Duke 3D screenDuke Nukem 3D [link], which jumped on our radar early last month, has finally appeared in the App Store.  3D Realms' highly popular 1996 first-person shooter has been ported to the iPhone by MachineWorks Northwest.

The game starts out in  21st century Los Angeles.  You control Duke, who is on a mission to thwart the efforts of an evil alien race bent on stealing all of Earth's women.  Later missions are set in military installations, moon bases, deserts, space stations, flooded cities, and Japanese villas.  The PC original was very highly rated, but controversial, due to the claims that it promotes pornography and murder.  GameSpot, who gave Duke Nukem 3D an 8.8 ("Great") out of 10, wrote:

Based on the hackneyed first-person Doom formula, Duke Nukem 3D is the first 3D shoot-em-up to offer the player more. There are more diverse environments, more devastating weapons, and greatly improved playability. Unlike the fantastical dungeons and lava pits found in Doom and its kindred, the atmosphere in Duke Nukem is more tangible. The story revolves loosely around a "Mars needs women" theme, involving aliens and their abduction of scantily-clad women. As Duke, you explore everything from an alien mothership to metropolitan underbellies, including smut shops, skin flicks, strip bars, and the horror of horrors: karaoke bars. The levels are massive and, even on the easiest difficulty setting, provide a formidable challenge.

As an avid PC gamer at the time of its release, I recall a distinct rivalry between the DOOM vs. Duke 3D faithful.  It's a game that definitely made its mark and started off the chaotic effort that is (or was) Duke Nukem Forever.

Duke 3D sshot

In our limited time with the game so far, the iPhone version appears to be a rather full implementation of the the PC original, and runs quite smoothly on our 2G iPod touch test unit.  But not all is well in the world of Duke 3D on the iPhone...

The game features both analog and digital on-screen control sticks, modeled after those from Prey.  Unfortunately, in this initial release, the analog controls are not working correctly.  (See video.)  The (left) movement stick cannot be used as as stick (by dragging), but must be used by tapping to allow any sort of coherent control.  The digital sticks (pictured above) work as they do in Prey, but feel fairly awkward to us, though if you're comfortable with Prey's digital controls, then you should be fine here.

Happily, George Broussard, co-author of the original game, addressed the situation in our forums and indicates that an update will soon be released that sets things right with the controls.

Until the control update arrives, iPhone gamers may want to consider the current release to be a bit of a trial.  Controls are key and while there are some workarounds (see update below), the default control for Duke Nukem 3D on the iPhone just isn't there yet.  The game is currently available at a launch-day special price of $2.99 [App Store].

See our gameplay video for a first look (using the virtual stick as a tap-pad and not a stick)

App Store Link: Duke Nukem 3D, $2.99 (launch-day sale)

Update: Another workaround that works pretty well for the analog controls was posted to our forums: Choose Analog Controls, Disable Strafe. Then use the left Analog Pad for forward and backward movement only (again, you must tap, not drag your finger). And use the right Analog Pad for direction.

  • shin

    I remembered in the original version i could have paid strippers for a flash of their stuff

    • Booch138

      Absolutely. This game reeks of nostalgia, and it looks awesome on the iPhone. HOWEVER these controls look.... Interesting... to say the least. I'll have to try it out though. I did love the game.

      • john

        something reeks alright...the controls, the game, the tap to shoot element....pew!!!!

  • shin

    I remembered in the original version i could have paid strippers for a flash of their stuff

    • Booch138

      Absolutely. This game reeks of nostalgia, and it looks awesome on the iPhone. HOWEVER these controls look.... Interesting... to say the least. I'll have to try it out though. I did love the game.

      • john

        something reeks alright...the controls, the game, the tap to shoot element....pew!!!!

  • Booch138

    I just don't get the whole Tap-To-Shoot method in this FPS. I mean... what's the point of the cross-hairs... lmao. I dunno like I said the controls look weird.

    • Slapshot

      They are. But the dev addressed that problem very quickly and is working on a new update as we speak. It's a very fun game though. ;)

    • Adams Immersive

      Prey had several control modes (same as this one, I assume) and none of them were what I'd look for in a FPS on iPhone. You could either have the aiming be way too easy (tap mode) or incredibly frustrating.

      So tap-to-shoot was the only really usable mode in Prey. In spite of which, it was actually fun! But too short. Duke is probable a lot better in that regard.

      I also give the devs credit for responding to user feedback in Prey: they went back and added more enemies.

