DNF: The Doctor Who Cloned Me Review

The Doctor Who Cloned Me: At least it’s better than DNF?

After 15 years of waiting for the official release of Duke Nukem Forever, fans were absolutely disappointed by the crass, boring, outdated piece of garbage that they were given.  Duke had not withstood the test of time and his game has maintained its status as a complete joke of the industry.  At the request of no one and to the delight of only the mentally handicapped a full DLC adventure has been released!  Well it’s our duty here at The Unplayables to play through this crap so you don’t have to.  The good news?  It’s actually better than the entirety of Duke Nukem Forevers full campaign.  The bad news?  That ain’t saying much…

Not Completely Terrible

Hey look a somewhat timely game reference!

The story of The Doctor Who Cloned Me is pretty simple and thankfully shies away from the other the top vulgarity and stupidity of the full DNF campaign.  Duke is informed that the EDF base has been taken over by his former arch-nemesis the evil Dr. Proton, the villain from the original 2D sidescrolling Duke games.  Dr. Proton has taken over the EDF facility in order to finish their cloning program of Duke and use his army of clones to initiate a new takeover of the Earth by the alien invaders that Duke is used to fighting.  The new adventure will last you roughly 2 hours and take you through the scientific clone facility of the EDF base, above ground to a seedy cat house, and even to the dark side of the moon.  Unlike the original DNF campaign, these levels are all interconnected well and flow together coherently.  Levels are still broken up into sections with load times between them, however here you’ll always start right where you left off instead of being teleported miles away with no clue whats going on like in the full campaign.

The Single Best Change Made to DNF

Aside from the story of the DLC being less stupid and crass a few changes have been made to the gameplay that actually improve the game.  Duke can now carry 4 weapons at a time, while not nearly as nice as the arsenal he could hold in Duke Nukem 3D, it is a vast improvement over the 2 he could hold in DNF.  The boss battles also no longer rely on forcing you to use explosives (though they still help) so you aren’t forced to ALWAYS carry an RPG launcher like you were in the full game.  Driving sections make a return in the game, however you won’t be constantly stopping to refill the gas tank anymore so they are a bit easier to swallow, even if they still control like a bucking bronco.  The DLC also benefits from not being created over the course of 15 years, so its references are very much updated which grates way less on you as you play.  In DNF, when Duke pokes fun at Master Chief it just comes off as petty and strange as Master Chief hadn’t really been on top of the FPS genre in years.  Here the game starts with a clear reference to Black Ops, and even has a lengthy Portal like segment which isn’t completely terrible.

Same Old Song and Duke

Wouldn't be DNF without mashing the space bar!

The Dr. Who Cloned Me may have made some necessary gameplay and story changes but it still suffers from issues passed down by its full game.  The game is still littered with environmental platforming segments which were infuriating in the original game.  You’ll be tasked with jumping around on moving and rotating cloning chambers to avoiding deadly frickin’ laser beams all while not being able to accurately judge where your body is to land precise leaps or not get nicked by a laser you can’t see out of your peripheral vision.  A good 45 minutes of the game are spent on a moving platform avoiding these lasers, fighting off bad guys that pop out of nowhere, and getting off to press a button every now and again to open a door and get the platform moving again, not very fun.  The annoying mash space button to proceed events are back in full force as well.  Every time Duke needs to open a door or gets too close to an enemy you better be ready on that damned space bar.

At least the environments are interesting, no more bland Duke casino or Hoover Dam nonsense.

All of the changes made to the gameplay and storytelling are nice and do make this a 2 hour journey worth swallowing, at the end of the day it is still the same old DNF under the new shine.  While it is better than the full game it’s certainly no where near worth it’s 10 dollar asking price.  I picked this up during a steam sale for 2.50 and based on the number of times DNF has gone on sale since its release I won’t be surprised to see it at that price point again.  Paying 10 bucks for the whole package (DNF and DLC) is a decent asking price for fans who have fond memories of Duke 3D.  While the full campaign is still crap, and the multiplayer is barren, this DLC is a high point in an otherwise forgettable game.  While it pains me to say it, I think it’s apropos of Duke to describe this DLC by the old adage “You can’t polish a turd”.

At the end of the day, Duke is still riding the short bus...

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