Duke Nukem Forever became well-known in the video game industry for its lengthy development and polarizing reputation. Development of the game was first announced in 1997, and the game was heavily sensationalized in the years that followed. When it was finally released 14 years later, it was met with mixed reviews and divided opinions among fans.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Gameplay
- 3 Marketing
- 4 The Doctor Who Cloned Me
- 5 Promotion
- 6 First Access Club
- 7 Available Versions
- 8 Levels
- 9 Achievements/Trophies
- 10 Enemies
- 11 Bosses
- 12 Weapons
- 13 Items
- 14 Vehicles
- 15 Other Information
- 16 Old Builds
- 17 Press coverage
- 18 Reception
- 19 Trivia
- 20 External links
The game takes place about twelve years after the events of Duke Nukem 3D. Duke is now a worldwide icon, and has achieved great fame from his heroic deeds. After sampling a video game based on his past heroics (the game Duke plays is a revamped version of the final level of Duke Nukem 3D), he arrives on the set of a talk show for an interview. On his way to the show, Duke witnesses a news broadcast on a nearby television screen announcing that aliens have once again invaded. Unlike previous encounters, the aliens initially appear peaceful and at first seem to pose no harm to the humans of Earth. Duke's talk show appearance is cancelled to allow television stations to cover the alien invasion, and he retires to the "Duke Cave".
There, he receives a call from the President and General Graves of the military. The president orders him not to harm the invaders, and adds that he is in diplomatic talks with the alien overlord. Duke obliges this request, but remains uneasy about the whole situation. However, before he can leave his chambers, he is attacked by hostile aliens. Duke is forced to disobey the president's orders and fight his way through the alien hordes in an effort to save Earth. While fighting through his casino, Duke witnesses the aliens abducting women including his two live-in pop star girlfriends. Graves tells Duke that the women are being held in the Duke Dome, and that the aliens have a vendetta to settle with Duke. He also warns Duke that the aliens are using the Hoover Dam to power a wormhole so more aliens can come through. Nukem travels to the Duke Dome, using a wrecking ball to damage the building to gain access. Inside, he finds swarms of Octabrains and the missing women, who have been impregnated with alien spawn; Duke's girlfriends die after giving "birth" to alien babies. Duke finds the Alien Queen in control of the Dome and kills her, shortly before being wounded and blacking out.
After blacking out he has a dream where he is in a strip club and has to find a bag of popcorn, a vibrator, and a condom. When he succeds he gets a naked lapdance.
Duke then travels to the Hoover Dam in his monster truck; after battling through the dam, he finds his old friend Dylan, mortally wounded. He tells Duke that the Cycloid Emperor is at the dam, and that the only way to shut down the portal is to completely destroy the dam. Before dying, he gives Duke his demolition charges and wishes him luck. Duke places the explosives and destroys the dam, but the currents nearly drown him. Duke is revived after a soldier performs CPR on him; he awakens to find the portal gone. The President, who was also at the dam, rages at Duke for ruining his plans to work with the Cycloid Emperor and that he has ordered a nuclear strike at the site of the dam to wipe out the remaining aliens, intending to leave Duke there to die. However, the Cycloid Emperor emerges and kills the President and his security detail. Duke kills the Cycloid Emperor and is rescued by Graves just as the nuclear bomb explodes.
The game ends with a satellite surveying the detonation area and listing Duke Nukem as "KIA", to which Duke replies off-screen "What kind of shit ending is that? I ain't dead, I'm coming back for more!". After the credits play, at a press conference later, Duke announces that he is in the running to be the 69th President of the United States.
Duke Nukem Forever is an action-oriented first-person shooter. Players take control of Nukem as they navigate through a series of levels which take place on Earth and beyond. The game allows players to interact with various in-game objects, including urinals, water coolers and whiteboards which allow players to draw their own images. The gameplay is similar in some respects to the first-person shooter games of the late 1990s and early 2000s, with each level culminating in a boss battle in which Nukem has to fight and kill a large, significant alien.
