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Video Game / Duke Nukem II

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Duke Nukem II is the second entry of the Duke Nukem video game series, and the first to truly revel in the tropes of action games and movies. As such, it's filled with Lampshade Hanging and cynical humour, all hidden behind an honestly enjoyable platforming shooter.

The year is 1998,note  and Duke's actions in the first game have made him Earth's top celebrity. Unfortunately, they also drew the attention of the Rigelatins, an alien race who wanted to enslave the Earth. The Rigelatins capture Duke during a TV interview for his new book, Why I'm So Great, planning to use his brain to mastermind their attack, but all does not go well. After breaking free from his cell, Duke takes the fight to the Rigelatins, with the sole plan of trouncing them handily and returning home.

This game shows examples of:

  • Attackable Pickup: The soda can, which can be shot to launch it upwards (at which point it becomes a score bonus) and the live turkey, which can be turned into roast turkey.
  • Against My Religion: Apparently, the reason the Rigelatins won't be Mercy Killing Duke after reducing him to a perpetual state of pain without being able to move any limbs is that their religion prohibits the interruption of suffering.
  • Checkpoint: One in every stage.
  • Collision Damage: Everywhere.
  • Cool Starship: A small ship Duke can pilot appears in some levels.
  • Crazy-Prepared: The Explodo-Molar, which is basically a small bomb implanted to his molar.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: After the events of the first game, Duke is canonically functionally immortal. Dying causes Duke to explode and reform at the last checkpoint or level start, but with any kills or collected items maintained.
    • Used cleverly by Duke in the first cutscene. After being thrown into a prison cell, he frees himself by biting his hidden Explodo-Molar next to the bars. Try not to think about the Body Horror too hard.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: "Well, took care of that guy pretty easy. Man, not enough action in this hole."
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Not as strange as its predecessor, as Duke is now a bit more in line with his later depictions, albeit sans any profanity or sexual content. But the game is still a bit on the quirky side and deals with Duke blowing his way through the Rigelatins and their captive races, which is more zany and cartoony sci-fi designs and tropes combined with a lot of Stuff Blowing Up mixed with extensive Bloodless Carnage. And if you play the older DOS releases, or even the newer Evercade release, Duke's still lacking his signature sunglasses.
  • Exploding Barrels: Boxes containing bombs, and barrels of radioactive waste.
  • Hopping Machine: An one-eyed, one legged robot.
  • In a Single Bound: Duke can jump about 1.5x his height.
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests: The Rigelatins' base is filled with treasure yielding (or trapped) boxes.
    • Despite trying to kill him, the Rigelatins seem to have quite a fondness for Duke Nukem memorabilia.
  • Instant Roast: Like in the first game, though this time the chicken starts out alive and probably running right at Duke, so he has to roast it fast. One shot is still all it takes.
  • Lampshade Hanging / Deadpan Snarker: Pretty much every line. It's easier to just let a few of Duke's quotes explain:
  • One-Hit Polykill: The laser weapon.
  • Press X to Die: Episode 4 takes place inside of a spaceship in deep space, and one or two levels have airlock doors that you can shoot open, causing Duke to get sucked out into space and die (though this can easily happen by accident, making them a huge annoyance).
  • Real Men Watch Oprah: Duke does, and he's annoyed that the Rigelatins are keeping him away from the TV.
  • Retcon: A minor graphical example. When the game was re-released for modern computers, Duke's sprite was given his now-trademark sunglasses.
  • Rocket Jump: To an extent, Flame Thrower. Requires skill and a healthy disregard for your own wellbeing.
  • Score Screen: The games had tons of secrets and achievements that rewarded bonus points.
  • Screen Shake: Used in some levels to simulate an unstable environment.
    "E A R T H Q U A K E ! ! ! (Beat.) Wait, this is not Earth."
  • Shareware: A shareware version has the first episode. The remaining three can be obtained by registering the game.
  • Shooting Gallery: The pre-game cutscene shows Duke firing his pistol at a distant target. When he stops shooting, the paper target slowly retracts up the range for collection. The camera switches to Duke, then back to reveal his accuracy. He's ignored the scoring circles and instead made a smiley face out of bulletholes. Cue an obligatory "I'm Back."
  • Steel Ear Drums: Lampshaded in the intro with Duke at a firing range. He fires his pistol freely, while safety glasses and earmuffs conspicuously hang on a safety regulation sign behind him.
  • Spelling Bonus: Like in the first game, you can collect the letters N-U-K-E-M for bonus points, and are awarded more for getting them in the correct order.
  • Utility Weapon: The flamethrower, which doubles as a jetpack when aimed downwards.
  • Unwinnable: Right after getting the second blue key in level 5 of Episode 3, the player can jump over the pillar behind it and fall into a pit that's impossible to jump out of.
  • Worst News Judgment Ever: "Ladies and gentlemen, one of our nation's heroes has disappeared! ...In other news, there's a four mile-wide UFO floating over Los Angeles. We'll be back after this commercial break with a cute little story about a three-legged dog who saved a baby."