playing Duke Nukem Forever.

Is it my birthday? Did the weather man’s forecast include cats and dogs? Are demons lacing up their skates in Hell? Holy crap, I think a pig with wings just flew past my window! Is it the apocalypse and nobody thought to tell me? Is Sarah Palin running for President???

No. No. No. Catch that thing and throw it on the barbie. No. And great shades of Elvis, I hope not!

No, my faithful lackeys and potential organ farms, (Hey, I’m getting up in years, I may need a new heart soon and I’m sure you can spare one. You have two of those, right?) its not a dream, an illusion or a drug-induced vision quest. The eternally in development, perpetually delayed, reeking of vaporware, gaming industry urban legend known as Duke Nukem Forever as indeed been released a mere 12 years after it was first announced. And no, I’m not off my meds. Again. Unless I was supposed to take the little blue pill…which might explain the recipe for Charlie Sheen Tiger Blood stapled to my forehead.

But I digress.

Duke Nukem Forever is out. And it is mostly a disappointment. Yes, it is everything you want in a Duke game plus everything you didn’t know you wanted. It’s the ultimate Duke Nukem wet dream, unabashedly crude, childish and over the top violent. A veritable orgy of carnage wrapped in several metric tons of things to do, alien bastards to shoot and babes willing to shake it for a share of Duke’s pocket change. Twelve goddamn years of waiting have finally been rewarded. But do the game’s many problems outweight its questionable strengths?

Duke Nukem Forever Screenshot Review
FAIL to the King, baby? Say it ain’t so!

Read on as I, your faithful and/or crazed reviewer, gets ready to chew ass and kick bubble gum!


Sigh. Shoulda taken the blue pill…

Duke Nukem Forever is available on Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. The PC version was used for this review.

The Storyline

Claiming that a game like Duke Nukem Forever has an actual story is a bit like saying that the Twilight novels are deep, meaningful dissertations on the perils of love when in reality both products are as shallow as your average inflatable kiddy pool. You can only swim around them so many times before realizing that there are no hidden depths to discover. And yes, that was my deep, philosophical thought for the year, come back around same time next year and I’ll have another gem of wisdom for you.

Following a pre-game montage of Duke’s greatest hits, (the eyeball field goal, crapping down a beheaded alien’s neck stump) the game opens with one of the many hilarious wink-wink, nudge-nudge jokes the producers thoughtfully decided to include. Where was Duke for the past 12 years? Apparently, he’s been sitting inside a locker room, quite literally “benched” for over a decade. It’s telling that the very first action gamers will perform in Duke Nukem Forever is to stop pissing around and go kick some alien ass.

Duke Nukem Forever Screenshot
I had one Natural Light beer and it took me 12 years to get it all out.

The game wastes no time bringing its juvenile humor to the forefront. Mere moments after exiting the locker room, Duke takes part in Operation: Cock Block, which is a recreation of the infamous football stadium boss battle from the classic Duke Nukem 3D. This eventually turns out to be a video game adaptation of Duke’s adventures, the real deal is sitting in his penthouse suite fiddling with the game controller while the bountiful “Holsom” twins fiddle with Duke’s joystick.

Duke Nukem Forever Screenshot
Yeah baby, work that analog stick!

Following a newscast concerning a pesky alien flotilla that happens to be hovering outside, you take control of Duke as he makes his way to a TV studio where he’s scheduled for an interview, a muzak version of the familiar Duke Nukem theme accompanying you during the elevator ride downstairs. Along the way you’ll encounter many of the endlessly fun and interactive props the producers filled the game with. Nearly everything in Duke’s environment can be used, from the ever-popular Soda machine to a bag of popcorn you can stick in a microwave, heat up and then eat. You can have Duke pick up a dumbbell and perform some curls, admire himself in the mirror and, in a funny scene early on, punch out a Christian Bale-like actor having a profanity-filled meltdown.

These fun distractions do more than provide the player with neat time-wasters. Every unique activity you perform increases Duke’s health bar, here renamed Ego bar. Basically, the more like Duke you are, the more awesome you get. Groovy! Following the inevitable alien attack, you’ll navigate Duke to his…are you ready for this?…Duke Cave, accessible via his Duke Throne. Well of course he has a Duke Cave! Where do you think Batman got the idea from?

And that about sums up Forever’s storytelling ambitions in a nutshell: Duke’s back, he’s pissed and the aliens have returned to make his life miserable. Grab your shrink-ray, its go time!

Duke Nukem Forever cover art
Yell! Rating (x/5 Skulls):
Published by:
2K Games
Developed by:
Gearbox Software / 3D Realms
Year Released:
June 14, 2011
Also Available On:
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
First-Person Shooter
Official URL:
Duke Nukem forever
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