Pointless Nonsense

Posted in video games by Bill on June 17, 2011

I ran into a problem in Duke Nukem Forever on the first boss, being unable to pass a “strength test” by pressing the jump key repeatedly. Googling suggested I remap the key, which I did, and I finally passed the test. But it turned out that was a fluke, and I continued to struggle with it on each boss. Too fast and I failed, too slow and I failed. Every boss was requiring multiple attempts at what others suggested was such a trivial thing it was stupid to call it a “test.”

I was told the game would take about 10 hours to complete, and I reached the last boss after about 15 hours. I was feeling like a moron. I expected to play a little slower than other people, my generally bad sense of direction translates to video games, and my fighting style is to grab a shotgun and run right at people, so that adds to the disorientation (and I die a little bit more), but it’s more fun that way, so that’s just how I roll. But 50% slower was pretty pathetic.

So against the final boss, you have to pass three of those damn strength tests to rip various parts off of him before he’ll die. The actual fight wasn’t that challenging, dodging rockets is something I’ve had a lot of practice at, and if you can do that, you can survive basically forever. Which is good, because I failed strength tests about 10 times (passing twice) in the over an hour I spent trying to fight this thing. The last time I failed, I was fairly close to destroying a keyboard. But instead, I paused and decided to google for solutions again, since the last time I’d looked was on the night of the release. Maybe there would be suggestions as to how to fix this now.

And there were! A forum post suggested dropping my resolution to 640×480. I was having no framerate issues at all (and I had randomly tried turning off some graphics options in the first boss, wondering if it was some kind of CPU thing, which didn’t help, but I never did try dropping the resolution, since much nicer looking games have worked just fine at 1920×1080), so that seemed like it wouldn’t work, but I tried it anyway. When I resumed the game, everything was now at quadruple speed and I died instantly. But this did mean somehow the game’s timing was messed up and the problem was tied to resolution, so I tried a few resolutions until 1024×768 seemed to be speedy but still playable. I then breezed through the fight, passed all three strength tests on the first tries, the game seemed more action-y and fun at this speed, the subsequent dialogue lacked the 3-5 second pauses that had been driving me nuts the entire game, and, honestly, I bet it would have been a perfectly decent game if I’d played it this way the entire time. But instead, I struggled through an entire game with a non-obvious timing bug that caused it to be slow and boring and stupid the entire time. So fuck this game and everything about it.

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