Duke Nukem: Critical Mass

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Duke Nukem: Critical Mass
Duke Nukem Critical Mass cover.jpg
Developer(s) Frontline Studios
Publisher(s) Deep Silver
Producer(s) Apogee Software
Series Duke Nukem
Platform(s) Nintendo DS
  • EU: April 8, 2011
  • NA: June 6, 2011
  • AU: July 7, 2011
Genre(s) shooter
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Duke Nukem: Critical Mass is a shooter game developed by Frontline Studios and published by Deep Silver for the Nintendo DS. A version for the PlayStation Portable began development, however was never released.[1]


The Earth Defense Forces attempts to ensure the Earth's continued security by monitoring the future with the help of their own time machine, but both their agent and a special team sent there have been confirmed MIA. Knowing something is wrong, General Graves sends in the famous Duke Nukem.


Duke Nukem: Critical Mass is largely a run and gun shooter game, however, several different game modes are available throughout the game. There are first-person shooting sequences when player picks up a sniper rifle, and several third-person and top-down shooting elements. The boss battles are presented in pure third-person shooter gameplay. The game includes about 36 levels, many different weapon types, enemies, and bosses.


Duke Nukem: Critical Mass was originally going to be released on the PSP as well, and be a part of a planned trilogy of games. Rumors of a Duke Nukem title on PSP and DS began spreading in early 2008, and in July of that year, Apogee released a teaser trailer for the then-planned Duke Nukem Trilogy, confirming the game's existence. In March 2009, Apogee attended the Game Developer's Conference and showed the game off to GameSpot, which released a short video of some of the gameplay recorded on a handheld camera. Duke was seen running around a city landscape from a third person perspective in the PSP version of the game, and platforming through an environment while confined to a sidescroller style path on the DS version. In the interview, the Fall of 2009 was said to be the target release period for both versions of the game. This event was followed by several updates about the game's progress by Apogee on Twitter during the following months, including one in which the voice recording sessions for the game with Duke Nukem voice actor Jon St. John were confirmed to have gone successfully.

The three games would have what Apogee calls "multi-mode". Where players switch between third-person over the shoulder, first person, isometric, and side scrolling views. At the moment this action is directed. A four-minute trailer was shown at E3 2008, in which there is no gameplay footage, but rather a series of logos and game-related art. A video that contains screenshots from both the DS and PSP versions, as well as a video with gameplay from both versions, were released in March 2009. A PlayStation Portable version entitled Duke Nukem Trilogy: Critical Mass was developed but was cancelled. The DS and PSP versions were going to be unique games unified by the same basic story. The games announced to be included in the trilogy are Duke Nukem: Critical Mass, Duke Nukem: Chain Reaction, and Duke Nukem: Proving Grounds. The company announced that the first game in the trilogy Duke Nukem: Critical Mass was released for the DS in Europe on April 8, 2011.[2]

On October 29, 2010, developer Frontline Studios released news that Critical Mass for both platforms would no longer carry the Duke Nukem license and be renamed "Extraction Point: Alien Shootout".[3] However, on March 23, 2011, Apogee Software announced that they never lost the license and would release Duke Nukem: Critical Mass for the Nintendo DS on April 8, 2011 in Europe,[2] June 6, 2011 in North America and July 7, 2011 in Australia.

The source code of the unreleased PSP game was discovered in 2014 to be preserved at the Library of Congress.[4][5][6]


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 37.33%[7]
Metacritic 29/100[8]

The game has received overall negative reviews. The game has an average of 37.33% at GameRankings, based on an aggregate of 6 reviews[7] and an average of 29/100 at Metacritic, based on an aggregate of 12 reviews. ScrewAttack named the game "The Worst Handheld Game of 2011" saying it could be the worst handheld game of all time.[9][10] Gamesradar named it the #1 worst game of the first 6 months of 2011[8]


  1. ^ Hall, Charlie (6 August 2014). "Unreleased Duke Nukem discovered in Library of Congress". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Georgen, Andy (24 March 2011). "Duke Nukem: Critical Mass Still Set For DS Release". Nintendo World Report. Retrieved 29 March 2011. 
  3. ^ "Frontline Insider - November" (PDF). Frontline. November 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 November 2010. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  4. ^ Trevor Owens, August 6, 2014, Duke’s Legacy: Video Game Source Disc Preservation at the Library of Congress, Library of Congress
  5. ^ http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2014-08-06-library-of-congress-discovers-unreleased-psp-duke-nukem-game
  6. ^ Starr, Michelle (2014-08-06). "Unreleased Duke Nukem source code found at Library of Congress". cnet.com. Retrieved 2014-08-12. A cache of recently acquired video games at the Library of Congress turned up a true find: the source code for unreleased PSP game Duke Nukem: Critical Mass. 
  7. ^ a b "Duke Nukem: Critical Mass". GameRankings. Retrieved 2011-06-03. 
  8. ^ a b "Duke Nukem: Critical Mass". Metacritic. Retrieved 2011-06-03. 
  9. ^ "SAGYS 2011 - Worst Handheld Game Winner". ScrewAttack. Archived from the original on 14 March 2013. Retrieved 28 November 2012. 
  10. ^ "SAGYs 2011 - Worst Handheld Game Nominees". ScrewAttack. Archived from the original on 9 August 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2012.