I’m here to review strategy guides and chew bubble gum…and I’m all out of gum. I am back from Duke-Vegas to review the Duke Nukem Forever: Balls of Steel edition strategy guide. Duke Nukem has always been a cult favorite who dropped off the map for quite some time, but he’s back to deal with the Alien Scum who have kidnapped his babes.
Trekking through Duke’s world can be dangerous on its hardest difficulty, but with some steroids and some beer, anything is possible!*
*please do not take steroids and beer together as I am sure it’s quite dangerous unless you are Duke himself.
Going through the first couple of pages, the guide does a nice job of telling you the history of Duke Nukem. If you are under the age of 20 or so you probably never heard of Duke Nukem before his latest game. No problem there, though, as the chapter “There And Back Again: A Duke’s Tale” has you covered on that. It chronicles his history from 1991 to the infamous delays and ultimately the revival of the game as well as all of the characters in the latest game. I always like it when a guide takes you through the history of a series.
The thing I liked about this game initially was the ability to pretty much interact with anything. Whether it is a toilet, sink, or whatever, if it has a switch to it, you can pretty much interact with it, and some of them provide an “Ego” boost thus making your health bar larger (sounds like a Beavis and Butt-Head joke). The guide does a good job of showing you which interactions earn you that precious Ego Boost you will need by the end of the game.
With all of the great stuff I have liked about the guide so far, here is where I find it not as necessary. The game’s objectives are simple enough and even glow and the levels are very linear so really there is no need to back track, and you cannot get lost unless you really are not paying attention. What ended up happening was instead of following the guide for what to do next I was following it to see exactly what Ego Boosts I was missing since some are obscure. Not the guide-makers’ fault, though, about the game being so linear, but I still wanted to point that out.
The guide does do a good job of letting you know what Trophies/Achievement opportunities are coming up too, which is always a plus for me. There was an annoying trophy in which you had to get 280,897 points for an Ego Boost and one million points on a pinball table for a trophy. The tips it provided helped me get a trophy that I was ready to come back to on another playthrough.
The main area I needed the guide for was the last boss, which can be quite frustrating on its hardest difficulty, but there are some tips/pictures provided to help. After a few tries with the guide’s details, I was able to overcome the boss and get that nice shiny trophy for beating it on “Balls of Steel” difficulty.
There is a section for multiplayer, but the multiplayer component is pretty shallow so don’t expect anything mind blowing as far as tips and tricks go, but it does show you the spawn points of armors and weapons throughout the levels.
The end of the guide is actually what I ended up liking the most, the “Art From The Vaults” section weighs in at over 100 pages of concept art and comments from the development team. I am a sucker for concept art and this collection is pretty nice and gives you a behind-the-scenes style look at what they were going for with this game.
I really liked the presentation of this guide, but unfortunately this is one of those games that does not need a big detailed strategy guide to complete it any differently other than finding all of the Ego Boost moments and the tips for the boss fights. If you are a Duke Nukem fan though such as myself I can still recommend the guide for those who want a collection of art from the game and a history of the series. But for those who do not even know who Duke is or they don’t care then this guide doesn’t really offer much for them.