      • Mike

        Give the dev credit? Not me! I could see them coming back to fix some obscure bug that could have easily been missed, but to release a game with analog sticks that don't even work (after watching a video in one of the threads) is just blatantly stupid.

        Gee, let's give props to the dev for coming back to make the game actually playable...of COURSE they will come back to fix THAT!

      • Adams Immersive

        I was talking specifically about user feedback on the number of enemies. I wasn't talking about bug reports. (Those are simply a necessity.)

  • Booch138

    I just don't get the whole Tap-To-Shoot method in this FPS. I mean... what's the point of the cross-hairs... lmao. I dunno like I said the controls look weird.

    • Slapshot

      They are. But the dev addressed that problem very quickly and is working on a new update as we speak. It's a very fun game though. ;)

    • Adams Immersive

      Prey had several control modes (same as this one, I assume) and none of them were what I'd look for in a FPS on iPhone. You could either have the aiming be way too easy (tap mode) or incredibly frustrating.

      So tap-to-shoot was the only really usable mode in Prey. In spite of which, it was actually fun! But too short. Duke is probable a lot better in that regard.

      I also give the devs credit for responding to user feedback in Prey: they went back and added more enemies.

      • Mike

        Give the dev credit? Not me! I could see them coming back to fix some obscure bug that could have easily been missed, but to release a game with analog sticks that don't even work (after watching a video in one of the threads) is just blatantly stupid.

        Gee, let's give props to the dev for coming back to make the game actually playable...of COURSE they will come back to fix THAT!

      • Adams Immersive

        I was talking specifically about user feedback on the number of enemies. I wasn't talking about bug reports. (Those are simply a necessity.)

  • MaskingTape

    I hope, because of the error, they keep the sale going a bit longer than a day.

    • http://www.yourpersonalrobot.com your personal robot

      They should! Because at the moment, the game is no fun to play. But once the controls are working after the update, this game will rock!

      • Haggis

        ... And we've been waiting for the same thing with Worms for how long now?

        I would never advise buying a game based on promised updates.

  • MaskingTape

    I hope, because of the error, they keep the sale going a bit longer than a day.

    • http://www.yourpersonalrobot.com your personal robot

      They should! Because at the moment, the game is no fun to play. But once the controls are working after the update, this game will rock!

      • Haggis

        ... And we've been waiting for the same thing with Worms for how long now?

        I would never advise buying a game based on promised updates.

  • bacon

    This is vaporware unless than can guarantee that the controls will soon work and promise a refund in the event that they do not.

  • bacon

    This is vaporware unless than can guarantee that the controls will soon work and promise a refund in the event that they do not.

  • http://mattplays.com/ Matt

    To be honest, watching the video of the game being played is utterly depressing. Either way you cut it, if the controls aren't intuitive, there's no point in revisiting a nostalgic classic. The whole reason Duke Nukem 3D was so awesome was that it was FUN. I don't see this game being fun on the iPhone.

    Although I've had tons of fun playing Wolfenstein Classic on the iPhone, so it is possible to make a fun FPS on the platform, but it all depends on how the developer approaches it. John Carmack obviously still believes a game should be fun foremost, make money secondly. Does the developer for this game?

  • http://mattplays.com/ Matt

    To be honest, watching the video of the game being played is utterly depressing. Either way you cut it, if the controls aren't intuitive, there's no point in revisiting a nostalgic classic. The whole reason Duke Nukem 3D was so awesome was that it was FUN. I don't see this game being fun on the iPhone.

    Although I've had tons of fun playing Wolfenstein Classic on the iPhone, so it is possible to make a fun FPS on the platform, but it all depends on how the developer approaches it. John Carmack obviously still believes a game should be fun foremost, make money secondly. Does the developer for this game?

  • http://www.sajonara.de Alexander Trust

    The game is as well available in German App Store and off course we're lucky that it is rated 12+ only. But I think Apple will have to rethink this rating very quickly as in Germany Duke 3D was put on index of inappropiate software for minors.

  • http://www.sajonara.de Alexander Trust

    The game is as well available in German App Store and off course we're lucky that it is rated 12+ only. But I think Apple will have to rethink this rating very quickly as in Germany Duke 3D was put on index of inappropiate software for minors.

  • Matejay

    It works OK with the latest "workaround" but really only OK... it is Duke as we know and love it and I'm happy to have it but it does need a fix and rather quickly please.

  • Matejay

    It works OK with the latest "workaround" but really only OK... it is Duke as we know and love it and I'm happy to have it but it does need a fix and rather quickly please.

