Duke Nukem Advance is a portable video game in the Duke Nukem series, released for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance on August 12, 2002. The game was developed by Torus Games, an Australian based company, and published by Take-Two Interactive.
Four difficulty settings can be selected at the beginning of the game. Multiplayer is possible, with up to four players requiring a copy. An option to save one's progress appears at the completion of each level, with five save game slots to choose from.
The player takes on the role of Duke Nukem, an imperious action hero, and fights through 19 levels spread across four locations. Throughout these levels the player encounters a variety of enemies, and uses a wide range of weaponry to help combat them.
Duke Nukem Advance takes place in a variety of locations from sections of Area 51 to Egyptian temples to Sydney, Australia before taking the fight to the Alien Ship. The premise is that a sect of aliens are preparing a hibernating army to go with a super-weapon they built especially to lay siege to the planet and it's up to Duke to stop them.
The player fights their way through the levels, killing aliens and mutants on the way, in order to reach several boss enemies that are much tougher than the rest, and who seem to oversee parts of the invasion plans. As well as combat, the player must escape buildings as they are self-destructing as well as a variety of puzzles.
Duke Nukem, working for General Graves, is asked to investigate Area 51, after reports indicate the hostile infiltration of an alien species. After getting rid of much of the alien threat there, Duke learns about how the aliens require "environmental regulators" to exist, and follows them to Egypt.
While in Egypt, Duke Nukem discovers a vast collection of alien hybrid creatures in stasis, apparently an army meant to take over the world. A nearby power source detected by General Graves seems to supply their environmental regulators, so Duke is sent to shut it down. Subsequently, he learns that activating an override pump will drain the hibernation tanks, killing the entire alien hybrid army.
Nukem also manages to destroy the Alien Controller overseeing the stasis area, but it turns out that the alien activated a self-destruct sequence just before his death. Duke manages to narrowly escape the collapsing temple, using one of the alien transporters to get away.
Having re-establishing contact with the general, Duke Nukem discovers he has materialized in Sydney, Australia. Graves tells him to find one of the agency's undercover agents, Jenny, who has sent out a distress call from a nearby nightclub.
After rescuing the agent, Duke Nukem locates a doomsday weapon being created by the aliens. The Alien Controller in Egypt had mentioned it to be able to wipe out Earth's atmosphere, so Nukem is quickly sent to destroy the device. Once successful, he transports on board the orbiting Alien Ship.
Once Duke establishes his signal with General Graves, he learns that he must hack into the spaceship's system to find a weakness. After transmitting all the data from the ship he can find, Graves tells him they have detected four human females on board which Duke must once again rescue. He finds the first one and teleports her back to Earth, and after analysis, the general learns that she is in fact a cloned version of their undercover agent, Jenny. Duke deducts that the aliens are using the clones to help propagate their species.
By the time Duke has rescued the Jennys one by one, his General friend informs him that he can destroy the ship by shutting down its engine's coolant system. He does just that, then teleports "Jenny 5" back to Earth. The General's teleportation system is unable to beam out Duke Nukem too, however, requiring him to wade through more alien assailants in order to transport out using their teleporters. The ship subsequently blows up, and Duke Nukem arrives safely back on Earth.
The levels of Duke Nukem Advance take place in four distinct areas which act as pseudo episodes divided into several parts, or levels. These areas take place both indoors and outdoors, from alien autopsy rooms, to ancient Egyptian tombs, even taking place on the streets of Sydney and in Chinese restaurants before leading into space on board a spacecraft. The levels are fairly non-linear in design offering many chances for the player to explore and uncover secret areas. This non-linearity also helps in multiplayer since it offers multiple paths for players to travel through which helps add to strategic gameplay based on the design of the levels.
As with Duke Nukem 3D the game offers a wide array of interactive objects. Most of the objects in the game can be destroyed, canisters can cause explosions and even be linked together to cause chain reactions. Another interactive feature carried over from Duke Nukem 3D is the inclusion of interactive monitors which the player can use to view other areas of the level, often giving the player an edge by showing what they will face later on.
The level design does its best at mimicking the look and feel of Duke Nukem 3D given the limitations of the hardware it runs on. It still retains vibrant colors as well as diverse levels sporting several distinct locations, something that was still a unique trait compared to other games of this genre released on the Game Boy Advance.
The game is divided into four locations which is then divided up into smaller levels. The four locations are:
- Area 51: The player explores three levels set in autopsy rooms, sleeping quarters, and an underground train station.
