Duke Nukem 3D and its ports contain several items that instantly recover Duke's health, or otherwise grants him more protection against damage. These are collectively known as health items.

Description[edit | edit source]

In Duke Nukem 3D and its ports, the player has a health counter, represented as a number normally between 0 and 100 (although it can go as high as 200). This number is often called a percentage because of this. The player begins an episode with 100 health, and dies if it reaches 0.

Health can be increased to as high as 200 by obtaining Atomic Health. This is the only item that can increase the player's health beyond 100. Any other health-restoring item or action can only restore health up to a maximum of 100.

Health can also be restored by specific actions, as well as by using items. For instance, drinking water from fountains or burst fire hydrants will also restore health, as will using a toilet (but only once per level).

Armor can be worn to prevent health from decreasing too quickly by attacks. Armor is rated in the same way as health; by a counter that ranges from 0 to 100 (but in this case, armor cannot be increased past 100). While worn, any damage taken is split between the player's health and armor values, with armor taking two thirds of the damage inflicted and health taking the remaining third.

Many consider armor to be nothing more than "secondary health", as it behaves just like an extra amount of health.

Health and armor items[edit | edit source]

Small Medkit[edit | edit source]

A small white medical box with a red cross on the front.

It restores 10 health, up to a maximum of 100.


Large Medkit[edit | edit source]

A small white bottle with a red cross on the front.

It restores 30 health, up to a maximum of 100.


Atomic Health[edit | edit source]

A large atom comprised of red and blue nuclei, with three blue orbiting electrons.

It restores 50 health, up to a maximum of 200.


Armor[edit | edit source]

A grey set of torso armor.

It restores 100 armor, up to a maximum of 100.

Used Armor[edit | edit source]

Visually identical to Armor, but can only be found as a droppable item by Pig Cops. Being "used" (i.e. the Pig Cop was wearing it when it was killed), it is only half as effective as regular armor.

It restores 50 or 75 armor, up to a maximum of 100.


Other recovery methods[edit | edit source]

  • Drinking from any of the following:
    • A water fountain (intact or broken) - restores 1 health per use, to a maximum of 100.
    • A broken fire hydrant - restores 1 health per use, to a maximum of 100.
    • A broken toilet - restores 1 health per use, to a maximum of 100.
  • Using a toilet (only restores health the first time this is done per level) - restores 10 health per use, to a maximum of 100.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • 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 or urinal, Duke's weapon lowers, the screen freezes for a second, and then a flush is heard along with an "Aah, much better!" from Duke.
    • Duke can use a toilet repeatedly, even though only the first time will benefit him.
    • 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.
    • The next level is begun with the amount of health Duke had at the exact moment of using the Level Exit Nuke.
    • There is an unused line in USER.CON for drinking water. It does heal up to 50% health. However they never made it into game as you can heal to 100% health like you do with health items. Some mods like DukePlus made it functional.
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
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