By EW Staff
June 21, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT

Absent from the PC since 1996’s megahit Duke Nukem 3D, America’s favorite action-gaming hero is finally back, albeit in an unexpected form. This version forgoes the familiar first-person 3-D perspective in favor of side-scrolling gameplay similar to timeless hits like Contra and Super Mario Bros. The graphics are jazzed up with the latest 3-D technology, but the paper-thin story is classic Duke: Defend the world against Mech Morphix and his radioactive GLOPP bombs—which, conveniently for Duke, are attached to a legion of midriff-baring babes. Even with eight missions in such diverse locales as space and an oil tanker, don’t expect this fast-paced game to break much new ground. But the lower price point — combined with Duke’s distinctive bravado — makes for an entertaining (yet short-lived) experience. The Assist Look for cracked walls that can be blown open with pipe bombs. The Last Shot It’s not the Citizen Kane of gaming; still, this new romp is a fun throwback to platform games. The Grade B+Geoff Keighley