- Awesome Ego: Duke is a self-centered, politically incorrect chauvinist bastard. And the fans love him for it, both in and out of universe.
- Duke Nukem II explicitly says that he's so vain that he likes to collect his own memorabilia (which is a primary source of points in the game.)
- Crowning Moment of Awesome: In Land of Babes, despite being non-canon, at some point Duke is repopulating Earth, by having almost non-stop sex with all females that remained after all males were killed.
- Deader Than Disco: In the late '90s, was quite possibly the coolest video game hero (or rather, Anti-Hero) in existence. Duke Nukem 3D was seen as a landmark shooter, not just for its at-the-time awe-inspiring sense of freedom, but for the wisecracking, steroid-pumped babe-magnet that was Duke himself. Anticipation for his follow-up game, Duke Nukem Forever, was through the roof.
Unfortunately, Duke's time in the spotlight would not last long. Duke Nukem Forever had a notoriously long and chaotic development history (detailed here), with the final game not being released until 2011, more than 14 years after it was announced — and when it was finally released, it was a dud, not just for its clunky gameplay and half-baked ideas, but also for falling victim to changing social mores. What was once seen as possibly the most awesome and badass protagonist in all of gaming was now seen as a racist, sexist, juvenile pervert. Gearbox (the company that finally finished and released the game) vehemently defended the game, saying that players simply didn't get its humor, but the general consensus was that the game's "humor" fell horribly flat, especially in the wake of games like the Grand Theft Auto series that managed to deliver similar edgy, boundary-breaking humor with more intelligence and maturity. While there has been talk of a possible franchise reboot, it's more likely that Duke Nukem Forever will (ironically enough) be the last game where he'll be seen.
- Hell Is That Noise: The siren in Duke Nukem Advance. Even worse, it doubles as Critical Annoyance.
- Memetic Badass: Take a guess who. Just look at him!