Duke Nukem Critical Mass (DNCM) is a score-based “Multi Mode” Action Shooter video game produced by Apogee Software, co-published by Apogee Software and Deep Silver and developed by Frontline Studios for the Nintendo DS.
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 and several third-person and top-down shooting elements. The boss battles are presented in pure third-person shooter gameplay. There gold letters hidden in the platforming levels, which unlock pictures in a babe gallery when collected. There is also a small number of unlockable trophies/achievements.
The first level of the game takes place in the streets of the "future" New York, which is under attack by an unknown force. Duke must fight through hordes of Pig Cops, Ratoids, and security camera mechs in order to reach Morphix's crab/spider robot. The bosses include aliens such as the Battle Lord, machines, and Dr. Proton. The first boss battle takes place in a ruined jail (or fortress).
Morphix's crab (spider) robot
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.
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". 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, 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.
Duke Nukem: Critical Mass was very poorly received overall by critics and gamers. The game has an average of 37.33% at Game Rankings, based on an aggregate of 6 reviews and an average of 29/100 at Metacritic, based on an aggregate of 12 reviews. The game was criticized for its poor graphics and awkward gameplay. ScrewAttack named the game "The Worst Handheld Game of 2011" saying it could be the worst handheld game of all time. Gamesradar named it the #1 worst game of the first 6 months of 2011.