Duke Nukem 3D

Developer:  3D Realms/Lobotomy Software
Publisher:   Sega

Duke Nukem 3D for the Saturn has an interesting story behind it, according to the team that worked on it, Sega had originally contacted other studios to do this port, but eventually, all of them failed to do so, except for Lobotomy Software, who achieved this by running the game on their custom-made Slavedriver engine, the same engine used to create Exhumed/Power Slave and the Saturn port of Quake.

So having said all that, is this port any good?

Meh, not really, it starts out well enough, the game runs at a nice speed (if a bit slower than its PC counterpart), the textures seem be displayed at a pretty good resolution and it even displays some impressive dynamic lighting, but I'm afraid that's where the good news end.

First off every enemy seems to missing a few frames of animation, the same goes for all of the videos you find in the first two levels, remember when you turned on the film projector and you were presented with a dancing showgirl? Yeah her dance was reduced to 4 frames of animation, the rest just seems to have gone missing.

Speaking of missing, there are four levels from the PC version who have mysteriously disappeared, and some of the ones that kept were cut down, making them shorter, I also noticed some occasionally strange geometry and texturing like walls who'se textures were extremely stretched or polygons that seemed warped, but the absolute worst issue with this game is the total lack of scripted events, as a result the game lost dozens upon dozens of Duke's one liners, as a result, Duke is a completely silent for most of the game add that to the already scaled down levels and you're suddenly playing what feels like a standard Doom-clone.

The controls are roughly the same as Quake, except for the swimming controls which I felt were needless complicated, but I eventually got used to them.

Overall, this port is pretty disappointing I've always liked Duke Nukem 3D better than Quake, but there's just so much stuff missing from this version that if you're buying the Saturn port of either, you might as well just stick with the latter game, at least the most of the weapons, violence and content in Saturn Quake are intact.

Trivia: Did you know that if you have a save file from any other Lobotomy game in your console's memory you'll unlock a secret game called Death Tank Zwei?

Trivia 2: Did you also know both Id Software and 3D Realms weren't seeing each other eye-to-eye when this version was released? Kinda ironic their Saturn ports use the same engine.

Trivia 3: And did you also know that the US release is compatible with the Sega Netlink? It was the only first person shooter for the Saturn that featured an online multiplayer option, and unlike the Dreamcast, the Saturn's online capabilities can still be used today with little hassle.

- Original and fun weapons
- Humor and raunchiness is extremely childish, but I had fun with it
- For the most part this is still Duke Nukem 3D
- Dynamic lighting looks pretty good
- Four of the levels are missing while others were severely cut down
- No scripted events means you'll hear very few one-liners, in many levels you don't get hear Duke at all!
- At times you'll run into some weird texturing and geometry
- Some levels feel like you're playing a cheap Doom-clone due to all the missing content.

 Final Grade: C

The game features the classic shooter box art, I really should write an article on that, a lot of games from this time had similar art and as a result Duke Nukem 3D tends to get lost in the crowd.

Inside you'll find a pretty decent manual, with, weapon and enemy descriptions, all standard stuff for shooters of this time, though I like how it introduces what little plot it has with a letter written by Duke himself, it even makes references to the first two games, that was a nice touch.

Finally, the game comes in a nice late Saturn case, so chances are it has a better chance of surviving bombings than most underground shelters.

Packaging Grade: B-


  1. Proof that PC is a gaming master platform.

  2. The game was obviously made for the Personal Computer first and foremost. No wonder this port lacks a bit.

  3. I had no idea there were so many differences between the PC and the Saturn version. Pretty glad I played this on my computer.

  4. A lot of PC games really didn't translate too well being converted into console platforms, including Doom. I guess this is another good example of that, still fun though.