Duke Nukem: Zero Hour

a game by Eurocom, and GTE Interactive Media
Genre: Action
Platform: Nintendo 64Nintendo 64
Editor Rating: 7.3/10, based on 4 reviews, 7 reviews are shown
User Rating: 9.0/10 - 2 votes
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See also: Duke Nukem Games

You'd be forgiven W for thinking that Zero Hour looks just a bit like the recently released PlayStation title, Time to Kill. Both games star Duke, both are full-on 3D fests and both could be pinned with the tag "Duke Raider." Upon closer inspection, the similarities are even more pronounced...both games are third-person action/adventure hybrids (although Zero Hour can be played in first-person mode too), both games have a lot of speech, and both deal with time travel as a major plot point. But they aren't the same game.

The story deals with aliens screwing around with the fabric of time in order to take over the world, and yet again (Time to Kill-style), one of their major goals is to kill off all of Duke's ancestors. As you'd expect from a multigame franchise star like Duke, his ancestors have all been terribly important figures in conveniently action-oriented periods of time. Cowboys, posh-people and Victorian dapper folk all make an appearance throughout the game as Duke is faced with variations on Pig-Cops decked out like native American warriors, outlaws and alley-dwelling muggers with switchblades. Play through the Victorian London level and you'll eventually end up on a certain overexposed ship just before it has its tiff with an iceberg.

The action doesn't just take place in the distant past though, Duke also has to travel to the streets of L.A. as seen in Duke Nukem 3D (the whole first level is in there) as well as present day and futuristic, post-apocalyptic streets of New York.

As far as the gameplay goes, this is looking to be pretty much what you'd expect from the Duke-churning-out-machine. He runs, he jumps, he shoots stuff, he blows stuff up, he wisecracks...he runs through a one-player adventure, or he lets you death(Duke)match with up to four players. It's nothing unexpected...but that's nothing bad. The Duke ain't broke, so there's no need to fix him. Yet.

It has to be noted that the graphics engine employed by developers Eurocom is actually pretty impressive. All of the locations in the game give a good impression of scale, with the streets of New York being worthy of particular note. Running along the streets and looking up at the sky really shows off the engine as the skyscrapers reach upward in a very convincing manner. Everything appears to be running in a resolution higher than your standard N64 blur-o-vision, and the team at GT assures us the game will support the 4-Meg pack to give the graphics an even sharper and smoother edge.

Download Duke Nukem: Zero Hour

Nintendo 64 Download

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

People say:

5.5

Everything you'd want in a typical kick-tail Duke Nukem experience is here. The levels are huge and you get lots of them. Ammo is plentiful. Duke's back to his filthy-mouthed self again and dirty jokes abound (watch for posters advertising "louinski's All Natural Clam juice" and "Goldenguy: Agent 069"). But big guns and lewd guffaws aside, this shooter is anything but golden. My main gripe: The levels lack save points, forcing you to save only after you complete a stage. Few things are more frustrating than dying near the end of a level and having to replay that stage from scratch. You've heard me complain about this problem before with a few N64 first-person shooters, but the absence of checkpoints in Duke is especially painful, since the game's levels seemingly sprawl for miles. They are well-designed (the future-shocked Manhattan stage has an Escape from New York meets Terminator feel). Control setups are plentiful, and I had the best luck with the Turok configuration. But jumping is a plain of pain in the ass, no matter which setup you choose. Despite some odd texture choices and slowdown, the graphics are decent and pretty sharp in Expansion Pak-enhanced hi-res mode. Of course, you get the standard four-player modes, including team play, and several well-built deathmatch arenas.

5.0

It's official. Duke Nukem is no longer cool. Take a franchise and milk it enough, and it just gets boring. Ask Lara Croft. Duke still says the same stuff, he still does the same stuff, and just because it's a third-person game doesn't mean there's any real innovation when it comes to design. The "edgy" imagery is a refreshing change, especially in an N64 game, but the gameplay itself is infuriating. Why no firkin' checkpoints in the levels, huh? Huh?

3.0

I've never been a fan of first-person shooters, and that's basically what 0N:2H is, only in the third-person view. Those damn aliens that are always shooting' up his ride are back for more, and they haven't changed much. Levels are huge and detailed, but each one's almost too long to be much fun-spending hours without feeling like you're advancing in the overall game can be very frustrating. Great multiplayer action, but as for the rest, it's been there, done that.

