Comin' to Get the Rest of Those Alien Bastards - Episode 3: Shrapnel City
The alien bastards are almost all vanquished! In Episode 2: Lunar Apocalypse, the action moved onto an occupied space station leading to an alien spacecraft, plagued with very industrial looking grey walls, Sentry Drones and Mini-Battlelords, and a climactic battle against the Overlord. Thankfully, the action returns to Earth for Episode 3.
Duke returns to Earth and once again explores the urban jungle. The strip joints and mountains of the first episode are traded in for much larger and more varied environments. The first level has a combination sushi restaurant/concert hall (where the geisha statues flash their breasts at you if you hit your use key) which is occupied by plenty of Pig Cops and Assault Enforcers, with some Octabrains for good measure. From there the action moves to a giant bank that adds a Mini-Battlelord in a vault, a flooded office district, a radio station, a subway, and eventually the famous encounter with the Cycloid Emperor. The levels are large, spacious and filled with nooks and crannies where items and ammo can be found, which somewhat mitigates the problems with the huge clusters of Pig Cops and Assault Enforcers - and they're definitely in clusters, sometimes with up to seven or more in a single place. The gibbing is glorious with a well-placed pipe bomb or RPG shot. More of the levels have water spouts/fountains that can be used to recover health should there be no other option, or if it would be best to save the portable medkits for the various Mini-Battlelord encouncer and Sentry Drone ambush. Overall the weapon distribution and level layout are improved over Episode 2, making it easier to deal with the waves and waves of enemies that rush at the player.
Finally, it's time for the Cycloid Emperor. Word of warning: Just one rocket shot can be lethal at 100% health, and the Emperor is close to the sideline with the two Atomic Health pickups, rendering them more trouble than they're worth. Also, there are various enemies on the field and in the stands near the Cycloid Emperor's sideline. The rest of the stands are empty, however, save for some item pickups, so the Emperor can be dispatched by jumping into the stands and circling around the field, jumping and moving to dodge the Emperor's rockets and other enemy shots. It takes a ton of ammo, but if done right, the battle is actually pretty easy.
Overall, an enjoyable episode, and the best of the three I've played so far.
Well, next time is The Birth, the final episode of Duke Nukem 3D and the end of my Duke Nukem 3D retrospective. Look for the final episode impressions and the game review soon!