Duke Nukem Mobile 3D Hands-on

We wrestle with a completed version of Duke Nukem 3D at BREW 2005.

BREW 2005, San Diego--Forget Duke Nukem Forever (if you haven't already). The ayatollah of alien extermination is mere weeks away from revisiting mobile phones on Verizon's V CAST network. We caught a look at the final version of the game at BREW 2005, and we can absolutely assure Duke fans that MachineWorks Northwest has done their hero justice.

Since the last time we saw it in January, Duke Nukem Mobile 3D has blossomed in terms of scope and features. The final game has 22 levels, four difficulty modes, two graphics settings, and several brand-new, 3D-modeled enemies for Duke to punch holes in. All told, we'd say that the total level of content here has gone from adequate to impressive in four short months.

Although Duke Nukem Mobile 3D adheres to the same general structure that the Zodiac version of the game laid down--Duke starts on the streets, then fights his way through strip clubs, mansions, and dungeons, finally ending up on a zeppelin--it adds new levels to each environment and contains far more gameplay in total. Moreover, it now officially looks much, much more impressive. It's clear that MachineWorks Northwest has brought all of its 3D expertise to bear on this one. For example, the pig cops ripple with muscles, and the new, rodentlike soldiers actually seem to twitch their noses at you. The game's larger enemies, like the hovering brain monsters and titanic bosses, have to be seen to be believed.

With these 3D models enabled, the game runs at a perfectly serviceable 15 frames per second. MachineWorks has added an option to switch to sprite-based, 2D enemies, which will kick gameplay up to 20 frames per second, which is a very nice choice to have, even though we didn't find it particularly necessary. The controls and fun factor have transferred over to the LG VX8000 to a surprisingly intact degree, especially the all-important strafing control, which works like a charm.

Although we'll have to wait until the game goes on sale to tell for sure, Duke Nukem Mobile 3D appears to be the best portable Duke Nukem game to date, as well as a very strong mobile first-person shooter. It looks like Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm will be receiving some real competition in a few short weeks when Duke hits V CAST in full force. Stay tuned right here for the full review.

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