Duke Nukem 3D is undeniably a landmark title in videogames history. Having been made available on practically every system since its debut back in 1996, Duke Nukem 3D continues to receive as much acclaimed now as it did more than a decade-and-a-half ago. Few titles can claim such prestige, and even fewer can still be brought to market in their original form and call upon the financial investment of their fanbase.
This is of course just what Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition does. Repackaged more times that Star Wars, Duke Nukem 3D finds itself re-launched on Steam for the same price as many modern first-person shooter (FPS) titles, and yet still it causes a storm. Arriving with the Atomic Edition intact and bundled with all of the official expansion packs – Duke Caribbean: Life’s A Beach, Duke it out in D.C. and Nuclear Winter – all running on OpenGL, Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition also includes the original MS-DOS version of Duke Nukem 3D. It may be asking for you to reach into your wallet and pay another time for a videogame you’ve probably purchased at least three times previously, but it’s giving you plenty of reason to think that investment is justified.
Of course, Duke Nukem 3D plays just as it ever did. The heady combination of lateral thinking and ultra violence born of technical limitation is refreshing in a modern industry that avoids the former in favour of a prettier renditions of the latter. From a technical standpoint Duke Nukem 3D is still in the stalls while modern titles are crossing the finishing line, but to the fans of the videogame – whom this package is clearly aimed at – this will matter little. This is doubly true when you realise that Duke Nukem 3D is compatible with the thousands of player-made mods that exist for free on the internet: this isn’t just another reprint of the videogame, it’s the best Duke Nukem 3D has ever seen.
Coupled with Duke Nukem 3D are the expansions, of which Duke Caribbean: Life’s A Beach is most certainly the oddest. An unofficial production which caught the eye of 3D Realms, Duke Caribbean: Life’s A Beach was granted a license and official release, and it’s developer hired to work on Duke Nukem Forever. How that story ended is anyone’s guess, but Duke Caribbean: Life’s A Beach is a grin-inducing change of pace that gives Duke Nukem 3D a Miami Vice feel, complete with sunsoaked beaches, bright white suits, water pistols and an endless supply of large breasted women in bikinis. This is surely Duke’s idea of a perfect vacation, and he’s making the most of it by kicking yet more alien butt.
Duke it out in D.C. and Nuclear Winter are more familiar experiences, building on the Duke Nukem 3D standard but still developed by external teams (Duke it out in D.C. was in fact developed by Sunstorm Interactive, the same team as Duke Caribbean: Life’s A Beach, several months prior). Duke it out in D.C. is perhaps the least enjoyable aspect of the package as it’s clearly a piece designed by a fan rather than a creative team, but it does maintain a reasonable standard of quality throughout. Nuclear Winter is an interesting proposition, reusing many of the designs from the original Duke Nukem 3D and thus offering a much more professional feeling videogame. Until it runs of at a wild tangent, of course.
The package as a whole is versatile, undemanding and enjoyable on all manner of low end systems. To play, Duke Nukem 3D is as consistently entertaining as it ever was and while none of the expansion packs manage to meet it’s exceedingly high standard at any point they are nonetheless a welcome accompaniment. The package is flawed – the absence of controller support being a fairly big issue for some – but in most regards Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition stands as the best value package the original Duke Nukem 3D has ever been presented in.