6.5

Although ZH's one-player game can be a lot of fun, there is one main problem that is so annoying it makes me not want to bother playing it: No save points/checkpoints within the levels. Perhaps if the levels were slightly smaller this wouldn't be a problem. Sadly, playing through ZH's levels becomes a tedious game of memorization. And the choppy frame-rate doesn't help either. In the game's defense, the multiplayer modes are a firkin' blast.

Cruelty To Pigs

You are Duke Nukem, gun-toting, pig-shooting superstar. Your 21-level mission is to travel through time, blowing away alien scum leaving nothing behind but a dirty great trail of corpses and blood stains. And you're going to really enjoy doing it.

Duke's new third-person view hasn't affected the way the game plays - in fact, it works exactly like a traditional Doom-style blaster. Duke's Lara Croft pretensions are limited to a simple fixed-height jump, and there are no fiddly moves to get in the way of the all-out shooting action. The Dukester's manly figure is only visible on screen for cosmetic purposes, to help distinguish Zero Hour from the official sequel to Duke Nukem on the PC, which is a first-person game.

It works well though, thanks to the excellent camera system. When Duke stands close to a wall the camera zooms in behind his transparent head just like in Mission: Impossible. The view switches to first-person when using the sniper rifle (which makes a disgusting mess on the walls), and there may well be a cheat to let you play the entire game using that view.

Duke's famous sense of humour is present throughout Zero Hour. The post apocalyptic city levels are filled with posters poking fun at various N64 games, some of which may be chopped a little by Nintendo's censors, and Duke can be heard muttering words of wisdom whenever he picks up an item ("Fresh hardware"), shoots a Pig Cop ("Who wants some"), gets hit ("Just a flesh wound"), or whenever he just feels like chatting. We particularly liked the way he muttered "Touch me again and I'll kill you," shortly after blowing a zombie's legs off with a shotgun. A man of action.

Zero Hour's graphics are very impressive, especially when using the memory expansion pak to enable the hi-res mode. The London levels have a realistic smog effect which conceals Pig Cops in top hats and in the rest of the game there's no fogging at all. no pop-up. and a view stretching off into the distance. The monsters are 3D models instead of the original Duke Nukem's cardboard sprites, and it's possible to shoot a wide variety of bits off them using the game's 30-odd weapons. More as we get it.

Dukematch

The four-player deathmatch mode was the best thing about the first Duke Nukem game, and the same thing is true about Zero Hour. The nine levels - including a unique frictionless ice arena - have been specially tweaked to make it easier to find your opponents, so there is a lot less aimless wandering around and a lot more killing. You can play as any of the human-shaped enemies from the game, including all of Duke's snappy outfits and some special secret 'skins'.

This day has been a long time in coming. I have been sitting by waiting for the arrival of my all-time hero and his latest N64 exclusive adventure. It seems like it has been an eternity, but my wait is finally over. I now have the chance to control the world's biggest badass to save humanity in the past, present and future. What a great day this is.

Duke Nukem Zero Hour sends our hero on a mission back in time, through the present day and into the future in an attempt to save humanity and, more importantly, babes. There is plenty of pig blasting, lizard splattering and smart-ass commentary to put this game up there with the best of the pastDuke efforts. Unfortunately, there are some issues that will keep this game from reaching the heights that it should have reached. Most of the pieces were in place, but the missing pieces may keep anyone but die-hard Duke lovers from ever making it through this game.

Gameplay

Up until Duke's last adventure on the PSX, Duke Nukem Time To Kill, Duke has lived in the world of first person shooters. With Time To Kill, Duke lovers were introduced to getting the full Duke form in front of them while playing from the third-person perspective. This third-person perspective must have been popular with the masses because it is back making its first appearance on the N64. While Zero Hour and Time to Kill are different games that follow different story lines, they are pretty similar.

Zero Hour plays a lot like the Tomb Raider games. You control Duke as he walks around looking for keys, switches or hidden items to progress through the levels. You will run, jump, shoot, punch and muscle your way through levels trying to reach the end. The big difference between this game and the Tomb Raider games is the attitude. You just can't match that Duke Nukem attitude.

