Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary Preview – A Major Blast From The Past

Gearbox Gives Special Treatment To Duke

Oh this has been tough to keep to myself. I got to get my hands on Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary Edition World Tour back at PAX West, and I left feeling very happy with the amount of what they had done to adjust the game and update it accordingly. The legendary team of Allen H. Blum III and Richard “Levelord” Gray got back to help make some brand spankin’ new maps for a whole new episode that helps Duke round out what is one of his most popular adventures in Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary. We were hoping the rumors were true, but Duke is back, baby.

The new mission, called “Alien World Order”, sends Duke Nukem on a worldwide rampage (and he’d put a certain cartoon Spy to shame, nonetheless), kicking ass in a variety of iconic locations. Duke is going to be tearing it up across the planet, making sure to stop by all of his favourite places in the world. Make no mistake though, Duke isn’t here to party, he’s here to kick ass and chew bubblegum, and he’s all out of gum. You could practically hear the excitement Gearbox had over this remaster, and they’ve taken special care to help this new chapter feel organic, rather than its own thing. Making use of some stuff leftover in the game files, along with new ideas, Rich, Allen and the Gearbox team have created a brand new chunk of content that feels massive. These are some of the biggest levels I’ve ever seen in a Duke Nukem game, without a doubt, and Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary is promising some absolutely massive levels to kick ass in.

Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary

In my hands on, I got to try out the first level in the new episode, called High Times. Duke is on his way to Amsterdam, and while he may want to check out some of the various “coffee” shops, Duke’s got bigger fish, or Pig Cops to fry. As I tore across Amsterdam, I got to get a real good feel for the game after all these years, and it feels just like you’d hope. It’s snappy, and the sounds all bought back some serious nostalgia, with the satisfying roar of the good ol’ shotgun clearing away hordes of enemies, along with all the usual Duke weapons. Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary features an absolute arsenal, in true Duke Nukem fashion, and you won’t be disappointed in the gunplay one bit. It may be a blast from the past, but Duke Nukem 3D is hailed as a classic for a reason. Towards the end of my hands on-time, I came upon an absolute horde of enemies both old and new, and with the handy new Rewind feature, I was able to eventually clear it, and believe me when I say it is a feature that’s very welcome. You can rewind to undo mistakes, allowing you to nail that gauntlet of enemies with a certain finesse that would bring a tear to Duke’s eye.

There isn’t just new content coming our way though. Gearbox has made Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary look very pretty, helping overhaul the visuals with new lighting. With the new engine comes these new massive levels found in the re-master. That isn’t all, however, as they have even bought in Lee Jackson to help compose new music that would do Duke proud. They also bought back the legendary Jon St. John to not only record brand new lines, but to re-do all of the old voice work too, helping Duke sound fresh after all these years. It’s impressive to see just how much a new coat of paint can help a game feel fresh, but make no mistake, this is old school Duke at its core, and if High Times was any indication, we’re in for a true conclusion to one of Duke’s biggest adventures. Duke Nukem is coming out on October 11th for PS4, PC  and Xbox One.