  • mtx

    I can't download it from the appstore - says it's ncompatible(sic) with my ipod touch. required a microphone.

    WTF?

    • Matejay

      Must be a bug anyway, I have the game and it really doesn't use and need the microphone so there is no reason for this limitations...

      • Haggis

        That's a clumsy way of telling you it doesn't run on the 1st generation touch.

  • mtx

    I can't download it from the appstore - says it's ncompatible(sic) with my ipod touch. required a microphone.

    WTF?

    • Matejay

      Must be a bug anyway, I have the game and it really doesn't use and need the microphone so there is no reason for this limitations...

      • Haggis

        That's a clumsy way of telling you it doesn't run on the 1st generation touch.

  • Mark

    I bought the app. It wouldn't load on my itouch. Only then did I discover that it's not compatible with my first gen itouch. WTF!

    • Scott

      That's why you read the requirements, where it states it's only compatible with second gen.

      • spiffyone

        While true, the fact remains that there is no reason why this game shouldn't be compatible. Should the consumer have read the requirements? Perhaps. But even more pressing was the need for the DEVELOPER to understand that pressing the wrong option when submitting the game and making it incompatible with a certain SKU removes millions of potential consumers from purchasing said game. So, y'know...the dev has the bigger responsibility in this case to ensure that they make the most money possible.

        And before the old "1st 'gen' touch is not powerful" crap goes on, it's pretty much the goddamn same as the 1st iPhone. And all SKUs save for 3Gs use basically the same ARM 11 and MBX-lite, except on the 3G and 2nd "gen" touch the CPU has been given a slighter higher clockspeed. That does not equate to games being impossible to run on 1st "gen" devices.

        The consumer make a mistake. The developer made an even bigger one.

  • Mark

    I bought the app. It wouldn't load on my itouch. Only then did I discover that it's not compatible with my first gen itouch. WTF!

    • Scott

      That's why you read the requirements, where it states it's only compatible with second gen.

      • spiffyone

        While true, the fact remains that there is no reason why this game shouldn't be compatible. Should the consumer have read the requirements? Perhaps. But even more pressing was the need for the DEVELOPER to understand that pressing the wrong option when submitting the game and making it incompatible with a certain SKU removes millions of potential consumers from purchasing said game. So, y'know...the dev has the bigger responsibility in this case to ensure that they make the most money possible.

        And before the old "1st 'gen' touch is not powerful" crap goes on, it's pretty much the goddamn same as the 1st iPhone. And all SKUs save for 3Gs use basically the same ARM 11 and MBX-lite, except on the 3G and 2nd "gen" touch the CPU has been given a slighter higher clockspeed. That does not equate to games being impossible to run on 1st "gen" devices.

        The consumer make a mistake. The developer made an even bigger one.

  • John

    I have tried the first level and on a positive note it looks good on the iPod Touch. I'm not a fan of these type of controls. I really enjoyed using Wolfenstein 3D controls. Of course that didn't have up or down though. If the controls were like that as an option at least Id be happier. I have to think too much to use it with these.

  • John

    I have tried the first level and on a positive note it looks good on the iPod Touch. I'm not a fan of these type of controls. I really enjoyed using Wolfenstein 3D controls. Of course that didn't have up or down though. If the controls were like that as an option at least Id be happier. I have to think too much to use it with these.

  • John

    Actually there is an option to have the controls similar to Wolfenstein 3D with the left touchpad doing it all around and forward and backward. But you have to click the touchpad again for it to do another movement action. You can't slide your finger around and have it move the way you want. It's not very usable from what I have done with it. To get that option I clicked Analog controls/ Turn, don't strafe. It could be just a bug. If it is fixed then I look forward to the rest of the game, as it looks good. My sorta game.

  • John

    Actually there is an option to have the controls similar to Wolfenstein 3D with the left touchpad doing it all around and forward and backward. But you have to click the touchpad again for it to do another movement action. You can't slide your finger around and have it move the way you want. It's not very usable from what I have done with it. To get that option I clicked Analog controls/ Turn, don't strafe. It could be just a bug. If it is fixed then I look forward to the rest of the game, as it looks good. My sorta game.

  • http://adrian-clement.com Adrian

    Wow, these controls stink! I'm totally disappointed, and I hope they improve them. Is Doom worth playing on XBLA?

  • http://adrian-clement.com Adrian

    Wow, these controls stink! I'm totally disappointed, and I hope they improve them. Is Doom worth playing on XBLA?

