DUKE NUKEM FOREVER should not exist.
Announced way back in 1997 for a projected release date for sometime in the middle of 1998, it was delayed again and again and again until finally seeing an actual, physical release in June of 2011.
This game was synonymous with the term “vaporware” for YEARS.
I own a copy.
Isn’t life weird?
When I say that the game should not exist, I truly mean it. It is a product of the time period it should have come out in, from the game’s animation to level design and even the actions of Duke himself. It’s almost as if the Gaming Gods are fucking with gamers by sneaking this late nineties relic of a game onto store shelves. We should have been able to find it in bargain bins right next to copies of Turok 2: Seeds of Evil sometime in the year 2000… but here it is, new and fresh as a frozen daisy right in 2011 for sixty hard pressed American dollars.
Life is weird, folks.
And since I gravitate toward all things weird, I ponied up the cash, threw the disc in my Xbox 360, and got ready for the worst.
As the kids say: “what that is?” That’s right, because if kids had any sense, they’d know that “what that is?” is horrible English, so they would say “what is that?” if their brains were working.
Since the opening made my brain hurt… that’s what happened.
I mean, what that is? That’s a fucking timewarp and a half- when’s the last time there was a game intro like that? I can’t remember and it freaks me out.
The kicker for me concerning this intro- the framerate stuttered during it while I was playing it on my fancy current gen console machine. What’s up with that? Most developers would weep in a corner for six days if the introduction to their game made a system’s performance go all herky jerky… and then they would man up and make that shit work.
Not Duke Nukem Forever, babies. Get it on the shelf!
Eventually, after I expressed my shock via Twitter, I manned up, hit start, and went on my way to find myself in the first level. Was I using Duke to kill aliens right off the bat?
I was pissing. As Duke Nukem.
The tutorial level involves pissing.
My brain began to hurt. There was a quiet voice in the back of my head that sounded like me when I was a sophomore in high school- “I don’t even find this funny. I know I’m supposed to laugh, but… this isn’t funny.”
I blocked that voice out and did my best to get used to the controls. Why did it feel like I was running through molasses? My gaming reflexes are pretty slow these days, and I’d already turned the sensitivity down the lowest it could go, so why the hell were things so slow? And why was it loading all the time? I briefly wondered if I was dying, then just realized that the game hadn’t been optimized for the Xbox 360 one bit.
That’s when I realized that the game should not exist.
But it did.
And I was playing it.
I plodded my way through the tutorial level, still coming to grips with the archaic controls and cringing at the animation involved- it looked like all the characters were being controlled like the tank controls from the first Resident Evil. After fighting with the sprint action, I beat the first level boss, and got thrown into a scene of Duke playing his own game.
Here’s the run down- Duke’s playing his own video game while getting a blowjob from two twins known as the Holsom Sisters. In 1998, that would have been an AWESOME TO THE MAX JOKE, BRO. You then go to a talk show where Duke’s appearance is canceled because aliens show up. From there, it’s off to the Duke Cave, where you are warned by the president to not attack the aliens.
That’s gonna end well.
The aliens attack Duke, and in between punching them to death and watching their stilted death animations afterwards, you make your way through some of the finest unused set pieces from the Atari Jaguar’s version of Alien vs. Predator before strapping into a gun turret and blowing up a mothership.
And that’s all I could stand for my first trip back in the Land of Duke.
I shut the 360 off and stared at my hands in shock.
Had I just done that? Had I just played a game that was obviously twelve years past its due date?
Yes, I did.
And I plan to keep playing…
…because this game should not exist.
It’s rare that in an industry where developers pride themselves on putting out what they think is the best absolute product that they can release, that Duke Nukem Forever made it onto store shelves.
I can’t wait to see how much more outdated this game can get.
Griff notes that the most horrific thing about the game so far is the Holsom Twins. Good lord, they will haunt his dreams.