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Duke Nukem Mobile Review

Developer: MachineWorks Northwest Publisher: Tapwave
Release Date: June 31, 2004 Also On: None

Duke Nukem, like Doom, is remembered by many as their first FPS. Being that my family didn’t own a PC until 1997, I never had the chance to play these on the PC, and instead played RTS’, which were popular at the time, such as Warcraft, Starcraft, and Command and Conquer. Those were mission-based games and so is Duke Nukem. Well, other than your only mission is to kill everything on-screen, grab a key, and then find the exit.

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For the Zodiac to get a Duke Nukem title, and not the rest of the game platforms of the current generations, is a bit unprecedented and unexpected. The last release, which I know of, of a Duke Nukem title, was back on the Nintendo 64. Nearly a decade has passed since the release of Nintendo’s 64 bit system, and not until this June rolled around did we see Duke once again.

What’s the biggest asset that Duke Nukem Mobile has under its belt? Quite possibly its length. The levels are accessible no matter how long you have to play. This is the Zodiac version of a micro-game. Wario perfected it on GBA, and Duke Nukem enhances it on the Zodiac. The levels will range in length from 30 seconds to 1 minute and 15 seconds. This is the ultimate “pick up and play� game on the Zodiac.

For many FPS’, graphics are a make or break part of the game. The frame rate in Duke Nukem Mobile holds steady the entire game, with minimal frame rate loss during particularly successive explosions. So, the frame rate is high, animation is smooth, and there’s no on-screen fogging or pop-up. When compared to other FPS on the handheld market, such as, Ashen, Duke Nukem Mobile brightly shines. This puts games like Red Faction (N-Gage) to shame. Still, don’t expect anything surpassing low-medium quality PS1 graphics.

In terms of design, Duke Nukem is a run-and-gun shooter. The levels are usually straight, and might have a few passages, but a minute of gameplay per level amounts to a small playing field, on which enemies will reappear multiple times.

The controls boil down to the basics of a shooter, and take full advantage of the Zodiac’s control layout. The shoulder buttons are used to strafe, the up (blue) button is used to fire, the left/right (red/yellow) buttons to toggle between your weapons, and down (green) to jump.

Speaking of weaponry, you have pistol, shotgun, RPG, a pipe bomb, and possibly one more that I can’t think of, along with a melee attack. And speaking of levels, Mobile launches you into the city streets, a strip club, cemetery, mansion, parking lot and a hangar, then finally a zeppelin.

In terms of fancy cut-scenes or storyline, we won’t have any of that here. In true Serious Sam style (a next-generation version was just released in April), this is a shoot-em-up without much thought as to why you are shooting things up so badly. Duke has a license to kill, and if he doesn’t, oh well, he’ll kill anyway.

This 21 level brawl is the most accessible FPS on any handheld device. Not only is it fun to play (and short to beat), but you won’t grow wary of this, even after you replay the levels. There are three difficulty settings, if I remember correctly, so I guess that adds a level of replay value. To put it in laymen’s terms, Duke Nukem Mobile is the most inviting game for replay value on any handheld. If the shooting isn’t enough to warrant a purchase, the amount of time that you’ll spend playing levels over should be.

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 7.5
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 4
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 7.5
Written by Kyle Review Guide