Forget Call of Duty, Real Men Need the Retro Love: Duke Nukem 3D

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chris-littlechild - October 29, 2014

Yes indeed, it's Duke mothereffin' Nukem. Grease your pectorals, dick about with your hair until it reaches Guile levels of dumbassiness, take your pants off, and pay attention.

As we all know damn well, the Duke is the pinnacle of man-tastic gaming heroes. He strides about with his cannonball-like gonads dangling in the wind, all sunglasses and shitstorms of bullets and questionable one-liners. Think of him as a blond Arnold Schwarzenegger. Who isn't effing real.

In his honor, today we're going to party like it's 1996 and ogle Duke Nukem 3D, the biggest, badassiest and most important entry in the series. Along with Doom and Wolfenstein and such, this bastard right here showed the world the wonders of the FPS. But this one had boobs in.

The first releases, Dukes I and II, were very different beasts. These were sidescrolling platformers, albeit with several more big ol' freaking guns than you'd find in your average Sonic or Mario. Nukem himself may have looked like a pissed off little kid who'd spent the last year or so on a tanning bed at that point, but he had goddamn moxie. And now he's bringing it into the third dimension.

The 1996 installment switched perspective on our asses, joining the first wave of big FPSs. It continues immediately from the plot of the previous game, with the Duke returning to Earth and finding that Los Angeles is being wrecked to balls by aliens. Naturally, this isn't a situation that any studly dude can stand for, so he sets out to shoot seventeen shades of shite out of everything ever. Because that's just the kind of untamed renegade mofo he is.

"Effing mutato-monsters everywhere! Balls to this, I'm going ho... ooh, Babe Land!"

The adventure will take him through a series of level tropes which presumably weren't so horribly hackneyed back then. Deserts, space bases, the usual urban street scenes, all of that good stuff. Your arsenal, too, is nothing to crap your undercrackers about. You'll start with the standard issue pistol, acquire a shotgun and chaingun and such, before finally getting your hands on some good ol' fashioned explode-y explosives. Which explode. Explodily.

At its core, it's all fairly conventional. But Duke Nukem 3D does have a whole festival of pop culture references and cheeky humor on its side. It's an homage to Hollywood's blow-shit-up action movies, and features little cameos from (the corpses of) a T-800 and others. As the pig cops --complete with LARD badges-- and strippers strewn about the place should tell you, this isn't a game to take seriously.

You can kill the strippers Grand Theft Auto style for money. Because of course you can.

Duke Nukem 3D attracted a lot of bitching from the PC police on release. The Duke isn't the kind of dude you'd bring home to meet the folks, after all (dramatic lifestyle choice aside). This was adult content in a whole different way to the demonic delights of Doom, but it was just as instrumental in establishing probably the most popular genre in gaming. Where would Call of Duty and Battlefield be without this guy?

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