A First Look At iPhone's Duke Nukem 3D

That's right you can now play the original Duke Nukem 3D on your iPhone or iPod Touch. But would you want to?

Duke Nukem 3D for the iPhone is a complete port of the original 1991 shooter. That means the over-the-top soundbites, the gratuitous pixelated borderline soft porn and the more than 20 hours worth of gameplay.

The most important thing with a iPhone game, though, is the controls. And for a first-person shooter that goes double. This iPhone port, developed by Machineworks Northwest, uses something they call TapShoot which the company describes as a "unique way to play first-person shooters on the iPhone and iTouch."

"Once you've experienced TapShoot," they write "you'll wish all FPS games on the iPhone had this breakthrough feature."

Really?

A First Look At iPhone's Duke Nukem 3D

No, not really.

Maybe with some time spent getting used to the controls and tweaking the settings Duke Nukem 3D would play as smoothly as a shooter like Wolfenstein, but my initial, albeit brief impressions of the controls were an exercise in frustration.

TapShoot means that if you want you can set up the game to allow you to tap on a target to shoot it, not having to worry about lining up your targeting reticule. And I suppose it works well enough, though there's really nothing innovative about it in the real of iPhone shooters.

A First Look At iPhone's Duke Nukem 3D

The problem with Duke Nukem 3D's controls though like in the interface for movement, which uses the increasingly popular dual virtual thumbsticks. The problem is that the default setup is far too touchy to make the game enjoyable. I spent about 30 minutes tweaking the controls and managed to make the game playable, but it still wasn't as smooth as a slew of other shooters I've played on the platform. And TapShoot isn't without its issues too. Because of the way the screen is set up, with players taping the bottom to change weapons, it's very easy to accidentally access the weapon change screen in the middle of a fire fight when taking on low lying enemies.

A First Look At iPhone's Duke Nukem 3D

Touchy, awkward controls aside, the game does everything else quite well. The graphics, the sound, the level design all remain faithful to the original. And Duke Nukem 3D certainly holds up to the test of time.

I have no doubt that at some point the developers will release a patch to smooth out controls, but until they do I can't recommend picking the title up, even at $3.

A First Look At iPhone's Duke Nukem 3D