Genre: FPS Developer: Tec Toy Publisher: Tec Toy Players: 1 Released: 1998
In 1998, Tec Toy, Sega’s official Brazilian distributor, ported Duke Nukem 3D to Mega Drive. For those who aren’t familiar with Duke 3D, it’s a first person shooter developed for computers by 3D Realms (formerly Apogee) in 1996, and is a very good game. The question here is: how does it fare on Sega’s little black box?
First off, the gameplay is slow due to the low frame rate (around ten to fifteen FPS), and it is very difficult. The episode you’ll be playing is Lunar Apocalypse and you need to go through nine horribly difficult levels. Luckily, you can save anywhere you want (just like in the PC version), so save often! The first levels should normally be a piece of cake, but not in this game. The difficulty here is notably higher than in other versions.
You’ll find very few power ups during the game, and 90% of the enemies don’t leave behind precious ammo. If you try the higher skill levels, it just gets insane, and there are more enemies and fewer or no power up items at all. You’ll have to conserve ammo and be very cautious, as it is very easy to die since the enemies have more power in their weapons than in PC version. Unfortunately, most also enemies seem stronger than in PC version, but at least two enemies are single shot kills: the Protozoid Slimers and Sentry Drones (I don’t recommend killing the latter at close range). Luckily, (or perhaps unluckily in this version) you can kill nearly all the enemies present in the PC version. You have Assault troops, Pigcops, Enforcers, Octabrains, Assault commanders, Sentry drones, Protozoid slimers and the Overlord. Pretty much all the trouble there is.
The control mimics almost everything you expect from a FPS: you can walk, run, strafe, change weapons, open doors, etc.; and it all can be done with three buttons (four, if you include start). Duke Nukem 3D takes advantage of the six-button pad, and it is highly recommended to use one, as then you don’t have to hold start and press some button to change weapons or adjust the map, just use X, Y or Z. You really can’t say anything bad, considering the game wasn’t designed for the Genesis controller. Everything is simple, effective, and very easy to get used to.
Your arsenal consists of a pistol, shotgun, chain gun, RPG, pipe bombs, and the Devastator. Everything that causes an explosion reduces enemies to a pile of gib, and everything that doesn’t causes them to bleed a little. You also have a map, but it makes the game even slower, and thus, it is not recommended to keep it enabled. Truth be told, the game really becomes enjoyable when your MD is overclocked, and it’s not recommended for 60Hz machines (gets slower than on 50Hz machines due to fact that 60Hz is not better than 50Hz when full use of CPU is concerned).
Visually, Genesis Duke covers both ends of the spectrum. You’ll say “Wow” and “boo” at almost the same time. There’s texture mapping, parallax sky and, even blood and gib, but it isn’t colorful, and without the use of RF, you won’t see anything pleasing. The artistic technique used to “make more colors” doesn’t look good on a PC monitor, but it gets the job done on a TV (using RF). Enemies are done nicely, but they look awful at close range (if you even get that close). All the graphics are straight from the original game but nowhere near as nice. The only special effect you get is a red fade in when you get hit. The visuals aren’t full screen, and you have around as much play area as in DOOM 32X, but that’s excusable on the stock Genesis.
The music is the worst part of the game, probably due to the use of Genesis Editor of Music & Sound (GEMS) sound driver which is known to be poor. The music tracks are from the original version, but they don’t sound very close to it. The instruments used are very bland and don’t resemble any musical instrument used in the original MIDI soundtrack. You just don’t get into a killing mood with such BGM, and it is highly recommended you get Judas Priest’s Painkiller playing and crank the volume up. Moreover, the sound effects are straight from the PC version, only at much lower quality, but they do the job of giving you the feeling of the original game. It’s also too bad that all the enemies (even the boss) use the same moan when they die. The weapons share effects too; shotgun, RPG, pipe bombs etc. Sadly, they have the same sound, despite some being more powerful than others.
Technically, Duke Nukem 3D on the Genesis is excellent game that shows what the hardware can do using its raw power, but that alone isn’t enough to make this a great game. This port suffers from poor music and lame graphics, but it has challenging gameplay and great controls, so it’s not too bad. It’s a must for hardcore FPS fans, but not for casual gamers.