Written by  :  Zovni (10648)
Written on  :  Feb 22, 2004
Rating  :  3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars

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Duke meets Tomb Raider

The Good

Time to Kill is Duke's first spin-off adventure that exploits it's charismatic personality on a new product and platform, in this case a 3D action/adventure game on the psx, seeing as how that seems to be the bestselling genre on that console. Ok, that's the nice way of looking at things, you can on the other hand think of it as yet another library made, by-the-numbers cash-in on a popular franchise. Regardless of how you want to look at it the care and attention to detail in it's design makes Time to Kill the pick from the psx 3D action gutter and delivers a substantial amount of enjoyment.

The developers obviously had the folks at 3D Realms behind their back to make sure the game's content was true to the Duke spirit, and thankfully so it is. The minor plot deals with yet another alien invasion only this time time travel is also thrown into the mix, Duke's mission thus is to clear present day L.A., the old west, medieval Europe and ancient Rome from the alien threat. The game progresses with you clearing out a time zone and returning to a different L.A. which shows some weird changes due to the time-space screwing up, thus you have to clear that alternate L.A., go back in time to another time zone and repeat until the final showdown. All through the game the Duke flavor is present and accounted for which helps to lift things up, for instance the main location in L.A. is always Duke's favorite strip club, which changes in funny ways throughout the game becoming a pig- club and a male strip club to Duke's dismay (expressed through the always super-cool voiceover clips by John St. John). This and more small quips help to make the game a much more enjoyable experience than the usual 3D alien blaster.

As I mentioned the game is blatantly based on licensed technology and libraries, with the game playing exactly like a Tomb Raider clone with the same control layout and timing. Sure, the game is more action oriented so it removes the auto-targeting and doesn't rely so much on jumping puzzles and acrobatics, but anyone's who's ever played a Lara game will feel right at home here.

The overall quality of the graphics are Tomb Raider 3-level, meaning pretty much all the psx can dish out as far as textured polygon-pushing can get, with improved lightning effects. The added bonus comes from the clean textures and level of detail in the levels layout in the form of the usual Duke Nukem "interaction spots" which means such trivial things like phones, light switches, etc. are all modeled and reward you with little effects or comedy bits when activated. Another interesting detail comes with the changes in Duke's outfit whenever he's on a different time zone, either be it cowboy boots and a hat, or a toga, or whatever, small things like that give the game a distinct sense of life.

As for the action the game handles things with a large arsenal of balanced weapons that include D3D classics as well as time-zone specific weapons and new additions. At the end of each zone you engage in small deathmatch-like "challenge" levels which reward you with an enhanced version of a specific weapon usually supplementing it's shortcomings and stuff like that.

You'll get to try those weapons out with extreme prejudice on the collection of classic Duke enemies strategically placed in each level. There are also the ever present Duke babes, but for the most part the only inhabitants of the levels are your enemies, so coupled with the great level design and small scripted sequences every now and then you have an intense and exciting gaming experience beffiting the Duke name.

The multiplayer component is also well developed, overcoming the psx's limitations and milking a functional 2 player split-screen deathmatch component that doesn't skimp on the framerates or features of the singleplayer game.

The Bad

Really un-necesary consoley dumb puzzles. Aside from that the graphics while at the top of the game in psx still look like crap, and regardless of all the Duke flavor there's nothing even remotely revolutionary here. You've done it all before and seen it all before.

Also, while the Tomb-raiderish control timing stands the test of time, it seems a tad slow for an action game of this kind.

The Bottom Line

Good Duke spin-off that brings the action and style to the psx under a new gameplay style. While it sure as hell doesn't make the same kind of splash as the original Duke3D it is an entertaining and enjoyable 3D action game for those looking for more Duke action.