(This is part of my journey going checking out Duke Nukem 3D. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)
Just moments after Duke boards the sub, it gets… blown up? Sunk? There’s not a lot of exposition provided, so just chalk it up to aliens and move on. I like how some of these levels begin right in the middle of a crisis, requiring you to act fast. Here, the sub is tipped over and filling up with water (although you can’t drown, as the water stops a little before it gets to the top). Time to go scuba diving!
I have to say that after the last few rip-roaring levels, slogging my way through a nondescript building that’s nominally a toxic dump is kind of a letdown. Although it was a neat moment when I figured that by standing on a particular spot, a crane would come by and pick me up to whisk me away!
Another surprising — in a good way — moment was when I went to put in the red keycard and a panel behind it opened up… and shot me. I thought it was a trap until I shrunk to a small enough size to fit inside the vents at the bottom of the room. Kudos, level designers!
The shrink part actually became a roadblock, as I couldn’t seem to make it through the tunnel before… enlargening once more and dying. After several tries, I went to the internet (thanks internet!) and found out that I needed to be pressing shift to run. I always assumed I *was* running, considering how fast Duke glides through the levels, but I guess there’s always faster.
There’s also a heavy element of swimming and water puzzles in this level, which isn’t my favorite because Duke Nukem 3D doesn’t allow for the mouse to move the camera up and down (which is doubly annoying for trying to shoot airborne enemies). You have to rely on the keyboard for it and it is a pain.
“EXCUSE ME SIR, DO YOU HAVE A MINUTE TO TALK ABOUT THE WATCHTOWER?”
I wish I had more to say about this level, but truth be told, it’s not that visually exciting. Lots of tricky progression bits and a couple of fun water (slime) slides, especially at the end, but it’s just not as fun as exploring the more “civilized” levels of the past.