Duke Nukem for DOS

Duke Nukem is an action platform game made by Apogee (now 3d realms) back in 1991. The game was written for MS-DOS based systems and used EGA graphics and PC speaker sound. I remember first seeing the game at a cousin’s house on their Tandy 1000 PC. We played it for a short time, as I was into playing platform games at the time I found it pretty fun. We never did get a copy of it for our 386sx computer, and so I never really played the game to any depth until relatively recently.

The graphics are good for EGA, are animated smoothly, and full of colour. It’s pretty impressive that they managed to do so much on the screen at once. EGA was actually more difficult to program for smooth scrolling effects than VGA which was due to the way the hardware worked. By the time Duke Nukem was released VGA was pretty much the standard for most DOS games, which makes it surprising they stuck with EGA. Perhaps they were trying to make the game more compatible with older machines that would have still been quite common at the time.

Sound comes from the PC speaker and there appears to be no options for other sound devices. The sound for PC speaker is actually pretty good considering what they had to work with, although there are some situations the sound can be annoying.

Gameplay is where it is at with Duke Nukem. The game is full of classic platforming action and most items in the environment are interactive. When I came back to the game after not ever having completing the original, I found it was still very addictive, fun and engaging. It has a retro charm that keeps you playing to get to the next level, or a higher score.

So despite the outdated technology (even at the release date) Duke Nukem has rightly become a classic DOS platform game. Any serious DOS game player should play this at some time. The full registered game is still available, but the shareware game has plenty of action if you don’t want to shell out cash for the full game.


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