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"Duke Nukem Forever" redirects here. For other uses, see Duke Nukem Forever (disambiguation).

Duke Nukem Forever is the fourth game in the Duke Nukem series and a sequel to the 1996 game Duke Nukem 3D.

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.


The events in Duke Nukem Forever take place about twelve years after the conclusion of Duke Nukem 3D. Duke Nukem is now a world-renowned icon, living in the penthouse of a Las Vegas casino with his casual partners, the Holsom twins. The game begins with Duke sampling a video game based on his past heroics, followed by a scheduled interview with a talk show host. 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, so Duke retires to the Duke Cave.

Ss preview DNF Cycloid

When the game begins, Duke relives his encounter with the Cycloid Emperor in a video game.

There, he receives a call from the president and General Graves of the military. The president orders him not to harm the invaders, and he adds that he is in diplomatic talks with the alien overlord. Duke obliges this request but remains uneasy. Before Duke 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 Las Vegas casino, Duke witnesses the aliens abducting women, including his two 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 that more aliens can come to Earth. Duke uses a wrecking ball to plow his way into the Duke Dome. Inside, he finds swarms of Octabrains and the missing women, who have been impregnated with alien spawn. The Holsom twins die when alien babies burst out of their bodies. Duke finds the Alien Queen in control of the Dome and kills her, shortly before being wounded and fainting.

Alienqueen dnf

Duke confronts the Alien Queen inside the Duke Dome.

After fainting, Duke has a dream in which he is in a strip club, and he is tasked with finding a bag of popcorn, a vibrator, and a condom. Upon completing the task, he receives a lap dance.

Upon awakening, Duke travels to the Hoover Dam in his monster truck. After battling through the dam, he finds his old friend Dylan, mortally wounded. Dylan tells Duke that the Cycloid Emperor is at the dam and that the only way to shut down the portal is to destroy the dam. Before dying, Dylan 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, screams at Duke for ruining his plans to work together with the Cycloid Emperor. The president orders 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. Finally, Duke kills the Cycloid Emperor and is rescued by Graves, just before the nuclear bomb explodes.

Duke 5

Octabrains swarm the Hoover Dam.

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 roll, Duke is shown at a press conference, where he announces that he is in the running to be the 69th president of the United States.



See Also: Ego in Duke Nukem Forever

Duke Nukem Forever is an action-oriented first-person shooter. Players take control of Duke Nukem as they navigate through a series of levels which take place on Earth and beyond. 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 the player must fight and kill an especially powerful enemy.

In contrast with previous Duke Nukem games, the player can only carry two weapons at a time, which is similar to the Halo series, but Pipe Bombs and Trip Mines are now considered inventory items and are not limited by this restriction. The health management system has also been overhauled; Duke Nukem Forever employs an "ego bar" similar to Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project. The ego bar depletes when the player is attacked. Once it is fully depleted, the player becomes vulnerable to damage. If the player avoids further damage, then the ego bar is restored, as is the player's health.

Duke Nukem Forever features a checkpoint-based system for saving the player's progression.



The main campaign in Duke Nukem Forever consists of 24 levels, known as "chapters" in-game:

1. Duke Lives
2. Damn! It's Late...
3. The Duke Cave
4. Mothership Battle
5. The Lady Killer
6. Vegas in Ruin
7. The Duke Dome
8. The Hive

9. Queen Bitch
10. Duke Nukem's Titty City
11. Crash Course
12. The Duke Burger
13. The Mighty Foot
14. Ghost Town
15. Highway Battle
16. Dam Top

17. The Shrunk Machine
18. The Forkstop
19. Generator Room
20. Underground
21. The Clarifier
22. Blowin' the Dam
23. Final Battle
24. Press Conference

The following levels are also available with the The Doctor Who Cloned Me DLC:

1. Rude Awakening
2. Going Down
3. In Security
4. The Clone Carousel
5. Me, Myself, and I

6. Meat Grinder
7. The Doctor Is In
8. Magic Carpet Ride
9. Drunken Crane Master
10. All Your Base...

11. Tunnel Vision
12. The Burning Bush
13. Teleportation Spire
14. Duke Side of the Moon

Mothership Battle-600x300

Level design in Duke Nukem Forever


Between multiplayer matches, player progression is tracked via unlockables on My Digs, a singleplayer map that is only accessible from the multiplayer menu.

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:


The following enemies can be found in Duke Nukem Forever and its DLC packs:


The following bosses can be found in Duke Nukem Forever and its DLC packs:

It's down to you and me, you one-eyed freak!

Enemies in Duke Nukem Forever


The following weapons are included in Duke Nukem Forever and its DLC packs:


The following items are included in Duke Nukem Forever and its DLC packs:


The following vehicles can be piloted in Duke Nukem Forever and its DLC packs:


Ego boosts

Main Article: Ego in Duke Nukem Forever

Killing bosses and interacting with certain objects throughout the game can boost the player's maximum ego capacity. These "ego boosts" can only be activated once per interactive object, and some boosts increase the player's ego capacity more than others.

There are 34 ego boosts in total. Six of these are unavoidable, but the other 28 must be found.


