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A.P.I Review: DUKE NUKEM:
TIME TO KILL
Developer: n-Space OPTIONS: S.SHOT
SCREENSHOTS:
No.1   No.2   No.3
Distributor: GT 1-2 Player Split Screen
Game Type: 3D Shooter Memory Card
Review Date: October 1998 Analog Compatible

Setting the Scene

The Duke is dead!  Long live the Duke!

What is he rambling on about, I hear you mutter.  Settle down, slip a 
sedative and I'll tell you!  Duke Nukem has changed - big time.  In 
fact being a massive fan of the 'Doom type' first person shooter I was 
genuinely shocked when I first loaded up the Dukes latest adventure - 
Time to Kill.  I even became a little depressed.  What the Hell had GT 
done with the most famous male chauvinistic pig ever to appear on PC 
or console?  Sacrilege, that's what it is!  Imagine picking up a copy 
of Resident Evil 3 only to find that it had become an RPG!  The change 
is that big.

After discarding the disc for a few days, while I tried to get my life 
back in order, I finally took a deep breath and for the sake of you 
readers decided to give it a fair crack.  No longer can the Duke be 
considered a Doom clone... he's become a Lara Croft clone.  Duke Raider.  
Tomb Nukem.  Whatever... but much to my amazement, after several days 
torment... it works.  The gamble has actually paid off.     

Just when you believed that calm had been restored and Los Angeles 
saved from the aliens, they decide to regroup and attempt one final 
push.  This time they would be harder, meaner, faster... but would 
they have the intellect to outwit our hero.  That's up to you, a 
control pad and a copy of Duke Nukem.  Prepare to kick ass as it's 
Time To Kill.

Genre


Got a little time to kill? So does Duke. The greatest action hero in 
gaming is back in an all-new, revolutionary third-person frag-fest, 
exclusively for the PlayStation game console.  Rage through the ages 
as Duke annihilates ancient Rome, conquers the Dark Ages, and tames 
the Wild West, proving once more that the only good alien is a dead one! 

With a colossal arsenal of high-tech, all-new weapons and more Nukem 
attitude and humor than ever before, Duke Nukem: Time To Kill gives 
you more of what you crave. More hard-core action! More exploration! 
More shooter mayhem! More of the King of Carnage! So come get some!

Graphics


Duke Nukem is not a man that is likely to beat around the bush.  The 
Duke is back in a world gone bad and he ain't gonna take any shit!  He 
goes straight for the jugular... every time.  Time to Kill demonstrates 
this theory as it serves up a perfect aperitif in the form of a dynamic 
CG intro that will take your breath away.  

A town bathed in darkness.  The silence is broken by the sound of an 
approaching motorcycle.  Duke roars onto the scene and heads straight 
for the saloon.  Dancing girls wraps their smooth legs around a line of 
chrome poles and the babes begin to provocatively slide up and down... 
warming his supper?  Outside... a flash of light... a crate of weapons 
fall from the sky... a LAPD pig cop... Damn it!  They zap his precious 
motorbike and it turns into a kiddies bicycle.  Shit... someone's gonna 
pay for this!  It's all backed by a thunderous rock soundtrack that 
serve to get the juices well and truly flowing.

Once over the initial impact of the intro it's time to come to terms 
with the games massive graphical changes.  Duke Nukem 3D was a 'pick up 
and play' type of game and if you were well practiced at the Doom strafe 
motion then you were virtually home and dry.  In Time to Kill you no 
longer look through the barrel of Dukes selected weapon... it has become 
a third-person shooter, viewed from slightly above and behind 'the man'.  

I offer a simple suggestion.  Rather than throw the player straight into 
the heart of the action there should have been a Tomb Raider style 'Duke's 
Mansion' because you are going to have to learn how to control the Duke 
all over again.  I am not going to ramble on describing each and every 
back flip, push, climb, jump, grapple and forward roll, it would be 
suffice to say just two words - Tomb Raider.  If you have played that 
game (and who hasn't), then you have a definite head start.

At first it feels clumsy... especially when using the analog stick to 
control Duke.  Persevere and you shall be rewarded.  What this actually 
does is open up a whole new world of gameplay for the Duke.  He is no 
longer confined to simply blasting away at hordes of alien enemies... he 
can now scale cliff faces, clamber over rooftops, climb up ladders, and 
in one instance ascend a fire escape and sneak into a babes bedroom.  
Ahh.. the benefits are already being revealed.

Remember that slight grainy look that was always present in Duke 3D?  
It's gone!  Sprites are out and polygons are in, resulting in a truly 
stunning visual experience.  When first hearing about the introduction 
of polygons I had fears that excess over use would end in Time to Kill 
looking like Tenka or Disruptor.  In those games the scenery always 
seemed to look like bland colored slabs, bolted together to create a 
network of tunnels.  Not so this time out.  Each world that is visited 
looks visually impressive and the intelligent use of lighting creates a 
realistic 3D environment that supersedes past efforts.  Just wait until 
you feast your eye's over the Roman and Western worlds.  The variety of 
textures and colors that comes out of the Playstation is amazing and 
with massive levels being loaded in their entirety at one time I assume 
the data is being streamed directly from the disc.  
You won't be disappointed.

Of course it isn't all perfect.  There are several occasions where your 
characters snags onto corners and sticks to walls at the most unfortunate 
time but considering the overall quality of the visuals I feel this can 
be forgiven.

Sounds and Effects


Each world has it's own theme and, rightly so, the background music 
complements the action superbly.  The Modern world is set in and around 
an underground tube station and has that 'Warriors' feel to it with a 
slight John Carpenter musical style added for good measure.  The Western 
World tunes are perfect.  It bring visions of classic cowboy movies such 
as A Fistful of Dollars or the Magnificent Seven with a touch of Tarantino 
thrown in.  All of the time the wind can be heard howling in the background 
offering further atmosphere.

