Duke Nukem 3D
||This article may contain original research. (September 2007)|
|Duke Nukem 3D|
|Developer(s)||3D Realms (MS-DOS)
Tiger Electronics (Game.com)
Lion Entertainment, Inc. (Mac OS)
Lobotomy Software (Sega Saturn)
Aardvark Software (Playstation)
Eurocom (Nintendo 64)
Tec Toy (Mega Drive)
3D Realms (Xbox Live Arcade)
MachineWorks Northwest (iOS)
General Arcade (Steam)
|Publisher(s)||GT Interactive (MS-DOS, Game.com, PlayStation & Nintendo 64)
MacSoft Games (Mac OS)
Sega (Sega Saturn)
Tec Toy (Mega Drive)
3D Realms (Xbox Live Arcade)
MachineWorks Northwest (iOS/iPhone)
|Designer(s)||George Broussard, Allen H. Blum III, Todd Replogle|
|Composer(s)||Robert Prince & Lee Jackson|
SlaveDriver (Sega Saturn)
BRA October 12, 1998
Xbox Live Arcade
December 29, 2009
|Distribution||CD-ROM, ROM cartridge, download|
Duke Nukem 3D is a first-person shooter video game developed by 3D Realms and published by GT Interactive Software. The full version was released for the PC (the shareware version was released on January 29, 1996). It is a sequel to the platform games Duke Nukem and Duke Nukem II published by Apogee. An expansion pack, Plutonium Pak, was released in November 1996.
Duke Nukem 3D features the adventures of the titular macho Duke Nukem (voiced by Jon St. John), who fights against an alien invasion on Earth. Along with Wolfenstein 3D and Doom, Duke Nukem 3D is considered responsible for popularizing first-person shooters. It was released to major acclaim; reviewers praised the interactivity of the environment, level design, gameplay and unique risqué humor (a mix of pop-culture satire and lampooning of over-the-top Hollywood action heroes). Its lasting appeal and impact on modern video games has led to its being considered one of the most important video games of all time. It was a commercial hit, selling about 3.5 million copies. The game's violent nature, erotic elements and portrayal of women have incited controversy. After fifteen years in development hell, a direct sequel was released called Duke Nukem Forever.
As a first-person shooter, the gameplay of Duke Nukem 3D involves moving through levels presented from the protagonist's point of view, shooting enemies on the way. The environment of Duke Nukem 3D is highly destructible and interactive; most props can be destroyed by the player.
Levels were designed in a fairly non-linear manner such that players can advantageously use air ducts, back doors and sewers to avoid enemies or find hidden caches. These locations are also filled with objects with which the player can interact, that either benefit the player in some form (light switches make it easier to see, while water fountains and broken hydrants provide some health points) or simply provide diversion (tipping strippers provokes a quote from Duke and a provocative reveal from the dancer).
Weapons and equipment
Weapons include the "Mighty Foot" (a basic kick attack), a pistol, a shotgun, a chain gun (similar in design to the Soviet TKB-059), a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, pipe bombs, freeze- and shrink-rays, laser trip mines, and the rapid fire "Devastator" rocket launcher. There is also an extra weapon known as the 'Expander' which is only available in the Atomic edition of the game.
Other items can be picked up during play. A portable medkit allows the players to heal Duke at will. Steroids speed up Duke's movement, as well as instantly reversing the effects of the shrinker. Nightvision goggles allow players to see enemies in the dark. The "HoloDuke" device projects a hologram of Duke that can be used to distract enemies. Protective boots allow Duke to cross dangerously hot or toxic terrain. Where progress requires more aquatic legwork, scuba gear (an aqua-lung) allows Duke to take longer trips away from air. Duke's jetpack allows the player to move vertically.
The game features a wide range of monsters, some of which are aliens, other mutated humans (the LAPD has been turned into "Pig-cops", a play on the derogatory term "pig" for police officers, with LARD emblazoned on their uniforms). As is usual for a first-person shooter, Nukem encounters a large number of lesser foes, and a small number of boss enemies (usually at the end of chapters). Like Duke, these enemies have access to a wide range of weapons and equipment (some weaker enemies have jet packs).
Duke Nukem 3D features multiplayer. At the time of its release, Internet-based gaming was just beginning. Duke Nukem 3D did not support the TCP/IP client/server model, instead basing its network play on the IPX LAN, modem or serial cable. Duke Nukem 3D players often either battled modem-to-modem, using the IPX network utility Kali or the Total Entertainment Network (TEN) online pay service. Kali allowed users to connect to a chat room to host and join games. The Total Entertainment Network featured hundreds of Duke 3D players online at any given time and players had to pay a monthly fee. The game was also supported by DWANGO.
