Duke Nukem: Critical Mass Image
Metascore
29

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 12 Critic Reviews What's this?

User Score
3.6

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 28 Ratings

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  • Summary: Duke Nukem Critical Mass is the first installment of the Duke Trilogy. Duke is back in action and better than ever on your handheld.
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Duke Nukem Trilogy: Critical Mass - International Trailer
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 12
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 12
  3. Negative: 12 out of 12
  1. games(TM)
    May 22, 2011
    40
    Like booting up a mediocre run-and-gunner from the mid-Nineties. [Issue#109, p.114]
  2. May 5, 2011
    35
    Duke Nukem: Critical Mass is a terrible game. Forget it, wait for the big return.
  3. Jun 13, 2011
    35
    The name of the game is just wrong. It should be called Critical Disaster instead of Critical Mass.
  4. Apr 20, 2011
    30
    Despite good intentions and admirable attempts to mix up its gameplay, Critical Mass is a real mess that fails on nearly every level.
  5. Official Nintendo Magazine UK
    May 23, 2011
    29
    Shoddily made, uglier than Ugly McUglyson and an incredibly frustrating game. [June 2011, p.102]
  6. Nintendo Gamer
    May 13, 2011
    29
    Basic, crude, ugly. [May 2011, p.69]
  7. Apr 12, 2011
    10
    Ugly, hard to handle and definitely not fun to play, Duke Nukem: Critical Mass probably is the worst thing a video game has to offer.

See all 12 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 6
  2. Negative: 2 out of 6
  1. Jan 25, 2014
    10
    I set 10 for the note cause it's the duke and just him !!!! i'm a fan of the best licence of the world and in my other life and old life ofI set 10 for the note cause it's the duke and just him !!!! i'm a fan of the best licence of the world and in my other life and old life of the time i need duke !!! Expand
  2. Aug 14, 2019
    7
    Spent some time on this game when i was younger, it was a gift from my uncle along with the DS.
  3. Sep 25, 2021
    5
    Ask someone what the worst Duke Nukem game is and odds are they'll tell you it's Forever. That's because they haven't played this one.Ask someone what the worst Duke Nukem game is and odds are they'll tell you it's Forever. That's because they haven't played this one. Released just a few days prior, Critical Mass actually has a very similar backstory in that it too spent some time in development hell. It's evident that Apogee Software and developer Frontline Studios had big plans for the title; intending for it to be the start of its own trilogy and even having a more impressive PSP counterpart in development that you can find footage of online. The only thing that ever ended up seeing the light of day though was this shoddy DS version.

    Gameplay-wise it's a lot like Manhattan Project, which itself was a throwback to the first two Duke Nukem games on MS-DOS. So it's another action-platformer in the series where you blast your way through aliens in a 2D side-scrolling format. It's competent enough, but level design is often haphazard with side paths that weirdly enough sometimes don't lead to anything. Plus, the most effective way to avoid cheap deaths is to simply run forward while holding down the fire button, killing enemies before they appear onscreen. That way you don't have to fight off attacks from two directions at once when the stages decide to spawn in foes behind you. That's not really much fun. The devs tried to prevent things from getting too monotonous by including over the shoulder third-person shooting and first-person sniping segments, among others. These sequences get overused however, and the controls are usually awful so their novelty wears off pretty quick.

    A surprising amount of effort went into the storytelling aspect of all this. The cutscenes may look like pixelated garbage (and Duke somehow has the worst, least detailed character model in the game), but the voice work is undeniably high-quality with the titular hero himself even uttering more than just simple one liners. It kind of ends up being for naught though as the plot basically ends up going nowhere due to the abrupt cliffhanger ending that will never see a resolution, but I was still left fairly impressed. Also impressive is the amount of raunchy content they were able to slip in on Nintendo hardware. The franchise is well-known for its more adult oriented elements, and while this tame compared to most of its predecessors, there's more T'n'A here than you would expect.

    Overall, it has some creative and compelling ideas, but the lackluster execution really holds Critical Mass back. I could see myself revisiting it as a guilty pleasure to find the last of the collectibles or if I was on need of some mindless entertainment on a long trip or something. Yet, that doesn't change the fact that unless you're a hardcore Duke fan looking to complete your collection, this isn't worth seeking out.
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  4. Mar 13, 2012
    5
    Not a game for gamers but this game would simply be for someone who is collecting the Duke Nukem saga in case they want a game with Duke for their DS.
  5. Dec 6, 2021
    0
    Critical Mass? More like critical ass! **** all way around. Stiff controls, simple and uninspired gameplay even for a DS shooter, graphicsCritical Mass? More like critical ass! **** all way around. Stiff controls, simple and uninspired gameplay even for a DS shooter, graphics look like super dumb down version of Manhattan Project and it’s very short. Even Duke Nukem forever is better then this garbage. Expand
  6. Jan 8, 2013
    0
    This game would be better on PS3 or Xbox 360 but the DS made it horrible and look like something from Thundercats game. DS games are terribleThis game would be better on PS3 or Xbox 360 but the DS made it horrible and look like something from Thundercats game. DS games are terrible but DNCM is the worst Duke Nukem created Expand

Awards & Rankings

35
21
#21 Most Discussed DS Game of 2011
21
#21 Most Shared DS Game of 2011