- Egypt: Set in ancient Egyptian tombs, the player explores four levels in the depths of the temple with lava pits, hieroglyphs, and a explosive finale.
- Sydney: This location is set on the streets of Sydney, Australia. The player explores four levels set in shopping marts, fast food restaurants, and the famous opera house.
- Alien Ship: Set aboard an alien spaceship. The player explores eight levels on the alien vessel that was used to get to Earth.
Since the Game Boy Advance has a limited amount of controls, the game offers four different control configuration options. These set the buttons for shooting, jumping, strafing, weapon selection and looking up and down. When pausing the game, the player can also view the level's map. The player can pan around the map, as well as zoom in or out. Some of the level's secrets can also be discovered simply by looking at the map.
Weapons and Items
- Da Big Boot (Mighty Foot)
- Desert Eagle
- SPAS (Shotgun)
- Lead Cannon (Quad-barreled shotgun)
- Golden Desert Eagle
- Pipe Bomb
- Shrink Ray (Shrinker)
While the player does not have access to an inventory screen in single player they can still pick up items. These items are usually level specific goals, such as the data disc, to more standard items, such as health, armor, and ammunition.
In multiplayer the player has access to a multiplayer specific item, the Holoduke.
Duke Nukem Advance features a wide cast of enemies. Most of the enemies are from Duke Nukem 3D using the same sprites as they did in that game, such as the Pig Cop and Octabrain. Some new enemies introduced in this game are the Hybrids, Alien Crabs and their Alien Eggs, the later not to be confused with the Protozoid Slimer eggs from Duke Nukem 3D.
These enemies have a wide variety of attack methods, ranging from ranged attacks using weapons and psychic attacks, to melee attacks using vicious claws and teeth. Some enemies may have other features too, such as the Hybrids which have the ability to resurrect dead enemies. Different enemies move in different ways, including crawling, walking, running, and flying.
In addition to the standard enemies each new location features a unique boss battle which is usually engaged in the final level of that location. The four bosses are:
- Spiderlord: A large, fast moving, spider like life form that fires rockets.
- Alien Controller: A Hybrid contained within a floating machine which is seemingly invulnerable.
- Cyber Alien: A dual headed alien enhanced with cybernetics who is capable of launching pipe bombs.
- Alien Lord: The leader of the alien invasion.
Duke Nukem Advance features multiplayer support for up to four people via link cable support. Each participating player requires a copy of the game to participate in a match.
Multiplayer takes place within select levels from the single player campaign. These levels have been slightly modified to contain different weapon and item placement. It also features a multiplayer only item, the holoduke.
The only playable mode in multiplayer is Death Match, a gameplay mode where each of the players compete against each other in attempt to reach a set score to win the game. To obtain points a player must kill another player to add a point to their score.
Duke Nukem Advance is built using the Southpaw Engine developed by Torus Games. The engine itself is 2.5D similar to that used in Duke Nukem 3D. This engine was created specifically for the Game Boy Advance to produce First-person shooters. The engine was refined and enhanced to produce Duke Nukem Advance adding several features such as the ability to look up and down as well as the ability to jump.
Craig Harris of IGN gave Duke Nukem Advance a score of 9 out of 10, calling it "without a doubt the most fun first-person shooter on the GBA to date." Frank Provo of GameSpot gave the game a score of 7.5 out of 10, writing: "On the basis of technical merit, Duke Nukem Advance is nowhere near as pretty or diverse as the original 1996 PC game, but it's easily the best FPS to hit the GBA since Doom." Martin Taylor of Eurogamer gave the game a score of 8 out of 10, writing: "It breaks no new ground in gaming conventions, and it won't keep you playing for months, but it looks good and it plays well, which is more than can be said for some of its competition."
- Duke Nukem Advance was re-tooled to some degree after the events of 9/11/2001, the team was given a 1 year extension and elements like multi-player were added.
- Beta screenshots of the game show that the game was to have reflective floors/water like Shadow Warrior and Lame Duke.
- Beta screenshots also show that the Duke Nukem 3D pistol was originally planned instead of the Golden Desert Eagle like Duke Nukem Forever.
- Some dialogue between Duke Nukem and other characters varies in other versions of Duke Nukem Advance.
- The Freezethrower seems more similar to the Shrink Ray in terms of damage value, freezing most enemies after only one shot and also fires at a much slower rate than its Duke Nukem 3D counterpart.
- It is the only Duke Nukem game to be on a sixth-generation console.