The popularity of Tomb Raider saw a number of clones hitting the shelves in the late 90’s. The most controversial of those though was Duke Nukem: Time to Kill mainly because its gameplay drifted so far from Duke Nukem 3D.
The thing is this didn’t make it a bad game, in fact Time to Kill is one of the best Duke Nukem games out there (made easier to say thanks to Duke Nukem Forever).
The games opening cut-scene showing Duke driving to a strip joint, going in & having some fun while Stabbing Westward’s ‘The Thing I Hate’ plays is iconic. Duke’s fun is interrupted by pig cops teleporting in forcing a shootout that Duke wins inevitably.
This is the point where the game becomes playable…it seems an alien race has found a way to travel in time & is messing up history for Duke. It’s now up to him to travel to various points in time & stop the alien scum.
Starting in a hub area (modern city) Duke must find 3 crystals that will activate a time portal sending him to 3 points in time…The Old West, Medievil Europe & Ancient Rome. Once Duke has completed an area he is warped back to the hub which will have changed based on Duke’s actions in time.
Everything you expect my Duke Nukem is there….the one-liners, the strippers, the violence & plenty of tongue in cheek references. Seriously…there are loads hidden around provided you’re willing to hunt around.
The biggest chance comes from the gameplay…as said above you now play from the 3rd person perspective which alters the way in which Duke controls. He is a lot more flexible in his jumping (pretty much mirroring Lara Croft) & ability to climb. A wide range of classic weapons help to deal with the numerous Duke Nukem enemies with period specific weapons available as well.
The enemies range from the standard pig cops to hulking bosses that take many RPG shots & then some to go down. It’s a nice touch that both Duke & the enemies wear the specific garb of the era they are in.
Like its inspiration, Time to Kill comes with its fair share of puzzle solving & secrets to be found. Finding everything a level has to offer is a serious challenge & helps extend the games life & value.
Time to Kill is an ugly game though…filled with jagged corners & ugly textures. Some areas are just a mass of brown & it pays to not get too close to walls. By PS1 standards it’s not the worst looking game…
A 2-player split-screen Deathmatch mode is a nice addition that pits opposing Dukes against each other in small arenas based off single player missions. A great way to play these modes is to limit you & your opponent to explosives only & see who wins – beyond that it won’t keep your attention too long.
One of the best Duke games on the market but one that is regularly forgotten about because of its similarities to Tomb Raider. It’s got a lengthy campaign filled with secrets & clever puzzles that will really challenge without frustrating. A lot of weapons, lots of enemies to kill & lots of innuendos…that’s what Duke is about & with Time to Kill you get plenty of that.
Duke Nukem: Time to Kill