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SummaryThe Duke just got better
The GoodDuke Nukem 3D was a success, so it came to no surprise that 3D Realms (who brought the Duke Nukem license from Apogee when the company folded) wanted to capitalize on its success. The result is the Duke Nukem 3D: Atomic Edition, an expansion of the original game.
Players who have yet to purchase a copy could get the Atomic Edition or just stick with the original game. If they stick with the original, then they would be missing out on an episode called “The Birth”, plus some extras on the CD-ROM and featuring higher resolutions than the default. Those same players, if they really wanted to, could purchase the Plutonium Pack, a patch that upgrades their copy to the Atomic Edition.
The new episode opens with a disturbing cut-scene showing a woman giving birth to an alien. Then, Duke battles it out in several locales, including a fast-food joint, a supermarket, carnival, post office, and a porn production company. As like the original Duke3D, exploring these locales is what I enjoyed as I never know what I can pick up or what shortcuts I can take. There are puzzles you need to work out before you can progress in some stages. The most memorable one I can think of is getting the Protector Drones to shrink you so that you can crawl through a small vent.
Game-wise, new things are introduced as well. One are brown aliens called Protector Drones, which is the result of the offspring of the boss you defeat at the end of the episode. Not only do they claw at you, they also hurl a shrinker ray at you. It is amusing to see Duke wave his arms like a robot as he moves when he is still a midget. You also have Pigcops who drive around in armored vehicles.
Speaking of the boss, I like the way you have to go through an entire level to get to her (not unlike the final level of Duke3D, where you encounter the Cycloid Emperor immediately). Also, out of all the music used for this episode, I really enjoyed listening to the music that leads up to the boss fight. It has more of a sci-fi feel to it. The best thing about killing the Alien Queen is not only does the entire fight takes place underwater, you will also see the Queen giving birth to the Protector Drones.
In addition to the new enemies, you also have an expansion to the shrinker ray that causes enemies to blow up and explode. This new expansion looks exactly just like the shrinker, but it glows red and has a little satellite dish mounted on top. I prefer this over the shrinker any day, because I just love the sound when enemies expand.
The BadThe Atomic Edition produces a few problem with the shrink ray/expander weapon. Even though the Drones can shrink you, you cannot use the shrinker ray against Protector Drones; while the using the Expander wastes too much ammo when you are trying to blow up an enemy.