I guess that since I brought up the attitude, I should explain what I mean to those sorry people who have never experienced Duke. The best way to describe the Duke attitude is to combine Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger with Andrew Dice Clay. He takes no crap from anyone and his mission in life is to save chicks, make smart-ass comments and blow stuff up. What better idol could a person have? Zero Hour keeps this attitude in tack and actually thriving stronger than ever.

As far as the actual gameplay goes, this is a pretty solid game. It is not really revolutionary in any area, but the action and adventure is non-stop. The game does get to be a bit on the repetitive side after a while, but not really to a point where it becomes annoying. They did a great job of throwing in new weapons to rejuvenate things when they need it most. The enemies get a little on the repetitive side as well. There are different classes of enemies, but all the enemies in a class look the same. It would have been nice to have more variety.

One of the best parts of this game was not the actual gameplay, but the surroundings. All I can say is that I suggest you read all the banners, signs, posters and walls that you come across during your adventures. They are an absolute riot and I even wonder how some of the posters made it past Nintendo and their strict censorship policy. I give GT Interactive credit for trying and Nintendo credit for letting them get away with it. I seriously would go out of my way to read all of them. Here is a quick example of what you will find. On the side of a semi-truck, there is a huge graphic that reads "Beaver Trucking: We lick the competition" (or something of this nature). All I can say is that I bet the developers of this game had a great time coming up with witty little sayings, slogans and quotes like this.

Unfortunately all is not well in Duke land. As I mentioned above, only die-hard Duke fans will stick it out on this game. Why, you ask? Because you can't save your freakin' game until the end of a level. This would not be so bad if the levels were short or if there were checkpoints or even if it was difficult to die. But no, the levels are huge, there are no checkpoints and your mission can end on one missed jump. Talk about frustrating! I can't tell you how many times I played through levels over and over again because I'd fight my way halfway through, die, and have to start the entire level over. Battle further than before, die, start the level over. I can't think of any other game that has such harsh consequences for dying after playing for 45 minutes. I have never had such a sinking feeling as when I die in this game. The real tragedy is that this shortcoming really takes away the exploration and adventuring of this game. I would not try things that I otherwise might have tried, for fear that I would die.

The game is full of secrets, but I was afraid to leave the beaten path to explore. I can also guarantee you that this will be frustrating enough to some people that they will just give up.

Lastly, this game has four solid multiplayer games. First, you can play Dukematch, which is a standard Deathmatch. Next, you have Last Man Standing, which gives each player only one life and the object is to be the last person alive. The third mode is King of the Hill, which is pretty cool. One person is designated as the king and if you kill the king, you get five points instead of the standard one point and then you become the king. The person with the most points at the end of the level is the winner. The final mode is the Team Dukematch, which is similar to a deathmatch only you can be on teams. All of these offer up a good time, so if you are a big fan of multiplay in games, you should have a blast with this game.

Graphics

This is a tough thing to hit on. The graphics on one hand look nice but when the expansion pak is used, the frame rate goes down the drain. You are better off playing without the expansion pak or in medium resolution because high resolution stutters and slows so bad that it actually interferes. Fortunately the low-to-medium resolution graphics are still pretty decent looking. During a lot of the game, the graphics are really dark. I actually had to crank the brightness up on my TV if I wanted to play this game during the daylight hours, otherwise I would not have been able to see anything.

Bottom Line

I am the biggest fan of Duke that there is, but even I had trouble getting motivated to play through a level over and over again. I can't begin to explain how ticked off you will get when your 45 minutes of playing is completely lost because you miss a ledge when you jump or if you open a door and get ambushed. The game itself is fun and pretty enjoyable, yet unoriginal in most areas. They did a great job with all the voice samples and little touches scattered across the worlds, but the third or fourth time through a level, you just want to get done and move on so they lose a little of their luster. So if you are a patient person and don't mind playing the same level a few times, then you should be OK with this. If you get frustrated doing the same thing over and over again, you will not be happy with this game.

First, the bad I news: Duke Nukem: Zero Hour has been delayed again. Now, the good news: Not only will the game use the Expansion Pak for hi-res ass-kicking graphics, but there's also a chance the wait will lead to appreciable changes. The version we played was still early in development, but it's best described as a behind-the-Duke Turok clone. Some of the weapons' effects already looked spectacular, though there were some slowdown problems that need to be fixed.

