Duke Nukem: Zero Hour

We recently had a chance to play a near-final version of the game.

Comments


UPDATE

We recently had a chance to play a near-final version of the game, and while all the single-player levels were available, we primarily focused on playing the multiplayer mode. So far, the four-player deathmatch is looking very good. There are many levels to choose from, each with its own look, feel, and array of weapons. For instance, the ice level Cool As Ice is full of freeze throwers and places all the players on skates. Meanwhile Fogging Hell is full of thick green fog and trip wires; a deadly combination for obvious reasons.

Currently, no two-player cooperative missions exist and computer-controlled bots are not present (so the two-player deathmatch is essentially just tag), but GT confirmed that they will be in the final game, as well as 29 total Duke skins for the multiplayer modes.

The single-player game appears much like a much prettier version of Duke Nukem: Time to Kill, meaning that there's a lot of climbing, jumping, and puzzle-solving, but mostly shooting. The game's sniper mode really comes in handy for picking off grenade-chucking enemies and is a great deal of fun to play around with.

All in all, the game is looking promising. Some slowdown was seen in both the single and multiplayer parts of the game, but we're hoping that will be cleared up before the game's release.

PREVIEW

Even if you've seen the movies Evil Dead 2 and They Live a hundred times and know all his lines backwards and forwards, there's still a certain irresistible charm to 3D Realms' trash-talking Schwarzeneggarian hero, Duke Nukem. Publisher GT Interactive and developer n-Space apparently felt the same way because while 3D Realms was off working on Duke Nukem Forever for the PC, they created the first real console-only Duke title, Duke Nukem: Time to Kill. Recently released on the PlayStation, DN:TTK received fairly high marks, and now Eurocom (the folks responsible for Duke Nukem 64 and the home ports of Mortal Kombat 4) are taking a crack at the second console-only Duke game, the similarly themed Duke Nukem: Zero Hour.

This title's premise revolves around another attempt by the aliens to travel in time and wipe out Duke's family tree, which obviously leaves Earth easy pickings. Duke must again defend his ancestors through a variety of time periods, such as the Old West (in mines, forts, jails, and the like), Victorian England (in castles, graveyards, and science labs), postapocalyptic New York City (the Statue of Liberty ruined? You crazy #!@#&s!), and finally a mixed-up time zone where all of these eras merge... and the alien mothership resides.

The gameplay should run much the same as in Duke Nukem: Time to Kill: third-person running, jumping, and shooting a la Tomb Raider - albeit with much, much more shooting. However, there will be differences to the game as well. For instance, Duke's puzzles will be a little more complex than just flipping switches: He'll have to collect objects such as crowbars and wire cutters to get the job done (sure, it's a little thing, but a little bit cooler than matching up colored key cards to doors, eh?). Also, beyond just traveling to different time periods, there are folks he'll actually have to save, some so that he can continue existing (just think what would happen if his mother was wiped out), while others will act as bonus characters. And, yes, he'll be freeing captive babes, as he finds them.

On the graphical front, all the characters will be composed of polygonal models instead of the old Duke Nukem 3D sprites, and the game will feature colored fog, Gouraud shading, and all the other bells and whistles you've come to expect on the Nintendo 64 (possibly even boosted into high-res mode through the N64 RAM Pak). GT is also saying that this time out, both the third- and first-person perspectives will be available to you.

On the enemy side, Duke will face some of his classic old Duke enemies such as the Pig Cops, Octabrains, and blood-crazy Sharks, and some new ones will be introduced, like poisonous snakes, flesh-starved apocalyptic cannibals, plague zombies, and other creatures. The main bad guy is said to be a heavily armed evil version of Duke himself, so you can expect a big fight there. And, speaking of weapons, the shotgun, submachine guns, pipe bombs, freeze-thrower, trip wires, and pulse cannon will be present to take on the baddies with, along with a rocket launcher that fires multiple missiles, Gatling gun, volt cannon, dynamite, and time vortex (an item-stripping bomb available only in multiplayer mode) too.

Last but not least is the game's multiplayer mode, which is known to offer both cooperative and deathmatch levels for up to four players. The bot Dukes seen in Eurocom's Duke Nukem 64 will almost certainly make an appearance here as well, so one to three players competing in deathmatch mode should have a computer-controlled opponent or opponents to blow up while they track each other down.

That's it! An intriguing package overall to be sure, made more so by the fact that the developers will hopefully have been able to learn from their previous efforts on the N64 and the n-Space Duke Raider game too. Expect more details on the game as we learn them, and the title itself in August of 1999.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Join the conversation
There are no comments about this story