Duke Nukem 3D: Atomic Edition

aka: Duke Nukem 3D
Moby ID: 6010

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Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 82% (based on 30 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 92 ratings with 3 reviews)

This is how you design a level pack

The Good
That 3D Realms was able to produce this mission pack while designing another game is either a testament to their tireless productivity or their desire to keep the cash machine oiled and firing on all five cylinders. Considering the high quality of Duke Nukem: Atomic Edition, I wouldn't begrudge them if it was the latter. A good game is a good game no matter why it was made. Add-ons/level packs/expansions for FPS games tend to suck, and I'll admit I was pleasantly surprised by this one.

Duke Nukem: Atomic Edition is the first of several mission packs for Duke Nukem 3D, two official and three unofficial. It contains eleven new levels, more gore, and more retarded humour. Unlike the plot-less mission packs that would follow it you've got a definite goal in this game: aliens have landed (again) and you must eliminate their queen. Your journey takes you through the familiar suburbs of LA, to an amusement park, a top-secret military base, and eventually the alien mother ship.

Like 99% of mission packs, Atomic Edition does absolutely nothing original. That's the whole idea. It's for hardcore Duke fans that want more of what the original game gave them, and on that level Atomic Edition succeeds perfectly. It's obvious there have been some staff changes at 3D Realms (the art style is quite different) but the gameplay and level design is of just a high a standard as the original's. In the Duke Nukem 3D tradition you have to rely on lateral thinking as well as shooting to get past some of the tougher puzzles, and there are enough secrets, easter eggs and other surprises (including one awesome secret level) to make it worth replaying even after you've beaten the game.

There are two new monsters, a pig cop driving a Gatling-equipped ice-cream truck (I swear didn’t make that up) and a not very well disguised rip-off from the Aliens films who shoots shrink rays. Speaking of shrink rays, your shrink gun has been modified to include a microwave emitter that allows you to expand enemies instead of just shrinking them. It's all great fun; in a retarded, IQ-damaging way.

And unlike the often-uneven difficulty of Duke Nukem 3D, this level pack is perfectly balanced, with fair, even placement of weapons and powerups (although the game's signature jetpack is conspicuously missing). During the final levels the difficulty really ramps up, but in a satisfying way. The boss fight (it takes place underwater) is easily the best one in the game and showcases 3D Realms' ability to design creative and fun levels.

The Bad
Things aren't as fresh the second time around, and it's kind of hard to recommend Atomic Edition over one of the other excellent Build games (Blood, Shadow Warrior and Redneck Rampage). Not a criticism, an observation.

Some of the levels feel kind of lame and contrived. Part of Duke Nukem 3D's appeal was how all the levels were themed on wacky and unusual locations, places you wouldn't normally see in an FPS game. But it is possible to go overboard. Amusement park levels are cool. Sushi restaurant levels are cool. Strip club levels are awesome. But levels themed off grocery stores, burger joints, and post offices? It's like playing the FPS version of The Sims.

The Bottom Line
Great FPS action and a worthy instalment in the Duke Nukem canon. Whatever else it does, it makes vanilla Duke Nukem 3D completely redundant.

DOS · by Maw (833) · 2007

Duke it up even more with Atomic Edition.

The Good
Duke Nukem 3D: Atomic Edition, contains the original Duke 3D game as well as the expansion Plutonium Pak. Duke Nukem was once the most recognizable male videogame hero, who has just about faded out of memory for most. I, for one, still have a blast playing this game, as one of the best FPS of it’s day Duke still packs plenty of thrills.

Duke is returning to Earth, when he finds that all the babes are gone! Duke knows what he must do. Kick alien ass and chew some bubblegum, and he’s all out of gum. Like most FPS in the pre-Half-Life times the plot in Duke 3D takes a back seat to the action. But action this game packs in spades. Duke runs and guns his way through 4 episodes and over 30 levels. With the Plutonium Pak, Duke finds himself pitted against new alien foes, and blasts his way through some of the games best levels, such as Duke Burger.

Graphically, Duke 3D was impressive for its time. Now it shows its age. But the aesthetics are still okay, I mean they are hardly bad. The quasi-3D graphics still do their job.

The Sound/Music is pretty good. From the loud and realistic gun shots, the monsters screams and of course Duke’s hilarious one-liners. The music is all in midi form, as was the standard at the time. And considering how low tech Midi’s are, it still sounds pretty good, with its Doomesque rock tracks.

The gameplay is still loads of fun. When isn’t blasting aliens fun? And before Half-life’s Gordon Freeman, Duke did it best. Of course it is an old-school FPS that means collecting keys and hitting switches are a big part of the gameplay. As well as blasting hundreds of enemies.

The Bad
Duke is a little dated. And we will likely never see Duke Nukem Forever, so this still stand out as Duke’s best game.

The Bottom Line
Shooter fans can’t go wrong with Duke 3D.

DOS · by MasterMegid (723) · 2006

The Duke just got better

The Good
Duke 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 Bad
The 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.


The Bottom Line
I'll say that the Atomic Edition is a major upgrade over the original game, as you get new enemies, weapons, and music. You also get to explore new locations. If you have Duke3D, realizing that you can't get enough of it, then this edition is worth the upgrade.

DOS · by Katakis | カタキス (43093) · 2014

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Scaryfun, Wizo, lights out party, Tim Janssen, Alsy, Tomas Pettersson.