Duke Forces, An incredible blend of Duke 3D and Dark Forces

Game required: Duke Nukem 3D

Platform Played: PC

Price: N/A

Developer: Deeper Thought

Publisher: Deeper Thought

Released: May 4, 2016

Moddb page

[NO SPOILERS PRESENT! ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF THE DEVELOPER AND MODDB.]

Four days ago was Star Wars Day! I hope the Force was with you on the 4th. I celebrated with watching the new film: The Force Awakens! It is a great time to be a Star Wars fan. Especially with the new Rogue One movie on its way. Yes, it is unfortunate that they are not acknowledging Kyle Katarn’s contribution to the rebellion by stealing the Death Star plans. I believe that their interpretation of this tale with Rogue One though will be beyond satisfactory!

Speaking of Kyle Katarn, earlier I reviewed his adventures on my site. You can read about his origins and his epic struggle here. Duke Nukem 3D (1996) like Deus Ex (200o), enjoys a thriving community of modders. I earlier reviewed The AMC Squad Episodes I and II. Those were brilliant. At this point you are probably wanting to know why I’m changing subjects mid paragraph.

“Were his grade school teachers right? Did he need Ritalin?”

“No Silly! Leave those well-meaning but wrong ladies out of this. We’re going to talk about Duke Forces!!”

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What is Duke Forces? It is Dark Forces-themed Duke Nukem 3D total conversion. The creator: Deeper Thought, has pulled out all the stops here and has created an incredible work. Yes, there are still Cycloids. You’ll be fighting Stormtroopers, Imperial commandos, officers, red-armored foes who I believe are the Emperor’s guard, Grans, Trandoshans with their concussion rifles, and more. The only thing the author believes is missing are the gamorrean guards.  Bosses and sub bosses are abound. The Phase II Dark Trooper replaces the battlelords from Duke 3D. This Dark Trooper is more formidable than Dark Forces’s Dark Trooper. Frankly, they are just as formidable as the MJ12 commandos from Deus Ex. This makes for an excellent tactical challenge.

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“A Phase II Dark Trooper”

There are other modifications to enemies as well. The Stormtroopers have some in their ranks equipped with jetpacks. This gives them a slight maneuverability bonus. In Dark Forces, the grans merely had thermal detonators and their fists. In Duke Forces, the grans have their detonators, their fists, and an E-11 blaster rifle at their disposal. They are more formidable than ever. These modifications to enemies are splendid. I didn’t see any dianoga though. But I did see some gross enemies in the underwater segments. I may have seen a sprite resembling one of the spectres from Strife. 

Level design is excellent as well! There are space stations, planetary bases and cities to storm. Some of these levels remind you of straight-up Duke 3D, but they are masked by many layers of Star Wars aesthetics to where you wouldn’t know them from Adam. I enjoyed the level design immensely simply because not a single level was linear as a Call of Duty.

Weapons are exceptional, Duke’s poorly drawn Glock 17 or Glock 22 that looks like a Hi-Point is replaced with Han Solo’s DL-44 equipped with a scope.  Then there is the E-11 Stormtrooper rifle, the thermal detonators that replace the pipe bombs and so on. The fusion cutter gets a new look and a new name. The concussion rifle is still excellent! And the infamous Dark Trooper Assault Cannon is present. Instead of shooting a blue sphere of plasma, it fires a scattergun like spread that provides a one-shot stop. It has an alternative fire that deals considerable damage and that is it’s missile launcher. Both the mortar gun and the Dark Trooper Assault Cannon are your friends when dealing with high powered enemies.

This is an enjoyable total conversion for hardcore gamers and casual gamers like myself. You’ll enjoy what some are calling Dark Forces 1.5

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