Duke Nukem 3D

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Cover image of Duke Nukem 3D.

Duke Nukem 3D is a first-person shooter developed by 3D Realms and released by GT Interactive Software on January 29, 1996. It is a sequel to the platform games Duke Nukem and Duke Nukem II, published by 3D Realms. Along with an official expansion pack, known as Plutonium Pack, several third party expansion packs were also released. The game has been ported to several platforms, some of which include new levels and/or major changes in the gameplay.

The story features the protagonist Duke Nukem fighting against an alien race. Along with Wolfenstein 3D and Doom, Duke Nukem 3D is considered responsible for popularizing first-person shooters. It uses the same basic gameplay dynamic from Doom, although the atmosphere of the game is different: Duke Nukem 3D incorporates a fair amount of humor and sexuality mixed in with a variety of environments, ranging from realistic urban areas to space stations.


While Doom and Duke Nukem 3D feature similar technology, Duke Nukem 3D could in most respects be considered technically superior. The player can jump, crouch, and aim vertically. The rendering engine features slopes, overlapping and moving sectors, arbitrary scaling of textures and strong scripting capabilities. Most of the game behavior is stored in external script files which can be modified to change almost any feature of the game. The registered version of the game came with an editor, "Build", which included a 3D editor mode.

References to Doom[edit]

The E1L3 secret featuring dead Doomguy
  • A reference to Doom is included in Duke Nukem 3D. E1L3 contains a church. Standing in front of the cross at the front of the church, there is a switch. Pressing this gives a red tint to the room while the horizontal bar of the cross lowers until it appears to be fully inverted. Smashing the left stained glass window reveals a secret passageway, that may contain an Octobrain. Walking down the passageway, a slaughtered marine can be seen, after which Duke comments, "Hmmm... That’s one doomed space marine."
  • This scene was parodied in the computer game Blood — in the carnival level, a hidden room behind the tight-rope showroom contains a mutilated Duke Nukem hanging from a chain. Caleb immediately says "I've got time to play with YOU!". Actioning Duke swings the chain as Caleb utters, "uhh, shake it baby!"
  • In Sunsoft's unofficial add-on "Nuclear Winter", one area of the level "Land of Forgotten Toys" is a parody of Doom's E1M1, complete with a sign reading "This Building Condemned". The player is teleported to that area and cannot access any other rooms with the exception of jumping out the windows next to the armor pedestal, where an important yellow card, a teleporter back to the rest of the level, and some dead Doom marines can be found.
  • A special utility to convert Doom-based WAD files into a format playable by the Build engine, WAD2MAP, was included on the Duke Nukem 3D: Atomic Edition CD. The program itself is currently available on various websites.

Impact on Doom[edit]


  • The Doom II megawad, Memento Mori II, released six months after Duke Nukem 3D, contains some references to this game. The first appears in the mission briefing for MAP04: Ratamahatta, in the form of an ill-fated scout named "Duck Nukem." The second, and more famous one, is in the level itself, where the player eventually arrives at Duck Nukem's grave. The last is in the mission briefing for MAP18: Regulate, featuring an equally ill-fated scout named "Ken BUILDerman," whose name is a reference to Ken Silverman, programmer of the Build engine.
  • A Doom conversion of Duke Nukem 3D's E1L1 theater has been made using new textures and music[1].
  • The Blood TC (an attempt to port the Monolith game Blood to the Doom engine)[2] contains the dead Duke Nukem in the port of the carnival level.
  • The extensive ZDoom-based mod Knee-Deep in ZDoom contains a dead Duke Nukem shoved into a barrel of toxic waste in Z1M3: Toxin Refinery. The text "Hmm, that's one nuked Duke!" appears on the screen when the player approaches, obviously a parody of E1L3: Death Row where Duke sees the marine's corpse and says "Hmm, that's one Doomed space marine!".
  • The ZDoom source port itself was strongly influenced by BUILD and used code from it for math functions, slopes, voxels, and other miscellaneous features. Some of this code was removed before the port became GPL-licensed, while remaining portions were granted an exception by Ken Silverman.
  • The Raze source port is the equivalent of GZDoom for the BUILD engine games, using bits of code from various BUILD source ports (including Duke Nukem 3D source ports like JFDuke3D and EDuke32) and backed by GZDoom tech.
  • A TC known as Duke Meets Doom is made for Duke Nukem 3D.
  • Another TC known as Hellduke TC is based on Doom.
  • The Samsara and Quake Champions: Doom Edition modifications for Zandronum feature Duke Nukem as a playable character.
  • The soundtrack from Duke Nukem 3D, made by Bobby Prince and Lee Jackson, has been reused in Doom mods such as Alien Vendetta, Community Chest 3, Epic, Epic 2, Hellbound, Kama Sutra, Return to Hadron, etc.


  • The library in the Fortress of Doom features a book entitled "Why I'm So Great Pt. II" by "Dork Norkem". The platform game Duke Nukem II started with Duke in a TV show, presenting his book "Why I'm So Great" and telling his exploits from his first game.


  • One of the imp alert sounds is also used for the Sentry Drone in Duke Nukem 3D (DSBGSIT1 and SNAKRG.VOC respectively).
  • One of the ettin idles is also used for aliens in Duke Nukem 3D (CENT2 and ROAM58.VOC respectively).

External links[edit]