Unlike in the previous games, Nukem can only hold two weapons at any one time in a manner similar to the Halo series, although Pipe Bombs and laser tripwires are considered inventory items and as such are not limited by this restriction. Items that have an effect on Nukem can be picked up by the player; these items consist of are steroids, beer, and a Holoduke. Steroids increase the strength of Nukem's melee attacks by a great deal for a limited time. Beer makes Nukem much more resistant to damage, but blurs the screen. A holoduke creates a hologram of Duke Nukem that looks and acts in a very similar way to Duke, but often says slightly twisted versions of his one-liners. While the holoduke is in effect, Nukem becomes invisible and the AI characters do not recognize his presence. The Jetpack also returns, but only in multiplayer.
Instead of the health system featured in the previous Duke Nukem game, in which health would be depleted when Nukem was injured and would only increase upon finding a health pack, drinking water from fountains/broken fire hydrants or using the portable medkit special item, Duke Nukem Forever employs a system involving an "ego bar" similar to Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project. The ego bar depletes when Nukem is attacked; once it is fully depleted, Nukem is susceptible to damage. If the player avoids further damage the ego bar is restored, as is Nukem's health. The player can increase the size of the ego bar (thus increasing the amount of damage Nukem can take) by interacting with certain items throughout the game (for example, a mirror), and by defeating bosses. The game employs a saving system that is solely based on checkpoints.
Duke's First Access Club is joined by using a code, obtained from either the pre-order of the game, the Borderlands Game of the Year Edition, or Borderlands on Steam (if bought before the club was announced), on the Duke Nukem Forever website. Members are granted access to wallpapers, the demo, concept art, artwork, podcasts (which are added often), the theme song, and screenshots.
E-mails were sent asking members to "please help Gearbox Software obtain the most accurate up to date information for your First Access profile." Members were then prompted to choose their preferred platform of choice for the Duke Nukem Forever demo by May 15, 2011. It then stated that "users that currently live in a territory where the demo may not be supported on console will automatically be defaulted to the PC Steam option." Gearbox sent a second e-mail to First Access Members in conjunction with a video showing that the Duke Nukem Forever demo was released on June 3, 2011.
A special limited Collector's Edition was available upon release called "Balls of Steel Edition" for all platforms. This version includes a five-inch bust of Duke Nukem, a 100-page hardcover artbook following the development of the game, postcards, sticker, a comic book, playing cards, dice, poker chips and foldable papercraft, and with every item being marked with the Duke Nukem Forever logo. Another edition called the "King Edition" was made available exclusively for pre-order from EB Games in Australia and New Zealand. It comes with the bonus "Ego Boost", "Big heads", exclusive extra in-game T-shirts, Duke Playing Cards and Duke Bubblegum.
Two themes, avatar items, and a gamerpic pack are available for download for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 systems. The premium theme for the Xbox 360 showcases the inside of Duke Burger during the alien invasion. The avatar items for said system include Duke's outfit, his throne, the Freeze Ray, a Pig Cop mask, and a pet Octabrain while the gamerpic pack features "Babes, aliens, and the King himself." The official Duke Nukem Forever website hosts the free PlayStation 3 theme, which includes three wallpapers and an icon set.
2K Games launched a website titled "Boob Tube" to promote the game. The website features videos and features to download. On May 19, 2011, a flash game was released via the website titled Duke Nudem where players have to shoot targets against a CPU bot "woman" of their choice, and if successful will have a piece of clothing taken off the girl until she is topless. However, if the player loses, the actress will act as though Duke has stripped naked.
Originally set for release in Australia on June 10, 2011, the game was made available for sale a day early on June 9 from all retailers due to street date being broken.
In North America, video game retailer GameStop promised exclusive in-game content for customers pre-ordering Duke Nukem Forever. The exclusive content, known as "Duke's Big Package" allowed the player from the start of the game to access "Big Heads," and "Ego Boost," and custom in-game T-Shirts. A code printed on the final receipt could, at the time of release, be activated over Xbox Live, The Playstation Network, and Steam.
The Doctor Who Cloned Me is a single-player DLC pack that features an all new campaign with the return of Dr. Proton along with mutliplayer content, new weapons and enemies.
