Duke Nukem Begins: What we want to see
11th Sep 2011 | 15:30
Duke Nukem Forever is arguably a contender for most disappointing title of the decade. After receiving a flurry of less than average reviews, long-time fans of the series have once again been left with a sour taste in their mouths.
Initially developed by 3D Realms and eventually completed by Gearbox, Duke Nukem Forever failed to mark what everybody hoped would be the triumphant return of the predictably fowl mouthed Dolph Lundgren look-alike.
Having spent the last 14 years in the works, and suffering a series of disruptions in terms of development alterations, Duke's most recent adventure was perhaps always destined to be somewhat of an incomplete experience.
But despite its poor reception, Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford has already revealed plans to make a Duke sequel. No doubt this was the intention all along.
Gearbox now has the opportunity to sculpt its own Duke project from the ground up. If it's going to succeed though, here are a few things we think the studio can't afford to leave out.
Duke Nukem is a disgustingly inappropriate, sexist and self-confessed 'ladies-man', who pretty much fancies anything that doesn't have a set of testicals.
He's always been an insufferable moron but, at some level at least, the brute's outrageous behaviour can be mildly amusing.
Unfortunately for us though, the dialogue in Duke Nukem Forever transported the franchise to an all new low.
From its cheap sexual innuendos to its rather off-putting suggestions of alien rape, Forever's uninspired and painfully tactless shock tactics generally lacked any level of sophistication, flinging turds being one obvious example.
Some still question if Duke was ever funny? That's a matter of opinion, but there has been a general feeling that maybe the hunk of meat is a bit outdated. If Duke Begins is to elevate itself and return to its prior days of glory, it's going to need a solid script, one that manages to modernise Nukem's crude core.
Even hardcore followers will admit that the presentation and gameplay in Duke Nukem Forever was embarrassingly outdated.
Bar the handy shotgun, the weapons felt tired and sluggish, and Duke's alien counterparts were disappointingly familiar.
But this really isn't surprising considering that its initial design commenced way back in 1996. And sure enough, like some sort of unsightly and unfinished patchwork quilt, Forever felt like a largely segmented experience rather than a complete one.
For the next instalment, Gearbox needs to introduce new features to take Duke into the 21st century. And there's certainly enough ingenuity at Gearbox to do this.
Our eyes turn to the diverse selection of weapons showcased in Borderlands as well as its fantastic looting system that gave players access to new weapons and upgrades. Even Brothers in Arms' squad based gameplay might be a welcome dynamic to the Duke Franchise.
Duke Nukem is supposed to be an outrageously over-the-top FPS with an emphasis on having fun. Despite this, Gearbox included some uncharacteristically dull elements such as 'the two gun limit', and 'regenerative health'.
But Duke shouldn't have limitations. He should be able to carry 12 mega-guns at a time, put his boot through an alien torso's like it's made out of jelly and generally kick everyone's arse. That's what an action hero does!
He needs to be consistent too. In Forever, during one clunky puzzle section, Duke says: "I hate valve puzzles," a shocking attempt at flinging a middle finger in the direction of the Half-Life series.
This may have worked if Duke had said, "Screw your damn puzzle" and then proceeded to blow a hole in the wall. But he just carries on doing the puzzle. We want Duke Begins to return to the roots of the franchise and break the rules of conventionality once more without being obnoxious and stay clear of the COD-styled modern FPS formulae.
The multiplayer in Duke Nukem Forever was a little lacklustre to say the least, seeming more like an afterthought than anything else.
But there are plenty of reasons why Duke has a great potential to stand out as an quirky alternative to the standard FPS multiplayer market.
Things like shrink rays, freeze rays, and chain guns give Duke Nukem the potential to standout. However, both the aiming and balance issues from Forever really need to be addressed.
Similarly, interesting takes on standard multiplayer modes such as Capture the Babe could prove to be popular as long as adequate time is invested to iron out the buggy and annoying gameplay that plagued Duke Nukem Forever.
Many will disagree, but we loved previous titles such as 'Critical Mass', 'Time to Kill' and 'Zero Hour' that showcased great third-person perspectives.
One thing we quite fancy seeing is a mix of both first-person and third-person action, particularly in multiplayer, something that the Perfect Dark 360 remake did rather well.
Duke Nukem Forever simply wasn't that fun and its failure owes itself to the fact that the franchise's best bits were either seriously underplayed or not included at all.
One highlight of Duke has always been the level of interaction on offer, particularly in Duke Nukem 3D. In Forever though, mini-games had an air of the late 90's about them, were continuously unresponsive and bland.
The game was also crammed with repetitive turret sections, uninspired boss battles and wave after wave of irritating cronies that were often frustratingly difficult to beat, causing you to die every 20 or 30 seconds.
But perhaps worst of all was that Duke's trademark jetpack didn't even make an appearance in Forever's campaign. The tool that in previous instalments enabled the player to fly around the environment and locate hidden areas was nowhere to be seen.
It's perhaps obvious then that we want Duke Begins to have plenty of fun jetpack sections, hidden achievements, secret unlockables, responsive mini games, extensive weaponry, improved gameplay, new environments, new enemies. New everything!