“Who wants some?”
These words always bring back awesome gaming memories of this installment of the magisterrex Game of the Week: 3D Realms’ 1996 PC games classic, Duke Nukem 3D. Many hours were spent blasting away aliens, looking for all the secret rooms, and seeing how much of the environment could be manipulated. And all the while Duke Nukem ripped off one-liner after one-liner, just like a good action picture from the 80’s.
“Damn, those alien bastards are gonna pay for shooting up my ride!”
The story was pretty straightforward. Aliens had taken over Los Angeles, and had genetically mutated a bunch of mankind (including all L.A.P.D.’s officers, turning them all into Pigs). This was bad enough, but when they shot down Duke’s shuttle, it was time to make them pay, and Duke spends the rest of the game wiping out the alien menace.
“It’s time to kick ass and chew bubblegum, and I’m all out of gum.”
Players could look up and down, change altitude with a jet pack, get shrunk by a shrinkray, go anywhere they wanted. There were levels in bars, levels where you had to go underwater, levels where you had to fight in the dark. This game was the total package. But it wasn’t for the kiddies, though, with plenty of cussing, a constant array of strippers, partial pixelated nudity, and lots of gooey bits left over when Duke’s enemies got zapped.
“I ain’t afraid of no quake!”
Part of the fun is finding all the hidden references to other games or movies. Some of the characters (well, their dead bodies, at least) or items you find are: The Terminator, Luke Skywalker, Indiana Jones, The Monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey, the Doom guy, a video of the OJ Simpson car chase, and the alien mothership from Independence Day. These are the kind of small touches that make a good game a great game.
“Shake it, baby.”
To the no one’s surprise, it turned out that throwing cash at strippers and blowing away partially nude women can get your game put on the kind of lists that prevent Wal-Mart from displaying it on their shelves. 3D Realms found Duke Nukem 3D banned by Brazilian authorities, required to release a parental locked version to access the Australian market, and even placed outright on the “List of Media Harmful to Young People” in Germany. Back in 1996, this game was mired in controversy!
“Hail to the King, baby!”
Duke Nukem sold over 300,000 copies in its first week of release. It went on to spawn several re-releases, like the Atomic Edition, East Meets West, and 3rd party level compilations and other mods, like Duke!Zone and Nuclear Winter. In the end the sales of Duke Nukem 3D were in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and made Duke Nukem easily one of the most recognizable franchises and characters in the gaming world.
“What are you waiting for? Christmas?”
If you never played Duke Nukem 3D, go on and pick this game up. It’s still a lot of fun, even after all these years – as the best games always are! And don’t forget to download the high-resolution pack, which transforms this classic into a 32-bit juggernaut of retro gaming goodness!