Duke Nukem 3D: Atomic Edition is a special edition re-release of Duke Nukem 3D. For customers who already owned Duke Nukem 3D prior to the re-release, the Plutonium PAK was sold as a patch that would upgrade existing versions of Duke Nukem 3D to the Atomic Edition. The "Atomic Edition" and "Plutonium PAK" titles are often used interchangeably.

The Atomic Edition corresponds to versions 1.4 and 1.5 of Duke Nukem 3D, both of which were released in 1996. The Atomic Edition was eventually followed by the EDuke patch in 2000, the Megaton Edition in 2013, and the 20th Anniversary Edition in 2016.


The Atomic Edition and Plutonium PAK (both version 1.4) supplanted version 1.3d of Duke Nukem 3D on November 27, 1996. On December 12, 1996, another patch, this one unnamed, was released to upgrade version 1.4 of the game to version 1.5, but this merely fixed bugs and did not introduce any new content. Both versions 1.4 and 1.5 are officially known as the Atomic Edition.

Atomic Edition box.jpg
Atomic Edition box art
Plutonium PAK box.jpg
Plutonium PAK box art

New levels

The Birth

Main Article: The Birth

The Atomic Edition adds a new fourth episode known as The Birth. Levels in the new episode were designed by Allen H. Blum III, Richard "Levelord" Gray, Randy Pitchford, Keith Schuler, and George Broussard. None of these levels were created from scratch. In the 20th Anniversary Edition developer commentary, Schuler explains (and Blum agrees):

"I don’t think I did either [ XXX-Stacy or Critical Mass ] from scratch. I mean, that was how Plutonium PAK worked, right? It was all a bunch of content that either didn’t make it into the original game or, you know, had been started but not finished. And so we just took all those scraps, and we finished them up."

All of the added levels relied heavily on material from maps that were partly completed but scrapped before the initial release of Duke Nukem 3D. For example, the level Derelict was nearly finished and fully playable in the December 1994 prototype, making it one of the oldest levels in the game.

Levels in The Birth include:

  1. It's Impossible, designed by Pitchford
  2. Duke-Burger, designed by Blum
  3. Shop-N-Bag, designed by Broussard and Gray
  4. Babe Land, designed by Blum
  5. Pigsty, designed by Gray
  6. Going Postal, designed by Blum
  7. XXX-Stacy, designed by Schuler and Gray
  8. Critical Mass, designed by Schuler and Gray
  9. Derelict, designed by Blum
  10. The Queen, designed by Pitchford
  11. Area 51, a secret level designed by Pitchford

Demo maps

In the game's files, three non-episodic maps are included: _SE.MAP, _ST.MAP, and _ZOO.MAP. These maps were meant to demonstrate the capabilities of the Build engine and to showcase new content. The demo maps are only playable when imported as user maps.

New enemies

Main Article: Enemies in Duke Nukem 3D

The Atomic Edition introduces three new enemies:

Protector Drone.png
Protector Drone
Pig Cop Tank.png
Pig Cop Tank
Alien Queen.png
Alien Queen

New weapon

Main Article: Expander (DN3D)

Microwave Expander.JPG

The Atomic Edition adds a new weapon known as the Expander. The Expander is an extension of the Shrinker and uses the same weapon number slot. When either the Shrinker or Expander are obtained, both weapons are immediately usable. However, neither weapon can be used until the corresponding ammo is obtained. The Expander deals incremental damage to enemies, but once an enemy's health is reduced to zero, the enemy will inflate and explode, dealing damage to nearby enemies as well.

Other new features

New audio

The Atomic Edition features new music, new sound effects, and new voice-overs by Jon St. John, the voice of Duke Nukem.

Improved CON scripting

The Atomic Edition includes numerous improvements to the CON scripting language used for making mods. For instance, new enemies and items can be created without needing to overwrite the existing ones.


The Atomic Edition also features Dukebots, computer-controlled players used to simulate Dukematches.

See also

Duke Nukem 3D
Episodes L.A. Meltdown | Lunar Apocalypse | Shrapnel City
Plutonium PAK: The Birth
Anniversary Edition: Alien World Order
Items Access Card | Holoduke | Jetpack | Night Vision Goggles | Portable Medkit
Protective Boots | Scuba Gear | Steroids
Health: Small Medkit | Large Medkit | Atomic Health | Armor
Scrapped: Space Suit | Shield
Weapons Mighty Foot | Pistol | Shotgun | Chaingun Cannon | RPG | Pipe Bomb | Shrinker
Expander | Devastator | Laser Tripbomb | Freezethrower | Incinerator
Scrapped: Flamethrower | Laser Chainsaw | Sonic Resonator | Tazer | Plasma Cannon
Enemies Common enemies: Assault Captain | Assault Commander | Enforcer | Assault Trooper | Battlelord Sentry | Octabrain | Pig Cop | Protozoid Slimer | Recon Patrol Vehicle | Sentry Drone | Shark | Turret
Plutonium PAK: Pig Cop Tank | Protector Drone
Anniversary Edition: Firefly Trooper | Cycloid Sentry | Overlord Sentry
Bosses: Battlelord | Overlord | Cycloid Emperor
Plutonium PAK: Alien Queen
Anniversary Edition: Cycloid Incinerator
Scrapped: Alien Queen Sentry | Bat | Captain | Drone | Drone 2 | Femanoid | Mandroid
Organic Turret | Scorpion Tank | Snake Head | Trooper | Turret
Expansion packs
and add-ons
Duke Assault | Duke Nukem 3D Level Design Handbook (CD levels) | Duke Caribbean: Life's A Beach | Duke: Nuclear Winter | Duke It Out In D.C.
Duke Xtreme | Duke!ZONE | Duke!ZONE 150 | Duke!ZONE II | Plutonium PAK | Duke Nukem's Penthouse Paradise | Unofficial expansion packs
Fan community User maps | Mods & Total Conversions | Speedruns
Source ports | High Resolution Pack
Other Difficulty | Hazards | Multiplayer | Cheat codes | Easter eggs
Quotes | Music | Duke Nukem
Build engine | Game bugs | Unused data | LameDuke
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.