Duke Caribbean: Life's A Beach features all of the same weapons from Duke Nukem 3D but renamed and re-skinned with new sprites and sound effects. The changes are purely cosmetic and are meant to reflect a Caribbean aesthetic. The renamed weapons include:
While other items remain unchanged, the expansion pack introduces exotic re-skins of some of the inventory items in Duke Nukem 3D:
Similar re-skins have been applied to the health items:
Duke Caribbean: Life's A Beach contains most of the enemies from the original game, with many of them now dressed in Caribbean clothing. Re-skinned enemies include the Assault Trooper, Assault Commander, Pig Cop, Octabrain, and Cycloid Emperor. The add-on also introduces two new enemies:
Narrative elements in Duke Caribbean: Life's A Beach are sparse. According to the official game manual, Duke Nukem is on vacation in the Caribbean to take a break from killing aliens. However, the aliens have decided that the Caribbean offers the perfect climate for a new breeding ground, so they begin laying eggs and terrorizing the local tourists. Angered that his rest and relaxation is being delayed, Duke Nukem sets out on a mission for retribution against the aliens who are interrupting his vacation.
Duke Caribbean: Life's A Beach was generally met with praise from players. It is often hailed for its fun and thoughtful level design, and many consider it the best of the authorized expansion packs released for Duke Nukem 3D.
Since Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition was removed from the Steam store in 2016, Duke Caribbean: Life's A Beach has not been available for commercial sale.
Randy Pitchford, the CEO of Gearbox Software, revealed in a May 6, 2020 interview with LoveLaughLeslie that the company was in fact working to package Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour with several of the classic expansion packs, including those developed by Sunstorm Interactive. However, Pitchford explained that the project was stalling due to multiple publishing-related problems. Without providing too many details, Pitchford seemed to imply there was a separation of powers between the development studio under Pitchford at Gearbox Software and the publishing house under Steve Gibson at Gearbox Publishing. "I keep putting my thumb on that scale," Pitchford explained, but "this is a publishing project."
According to Pitchford, one problem facing the project, though possibly not the chief problem, was that the publishing team had identified content in the expansions that they considered borderline "sexist and racist." This was news to Pitchford, who said, "it's not exactly the Duke that I remember." For this reason, Gibson was not yet "ready" to move forward with publishing the expansions. Pitchford added, "I don't want to censor it," suggesting the team was considering this as a possible solution. Pitchford further clarified "we stand behind" everything in Duke Nukem 3D and Duke Nukem Forever.
Internet users in the online Duke Nukem community speculated on several possible sources of the borderline "sexist and racist" content in the expansions. These included the portrayal of Caribbean culture in Duke Caribbean: Life's A Beach, the Gorilla Captain in Duke Xtreme, and the Feminist Elven Militia in Duke: Nuclear Winter.
- The title theme combines elements of Hawaii Five-O's theme and Duke Nukem 3D's Grabbag.
- The recurring wooden boat, Kobayashi Maru, is the name of the Starfleet training test in Star Trek.
- The credit cards that replace the key cards are branded with the name "Vista," which is a parody of Visa credit cards.
- Enemies resembling humanoid iguanas were showcased in promotional screenshots on Sunstorm's website. They were ultimately cut from the game without explanation.
- Charlie Wiederhold created several levels for this add-on. Wiederhold was later hired by 3D Realms to work on Duke Nukem Forever. He would later join Gearbox Software, but he left before the completion of Duke Nukem Forever.
- Game Manual (via Archive.org)
- Video Walkthrough by VivisectorITA
- Video Walkthrough by Lingyan203
- Video Walkthrough by GalleyUK
- Duke Nukem Caribbean Voxel Pack Thread and Download