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As I said in the Kane & Lynch 2 video, cover combat can't carry a game by itself. Even Gears of War, the game that arguably brought cover combat into common use, spiced it up with vehicle sections, big boss fights, and if you ever got really bored of jack-in-the-box pop-up shooting galleries you can always sprint over to your sparring partner and saw him in half lengthways with that ridiculous bayonet thing.

At this time it's worth taking a step back and remembering what sort of defensive gameplay shooters had before taking cover became mandatory. Well, the simple answer is that the main character's movement speed was always fast enough to pop out of cover, take pot-shots and pop back before the return fire arrived. And that's certainly something that characterizes cover-based games these days. The protagonists tend to be the kind of slow-moving ponderous fatties who actually need to have a nice sit down behind a chest-high wall now and then. Okay, so it wasn't exactly realistic that the DOOM marine could sprint at sixty miles per hour, but the decision of "realism or fun" is one that occurs frequently in game development, and in the vast majority of cases you would be well advised to take the second option.

What there are far too little of these days are those uncomplicated DOOM-likes, under which heading I place Serious Sam and Painkiller, both cathartic favorites of mine. Where you didn't wait behind a wall point-and-clicking on tiny moving objects on the other side of a warehouse until it was safe to come out; where you ran around in the open having a good time. Getting a good look at the overblown monster design, weaving between slow-moving projectiles, standing your ground before a Syrian Werebull and pounding two shotgun shells into its face in the instant before impact. Compared to those experiences, cover-based shooters barely qualify for the title of "action game." They're more like those weird Where's Wally-style games housewives play, where all you do is click on specific objects, only without all the detail, and with muzzle flashes giving me a headache all the time.

I honestly can't say Duke Nukem Forever bodes well for me. 3D Realms were only really proven by Duke Nukem 3D, and that was back when dinosaurs ruled the Earth. And an unfinished game being completed by a different studio has almost never ended well - these are the circumstances that brought us Wet. But here's the deal I'm prepared to make, Duke Nukem Forever. Let's wipe the slate clean. Fresh start. I'll forget about thirteen years of faffing around, and you forget about that one video that the audience thought was the funniest I've ever done. Just please, please, let me feel the wind on my face, rather than the side of a wall. Or tits. Tits on my face would be good too.

Yahtzee is a British-born, currently Australian-based writer and gamer with a sweet hat and a chip on his shoulder. When he isn't talking very fast into a headset mic he also designs freeware adventure games and writes the back page column for PC Gamer, who are too important to mention us. His personal site is www.fullyramblomatic.com.

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