In 1996 TEN hosted a first of its kind, nationally participated in "online tournament" rewarding the champions with cash and prizes sparking an immediate surge in online gaming. Some of the first prizes were $500 cash and a lifetime membership to the service.
Duke Nukem 3D's levels were often used as the battlegrounds for these encounters and users were even able to create their own levels (or maps) via the in-game level editor. The game also features co-operative play (co-op) which allows players to complete the story based single player mode together. In the Atomic version, a new game play mode was introduced: Duke-Tag, a "capture the flag" style mode.
Duke Nukem 3D has been ported to run on modern Microsoft Windows variants including Windows XP and Windows 7. This has been possible since the source code was publicly released. Various ports have been made including hDuke, xDuke, and EDuke32. All three offer the original visual appearance of the game whereas EDuke32 also supports OpenGL rendering including the capability to use fan-created modern graphics using the High Resolution Pack. hDuke and xDuke can still be played online in multiplayer 'DukeMatch' format using launchers such as Duke Matcher and YANG, both freely available. EDuke32's multiplayer is in a state of development hell following an attempt to rewrite the network functionality using a client-server model.
Duke Nukem 3D is set on Earth "sometime in the early 21st century". The levels of Duke Nukem 3D take the player outdoors and indoors through rendered street scenes, military bases, deserts, a flooded city, space stations, moon bases and a Japanese restaurant.
The game contains several humorous references to pop culture, like some of Duke's lines that are drawn from movies like Aliens, Dirty Harry, Evil Dead II, Full Metal Jacket, Jaws, Pulp Fiction, and They Live; the mutated women begging "Kill me" are also a reference to the latter. The player will encounter corpses of famous characters such as Luke Skywalker, Indiana Jones, Snake Plissken, the protagonist of Doom, and a smashed T-800. In the first episode the player navigates a tunnel in the wall of a prison cell, hidden behind a poster, just like in The Shawshank Redemption. During the second episode, the player can see The Monolith (from 2001: A Space Odyssey) on the Moon.
There is little story in the game except for a brief text prelude located under "Help" in the Main Menu, and a few cutscenes after the completion of an episode. The introduction establishes that the game picks up right after the events of Duke Nukem II, with Duke returning to Earth in his space cruiser. As Duke descends on Los Angeles in hopes for a vacation, his ship is shot down by unknown hostiles. While sending a distress signal, Duke learns that aliens are attacking Los Angeles and have mutated the LAPD. With his plans now ruined, Duke hits the "eject" button, and vows to do whatever it takes to stop the alien invasion.
In "Episode One: L.A. Meltdown", Duke fights his way through a dystopian Los Angeles. At a strip club, he is captured by pig-cops, but escapes the alien-controlled penitentiary and tracks down the alien cruiser responsible for the invasion in the San Andreas Fault. After killing the first boss, the alien Battlelord, Duke discovers that the aliens were capturing women, and detonates the ship. Levels in this episode include a movie theater, a Red Light District, a prison, and a nuclear-waste disposal facility.
In "Episode Two: Lunar Apocalypse", Duke journeys to space, where he finds many of the captured women held in various incubators throughout space stations that had been conquered by the aliens. Duke reaches the alien mothership on the Moon and kills an alien Overlord. As Duke inspects the ship's computer, it is revealed that the plot to capture women was merely a ruse to distract him. The aliens have already begun their attack on Earth. The levels in this episode consist mainly of space stations, including a moon base.
In "Episode Three: Shrapnel City", Duke battles the massive alien resistance through Los Angeles once again, and kills the leader of alien menace: the Cycloid Emperor. The game ends as Duke promises that after some "R&R", he will be "...ready for more action!", as an anonymous woman calls him back to bed. Levels in this episode include a sushi bar, a movie set, a subway, and a hotel.
The story continues in the Atomic Edition. In "Episode Four: The Birth", it is revealed that the aliens used a captured woman to give birth to the Queen, a creature which can quickly spawn deadly alien protector drones. Duke is dispatched back to Los Angeles to fight hordes of aliens, including the protector drones. Eventually, Duke finds the lair of the alien Queen, and kills her, thus thwarting the alien plot. Levels in this episode include a fast-food restaurant (Duke Burger), a supermarket, a Disneyland parody called "Babe Land," a police station, the Exxon Valdez, and Area 51.
Expansions and versions
PC versions and add-ons
Various spin-offs and modifications to the original Duke Nukem 3D were produced in the following years of the game's initial launch.
