Duke Nukem Wiki
See Also: Health items in Duke Nukem 3D

The player has 80 health and 0 Armor

In Duke Nukem 3D, health is a measure of how much damage the player or enemy is able to take. A lot of health means they can take a lot of damage, and a little health means they are close to death. Health is also known as hit points.


The player's starting health is 100 points. This is generally the maximum limit of the player's health when they heal themselves, but the special item the Atomic Health can add hit points beyond this, to a maximum of 200 points.

Health is decreased by taking damage from enemy attacks, explosions, being underwater too long and contact with hazardous environments (including venting steam and walking on lava). The Scuba Gear in some games negate any damage caused by being underwater too long (i.e. drowning) at the expense of some of the power of the Scuba Gear. The Protective Boots do the same, but for walking on damaging floors (slime, lava) instead.

The player's current health is shown on the left of the status bar.


Armor is often counted as part of a player's health value, despite it being a separate value to the hit points. The role of Armor is to lessen the damage the Player's hit points would have taken - the Armor takes that damage instead. The amount of damage reduction can be anywhere from 20% to 50%.

The player's starting Armor value is 0 points, and strictly has a maximum of 100 points.

Enemy health[]

The health of every enemy in the game is defined in the CON files, more specifically the USER.CON file (with the exception of the Pig Cop Tank whose health is defined in GAME.CON).

Enemy Health Variable name Comments
Protozoid Slimer n/a Protozoid Slimer is automatically killed when hit by any weapon.
Assault Trooper 30 TROOPSTRENGTH
Organic Turret 30 TURRETSTRENGTH Unused variable for incompletely coded (and unused) enemy.
Assault Captain 60 Double of TROOPSTRENGTH Depends on the value of another variable.
50 CAPTAINSTRENGTH Unused variable.
Pig Cop 100 PIGCOPSTRENGTH Is also the health of a resurrected Mini Battlelord.
Assault Enforcer 100 LIZSTRENGTH
Recon Patrol Vehicle 130 The actual health of this enemy - not editable normally.
50 RECONSTRENGTH Unused variable.
Sentry Drone 150 DRONESTRENGTH
Octabrain 175 OCTASTRENGTH
Protector Drone 300 NEWBEASTSTRENGTH
Assault Commander 350 COMMANDERSTRENGTH
Cannon 400 CANNONSTRENGTH Variable is in GAME.CON
Pig Cop Tank 500 TANKSTRENGTH Variable is in GAME.CON
Mini Battlelord 1000 BOSS1PALSTRENGTH
Battlelord 4500 BOSS1STRENGTH
Overlord 4500 BOSS2STRENGTH
Cycloid Emperor 4500 BOSS3STRENGTH
Alien Queen 6000 BOSS4STRENGTH

Other health variables in the CON files[]

As well as the enemy health values, several other health-related values are also defined in the CON files.


Health variable Value Comments
MAXPLAYERHEALTH 100 The player's maximum health (except when using Atomic Healths).
MAXPLAYERATOMICHEALTH 200 The player's maximum health when using Atomic Healths.
DOLPHINSTRENGTH 50 Health of the hanging dolphin (doesn't appear in any level).
WEAKEST 1 Health of certain human NPCs, objects, explosion damages, etc.
REALLYTOUGH 30 Unused variable.
ROBOTMOUSESTRENGTH 45 Health of the robot mouse mascot of Babe Land.
GOTTASMART 90 Unused variable.
PIRATEGALSTRENGTH 200 Health of the animatronic pirates in Babe Land and Duke-Burger spinning statue.
MANWOMANSTRENGTH 100 Health of human NPCs.


Health variable Value Comments
CANNONBALLSTRENGTH 400 Health of a fired cannonball.
CANNONBALLSSTRENGTH 10 Health of a pile of cannonballs.


  • Health and armor carries over between levels, just like weapons and ammo. It is best to heal up as much as possible at the end of a level, so that the beginning of the next level doesn't threaten to almost immediately kill Duke with a surprise attack.
    • If Duke fails a level, when he restarts it he will have 100 health and 0 armor. He will also lose all his weapons except for his Pistol with 48 rounds for it.
  • Much humor can be derived from the fact that you can use a toilet to increase your health slightly, then break the toilet and drink from the resulting water jet to further heal yourself.
    • When using a toilet, Duke's weapon lowers, the screen freezes for a second, and then a flush is heard along with an "Aah, much better!" from Duke. The flush sound occurs even if the toilet used was a urinal.
    • Duke can use a toilet repeatedly, even though only the first time will benefit him. This gives the impression that... yeah. After a time has passed, Duke can use the toilet again to benefit him. It works once at every ten minutes.
    • Duke can use a toilet during battle. This makes him either very confident, very stupid or very desperate.
  • The game still continues for a moment after using an Exit Level Nuke (i.e. to allow time for the animation of Duke smashing it). During this time, it is possible for an enemy to continue shooting Duke and even to reduce his health to zero. However, the level will not be lost if this happens, meaning Duke can beat a level while technically dead. He will start the next level with full health.
    • The next level is begun with the amount of health Duke had at the exact moment of using the Level Exit Nuke.
  • The Protozoid Slimer technically has a health of 1, but it is automatically killed when hit by any weapon. This includes the Shrinker, which doesn't inflict any damage (therefore the Protozoid Slimer cannot be shrunk). The Protozoid Slimer is therefore the only enemy in the game that can be killed solely by the Shrinker.
    • The technical health of 1 is likely defined only to allow certain actions in the game, such as identifying it as a live enemy. The value isn't used as part of any damage calculations (as previously mentioned, the Protozoid Slimer is automatically killed when hit by any weapon).

Duke Nukem 3D
Episodes L.A. MeltdownLunar ApocalypseShrapnel CityThe BirthAlien World Order
Weapons Mighty FootPistolShotgunChaingun CannonRPGPipe BombShrinkerExpanderDevastatorLaser TripbombFreezethrowerIncinerator
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