Two themes, avatar items, and a gamerpic pack are available for download for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 systems. The premium theme for the Xbox 360 showcases the inside of Duke Burger during the alien invasion. The avatar items for said system include Duke's outfit, his throne, the Freeze Ray, a Pigcop mask, and a pet Octobrain while the gamerpic pack features "babes, aliens, and the King himself." The official Duke Nukem Forever website hosts the free PlayStation 3 theme, which includes three wallpapers and an icon set.
2K Games launched a website titled "Boob Tube" to promote the game. The website features videos and features to download. On May 19, 2011, a flash game was released via the website titled Duke Nudem where players have to shoot targets against a cpu bot 'woman' of their choice, and if successful will have a part of clothing taken off the girl until she is topless. However if the player loses, they will become naked.
Originally set for release in Australia on June 10, 2011, the game was made available for sale a day early on June 9 from all retailers due to street date being broken.
First Access Club
The First Access Club (FAC) was founded by Gearbox to reward the long-waiting fans with special bonuses. A First Access Club code could be obtained by preordering the game or buying the Game of the Year Edition of Borderlands or Borderlands on Steam (if bought before the club was announced), on the Duke Nukem Forever website. The benefits include access to wallpapers, concept art, artwork, podcasts (which are added often), the theme song, screenshots, the demo version of Duke Nukem Forever and the first multiplayer DLC (details as yet unannounced) for free.
E-mails were sent asking members to "please help [Gearbox] obtain the most accurate up to date information for your First Access profile." Members were then prompted to choose their preferred platform of choice for the Duke Nukem Forever demo by May 15, 2011. It then stated that "users that currently live in a territory where the demo may not be supported on console will automatically be defaulted to the PC Steam option." Gearbox sent a second e-mail to First Access Members in conjunction with a video showing that the Duke Nukem Forever demo was released on June 3, 2011.
The following versions are available:
This version is internationally available in most places as a digital download and as a boxed product.
"Balls Of Steel" Edition
A special limited Collector's Edition was available upon release called "Balls of Steel Edition" for all platforms. This version included include a five-inch bust of Duke Nukem, a 100-page hardcover artbook following the development of the game, postcards, sticker, a comic book, playing cards, dice, poker chips and foldable papercraft, and with every item being marked with the Duke Nukem Forever logo.
Another edition called the "King Edition" was made available exclusively for pre-order from EB Games in Australia and New Zealand. It comes with bonus Ego Boost DLC, Duke Playing Cards and Duke Bubblegum.
The following levels are found in the singleplayer campaign:
1. Duke Lives
14. Duke Nukem's Titty City
27. The Forkstop
The following levels are also available with the The Doctor Who Cloned Me DLC:
Multiplayer maps in Duke Nukem Forever are centered around a hub map known as My Digs.
These maps come packaged with the Duke Nukem Forever base game and do not require purchasing DLC:
The following maps are also available with the Hail to the Icons Parody Pack DLC:
In addition, these maps are available with the The Doctor Who Cloned Me DLC:
A Good Dam Fight - Defeat the Battlelord on the Hoover Dam Air-Duke - Win air hockey with a score of 7-0 in the strip club Annihilation - Kill 100 aliens Balls of Steel - Earn a 1,000,000 pinball score in SP Baron von Nukem - Shoot down 20 alien fighters Beating the One-Eyed Worm - Defeat the Energy Leech Big Guns, Big Ships - Blow up 5 enemy gunships or dropships Bucket Head - Find all 3 helmets in the SP campaign Call Waiting - Listen to all phone messages Come Get Some - Complete the SP campaign on Hard Difficulty Companion Barrel - Unlock the secret closet at the end of the Forkstop Damn, I'm Good - Complete the SP campaign on Insane Difficulty Dead Useful - Kill 10 aliens with environmental explosives Downtown Barrel Beatdown - Kill 10 aliens with tossed objects Drawrings - Doodle something on the whiteboard in SP Duke Angry, Duke Smash! - Kill 15 aliens