- This page refers to the Duke Nukem 3D enemy. For other uses, see here.
The Octabrain is a large, beige, floating brain with dangling tentacles. It has three red eyes, sharp teeth, two spiked mandibles on each side of its mouth, and two rows of white spikes running front-to-back along the top of its head. It is often found underwater, near toxic waste, or guarding a batch of Protozoid Slimer eggs.
The Octabrain deals damage via long-range psychic projectiles and by biting the player upon direct contact. The Octabrain is able to fly and to swim underwater. Because it is one of the only enemies that can attack while swimming, it is the most common aquatic enemy in the game.
The Octabrain can be reliably killed before it has the opportunity to attack. This is because there is a delay while the Octabrain charges its psychic attack, allowing the player a chance to interrupt it by shooting it and causing it to flinch. Moreover, because the Octabrain does not attack on-sight but instead delays for a significant period of time before charging an attack, it can often be killed even before it charges an attack at all. Similar to the Protector Drone, there is also a short delay before it begins dealing damage on contact with the player. This means that, like the Protector Drone, it can be "teased" by repeatedly kicking it in the face while taking steps backwards, allowing it to be killed without taking any damage or expending any ammunition. Even if the Octabrain succeeds in firing a psychic projectile, there is enough warning that the projectile can be easily dodged, since the psychic projectiles move very slowly.
Given that it has unusually high health, the Octabrain sometimes acts as a bullet-sponge and a distraction while other enemies in the vicinity shoot at the player. In these cases, it may be better to kill the Octabrain with explosives, particularly the Devastator. Despite having more health than other enemies such as the Pig Cop or Enforcer, the Octabrain is killed by a single rocket from the Devastator, whereas several rockets are required to kill other enemies in the game. This makes the Devastator unusually effective against the Octabrain.
See Also: Jellyfish
An early version of the Octabrain could be found in the December 1994 prototype, LameDuke, where it was known in official documents as the "Jellyfish." The Jellyfish was black with a pink, fully exposed brain, and it only attacked using its tentacles. Concept art clearly shows that the Jellyfish evolved over the course of the game's development into the Octabrain seen in the final game. Early concept art also shows that the Jellyfish was planned to be able to hide under debris and to take control of human corpses in order to fire their weapons. These concepts were never actually implemented in any prototypes, and it is unknown whether these abilities were ever planned for the Octabrain as well.
The Jellyfish does not appear in any screenshots from the 1995 prototypes, suggesting it may have been abandoned shortly after LameDuke.
The Octabrain first appears in screenshots from Sewage Company (Sweeney.map), a scrapped level by Richard "Levelord" Gray that was later released for free online. These screenshots appeared in the December 1995 edition of Excalibur, but based on the in-game HUD, these screenshots can be dated to sometime between the August 1995 prototype and the November 1995 prototype.
In other games
- The Octabrain reappears in Duke Nukem: Zero Hour and Duke Nukem Advance.
- The Necro and Larval Necro enemies in Duke Nukem: Time To Kill resemble the Octabrain and may be mistaken for one.
- Megabrains appear in Duke Nukem Mobile. They are much smaller and faster moving versions of the Octabrain, but they do not have any psychic powers.
- If it flinches while in its shrunken state, the Octabrain sometimes becomes trapped in its shrunken state but proceeds to behave as though it had already returned to its normal size. Because of the shrunken enemy's small size, it can be more difficult to kill.