Port Report: Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition

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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?

System specifications

Minimum:

  • 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

Recommended:

  • 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

Port thoughts

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.

EDuke32

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.

Conclusion

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.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/realOFF Strauss van Dor

    Is Smooth and Retro comparison correct? I don’t see the difference in textures there except for a slight one on lightning. Furthermore, textures in this comparison seem less smoother than the one from the first comparison.

    • nicereddy

      I’d definitely check on this, I’m not seeing much of a difference between the two and it looks like a comparison between 2 settings on the DOSBox version rather than the Megaton version.

      • http://www.edencrow.info/ Eden Crow

        The Smooth and Retro comparison is correct. One example of a difference between the two (even if it is ever-so-slight) is the gun texture looks different. However, the small image size makes it hard to notice. The change in lighting is actually one of the bigger differences when moving from smooth to retro textures as an error in the OpenGL renderer used for the smooth textures produces lighting glitches.
        The images used for ‘Megaton Edition’ in the first comparison and ‘Texture: Smooth’ in the texture comparison actually have the same source image but I believe the first was edited so that it would work with the slider comparison.

        Thank-you for the comments :)

  • nicereddy

    Some suggestions:

    Include links at the bottom to the Steam (or other digital distribution platforms) Store page for the relevant products (see the bottom of this Android Police article for a similar example (http://www.androidpolice.com/2013/03/29/new-game-uppercut-games-new-shooter-epoch-shows-why-killer-robots-never-go-out-of-style/

    Include the specs of the computer(s) the game was tested on.

    Instead of “For an up to date account of Duke Nukem: Megaton Edition’s fixes and improvements, please visitPCGamingWiki.”, you should say “For an up to date account of Duke Nukem: Megaton Edition’s fixes and improvements, please visit it’s respective PCGamingWiki article.” This would help clarify what the link is taking the user to.

    Great article, I like the use of the Javascript slider to compare two images.

    • Andytizer

      Thanks, great feedback :) . I’ve made a couple of the changes suggested.

      • nicereddy

        Great, thanks! A bit nitpicky, but I think it should say “it’s PCGamingWiki article” as the game “owns” the article (grammar woo!).

        • http://www.edencrow.info/ Eden Crow

          “It’s” is a contraction of “it is” or “it has” while “Its” is the possessive form, so the article is correct.
          (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITS )
          Thank-you for the feedback :)

          • nicereddy

            Well, I’m an idiot. Good job on the article!

  • wazups2x

    This game has NEGATIVE MOUSE ACCELERATION. DO NOT buy it if you hate bad mouse controls. I’m hoping the developers will eventually fix it.

    • drtermit

      Like in many games mouse acceleration caused by enabled VSync option. The same happens in Farcry3. Just disable VSync in Video Options