with melee attacks while on steroids Extermination - Kill 50 aliens FBT - Get knocked down 10 times Flagon of Chuckles - Drink a beer in SP Fork the Pork - Kill 6 aliens with the forklift Freeze Well! - Kill 15 frozen aliens Gunslinger - Carry the gold pistol through the whole SP campaign He's Got a Hologram! - Use a Holoduke in SP Hippy-Stomper - Foot stomp 12 aliens I Am All That Is Man - Discover all Ego cap awards I Need a Date - Look at every page of a calendar in SP I Need a Towel - Get hit by 10 Pregnator bombs Judge, Jury, Executioner - Execute 20 aliens Juiced - Take steroids in SP Let's Rock - Complete the SP campaign on Normal Difficulty Lots of Whacking - Win a game of Alien Abortion in the strip club Natural Disaster 3x - Kill 3 aliens at once Nobody Likes a Whiner - Knock out the talent at the talk show Noms - Eat 10 pieces of food during the SP campaign Not Bad for a Human - Defeat the Alien Queen Nuclear Devastation - Kill 250 aliens Octacide - Defeat the Octaking On the Noggin - Kill 30 aliens with headshots One-Eyed Freak - Defeat the Cycloid Party Animal - Drink all of the beers in the strip club Pescaphobe - Kill all the catfish in the underwater level Piece of Cake - Complete the SP campaign on Easy Difficulty Pit Champion - Defeat the Battlelord in Las Vegas Road Rage - Kill 15 aliens with the monster truck Special Thanks - Watch the credits all the way through Sticky Bomb Like You! - Put a Trip Mine on a live alien Substance Abuser - Drink beer while on steroids or vice versa in SP Sunday, Black Sunday - Shoot down the blimp above the stadium Trapper - Kill 10 aliens with Trip Mines Turd Burglar - Find and steal a piece of poo
Note: the tossed objects achievement is titled "Tosser... in the Literal Sense" on PC.
- Assault Trooper
- Assault Captain
- Assault Enforcer
- Assault Commander
- Pig Cop
- Alien Fighter
- Dukeinator (The Doctor Who Cloned Me)
- Cyborg Dukeinator (The Doctor Who Cloned Me)
- Suicide Drones (The Doctor Who Cloned Me)
- Cycloid Emperor
- Alien Queen
- Assault Enforcer
- Energy Leech
- Dr. Proton (The Doctor Who Cloned Me)
- Alien Empress (The Doctor Who Cloned Me)
- Weapons in the base game
- Weapons in Hail to the Icons Parody Pack
- Weapons in The Doctor Who Cloned Me
- Beer (makes Duke tougher, but blurs his vision)
- Steroids (makes Duke stronger/faster, but prevents player from using weapons)
- Jetpack (multiplayer only)
- Holoduke (makes Duke invisible while the Holoduke attacks the enemy)
- Dukevision (allows Duke to see in dark areas)
- Mighty Foot
- Toy Race Car (only when shrunk)
- Holsommobile (The Doctor Who Cloned Me and only when shrunk)
- School Bus (The Doctor Who Cloned Me)
- Moon Rover (The Doctor Who Cloned Me)
- See also: Development History
Intended to be groundbreaking, Duke Nukem Forever has become infamous in the video games industry and become synonymous with vaporware due to its severely-protracted development schedule; the game has been in development since 1996. Originally in development under 3D Realms, director George Broussard, one of the creators of the original Duke Nukem game, first announced the title's development in April 1997, and various promotional information for the game was released between 1997 and 2008.
After repeatedly announcing and deferring release dates, 3D Realms announced in 2001 that it would be released simply "when it's done". In May 2009, 3D Realms was downsized for financial reasons, resulting in the loss of the game's development team. Statements by the company indicated that the project was due to go gold soon with pictures of final development. Take-Two Interactive, which owns the publishing rights to the game, filed a lawsuit in 2009 against 3D Realms over their failure to finish development. 3D Realms retorted that Take-Two's legal interest in the game is limited to their publishing right. The case was settled with prejudice and details undisclosed in May 2010. On September 3, 2010, after 13 years, Duke Nukem Forever was officially reported by 2K Games to be in development at Gearbox Software. It was originally confirmed to be released on May 3, 2011 in North America, with a worldwide release following on May 6, 2011. This has however been delayed by a month to June 10 internationally with a North American release on June 14. On May 24, 2011, it was announced that Duke Nukem Forever finally went gold after 14 years. After going gold the launch trailer for Duke Nukem Forever was released on June 2, 2011.
