Crispy Gamer

Duke Nukem: Critical Mass Early Impressions

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"Duke is back," proclaimed the signs and coasters all over the DeepSilver promotional event at GDC tonight. There's even a web site, DukeIsBack.com, announcing the triumphant return of the long-neglected first-person hero.

Don't get too excited, though... it's not the much-delayed Duke Nukem Forever. Instead, DeepSilver was showing off very early builds of Duke Nukem: Critical Mass for the PSP and DS, neither of which bore more than a surface resemblance to the classic Duke Nukem 3D. Instead, the PSP version presented a standard lock-on-and-shoot, third-person shooter set in a rather generic looking broken down cityscape, complete with potholes and broken phone booths. The demo also saw Duke putting on a jetpack and taking to the skies for a a slightly more polished, faster-paced section that resembled Star Fox more than Duke Nukem.

The DS demo, on the other hand, was a 2D side-scroller more reminiscent of the original Duke Nukem, only with relatively ugly, blocky 3D models instead of nice clean sprites. The most interesting part of the DS demo was a first-person sniper section with relatively unique zoom and aiming controls on the lower touch screen.

I know these demos were quite early on in the development process, but the version shown contained none of the over-the-top action or... colorful environments and quips that made the original Duke Nukem 3D so special. Hopefully these things will be present by the time the finished games come out in the Fall.