Not to be confused with John Wayne AKA “The Duke”. Don’t get me wrong…John Wayne is like the Chuck Norris of the West and he could more than likely kill us faster than any rapture Harold Camping could ever dream of. No, boys and girls, this is about Duke Nukem…the most bad-ass man to ever grace the video game world with his presence and today I am going to tell you why.
On July 1st, 1991 Apogee Software(Now known as 3D Realms) put out a 2-D side-scroller for the PC entitled, Duke Nukem. The game played a lot like Mega Man or any comparable NES side-scrolling game that featured power-ups, health pickups and methods of getting bonus points at the end of every level. Not much was known about Duke at that time, as he was just the eponymous hero who decided to stop the madman Dr. Proton from…well, pretty much doing what 95% of all video game villains at the time wanted to do: Take over the world.
The same thing applied on December 3rd, 1993 when Duke Nukem 2 was released for PC(The Gameboy Color port came out 6 years later on September 10th, 1999). Only this time, it’s a race of aliens called Rigelatins who want to enslave the Earth and use Duke Nukem’s brain to do it. Interesting concept and the gameplay was identical to it’s predecessor, except for the GBC version, in which case the game got new levels, monsters, bosses, EVERYTHING! So, it was more like a remake than a port, I suppose. Regardless, the game was pretty fun, albeit difficult.
But it wasn’t until January 29th, 1996 that shit got real. Duke Nukem 3D was graciously handed down to us from on high by the people at 3D Realms and GT Interactive…and all was good. Duke had gotten a SERIOUS upgrade, and his transformation into the Ultimate Bad-ass was complete. Created and designed by the Build engine(A first-person shooter engine created by Kenny Silverman), DN3D was given the make-over it badly needed. Aside from a continuation from the previous game, Duke Nukem 2, new elements and obvious new gameplay were added as well as giving Duke Nukem a voice! A voice, you say!? Yeah, mon! Veteran DJ and voice actor, Jon St.John lent his golden voice to 3D Realms thus bringing Duke to life after years of being a pseudo-silent protagonist.
The original game has 3 Episodes:
“Episode One: L.A. Meltdown”, Duke fights his way through a dystopic 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.
“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 main and ultimate attack on Earth
“Episode Three: Shrapnel City”, Duke battles the massive alien resistance through Los Angeles once again, and finally saves the day after he kills the leader of alien menace: the Cycloid Emperor. The game ends as Duke promises in a voice-over that after some “R&R”, he will be “…ready for more action!”, as an anonymous woman calls him back to bed…
Now, in the Atomic Edition, a 4th Episode was added:
“Episode Four: The Birth”, it is revealed that the aliens were really capturing women to produce a Queen, which could quickly give birth to deadly alien drones. Duke is dispatched back to Los Angeles to fight hordes of aliens, including the alien drones. Eventually, Duke finds the lair of the alien Queen, and kills her, thus thwarting the alien plot.
Now, what PC game would be complete without Add-Ons and expansions? DN3D got quite a few add-ons as time went by. Most of them consisted of a new plot line, or something obscure. For example, in the add-on titled Duke it out in D.C., President Bill Clinton(Not joking) is kidnapped by alien forces and Duke must save him. The add-on featured levels that were modeled after REAL locations such as The Washington Monument and The White House. As bizarre as it sounds, that add-on was super good and so was the rest. Hell, the game alone is bad-ass! But, I don’t need to tell you that! Lol!
Of course, like most violent games, DN3D had it’s share of controversy and ridicule. What makes DN3D most memorable isn’t just Duke’s witty quips or shear awesomeness. No. It’s the heavy content of sexuality and nudity that got people all riled up…and by people, I mean overbearing, closed-minded, ignorant and otherwise stupid parents and critics. Here is a comment made by the Australian TV Program, Media Watch for their special, Teaching Boys To Kill:
“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.”
Ha hah ha! Okay, I’m going to point out a few things about this idiot’s comment. First off, you don’t get ANYTHING for killing women in the game and you aren’t encouraged to do so. In fact, if you accidentally or purposely kill a woman in this game, a shit load of enemies show up out of nowhere to kill you. As far as Duke handing out money to those prostitutes…hey…someone has to put those girls through college, right? But I digress. Now, DN3D has been banned in several countries due to it’s high awesome content, most notably Brazil due to an….incident. What incident? Well, some artard decided to take the game seriously, and went and shot up a movie theater just like the first level of the game. You know, it really burns my ass when people use video games as a defense to justify the fact that they are fucking insane, stupid and cowardly. I mean, we as Gamers already come under enough scrutiny from people of other lifestyles(Most notably Jocks) because of our choice in extracurricular activities. Now, we get shit all the time from idiots who shoot up a mall or school and say “Oh…uhh…Doom made me do it!”. Yeah…bullshit. What makes it worse, is that the media eats this shit up and then proceeds to blast every single video game publisher and developer in existence when in reality, they need to blame the fucking parents. Don’t believe me? Read up on the Columbine Incident and you’ll see exactly what I mean. It’s truly sad when people can’t tell the difference between fantasy and reality as well as who truly is to blame. Oh well, moving on…
With the imminent release of Duke Nukem Forever(June 14th, 2011 by the way), Duke fans often wonder why this game took so damn long to come out. Well, it’s kind of a long and agonizing story…and I’m too lazy to tell you in full. So, I’ll give you the short version.
Development for DNF actually started sometime in April of 1997. However, due to tons of lawsuits, layoffs and other bullshit, DNF was in development hell for about 13 years. Fans thought for the longest time that their greatest hero was gone…never to grace a console or PC ever again…until Gearbox Software stepped up and announced, “We got this shit.”. So, the 13 year wait is over and DNF is set to hit the shelves in a couple of weeks, thanks to to the collaboration of 3D Realms, Gearbox Software, Piranha Games(Mulitplayer and console releases) and big time publisher, 2K Games. Will it surpass it’s predecessors? It’s hard to tell at this point, but it’s very possible. One thing is for sure…Duke Nukem still lives and he’s ready to ROCK! Duke Nukem Forever hits shelves in North America on June 14th. Japan, Europe and Australia get it June 10th(Lucky bastards!!). Hail To The King, Baby!
Until next episode…