Duke Nukem Forever was originally intended to be a PC exclusive game, however 2K and Gearbox had hired Piranha Games to port the game to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and added a Mulitplayer in order to raise sales. However the Console ports were poor and very flawed due to it being designed exclusively for PC.
This is the build information for the Demo version of the DNF engine:
This is the build information for the Retail version of the DNF engine:
Below are sections pertaining to the older builds of Duke Nukem Forever.
Wired News has awarded Duke Nukem Forever its Vaporware Award several times. It placed second in June 2000 and topped the list in 2001 and 2002. Wired created the Vaporware Lifetime Achievement Award exclusively for DNF and awarded it in 2003. George Broussard accepted the award, simply stating, "We're undeniably late and we know it." In 2004, the game did not make the top 10; Wired editors said that they had given DNF the Lifetime Achievement Award to get it off of the list. However, upon readers' demands, Wired changed its mind, and DNF won first place in 2005, 2006, and 2007. In 2008, Wired staff officially considered removing DNF from their annual list, citing that "even the best jokes get old eventually", only to reconsider upon viewing the handheld camera footage of the game in The Jace Hall Show, awarding the game with first place once again. In 2009, Wired published Wired News' Vaporware Awards 2009: Duke Nukem Forever was excluded from consideration on the grounds that the project was finally dead. Duke made a comeback with an unprecedented 11th place award on Wired's 2010 Vaporware list.
Duke Nukem Forever has drawn a number of jokes related to its development timeline. The video gaming media and public in general have routinely suggested several names in place of Forever, calling it "Never", "(Taking) Forever", "Whenever", "ForNever", "Neverever", and "If Ever". The game has also been ridiculed as Duke Nukem: Forever In Development, "Either this is the longest game ever in production or an elaborate in-joke at the expense of the industry". One conspiracy theory was that the game's continued development was some kind of elaborate scam, claiming "DNF" had come to stand for "Do Not Finish."
When the GameSpy editors compiled a list of the "Top 25 Dumbest Moments in Gaming History" in June 2003, Duke Nukem Forever placed #18.
Jason Hall, host of The Jace Hall Show, featured Duke Nukem Forever in the show's premiere episode on June 4, 2008 and described his hands-on play experience with the game as "perfect", ending the segment with "I saw it. They have been working. It's not a myth. You're going to be pleased." In a subsequent interview with 1UP.com, he described the game as "amazing" with the summation, "This might be the only game in history worth waiting 12 years for, perhaps longer.... It was good."
Duke Nukem Forever has received mixed to negative reviews from critics. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the PC version 60.00% and 76/100,the PlayStation 3 version 59.50% and 65/100 and the Xbox 360 version 43.00% and 50/100. Eurogamer gave it 3/10 noting that "your time and money would be better spent reliving [Duke Nukem's] iconic past than bearing witness to this gruesomely mangled resurrection." IGN gave the Xbox 360 version 5.5, saying, "It's a muddled, hypocritical exercise in irritation with solid shooting mechanics and decent encounter design." Australian gaming website PALGN gave the Xbox 360 version 5/10 stating that "Duke Nukem Forever is a miracle. It's also a poor game, saved only by its humour and nostalgic value." Not all critics gave the game a poor score, however. PC Gamer gave the game 80/100, though noting that "years of anticipation will spoil Duke Nukem Forever for some."
The mixed reviews are mostly likely because of the high expectations of the game in comparison to recent 2011 shooters (particularly graphics) and it has been suggested it would have fared better had it been released a couple of years back but due to 3D Realms running into difficulties the release was delayed by at least a few years. Despite these reviews many fans and some online reviewers have given it high praise. In fact, the reviews have only given the game publicity.
- The Serious Sam games have frequently poked fun at DNF's tortured development cycle, with Serious Sam: The Second Encounter including a secret phone call where Sam asks for "Blondie" and sighs at the reply that he'll "be ready when he's ready", and Serious Sam II including the line, "Dude, you've been hanging here, like, FOREVER".
- Download the Game Manual
- Official Duke Nukem 3D Forever page
- Downloads from GameFront
- PURCHASE from STEAM