  • http://mohammadfauzitaib.com along123

    is it me or does the control looks ugly? I hate tap to shoot ...I'm not buying this game. For the moment at least. Until, I'm happy with the control scheme.

  • http://mohammadfauzitaib.com along123

    is it me or does the control looks ugly? I hate tap to shoot ...I'm not buying this game. For the moment at least. Until, I'm happy with the control scheme.

  • Mike

    Once again I got caught out buying a game that doesnt work on the ipod touch first gen. Why doesnt iTunes check for this before allowing you to buy and download something. It certainly does if you try to buy an iphone only app. Annoyed again.

    • spiffyone

      By the same token, why don't devs make sure they press the right option when submitting the app? There's no reason why this can't run on 1st "gen" touch devices. None whatsoever.

      And, furthermore, I still don't get why "All devices" isn't the DEFAULT option when submitting apps.

      • Brad Newsom

        Cool, your an idiot that has no idea about making an iPhone App. I guess you don't know that First Gen is programmed differently from Second. Oh wait, thats right. You are an idiot.

        Seriously, STFU.

      • http://starscenesoftware.com Eric5h5

        Seems to me that you should have some idea what you're talking about before accusing others of idiocy.... The first gen touch is not "programmed differently" from the second. It is exactly the same. Spiffyone is 100% correct.

  • Mike

    Once again I got caught out buying a game that doesnt work on the ipod touch first gen. Why doesnt iTunes check for this before allowing you to buy and download something. It certainly does if you try to buy an iphone only app. Annoyed again.

    • spiffyone

      By the same token, why don't devs make sure they press the right option when submitting the app? There's no reason why this can't run on 1st "gen" touch devices. None whatsoever.

      And, furthermore, I still don't get why "All devices" isn't the DEFAULT option when submitting apps.

      • Brad Newsom

        Cool, your an idiot that has no idea about making an iPhone App. I guess you don't know that First Gen is programmed differently from Second. Oh wait, thats right. You are an idiot.

        Seriously, STFU.

      • http://starscenesoftware.com Eric5h5

        Seems to me that you should have some idea what you're talking about before accusing others of idiocy.... The first gen touch is not "programmed differently" from the second. It is exactly the same. Spiffyone is 100% correct.

  • Nico

    It has been released to the German App Store, too.

    Does anyone knows, why?

    I'm asking because the PC-version is banned here in Germany (like Wolfenstein, which isn't available in the German App Store).

    I would like to buy the game now at a low price and wait for the update, but I'm afraid that Apple will correct this mistake, remove it from the App Store and I won't get Updates with Music and better controls...

  • Nico

    It has been released to the German App Store, too.

    Does anyone knows, why?

    I'm asking because the PC-version is banned here in Germany (like Wolfenstein, which isn't available in the German App Store).

    I would like to buy the game now at a low price and wait for the update, but I'm afraid that Apple will correct this mistake, remove it from the App Store and I won't get Updates with Music and better controls...

  • dojjah

    LOL, playing Wolfenstein in Germany is probably subject to atleast 10 years in prison.

    Glad to see its only 2.99, will wait for the updated review after the update before purchasing.

  • dojjah

    LOL, playing Wolfenstein in Germany is probably subject to atleast 10 years in prison.

    Glad to see its only 2.99, will wait for the updated review after the update before purchasing.

  • spiffyone

    BTW, Blake...you may want to add in the little tidbit about the game not being compatible with 1st "gen" touch devices, and that the developer has stated that that issue too will be resolved with an update.

  • spiffyone

    BTW, Blake...you may want to add in the little tidbit about the game not being compatible with 1st "gen" touch devices, and that the developer has stated that that issue too will be resolved with an update.

  • Vende

    Man, I really want this but the controls have gotta be fixed first

  • Vende

    Man, I really want this but the controls have gotta be fixed first

  • McChumpers

    looks shit box and clunky!

  • McChumpers

    looks shit box and clunky!

  • nick

    the controls are good idk wut u guys are taking about use the bar controls i find them easy with tap and shoot. awesome game. worth it even without control update i dont see why all the babys are complaining u probly just suck at the game

  • nick

    the controls are good idk wut u guys are taking about use the bar controls i find them easy with tap and shoot. awesome game. worth it even without control update i dont see why all the babys are complaining u probly just suck at the game

  • raff

    controls suck big time..

  • raff

    controls suck big time..

