Duke Nukem (video game)

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Duke Nukem
Title screen of Episode One with the alternate name Duke Nukum
Developer(s) Apogee Software
Publisher(s) Apogee Software
Designer(s) Todd Replogle
Scott Miller
Allen H. Blum III
Artist(s) George Broussard
Jim Norwood
Allen H. Blum III
Composer(s) Scott Miller
Series Duke Nukem
Platform(s) MS-DOS, Microsoft Windows, OS X
Release date(s) MS-DOS
Microsoft Windows & OS X
Genre(s) Platform
Mode(s) Single-player
Distribution 3½-inch & 5.25" floppy disks, download

Duke Nukem (titled Duke Nukum in Version 2.0[3]) is a 2D platform game developed and published by Apogee Software (now 3D Realms), featuring the adventures of the fictional character Duke Nukem.


Screenshot of gameplay

The main objective of the game is to get to the exit of each level, while destroying enemies and collecting points. Many objects onscreen can be shot including boxes, obstacles and blocks. Besides points, some collectibles include health powerups, gun powerups, and some inventory items with special abilities. The final level of each episode has no exit, and is instead completed by finding and defeating Dr. Proton.

At the end of every level (with the exception of the last level in each episode), the player can receive up to seven 10,000 point bonuses, earned by making certain achievements in the level, such as destroying all cameras. At least two other Apogee titles, Duke Nukem II and Rise of the Triad, have similar end-of-level bonuses.


The game is set in the year 1997 (which was the "near future" at the time of game release). Dr. Proton is a madman, determined to take over the world with his army of Techbots. Duke Nukem, the eponymous hero, takes upon the task of stopping him. The first episode takes place in the devastated city of Los Angeles. In the second episode, Duke chases Dr. Proton to his secret moonbase. In the third episode, Dr. Proton escapes into the future, and Duke pursues him through time, to put a permanent end to his mad schemes.


Technical implementation[edit]

Due to technical limitations the game world scrolls by shifting 8x8 "blocks" rather than individual pixels. Similar techniques are used in e.g. Zeliard, Cosmo's Cosmic Adventure and Duke Nukem II. Console and arcade platform games would typically perform this using dedicated hardware, such as the PPU in the NES which can scroll the background.

The graphics borrowed heavily from other games, such as Turrican[4] and the MS-DOS version of Mega Man.[5]

Legal concerns with the game name[edit]

After the game's release, Apogee Software became aware of a Captain Planet cartoon show featured a character with the same name (Duke Nukem), and to avoid a lawsuit the software house renamed the 2.0 version of its game Duke Nukum.[3]

It later turned out that Duke Nukem was not a registered name, so Apogee registered it and used the original Duke Nukem name in the sequels.[3]


Duke Nukem was followed by Duke Nukem II in 1993, featuring the same hero still without the dark sunglasses, and later Duke Nukem 3D in 1996. A third sequel, Duke Nukem Forever, was announced in 1997. Plagued by various developmental problems and delays, the game would later be picked up by Gearbox Software and released in 2011, fourteen years after the game was announced and twenty years after the first game was released. In a downloadable content (DLC) for that game, titled "The Doctor Who Cloned Me", Dr. Proton made his return.

Several spin-offs were developed for consoles only, such as the PlayStation titles Duke Nukem: Time to Kill and Duke Nukem: Land of the Babes, and the Nintendo 64 game, Duke Nukem: Zero Hour. In 2002, Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project was released to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Duke Nukem. It uses a 3D engine and elements from Duke Nukem 3D, but with the side scrolling style of the first two titles.


  1. ^ Release data, GameFAQs.com.
  2. ^ http://store.steampowered.com/app/240160/
  3. ^ a b c "3D Realms Site: Duke Nukem I". Retrieved June 21, 2008. 
  4. ^ "Duke Nukem stole graphics from Turrican!". Retrieved June 21, 2008. 
  5. ^ "S&F Prod. – Duke Nukum". Retrieved June 21, 2008. 

External links[edit]