- Plutonium PAK/Atomic Edition: The Atomic Edition of Duke Nukem 3D was released in November 1996, and contained the original 3 episode game as well as a new eleven-level fourth episode. The Plutonium PAK was also released as an upgrade package to convert the original release of Duke Nukem 3D (v1.3d) to the new Atomic Edition (v1.4, later patched to v1.5). It introduces new enemies, a new final boss (The Queen), a new weapon, and changes to the script to make it easier to mod. Finally, the player can set up a multiplayer session against CPU bots. This is the only official add-on for the game.
- EDuke: Following the release of the Doom source code in 1997, gamers wanted a similar source code release from 3D Realms. The last major game to make use of the Duke Nukem 3D source code was TNT Team's WWII GI in 1999. Its programmer, Matthew Saettler, obtained permission from 3D Realms to expand the gameplay enhancements done on WWII GI to Duke Nukem 3D. EDuke was released as a patch for Atomic Edition users on July 28, 2000, and included a demo mod made by several beta testers. 
- Duke Caribbean: Life's A Beach: This is an authorized add-on developed by Sunstorm Interactive. Duke is relaxing on a tropical island when he discovers that the aliens are having their own "vacation". This unofficial add-on includes a sunny Caribbean atmosphere and theme such as beaches, vacation hotels. Charlie Wiederhold created several levels for this add-on. Wiederhold was later hired by 3D Realms to work on the sequel Duke Nukem Forever.
- Duke it out in D.C.: In this storyline, President Bill Clinton is captured by alien forces, and Duke must save him. This expansion pack featured levels that were based on real-world locations, such as the White House, the FBI headquarters, the Smithsonian museum, and the Washington Monument and other places in Washington, D.C. This game was also developed by Sunstorm. The add-on was unofficial but was included in an official compilation called Duke Nukem: Kill-A-Ton Collection through business deals with 3D Realms. Charlie Wiederhold also created levels for this add-on.
- Duke: Nuclear Winter: This add-on was developed by Simply Silly Software and WizardWorks. In the storyline, Santa Claus is being mind-controlled by aliens into causing trouble on Earth. Several of the levels take place near the North Pole.
- Duke Xtreme: An add-on developed by Sunstorm and contained 50 levels and various utilities.
- Duke!Zone: A product called Duke!ZONE was once sold by WizardWorks, which included over 500 fan-made levels.
- Duke!Zone II: WizardWorks later published a follow-up to the original Duke!ZONE which contained three episodes created by Simply Silly Software and the same 500+ levels from Duke!Zone.
- Duke Assault: A further authorized add-on containing over 1500 levels for Duke Nukem 3D. Sold by WizardWorks and also created by fans of Duke Nukem 3D.
- Megaton Edition: Released through Steam on March 20, 2013, the Megaton Edition includes Duke Nukem 3D: Atomic Edition, Duke Caribbean: Life's A Beach, Duke it out in D.C., and Nuclear Winter all running on OpenGL, as well as the original MS-DOS version of Duke Nukem 3D. It supports SteamPlay for Mac and PC.
Console versions and add-ons
Duke Nukem 3D was ported to many of the consoles of that time. All the ports featured some sort of new content.
Duke Nukem 3D (Game.com) was released in 1997 in the USA only. Unlike every other version of the game, Duke Nukem cannot turn; he can only move forwards, backwards, and strafe left or right. Due to the Game.com's monochrome screen, it is also the only version to lack color. It includes only four levels from each of the three episodes for a total of 12 levels, all of which are modified to accommodate Duke Nukem's inability to turn.
Duke Nukem 3D (Sega Saturn) was ported by Lobotomy Software and published by Sega. It retains the original name and uses Lobotomy's SlaveDriver engine. This version uses the Sega NetLink for online gaming, and has built-in support for the Saturn's analog pad. It also includes a hidden multiplayer mini-game called Death Tank Zwei and an exclusive bonus level called Urea 51, accessed through the main level Fahrenheit. It was the final game branded by Sega of America under the Deep Water label, employed for games featuring adult content such as this and Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Dark Side.
Duke Nukem: Total Meltdown (titled simply Duke Nukem in Europe), the PlayStation version, contains all three original episodes, plus a new one, Plug 'n' Pray, which includes six extra levels and a secret level, the latter which was also included in the PC version. The new episode features several new enemies (including three new types of Pig Cops) and a new final boss, robot CyberKeef. The version also features remixed music, some rearranged from the PC version and some original, in streaming XA-Audio made by Mark Knight.
