When one of my editors sent this topic to me, I only had one response – “I came to chew bubblegum and write articles, and I’m all out of bubblegum”. Yeah, I know, that quote isn’t originally from the Duke – but he popularized the hell out of it. But anyway, an article about Duke Nukem in popular media? Hell yes. I was a 90s gamer child. I was born for this article.
And yet, as I sat at my keyboard, brain cocked, locked, and loaded full of ideas, buzzing on my third Red Horse Extra Strong (surprisingly, Southeast Asia not only beats America in amount of beautiful women per square mile, but the overall strength of beer), I slowly came to a horrifying conclusion. The amount of Duke Nukem references in popular media is nearly non-existent. Has the world forgotten our blonde, LARD-ass-kicking hero?! Oh sure, everyone remembers that nameless Doom guy, but the infamous Duke of Nukem? He’s been relegated to Luigi status. Or even Toadstool.
Oh well. At this point I’m just ranting to make up for the underwhelming research results I gathered. But I did turn up results – I know my way around Google. And Reddit. And the dark web, though I don’t like to go there often. I always feel like I need to physically kill my hard drive with fire after being on the dark web more than ~5 minutes. All right, I’ve delayed enough – here’s your damn list of entertainment influenced by Duke Nukem, and may we pray for the souls of all the red horses it took to get through this.
The mighty boot in Postal 2. Actually, Postal 2 in general.
Get ready for some Machiavellian conspiracy theory. The sixth level in Duke Nukem 3D was titled “Going Postal” – a year later, Running With Scissors released Postal, an isometric murder-spree shooter. They followed it up with Postal 2, this time built as a first-person shooter on the Unreal Engine.
In Postal 2, pressing the Q button does a kick attack – which is basically Duke’s signature move. In Duke Nukem, it’s called the “mighty foot” – and in Postal 2, entering the cheat code “mightyfoot” makes your kick insanely powerful. Like, one-hit killing enemies and launching them flying across the screen powerful.
Aside from that, the main character (‘Postal Dude’) is basically a rip-off / homage to Duke. Postal Dude is a one-liner spouting, trench-coat wearing, babe-loving hero psychopath. So he’s like Duke Nukem’s twisted, demented alter-ego.
This Duke Nukem casino slot game.
So Duke Nukem Forever has playable slot machines in the game. And I figured, since Duke has his own pinball game (the aptly titled Balls of Steel), surely someone out there created a slot machine tribute, right? Well, I wasn’t disappointed – until I was. Because I managed to find this ancient and absolutely terrible Duke Nukem 3D Slots on Newgrounds.
It’s so bad. I mean it’s really, really bad, okay? I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel here. You press Space to spin the reels, and Z/X/C to stop them manually. It’s nowhere near the professionally designed slot machines you’ll find on a website like Casumo Mobile Casino. But it’s Duke Nukem inspired, so it’s on the list.
Totally fan-made Duke Nukem remake in Serious Sam 3 VR
So this one is actually totally awesome. It’s a remake of Duke Nukem 3D, built using Serious Sam 3 – and it’s VR compatible. The author has so far recreated 3 out of 5 of the original L.A. Meltdown episode, and has hinted he may do E2L1 next (as a bonus). He’s re-used the 3D models from Duke Nukem Forever, as well as the classic DN3D soundtrack (with remixes thrown in).
While the author has faithfully recreated the levels from Duke Nukem 3D, he’s added his own additional flair. You’ll find expanded level design, new weapons, and the enemy waves/arenas typically found in Serious Sam. It’s Serious Duke, basically. It also supports co-op gameplay, though because the levels are designed with single-player in mind, the author recommends a maximum of 4 – 5 players per game session.
To play this, you need Serious Sam 3 (or the VR version, to play in VR), and you can grab the mod from Steam workshop.
This really awkward documentary interview with the original DN3D composer.
Composers Play is a YouTube series where original videogame soundtrack composers are interviewed about their approach to their craft. In this episode, Lee Jackson talks about writing the music for Duke Nukem 3D. It’s a 3-part episode, and contains a lot of interesting information from the mind of Lee Jackson. Basically how he MIDI-fied a bunch of Megadeth riffs.
The reason the interview is awkward is because Lee Jackson kind of slowly drones on, searching for the words to say, while the interviewer just peppers in “That’s awesome” and “Wow, that’s interesting” every say often. It’s actually kind of a hilarious disaster.
This will probably appeal only to those with a serious boner for early 90s synthesizers and MIDI production, and ultra die-hard Duke Nukem fans. Actually, I’ve got a serious boner for recording modern rock and metal guitar, so I made it like…~15 minutes through the first video. You might fare better. It’s Duke Nukem inspired, so it’s on the list.
This actually well-produced Duke Nukem fan movie trailer.
I don’t know if whoever made this movie trailer was trying to impress 3D Realms, because it’s really well done. For a ~3 minute ‘movie’, the cinematography, lighting, camera angles, soundtrack…it’s just awesome.
From what I can gather, it was directed by Paul J. Vogel, a graduate of USC School of Cinematic Arts. His IMDB page lists a bunch of other short films (and a full-length documentary) he’s written, directed, and produced.
It really looks like an actual movie trailer, and probably would’ve been 100x better than the one they’re claiming will star John Cena as the Duke himself. This is why we can’t have nice things. Fans make serious tributes, Hollywood makes cash grabs. I’ll probably still see it. You know you will too.
This Star Wars x Duke Nukem crossover mod.
I feel like the author of this mod thought it’d be really funny if Vader said “Duke, I am your father”, and it just spun out of control from there. I’m talking about Duke Forces, a Star Wars themed total conversion mod for DN3D. It’s pretty heavily based on the Star Wars: Dark Forces game, which was itself a Doom ‘inspired’ first-person shooter back in the early 90s.
What’s interesting is that Duke Forces is compatible with all of the original DN3D levels, while automatically converting everything else (weapons, enemies, textures, sprites, music, etc) into the Star Wars appropriate content. So it is literally the original DN3D game, with Star Wars assets applied.
If you’re interested, you can download it here. You just need to extract the ‘dukeforces’ folder from the .zip archive, and run Eduke32. You also need the file DUKE3D.GRP (from the original DN3D game) placed inside the DukeForces folder.