Mini Review: “Super Nukem Bros.” (Mod For “Duke Nukem 3D”)

2017 Artwork Super Nukem Bros mini review

Well, it has been ages since I last reviewed any levels for “Duke Nukem 3D”, so I thought that I’d look at a rather strange mod called “Super Nukem Bros.” that is based on the old NES “Super Mario” games. At the time of writing this review, I’ve played about two thirds of the mod, so this review will only reflect my experiences so far.

Since the first “Mario” game I ever played was on the SNES, the NES “Mario” games are slightly before my time – but, after playing a “Doom II” WAD called “Doom: The Golden Souls“, I’m always curious about “Mario”-style FPS games.

As usual, you’ll need the ‘eDuke 32’ source port and a copy of the full version of “Duke 3D” in order to run this mod. [Edit: If you’ve got the modern “World Tour” edition, then this community patch might be helpful in getting the game to run with eDuke 32. I’ve got an older version of the game, so I haven’t tested this patch (with or without the mod) though.]

Just copy the ‘Duke3d.grp’ and ‘Duke.rts’ files from your full version of the game into the ‘eDuke32’ directory. Then create a folder called “autoload” in that directory and copy the mod’s ZIP file into it. Then, when you start ‘eDuke32’, click the box that says ‘Enable Autoload Folder’.

Anyway, let’s take a look at ‘Super Nukem Bros.’:

Super nukem bros - title screen

The game is split into three short episodes, the first two are a re-creation of the very first ‘Super Mario’ game. The third one is entitled ‘An Alternate World’ and I’ll discuss my limited experiences with it later.

One of the first things that I will say is that “Super Nukem Bros.” takes a very literal approach to recreating the original “Mario” game. Each level is quite literally a thin, linear corridor with all of the usual platforms and pipes that you would expect from a “Mario”-style game. Although the game only features “Duke 3D” monsters, it does include a new ‘fire flower’ weapon that replaces the chaingun and/or rocket launcher:

Although it has limited ammo, it can gib virtually any monster with a single shot.

Although it has limited ammo, it can gib virtually any monster with a single shot.

The most amusing part of this mod is the fact that the steroids have been replaced with ‘Staroids’ instead. And, yes, they even play the classic ‘golden star’ music from “Mario” when you use them:

[Insert controversial joke about Russia and the 2016 Olympics here]

[Insert controversial joke about Russia and the 2016 Olympics here]

As for the gameplay and level design, the first two episodes are fairly good when you consider that they’re trying to be an accurate reproduction of a 2D platform game.

...And, yet, it's probably STILL less linear than many modern "AAA" FPS games are..

…And, yet, it’s probably STILL less linear than many modern “AAA” FPS games are..

Personally, I’d have preferred it if the designer of these levels had gone for more traditional FPS levels with a “Mario” style look (like in “Doom: The Golden Souls”), but I can understand that this mod was going for historical accuracy more than anything else.

Although first-person platforming is the bane of many a classic FPS gamer’s existence, it’s handled fairly well in the first two episodes – with generously-sized platforms and a large jump height. In fact, the first two episodes are actually fairly easy. Apart from a frustrating section involving cannons and occasional ammo shortages, of course.

Yes, this is probably the most difficult part of the first two episodes.

Yes, this is probably the most difficult part of the first two episodes.

However, I should probably talk about what little I’ve played of the third episode.

Although I initially thought that this episode contained better and more non-linear level design – the first level alone commits one of the cardinal sins of first-person platforming, which renders it almost unplayable (and led to me abandoning the third episode halfway through the first level!):

 Tiny platforms are ok in 2D platform games. In first-person games, they're nearly impossible! Even without monsters!

Tiny platforms are ok in 2D platform games. In first-person games, they’re nearly impossible! Even without monsters!

As for the music, it’s surprisingly good. All of the music in “Super Nukem Bros” is based on music from the classic “Mario” games, although it has a slightly richer and more complex sound if I remember rightly. The music from the title screen is probably the best track in the entire mod 🙂

All in all, the concept behind this mod is pretty cool and I have to applaud the fact that someone has managed to re-create the first “Mario” game in “Duke Nukem 3D”. However, this mod isn’t without flaws and – if you’ve got a copy of “Doom II” – then I’d recommend checking out “Doom: The Golden Souls” instead if you want a “Mario”-style FPS game.

If I had to give “Super Nukem Bros” a rating out of five, it would get three.

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