Duke Nukem Advance
The GBA has seen a host of FPSs, each with varying degrees of success. Duke Nukem Advance lands in the upper echelon of GBA shooters but still misses the mark on a couple of key issues, holding it back from greatness. Duke Nukem Advance takes a page from its own history books, playing much like the original Duken Nukem 3D, this all new adventure has a very comfortable and familiar feel to it. There are plenty of pig-cops, aliens, guns and babes to rescue (although not as frequently as in games past). The game carries a Teen rating so some of the raunchier material you would expect from Duke has been toned down a bit.
For the most part the gameplay is tight and enjoyable. Everything from switching weapons to unloading your shotgun was quick and easy when using the auto-aim feature. Since the GBA does not have the graphical power of other systems, the game looks and feels a lot like a first generation PSOne game, which is a compliment. This is one of the better looking GBA games on the market. The level designers did a good job of mixing in enclosed areas with wide open and expansive areas giving the levels a great feeling of scale.
Even though the gameplay is solid enough, there are still a few nagging thorns in my side. First, and foremost, this game commits the cardinal sin'you can only save your game at the end of each level. I don't care what game it is or what system I am playing, I want in-game saves, period. Nothing pisses me off more than working my way to the end of a level only to fall into a pit of lava due to an ill-timed jump (more on this in a second) and have to go all the way back to the beginning of the level. Another beef I have was the platform jumping elements. While they were infrequent, when they did crop up, they were frustrating and clunky. This game is a shooter, not a platform game so don't make me jump over pits of lava when I can't even look down and run at the same time so judging when to jump is a crap shoot. My final gripe is with the manual aiming system. It was slow and cumbersome and I just found it to be only useful in very rare situations. I ended up relying on the auto-aiming which worked fine aside from the fact the crosshairs did not lock on to the target so you never really knew where the auto aim was pointed.
Flaws aside, I still had a difficult time putting my GBA down. There are plenty of levels to work your way through and the game supports the GBA link cable against three others so you can get some great four player multiplayer action going. Like I mentioned at the beginning of this review, Duke Nukem Advance is still one of the better FPSs you will find on the GBA so you really can't go wrong with the purchase, especially if you are a fan of the genre.