Duke Nukem 3D is a first-person shooter video game developed by 3D Realms and published by GT Interactive Software. The full version was released for the PC (the shareware version was released on January 29, 1996). It is a sequel to the platform games Duke Nukem and Duke Nukem II published by Apogee. An expansion pack, known as the Plutonium Pak, was released in November 1996. Duke Nukem 3D features the adventures of the titular macho Duke Nukem (voiced by Jon St. John), who fights against an alien invasion on Earth. Along with Wolfenstein 3D and Doom, Duke Nukem 3D is considered responsible for popularizing first-person shooters. It was released to major acclaim; reviewers praised the interactivity of the environment, level design, gameplay and unique risqué humor (a mix of pop-culture satire and lampooning of over-the-top Hollywood action heroes). The game's lasting appeal and impact on modern video games has led to it being considered one of the most important video games of all time. The game's violent nature, erotic elements and portrayal of women incited controversy. After fifteen years in development hell, a direct sequel was released called Duke Nukem Forever.
As a first-person shooter, the gameplay of Duke Nukem 3D involves moving through levels presented from the protagonist's point of view, shooting enemies on the way. The environment of Duke Nukem 3D is highly destructible and interactive; most props can be destroyed by the player. Levels were designed in a fairly non-linear manner such that players can advantageously use air ducts, back doors and sewers to avoid enemies or find hidden caches. These locations are also filled with objects with which the player can interact, that either benefit the player in some form (light switches make it easier to see, while water fountains and broken hydrants provide some health points) or simply provide diversion (tipping strippers provokes a quote from Duke and a provocative reveal from the dancer). Weapons include the 'Mighty Foot' (a basic kick attack), a pistol, a shotgun, a chain gun (similar in design to the Soviet TKB-059), a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, pipe bombs, freeze- and shrink-rays, laser trip mines, and the rapid fire 'Devastator' rocket launcher. There is also an extra weapon known as the 'Expander' which is only available in the Atomic Edition version of the game. Other items can be picked up during play. A portable medkit allows the players to heal Duke at will. Steroids speed up Duke's movement, as well as instantly reversing the effects of the shrinker gun. Nightvision goggles allow players to see enemies in the dark. The 'HoloDuke' device projects a hologram of Duke that can be used to distract enemies. Protective boots allow Duke to cross dangerously hot or toxic terrain. Where progress requires more aquatic legwork, scuba gear (an aqua-lung) allows Duke to take longer trips away from air. Duke's jetpack allows the player to move vertically.
The game features a wide range of monsters, some of which are aliens, other mutated humans (the LAPD has been turned into 'Pig Cops', a play on the derogatory term 'pig' for police officers, with LARD emblazoned on their uniforms). As is usual for a first-person shooter, Duke Nukem encounters a large number of lesser foes, and a small number of boss enemies (usually at the end of chapters). Like Duke, these enemies have access to a wide range of weapons and equipment (some weaker enemies have jet packs).
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You can control this game easily by using the keyboard of your PC (see the table next to the game). However, for maximum gaming enjoyment, we strongly recommend using a USB gamepad that you simply plug into the USB port of your computer. If you do not have a gamepad, buy a suitable USB controller in Amazon or in some of your favorite online stores.