Duke Nukem 64 is a port for Nintendo 64 which features a split screen 4-player mode. In-game music was removed, many items were renamed to avoid drug and sex references, and several levels were altered to include areas from the Plutonium Pak (such as a Duke Burger outlet being present in the second level where there wasn't one in the original PC version). Game levels are played sequentially instead of as separate "episodes". Other changes included a fully 3D model for the final boss and new weapons. The Alien Beast monster seen in the Plutonium Pak also appears a few times in the standard levels where it wasn't in the original PC version at all.
Duke Nukem 3D (Sega Genesis) was released in 1998 by Tec Toy. The visuals were drastically simplified, being closer to early shooters like Wolfenstein 3D; also, it consists solely of Lunar Apocalypse, the second from the original game's three "episodes", which was heavily modified to suit the engine. This version was released in South America only.
Duke Nukem 3D (Xbox Live) was released on September 24, 2008. This version features the ability to "rewind" the game to any prior point upon dying, save clips of gameplay, and play co-operatively online, as well as the standard "Dukematch" online mode. The music received a slight quality upgrade with modern MIDI tools.
Duke Nukem 3D (iPhone/iPod Touch) includes the primary 3 episodes and all of the main sound effects, but does not include background music in-game. There is no multiplayer option and the framerate tends to fall dramatically when multiple enemies are on-screen. Lacks the ability to peer through windows to outdoor areas.
Duke Nukem 3D is included in several compilations. A bundle called East Meets West includes the full versions of Duke Nukem 3D: Atomic Edition and Shadow Warrior. A bundle called Duke Nukem: Kill-A-Ton Collection features Duke Nukem 3D: Atomic Edition, Duke Xtreme, Duke!ZONE II, Duke Nukem I (Duke Nukum), Duke Nukem II, and various other utilities. Earlier packages of Duke Nukem 3D also included the complete versions of Duke Nukem I and II as a bonus. Duke: The Apocalypse contains Duke Xtreme and Duke!ZONE II. Duke: The Apocalypse 2 Contains Duke!ZONE, Duke it out in D.C., a strategy guide and a T-shirt.
Duke Nukem 3D was developed on a budget of roughly $300,000. The development team consisted of eight people for most of the development cycle, increasing to 12 or 13 people near the end. Scott Miller of 3D Realms recalled that "with Duke 3D, unlike every shooter that came before, we wanted have sort of real life locations like a cinema theatre, you know, strip club, bookstores..."
LameDuke is an early beta version of Duke Nukem 3D, which was released by 3D Realms as a "bonus" one year after the release of the official version. It has been released as is, with no support, and is currently available to download from the 3DRealms FTP.
LameDuke features four episodes: Mrr Caliber, Mission Cockroach, Suck Hole and Hard Landing. Some weapons were removed and/or altered from the original versions.
The source code to the Duke Nukem 3D v1.5 executable, which uses the Build engine, was released as free software under the GPL on April 1, 2003. The game content remains under a proprietary license. The game was quickly ported by enthusiasts to modern operating systems. As of 2007[update], these projects gave the game a second life in multiplayer games through the Internet and a growing community is still actively playing.
The first Duke Nukem 3D port was from icculus.org. It is a cross-platform project that allows the game to be played on AmigaOS, AmigaOS 4, AROS, BeOS, FreeBSD, Linux, Mac OS X, MorphOS, Solaris, and Windows rather than DOS. The icculus.org codebase would later be used as the base for several other ports, including Duke3d_w32.
Another popular early project was Jonathon Fowler's JFDuke3D, which in December 2003 received backing from the original author of Build, programmer Ken Silverman. Fowler, in cooperation with Silverman, released a new version of JFDuke3D using Polymost, an OpenGL-enhanced renderer for Build which allows hardware acceleration and 3D model support along with 32-bit color high resolution textures. Another project based on JFDuke3D called xDuke (unrelated to the xDuke project based on Duke3d_w32) runs on the Xbox. Silverman had since helped Fowler with a large portion of other engine work, including updating the network code and helping to maintain various other aspects of the engine, but with no updates in nearly four years it is suspected the project may never see another release.
EDuke was a semi-official branch of Duke Nukem 3D that was released to the Internet as Duke Nukem 3D v2.0 by 3D Realms in 2000; it focused primarily on enhancing the CON scripting language in ways which allowed those modifying the game to do much more with the system than originally possible. Though a further version was planned, it never made it out of beta and was eventually canceled due to programmer time constraints. About a month after the release of the Duke Nukem 3D source code, Blood project manager Matt Saettler released the source code for both EDuke v2.0 and EDuke v2.1, the test version of what would have eventually become the next EDuke release, under the GPL.
