Video Game / Duke Nukem

The Duke Nukem franchise started early in The '90s as a series of regular side-scrolling platformer games. It started under Apogee Software/3DRealms development, but in 2010, the rights of the series went to Gearbox Software.

The series is composed of several games which follows a loose continuity:

There were also several spinoffs for consoles and handhelds.

  • Duke Nukem: Time to Kill (1998)
  • Duke Nukem: Zero Hour (1999)
  • Duke Nukem: Land of the Babes (2000)
  • Duke Nukem: Critical Mass (2011)

There are also hints of a live-action film being made.

And, as a bit of bad news after Duke Nukem Forever, Gearbox has shown their lack of support for the fan-made Unreal Engine remake of Duke Nukem 3D by fan studio Interceptor, telling them that they could "keep developing it, as long as they don't distribute it".

Not to be confused with a member of Captain Planet's Rogues Gallery.

Tropes found across the series include:

  • Awesome McCool Name
  • Badass: Duke Nukem, of course!
  • Bag of Spilling: In the first three games, Duke loses all weapons he picks up across episodes. Averted in Forever until the final battle.
  • Brass Balls: One of Duke Nukem's catchphrases.
    "I've got balls of steel!"
  • Bond One-Liner: Duke is rather fond of these.
  • Canon Discontinuity: The third person shooters Time to Kill and Land of the Babes, for the original Playstation, while decent in their own right, aren't regarded as canon. The fact that they were made by different developers probably has something to do with that.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Duke is a royal jackass who has no problem shitting down an alien behemoth's neck after killing it, but he will never insult a woman directly.
  • Cool Shades: From 3D onwards, now became an iconic feature of his character.
  • Damsel in Distress: All of Earth's women.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The third game presented a massive shift in both genre and tone.
  • Inconveniently Placed Conveyor Belt: All four installments to date have at least one.
  • Lock and Key Puzzle: The games are full of them. Lampshaded in Forever, where the trope takes on a more creative twist.
  • Man in a Kilt: Believe it or not, Duke himself wears a kilt in the Medieval levels of Time to Kill, and a tunic in the Ancient Roman levels.
  • Mascot Mook: The L.A.R.D pig cops have become this.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Duke Nukem. Kinda obvious to see what happens when you piss him off.
  • Negative Continuity: Zigzagged. The guns at the Duke Museum in Forever state that they were used by Duke in 1996 ... which refers to the year when 3D came out. II was supposed to happen in 1998, since Duke Nukem is set in 1997, and the introduction of II mentions "defeating Doctor Proton last year", with 3D happening immediately after II's conclusion. However, the Balls Of Steel Limited Edition Guide says: "This pegs the original invasion around 1999, which works out, since Duke Nukem and Duke Nukem II are set in the then-near future of 1997 and 1998."
  • Octopoid Aliens: Octobrains (octopus-like alien brains with tentacles) are regular enemies in the games.
  • One-Man Army: Duke Nukem, alone, takes on a mad scientist and his robot army, followed by two alien armies, the latter of which had already at least partially conquered Earth the first time. Acknowledged in a 2001 trailer of Duke Nukem Forever when a SWAT Officer asks "Hey pal, what are you gonna do, save the world all by yourself?"
  • Pinball Spinoff: Balls of Steel.
  • Pop-Cultured Badass: Duke, of course.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Duke has many of these.
  • Rated M for Manly: And how!
  • Refuge in Audacity: Duke's bread and butter.
    The Secret to Duke's Humor is that he and his universe actually are serious. In his world, it makes perfect sense for families to be visiting the Fellatio hotel (i.e., the Bellagio) in Las Vegas. Everything in his world is real for them, authentic. It's only when we look at it through the lens of our world that we get the joke.
    Randy Pitchford, April 2011 US Xbox 360 Magazine on why the game's humor is so effective.
  • See You in Hell: Duke sometimes says this whenever he blasts enemies into oblivion.
  • Shout-Out: Check the page.
  • Stopped Numbering Sequels
  • Testosterone Poisoning
  • Title Drop: Literally the first thing Duke says when the game starts in "Time To Kill" is "Looks like it's 'Time To Kill'."
  • Took a Level in Badass: It's hard to believe that, once upon a time, Duke wore a pink shirt and watched Oprah, his hair was curly and his language never strayed beyond Bad Butt and Gosh Dang It to Heck! Then something happened in between the two alien invasions...
  • The Usual Adversaries: Every alien race after the Rigelatins has employed Pig Cops in some way, what with them appearing in just about every game since 1996.

Alternative Title(s): Duke Nukem Zero Hour