The ‘Duke Nukem Forever’ Gauntlet of Awfulness

June 14, 2011

Giant Bomb’s Jeff Gerstmann, in summarizing his overall feelings for the final retail version of Duke Nukem Forever, quotes thusly: “I don’t like the tone of this game for the same reason I don’t appreciate The Family Guy: It’s Lazy.

Fucking ouch.

Josh, in an earlier podcast this year, defended Duke’s rightful place atop the FPS throne based on his legacy and the creative success of his earlier titles. With DNF earning itself, at the time of this publication, an average of 59/100 on Metacritic (and that’s just on PC/PS3 versions– the Xbox version has him at 50/100, presently), it would appear that he is in the rare minority. Despite how fondly some may look back upon this series, it is no longer the mid-90’s. This shit, even when tongue-in-cheek, does not fly anymore.

I have watched both preview videos that follow the jump-cut to completion, and all I can say is this: at the point where Duke begins carelessly slapping and quipping at the alien wall of titties as the tortured moans and sobs of alien-impregnated women hostages surround him, any argument in favor of the relevance or importance of this franchise is utterly annihilated. No one should ever, ever, ever, ever make another Duke Nukem game. No one ever, not ever.

Hit the jump and brace yourselves, if you dare:

First up, IGN’s playthrough of some more harmless areas early-on in Duke’s casino:


Then, if you have the stomach for it and truly want to witness what lurks beneath the bottom of the barrel, watch Jeff and Ryan plod through some more reprehensible levels later-on:

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11 comments on “The ‘Duke Nukem Forever’ Gauntlet of Awfulness

  1. It’s funny. Had I not been at work yesterday, I probably would have put up my own thing about Duke Nukem.

    I haven’t played the new game. The fact that it’s apparently shit is a great tragedy. Duke was, once upon a time, the nadir of gaming. It was the most technologically advanced FPS, in addition to being genuinely funny and charming in a 14 year old boy kind of way. What most people didn’t get and still don’t get, is that Duke was a parody. Up until that point, PC games had gone from goofy or dramatic point and clicks, to super serious, zero percent smiles Doom. Once Doom came out, the industry ran with it (just like today). There was Marathon, Dark Forces (okay, not gory, but serious), Rise of the Triad, and many others lost to time that were gory and absolutely serious. Every protagonist was nameless, practically faceless, and walked through a bleak world that was literally only about murder. It was also the zenith of action stars like Schwarzenegger, making movies about unstoppable, inhuman heroes.

    Then Duke came along, and he had a face. He said lines. In addition to his world actually looking like something real for once, the entire game was silly from frame one. The cops that tried to stop you were pigs (get it?). You had silly shrink and freeze rays. You walked through movie sets. he was the logical send up of an era whose entire output revolved around a hero that did nothing but walk through hell, never had any name other than “that dude from that game”, and whose first title ended (as seriously as possible) with a bunny’s head on a stick.

    That’s not to mention the innumerable ways Duke and his children (Blood, Shadow Warrior) revolutionized the FPS genre. Duke having a technologically ancient game with mechanics borrowed from other titles is just as much an insult to the franchise as poor jokes that miss the point.

    It’s a tragedy because we’re exactly where we were 12 years ago when Duke made the scene. We still think atrocious, muscled beef logs like Marcus Fenix and crew are genuinely, un-ironically awesome and that his perpetually crumbling non-world is rad. It is not. It never was. Nor are the fifteen games coming out that all look exactly the same. Duke was supposed to save us from all that garbage and bring back fun to games. Didn’t work out so well. I feel like the Empire just won because Luke Skywalker’s pants fell around his ankles, he tripped and fell, and shoved his lightsaber up his nose on the way down. Not only are we in for thirty more years of darkness, but our hero failed in the most humiliating way possible. It’s really upsetting, because I see tons of forum kids (and probably most of our readers who don’t know us personally) going “Duke has always been stupid, he’s some relic” right before they go and talk about how Call of Honor Bound Duty Brothers Ops of Black is the best thing ever, because they’re simply too young to have been there.

    If you want to play a sequel to Duke Nukem 3D, check out Blood, Shadow Warrior, and the Serious Sam games (not Serious Sam 2). Play those, and lament what we could have had.


    • I wish I could agree with you on the the concept that Duke was a “send up” but alas I can’t. Yes, he is a parody of a genre that is still filled with muscle bound main characters but in a day where porn and other stupid parodies exist a satirical game generally has no place. I have yet to play it, but assuming that I do I will be reminded that I did not really care for Duke in the past, yes it was fun, but still overshadowed by 007 Goldeneye in terms of playability.

      To reiterate I’m not saying all satirical games are bad, just ones that are based on jokes that I can hear on my XBOX live by some 8 year old or some parody I could watch on youtube by some 12 year old.

      Also being that I play most facets of video games I resent the statement “Call of Honor Bound Duty Brothers Ops of Black” mainly because I’ve grown up with the genre since the days of Doom, Heretic, Unreal, Wolfenstien, 007, Quake, and this list could go on, and I have to say for the most part the current gen of FPS is a parody of the 90s being that it has become grandiose and actually has a plot. Yes a plot, even if it is Terrorist bomb us, reaction, we bomb them back, twist comes, turns out it was ally, solve twist, shock and awe, revelation and then the end. But I digress to put it simply Duke can’t exist when Bad Company does it better

      Big fan, can’t remember who I met at the apartment Zach or Zack haha but I was the black guy that parked under the tree.