While a few short-lived DOS based EDuke projects emerged, it was not until the release of EDuke32, an extended version of Duke3D incorporating variants of both Fowler's Microsoft Windows JFDuke3D code and Saettler's EDuke code, by one of 3D Realms' forum moderators in late 2004 that EDuke's scripting extensions received community focus. Among the various enhancements, support for advanced shader model 3.0 based graphics was added to EDuke32 during late 2008-early 2009. In June 2008, EDuke32 became the only Duke Nukem 3D port to compile and run natively on 64-bit Linux systems without the use of a 32-bit compatibility environment thanks to significant porting contributions from the DOSBox team.
On April 1, 2009, an OpenGL Shader Model 3.0 renderer was revealed to have been developed for EDuke32, named Polymer to distinguish from Ken Silverman's Polymost. It allows for much more modern effects such as dynamic lighting and normal mapping. Although Polymer is fully functional, it is technically incomplete and unoptimized, and is still in development. As of the fifth installment of the High Resolution Pack (released in 2011), the Polymer renderer is mandatory. Another significant development of EDuke32 in 2011 is true room over room (TROR), where sectors can be placed over other sectors, and can be seen at the same time. In practice, this allows for true 3-dimensional level design that was previously impossible, although the engine is still 2D.
In February 2013, a source code review article was published that described the internal working of the code.
Lee Jackson's theme song "Grabbag" has elicited many spin-offs and remixes over the years by both fans and professional musicians, including an officially sanctioned studio version by the popular thrash metal outfit Megadeth. Another version of the song was recorded by Chris Kline in August 2005. 3D Realms featured it on the front page of their website and contracted with Kline to use it to promote their Xbox Live release of Duke Nukem 3D.
The reviewers paid a lot of attention to the sexual content within the game. Their reception of this element varied: Tim Soete of GameSpot felt that it was "morally questionable", while the Game Revolution reviewer noted that it was "done in a tongue-in-cheek manner," and he was "not personally offended". IGN editor Cam Shea ranked it ninth on his top 10 list of Xbox Live Arcade games. He stated that it was as fun as it was in its initial release, and praised the ability to rewind to any point before the player died. It was named #37 overall among the "150 Best Games of All Time" by Computer Gaming World Magazine (15th Anniversary Issue—November 1996), was voted #13 overall in PC Gamer Magazine's Readers All-Time Top 50 Games Poll (April 2000 issue), the editors of PC Gamer ranked it #12 in the Top 50 Games of all time, in their October 2001 issue, citing the game's humor and pop-culture references and it was ranked #15 in the 50 Best Games of All Time list published by PC Gamer Magazine in its April 2005 issue.
The game has been heavily attacked by some critics, who allege that it promotes pornography and murder. Media Watch made the following comments about the game:
“Duke Nukem 3D moves the 'shooter' through pornography stores, where Duke can use XXX sex posters for target practice. Duke throws cash at a prostituted woman telling her to 'Shake it, Baby' his gun ever ready. In the game bonus points are awarded for the murder of these mostly prostituted and partially nude women. Duke blows up stained glass windows in an empty church or goes to strip clubs where Japanese women lower their kimonos exposing their breasts. Duke is encouraged to kill defenseless, often bound women.”
— Media Watch, Teaching Boys To Kill
However, the game does not have a scoring or rewards system of any kind, either for killing women or doing anything else. Instead, the game spawns even more enemies if the player kills a woman. No weapons, items or power-ups are ever given to players in return for violence towards women of any kind, though a cosmetic shower of dollar bills appears after killing a stripper. These cannot be collected and provide no gameplay or score bonus. The only exception is the "Fusion Station" level, where killing a certain woman will yield a shotgun as well as spawn an enemy.
As a response to the criticism encountered, censored versions of the game were released in certain countries to avoid having it banned altogether. A similar censored version was carried at Wal-Mart retail stores in the US.
In Australia, the game was originally refused classification on release. 3D Realms repackaged the game with the parental lock feature permanently enabled, although a patch available on the 3D Realms website allows the user to disable the lock and revert the game back to its original uncensored version. The OFLC then attempted to have the game pulled from the shelves, but it was discovered that the distributor had notified them of this fact and the rating could not be surrendered. Six months later, the game was reclassified and released uncensored with an MA15+ rating.
In 1999, Duke Nukem 3D was banned in Brazil, along with Quake, Doom and several other violent first-person shooters after a violent rampage in and around a movie theater was allegedly inspired by the first level in the game.
Despite such concerns from critics, legislators, and publishers, Scott Miller later recounted that 3D Realms saw very little negative feedback to the game's controversial elements from actual gamers or their parents. He pointed out that Duke Nukem 3D was appropriately rated "M" and had no real nudity, and speculated that that was enough to make it inoffensive to the general public.
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