  • Ethan

    Looks stupid.

  • Ethan

    Looks stupid.

  • TKO

    Well, I've bought it. Tried it once with the digital controls and man, those suck big time. Looks like they were placed with all emphasis on taking the least amount of screen real-estate, ergonomics be damned. ..waiting for the analogue controls update, because IMHO that's going to be the only way to play it.

    Would be nice if these guys had taken the carmack (wolfenstein) approach and thought long and hard about the controls first ..see what can be simplified, as the phone has no buttons. I'd experiment with dual sticks and an autofire option (where he shoots automatically if you get an enemy in the crosshairs.) ..maybe a bit of aiming assistance? ..tap the base of the unit to fire? There are lots of possibilities for FPS game controls and I don't think they've been well investigated well enough so far.

  • TKO

    Well, I've bought it. Tried it once with the digital controls and man, those suck big time. Looks like they were placed with all emphasis on taking the least amount of screen real-estate, ergonomics be damned. ..waiting for the analogue controls update, because IMHO that's going to be the only way to play it.

    Would be nice if these guys had taken the carmack (wolfenstein) approach and thought long and hard about the controls first ..see what can be simplified, as the phone has no buttons. I'd experiment with dual sticks and an autofire option (where he shoots automatically if you get an enemy in the crosshairs.) ..maybe a bit of aiming assistance? ..tap the base of the unit to fire? There are lots of possibilities for FPS game controls and I don't think they've been well investigated well enough so far.

  • Brad Newsom

    Okay, after playing this game for some time now, I have to say, the controls aren't HORRIBLE. It takes a bit of know how to understand how they programmed the analog controls. Once you figure it out, it becomes second nature and you really don't notice it.

    So I think its worth buying this, but I would GREATLY prefer it to work more like Wolf3d. To those saying you can get the Wolf3d controls working in the game are big f***ing liars. The analog controls don't even come close to the way wolf3d does them.

    Here, the controls work by detecting your touch, then the direction you move the finger. For looking, you can only look in whatever direction you move your finger. You have to lift your finger and reapply it to change the look direction. Same goes for movement, but less finicky.

    Well worth the purchase. I just wish the update comes sooner.

  • Brad Newsom

    Okay, after playing this game for some time now, I have to say, the controls aren't HORRIBLE. It takes a bit of know how to understand how they programmed the analog controls. Once you figure it out, it becomes second nature and you really don't notice it.

    So I think its worth buying this, but I would GREATLY prefer it to work more like Wolf3d. To those saying you can get the Wolf3d controls working in the game are big f***ing liars. The analog controls don't even come close to the way wolf3d does them.

    Here, the controls work by detecting your touch, then the direction you move the finger. For looking, you can only look in whatever direction you move your finger. You have to lift your finger and reapply it to change the look direction. Same goes for movement, but less finicky.

    Well worth the purchase. I just wish the update comes sooner.

  • Bizzno

    How about a control scheme where tapping the right analog stick acts as the shoot button? I think it would allow for the most movement control while firing, since any other design makes you remove one finger from the contols due to the lack of buttons.

  • Bizzno

    How about a control scheme where tapping the right analog stick acts as the shoot button? I think it would allow for the most movement control while firing, since any other design makes you remove one finger from the contols due to the lack of buttons.

  • jaber

    I've seen a lot of iPhone FPSes like Prey, Duke, etc.and the controls look darn stupid.

    I would like to use my volume buttons to shoot like iPhone port of Quake III...
    The game has one of the best controls I've seen - but needs jailbreak, compile, a copy of Quake III, transferring from a Mac, blah blah... :(

  • jaber

    I've seen a lot of iPhone FPSes like Prey, Duke, etc.and the controls look darn stupid.

    I would like to use my volume buttons to shoot like iPhone port of Quake III...
    The game has one of the best controls I've seen - but needs jailbreak, compile, a copy of Quake III, transferring from a Mac, blah blah... :(

  • jimmychoo

    Would have purchased this classic, but it's not compatible with 1st gen iPod Touch.

    Good job alienating a huge population of potential consumers!

  • jimmychoo

    Would have purchased this classic, but it's not compatible with 1st gen iPod Touch.

    Good job alienating a huge population of potential consumers!

  • spreeta

    Hmm, control have issues, but I am a big fan of the original Duke on PC, so I am still going ot pick it up.

  • spreeta

    Hmm, control have issues, but I am a big fan of the original Duke on PC, so I am still going ot pick it up.