Port Reports are a new series of quick first impressions of the technical aspects of a PC game. This article was written by EdenCrow and edited by Andytizer. For an up to date account of Duke Nukem: Megaton Edition’s fixes and improvements, please visit PCGamingWiki.
The 1996 FPS classic Duke Nukem 3D has been rereleased yet again under the guise of Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition, a port to Steam on Windows and Mac developed by the relatively unknown studio General Arcade. The Megaton Edition contains the original game remastered in OpenGL with resampled music, and includes Steam achievements and cloud syncing. Multiplayer through Steam is a planned feature, as is the implementation of a number of missing options and settings and also a Linux port. It is also the first time that the three expansion packs: Caribbean: Life’s a Beach, Duke it out in D.C. and Nuclear Winter have been made available in downloadable form.
The Megaton Edition represents the first commercially available update to Duke Nukem since the GOG.com release in February 2009, which only contains the original game without expansions running through DOSBox. Does the Megaton Edition offer anything new to the Duke Nukem experience, and is it the very best version of the game to get?
- OS: Windows XP/Vista/7
- Processor: 1.5 GHz
- Memory: 512 MB
- Graphics: OpenGL compatible graphics card w/ 256M
- DirectX: 7.0
- Hard Drive: 400 MB
- OS: Windows XP/Vista/7
- Processor: 1.8 GHz
- Memory: 1 GB
- Graphics: OpenGL compatible graphics card w/ at least 256M
- DirectX: 9.0
- Hard Drive: 400 MB
The Megaton Edition performs well out of the box on modern systems, with no significant issues getting the game to work. It includes great visual improvements over the original game, whilst also retaining its original charm, thanks to the JFDuke engine which provides OpenGL rendering support and true-colour textures. New sleek menus from the 2008 Xbox Live Arcade port have been included, which add to the overall feeling of polish and improvement over the original DOS game.
The graphics menu is minimalistic, with vsync not even an option (though this is promised to appear in a future update). There is the option of disabling the OpenGL smoothing by choosing the “retro” textures.
The sound settings feature another set of limited options. There is only a slider for overall volume, and switches rather than individual sliders for ‘sound fx’, ‘music’ and ‘Duke talk’ , although individual sliders are also promised for a future update.
The keys are fully rebindable within an easy to use menu, but there is currently no controller support available, which is odd considering that the Megaton Edition borrows so much from the Xbox 360 port. A sensitivity slider and a choice to invert the Y-axis are the only mouse settings, which is disappointing.
Some fans may consider the JFDuke engine used by the Megaton Edition to be inferior the use of EDuke32, a more popular engine (itself a derivative of JFDuke). The main difference is that EDuke32 benefits from compatibility with a large number of preexisting mods as well the ability to use the High Resolution Pack, which adds updated 3D models and textures. Furthermore, the Megaton Edition appears to be missing a number of features, for example, no console access, removal of gamma sliders, removal of gamepad support, etc. In many ways, the version seems to be a regression of the GOG.com version.
The choice between the Megaton Edition and GOG.com versions really depends on the person. If you just want to play some Duke Nukem then the Megaton Edition will do as it’s a simple plug and play experience, with the added benefit of a number of Steam features and planned Steam multiplayer. However, if you want a complete experience, the Megaton Edition itself is not compatible with all the popular mods lovingly developed by the Nukem community. However, the Megaton Edition does contain the DRM free version of the original game which can be modded using EDuke32, so it’s possible to get the best of both worlds using this version.
Whilst the Megaton Edition port may not satisfy modern PC gamers, it is important to remember that this is a remastering of a game that is now 17 years old. All-in-all, Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition could become the definitive version of Duke Nukem 3D if the promised updates are eventually fulfilled.
In the meantime, the Megaton Edition will satisfy newcomers and older fans, as the game also gives the option of allowing you to use the original game files with or without some of the modifications including EDuke32 and the High Resolution Pack, which should keep the fans happy too.
Duke Nukem: Megaton Edition is available on Steam.
For an up to date account of Duke Nukem: Megaton Edition’s fixes and improvements, please visit its respective PCGamingWiki article.