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Duke Nukem: Zero Hour
Platform:  Nintendo 64
# of Players:  1-4
Developer:  GT
Publisher:  GT
Features:  Rumble Pak, Expansion Pak compatible
Ratings:  Mature
Memory Req.:  
Once in a while, along comes a game that impresses us with juicy graphics and audio and entices us with story and other bells and whistles. Of course after the unveiling of the final product, we are left with a game that, when it all boils down, is mediocre. Games like Batman and Robin for the Genesis (I shaved my head as penance), B.I.O. Freaks, and Duke Nukem: Zero Hour come to mind.

I really wanted to like Zero Hour, I really did. Even after I picked up the review copy and fell victim to the sneers of a senior critic (hint: his name starts with Greg) I had hope. Time to Kill for the PSX was easily forgettable, but the idea of such a talented developer as Eurocom (their home conversion of MK4 for N64 was startiling) being at the reigns kept expectations high. Well, needless to say, I was disappointed.

After starting up the game you're greeted with a nicely done cinema, replete with standard Duke humor, that lays out the -already used for DN: Time to Kill- story. Aliens have used time machines to go back and change history so that they can blah, blah, blah, blah. Duke must stop them. One must wonder why they didn't just call this installment DN: Time to Kill International or Complete or Special Edition.

The biggest draw to this game other than the license will mostlikely be the graphics. Rightly so, the graphics are nice as hell as long as you're armed with an Expansion Pak. Besides the huge worlds sprinkled with great touches like crashing helicopters or rampaging tanks, there's great attention to detail on nicely animated enemies of which there is also a great variety, but sometimes though these refined graphics give way to blatant sexual suggestions. Shocking. I know.

The sound is standard Nukem fare. Lots of macho wisecracks mixed with the squeals of dying enemy aliens. The death metal soundtrack helps to convey the theme of machismo as well.

Control. This is where the game drops all shows of promise. The controls are way too touchy which leads to many unneeded deaths. While borrowing a control setup from Turok 2, it lacks a refined jumping system and is arguably worse than the first Turok in this aspect. I became infuriated by this very, very, very early in the game. Training levels are supposed to help you get into the game not out of it.

Add that to another list of problems like obnoxious enemy AI (either they're too stupid to attack or too sporadic to be escaped), constant slowdown ( that how the game is supposed to be?) and a boring multiplayer mode and you come up with a game that wasn't worth either the wait or the money that went into it. I guess it'll probably sell like hotcakes because of the license. At least they got that right.

Robert Cirkeljirque

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