      Also I hate DISNEY!!!!


    • Is it a tragedy that we’ve received games like the Bad Company series, Bulletstorm, Borderlands, Metroid Prime, Halo: Reach, Left 4 Dead 1/2, Half-Life and Bioshock?

      Sure, this game (DNF) was a letdown, but it seemed to be a game from a time capsule buried in 1998 that Gearbox completed without adding or removing anything 3DRealms aimed to jam in there. Watching the play throughs make me think 3DR actually felt Duke was being cool and slapping alien breasts/shooting naked chicks/writing with POOP on a wall is funny etc… If anything, this is the GT5 of shooters: over 10 years in the making with broken promises galore, while everyone else in the industry has surpassed this game in leaps and bounds. Bulletstorm/Borderlands are the closest games we’re going to get to the attitude of Duke, in terms of humor or attitude.

      Only three of the games listed above have “muscle beef logs” as main characters, and their settings are beautiful and varied, and their gameplay is fantastic. They all have little details and secrets to find and appreciate. The gaming industry has grown past whatever Duke was, and if we’re looking for “fun and secrets”, Just Cause 2 says hello. Sure, it’s not a FPS, but it sure is ridiculous, and it knows it. FPS games with secrets don’t work as well as the Open World games of today have shown. To say we’re exactly where we were 12 years ago is a bit of a stretch.

      I think we can all agree on this: I hope the release of this game doesn’t tarnish Gearbox’s reputation too much… I want Borderlands 2…


      • The games with humor are the exception, not the rule. And to say that FPS games and secrets don’t mix? Tell that to Blood, which is the best FPS ever made and had a secret to find roughly every minute.

        Yeah, Gearbox needs to put this shame behind them and show us what they can do with Borderlands 2. Let’s also not forget that more Serious Sam stuff is coming down the pike, and his first game was so close to classic Duke that it might as well have been a sequel. Here’s hoping Sam can show everyone how it’s really done.


  2. To be honest, I never understood why a sequel was wholly necessary. This feels like Indiana Jones 4, some attempt to revive an ancient relic with no regard for how the world has moved on since that time.

    FPS games with character abound in our current generation of gaming. While Duke was the antithesis of DOOM’s faceless antagonist, games like Halo: Reach do more to further the narrative of the genre than the COD/Battlefield/etc’s less notable heroes. Is Marcus Fenix a caricature? Yes, but he owes a lot of his personality to Duke -- and he does have that personality, even if it is the brooding sarcastic soldier. Better than a voiceless floating gun (coughgorgonfreemancough) Why not just leave the past where it was and appreciate how far we’ve come as a retrospective?

    Oh, right. Money.

    This has already happened before. Quirky humor in an FPS that falls a bit flat? Apparently the guys at 2K didn’t learn anything at all from Wet.

    Whats happened here is they’ve brought Elvis back to life just to see what happens. Now that he’s here, everyone notices that his music kind of sucks and he doesn’t really fit in anymore. At least we’ve learned not to do this shit again.

    Well, except for Nintendo.


    • There needs to be a way to edit. I meant to say “(coughgordonfreemancough)”

      …though the image of a Gorgon (Medusa) in an H.E.V. suit is remarkably entertaining.


    • Actually really wanted to play Wet but never got the chance to due to reviews, who know I might go and Pick up both of these titles once they hit the bargain bin but for now, I refuse to pay fuel price to a sequel that should of cost 49.99 back in the day!!!


      • Also quick edit….. I hear this alot but is it wrong for a video game company to produce almost the same thing when its going to be a hit regardless? The answer is No, Well you may ask Marx “why, it only hurts the series as a whole” Well yes but the idea of creativity hurting a company is far greater than mediocrity. This being said when someone now days does something creative it has to services the fanboys before it can impress anyone, or hell and even in the case the fanboys are the worse critics. What I am getting at here, is reviews are mainstream now if its bad, I mean really bad don’t buy it.


      • Never, ever, ever play Wet. Seriously. It plays like a half done PS2 game.


  3. I bought this game on Tuesday when it came out and I returned it today. In a world that has Call of Duty and Battlefield and even Medal of Honor, a game like this just doesn’t fly anymore. I haven’t been let down this much since Turning Point: Fall of Liberty.


  4. well since I was quite scared to buy the game,I decided to torrent it and boy….best idea ever! graphocs look like doom 3, feel like doom 3, you and everything feels like a piece of wood, very clunky,you get lost fast, only 2 weapons(allready lost me there), the weapons feel about the same, story…meh, but what I doo like is that everything is duke driven in his perfect world, from the car alarm trigger,atmosphere music, ingame fans(gotta love them), silly puns and references(damn it leroy!), interactivity with everything and the “humor”. I would also like to ad, that I played it on the hardest difficulty possible and in every level, my ego meter would reset, so I would have the lowest health possible, despite haveing used every object in the game and still, the game was very easy for me. my score would be around 6/10 as a standalone game, but a sequel to the original duke nukem, it just falls to around 3-4/10. an interesting choice for the life bar….ego…but also sad, as that is really the only thing keeping him alive these days and nothing else


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