That bad boy of barrel-blastin' fame is back, and he's brought his foul-mouthed style of alien-zapping with him in this latest shooter from GT Interactive. Duke Nukem: Zero Hour places Duke in four time periods: present day New York City, the Old West, Victorian England, and post-apocalyptic N.Y.C. You romp through the levels, rescuing scantily clad buxom beauties and shooting everything in sight It's a hedonistic, annihilistic fantasy gun game, but it works on every primal instinct you possess.

The game plays like Turok in third-person mode as the dynamic Duke strafes, fires, rolls, and climbs. There's also a barrage of weapons, such as sniper guns, grenade launchers, radium cyanide canisters, and more. Even though Zero Hour has a simplistic gutter mentality, you can't help but hope that some improvements will be made to the game. Plus, there's some serious frame dropout when the screen gets crowded (Eurocom promises that flaw will be addressed and corrected), and, despite the many different control sets that are being offered, you can't customize the controls independently. The countdown to Zero begins in August.

Duke Nukem: Zero Hour is part trashy Turok. part gory Golden-Eye--and all Duke! This game wallows in its Mature rating, so pre-seventeens. the gun shy. the squeamish, and the politically correct should just stay... make that run away.

PORK FRIED ACTION

Zero Hour continues the Duke Nukem saga that began on the PC. The evil space hogs have returned to make Earth a gigantic pig sty--and this time they're using time travel to wipe out mankind! Its the perfect setup for Duke's hard-hitting 3D action/adventure run-n-gun gameplay as you hunt extraterrestrials from post-apocalyptic New York City to the Old West and Victorian England.

You play from a behind-Duke view as you engage in close combat encounters with 26 types of E.T. meanies that overrun 22 levels. You can also battle your friends in rockin' multiplayer action across 14 unique levels.

The gameplay's tuned to near perfection so there's never a dull moment. There's also a fair amount of exploration that's nicely mixed with the action, which is good because the levels are humongous and the alien scum are deadly. Moreover, you can't save a game until you beat a level. You definitely get plenty of bang for your gameplay buck here.

"FRESH HARDWARE!"

Zero Hour's solid controls make you the Master of Mayhem. They're nicely tuned to the always-on-target game cam, keeping the action hot and heavy. Its a breeze to cycle through weapons (up to 20 types), even in a fire fight, and with eight preset control configurations, Dukes easier to play than ever.

Fans will find the visuals and the sounds familiar and fun. New Duke enlistees, however, should be prepared to shred pigs into pulp and splatter zombies. Of course, Duke's one-liners carry the audio show with classic Duke-isms like "Grooovy!" and "Let's rock!" joined by a few more...uhhh, rougher lines. Zero Hour also makes great use of environmental effects, so grunts and engine sounds provide key gameplay clues.

"HAIL TO THE KING. BABY!"

As Duke Nukem might say, this is "another piece of butt-kick pie!" Its all about hard-chargin', alien-zapping action with attitude. If its time for you to become an M-rated gamer, it must be Zero Hour.

ProTips:

  • Remember the locations of fire hydrants and toilet bowls. Drinking from them is a free power-up!
  • Rescuing Babes causes your health to rise 10 units. This, however, is Leonardo's Mona Lisa-not a Babe.
  • Pigs and lizards will materialize out of thin air. Listen for transporter sounds.
  • When you hear suspicious creature sounds coming from around a corner, consider launching grenades, radium cyanide shells, or pipe bombs.
  • Air vents signify secret passageways where cool gear awaits.

Graphics

The animation's sometimes stilted and hokey, like during Duke's runs and jumps. But the facile game cam is tightly tuned to the 3D gameplay. Also, there are cool combat effects, and the creature graphics are solid. Expect to see some gore.

Sound

Zero Hour compels you to keep the sound turned up. Its all about "Duke-isms," baby! There are plenty of 'em with lots of attitude. Hard-rocking "Duke" intro music mainlines adrenaline at the get-go. Environmental sounds actually assist your gameplay.

Control

A good job of game tuning here. The controls manage a wide variety of weapons and gear with ease. You can even magnify the cool sniper view and reload on the run. Eight control configurations and your choice of gunsights are a plus.

Fun Factor

The run-n-gun fighting rocks, and there's just enough puzzle-solving and exploration to keep the game interesting. Moreover, the single-player mode is an epic-length adventure. Mated with the multiplayer games, Duke gives you more than your moneys worth.

Snapshots and Media

Nintendo 64/N64 Screenshots

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