Main Article: Voicemails in Duke Nukem Forever

There are 14 voicemails, also known as "phone messages," that must be collected throughout the game in order to unlock the "Call Waiting" achievement.


Main Article: Helmets in Duke Nukem Forever

There are three helmets hidden throughout the game. The helmets cannot be worn, but discovering all three will unlock the "Bucket Head" achievement.


Hail to the Icons Parody Pack

Hail to the icons

Hail to the Icons Parody Pack

Main Article: Hail to the Icons Parody Pack

Hail to the Icons Parody Pack is the first downloadable content pack for Duke Nukem Forever. It contains three new game modes (Freeze Tag, Hot Potato, and Free-For-All Hail to the King), four new multiplayer maps, and four new weapons.

The Doctor Who Cloned Me

Dnf the doctor who cloned me

The Doctor Who Cloned Me

Main Article: The Doctor Who Cloned Me

The Doctor Who Cloned Me is the second downloadable content pack for Duke Nukem Forever. It features an all new campaign with 14 new single player levels, four new multiplayer levels, two new enemies, two new weapons, three new vehicles, and two new bosses. It was released on December 13, 2011.


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.

Development history

See Also: History of Duke Nukem Forever

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:



See Also: Category:Duke Nukem Forever prototypes

Given the game's fifteen-year development cycle, Duke Nukem Forever went through numerous iterations before its commercial release. Extensive information is available about many of these iterations, but only the 2001 prototype, which was leaked in May 2022, is publicly available to download. The following is a list of some of the better known prototypes:


Duke's 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, Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition, or Borderlands. 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.

Emails 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 email to First Access Members in conjunction with a video showing that the Duke Nukem Forever demo was released on June 3, 2011.

Duke Nudem

Main Article: Duke Nudem

2K Games launched a website titled "Boob Tube" to promote the game. The website featured videos and special goodies to download. On May 18, 2011, a flash game titled Duke Nudem was launched on the site. In Duke Nudem, players are instructed to choose a female glamour model of their choice. The player competes with the model to shoot moving targets, and following each round of targets, the loser is required to remove one piece of clothing. The game includes "SFW" and "NSFW" ("safe for work" and "not safe for work") game modes.

Duke's Big Package

Main Article: Duke's Big Package

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" mode, the "Ego Boost!" bar, and custom in-game t-shirts. A code printed on the receipt could, at the time of release, be activated over Xbox Live, the Playstation Network, or Steam.

Console goodies

Avatar items, two themes, and a gamerpic pack are available for download for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The premium theme for the Xbox 360 showcases the inside of Duke Burger during the alien invasion. The avatar items include Duke's outfit, his throne, the Freeze Ray, a Pigcop mask, and a pet Octabrain. 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.

Collectors' editions

Balls of Steel Edition


Duke Nukem Forever Balls of Steel Edition pre-order game set

Across all platforms, a limited edition release known as the "Balls of Steel Edition" was briefly marketed to collectors. This version included a five-inch bust of Duke Nukem, a 100-page hardcover artbook following the development of the game, postcards, stickers, a comic book, playing cards, dice, poker chips, and foldable papercraft.

King Edition

Another limited edition release known as the "King Edition" was exclusively available for pre-order via EB Games in Australia and New Zealand. It included the "Ego Boost!" bar, Duke Playing Cards, and Duke Bubblegum. The "Ego Boost!" bar adds an extra bar to the player's ego, extending its capacity beyond what is normally available in the game.

Press coverage

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 game initially released without any modding support, despite previous promises during the 3D Realms development. Justin Marshall later discovered the editor was actually hidden inside the game files, leading to the production of mods such as Duke Nukem Forever: Enhanced.
  • The Serious Sam games have frequently poked fun at Duke Nukem Forever's tortured development cycle. Serious Sam: The Second Encounter includes a secret phone call where Sam asks for "Blondie" and sighs at the reply that he will "be ready when he's ready." Serious Sam II includes the line, "Dude, you've been hanging here, like, FOREVER".


External links

Duke Nukem Forever
Levels Main CampaignMultiplayer MapsSingleplayer Levels in The Doctor Who Cloned Me
Weapons AT Captain LaserAT LaserDevastatorDFGEnforcer GunExpanderFreeze RayGarter PistolImpregnaderM1911 PistolMachine Gun TurretMeleeN00b T00bPipe BombRailgunRipperRPGShotgunShrink RaySticky BombsTittyanaTrip Mine
Items BeerDuke StatueDuke VisionHolodukeJetpackSteroidsWhiskey
Enemies Alien DropshipAlien FighterAlien GunshipArea 51 Security RobotAssault CaptainAssault CommanderAssault TrooperBomb BallDuke CloneEnforcerOctababyOctabrainPigcopPregnatorRatTentacle
Bosses Alien EmpressAlien QueenBattlelordCycloid EmperorDr. ProtonEnergy LeechGiant EnforcerMothershipOctaking
DLC Hail to the Icons Parody PackThe Doctor Who Cloned Me
Other CheatsDifficultyDuke Nukem (character)EgoMultiplayerPrototypesQuotesScrapped ContentDuke Nukem Forever: Enhanced