The sound effects?  What do you think... it's the Duke!  I don't want to 
spoil any of the fun for you but he is as foulmouthed, uncouth, degrading 
and as hilarious as ever.  Try picking up the telephone in the Tube station 
and learn how to chat up a babe Duke style.  Yippie-Ki-Yay! 

Playability


Okay!  So we have already assessed that the Duke is in fact a beefed up 
version of Lara (he even wears a skirt occasionally), so where does that 
leave the gameplay?

Time to Kill involves guiding the Duke through 28 massive levels that are 
located in Modern Los Angeles, Roman Times, the Old West and the Medieval 
Era.  For each world he wears the appropriate attire to blend in with the 
surroundings.  This involves tight jeans and T-shirt in L.A., a pleated 
little white bed linen number in Rome (nice leg's Duke), the full John 
Wayne get-up in the Wild West and a neat little Scottish kilt for the 
Medieval times.

Not only does the Dukes clothes change to accommodate each world but his 
weapons also move along with the times.  This means that your trusty RPG, 
rocket launchers and other meaty weapons of destruction are constantly 
switching.  Expect to be armed with six shooters, throwing knives and 
dynamite in the Western Levels, crossbows and axes in Medieval times, 
swords and holy hand grenades in Rome and a full set of high powered 
killing tools in the Modern levels including the flame-thrower that 
allows victims to be torched.   

Dukes new abilities work well on both standard and analog control pad.  
The face buttons are used to jump/thrust/swim (yes he takes the plunge 
also), draw weapon, fire/action and crouch/roll.  As you've probably 
noticed there are a few dual action for each button but they do not 
seem to get in the way of each other.  Shoulder buttons are used to 
sidestep left and right (almost as good as strafe), walk and look 
around (sound familiar?).

As far as the gameplay goes I don't think you'll be too disappointed.  
There are hundreds of aliens, fire breathing flying creatures, pig cops, 
pig cowboys, pig romans and medieval pigs to mow down.  There are also 
rope swings, crates to push, collapsing floors (aww come on, there must 
be a breach of copyright here somewhere?) and plenty of babes, prostitutes 
and strippers (that's more like it).

Unfortunately the smarter looking visuals and third person perspective 
have left a severe casualty.  Prepare for mass suicide... there's no 
link-up mode.  Damn it!  That was one of the main aspects I was looking 
forward to.  Instead there is a two player, split-screen Deathmatch mode.  
I ask you?  A Deathmatch where both players can see each other?  
Don't be daft!  It's alright for a half hours target practice, but 
certainly won't get your mates cuing outside your door expecting hour 
upon hour of link-up fun.  Shame!

I'll offer a little sample of what's in store.  The opening level sees 
Duke Nukem strolling the streets of L.A. with a few of those porky pig 
cops providing early target practice.  As soon as Duke draws his gun an 
automatic red targeting dot (optional) homes in on his prey and three or 
four hits turns the enemy into sliced bacon.  A door to the nightclub is 
ajar and after a brief battle with more of those piggies on the dance 
floor the area is clear and you can now get down to some serious practice 
of those new moves, or simply stay and watch the dancing girls slide up 
and down the poles... the choice is yours.  Investigating the area will 
reveal that the Duke can climb over walls, clamber up fire escapes and 
leap across balconies.  After a little practice you may just find yourself 
in the private company of a certain Miss Whiplashes who may offer some 
action if you switch off the lights.  Dare you?

A wander down the tube station provides your first taste of Duke Nukem's 
sense of humor.  Apart from bitching when you stand still for too long he 
will get the mighty boot into several vending machine that line the platform.  
A soft drink will replenish his health by one point while every cigarette 
smoked from an alternative machine reduces it by one.  Get the message!   

Further into the game the Duke visits the Wild West where pig cowboys are 
out in force to get a piece of his hide.  I was genuinely impressed by the 
speed of their movements and the fact that they didn't seem to follow any 
particular set pattern when hunting him down.  Once under fire they dived 
for cover behind crates, posts... even into the doorway of a saloon.  When 
reemerging the pig cowboys proved difficult targets as they weaved from 
side to side when charging down the dusty streets.     

Your progress may only be saved after a level is complete although you do 
have five continues, should you need them.  I prefer this system of saving 
as constant visits to your memory card stop the flow of the game and ruined 
Tomb Raider 2 for many.  Each level is no more difficult than... say a level 
of Doom, but you still need to remain constantly alert to survive.  The four 
difficulty settings from Wussy to Death Wish should accommodate most gamers.

Value for Money


Past fans of Duke Nukem had better prepare for the ultimate shock as he 
virtually changes genres from Shoot-em-up to Action/Adventure.  Stick 
with it and I'm sure that you will eventually warm to the new style of 
gameplay.  

Time to Kill will surely gather more new fans than it looses with it's 
Tomb Raider style of gameplay.  As I said... The Duke is dead!  
Long live the Duke!
Opinion
MARTIN
GRAPHICS: 18/20 What a shocker! I originally felt like I had fallen into a bucket of nipples and came up sucking my thumb. However, I gradually became accustomed to the new Duke and I can now say that we are very good mates. It's very much like playing Tomb Raider 2½, which may be no bad thing.

I still deeply miss the link-up mode and my undying love for first person perspective shooters will always remain, but Duke Nukem: Time to Kill makes for a tempting affair.
SOUND: 9/10
PLAYABILITY: 48/50
VALUE: 19/20
OVERALL 94%

 

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