Duke Nukem: 7 Things That Made The Game Series So Popular

Fans love Duke Nukem and the Duke Nukem series, and there are many good reasons for this.

Everyone still knows and loves Duke Nukem, even though it came out in the 1990s. After a string of great games, the series finally got its proper follow-up, but it didn’t live up to the hype after such a long wait. Fans still love this main character even though they are waiting for another major Duke Nukem game to come out.

People who haven’t played the games may not know why Duke Nukem is so popular, but there are a lot of good reasons.

Duke’s Side-Scroller Games

Duke Nukem standing on a pile of radioactive barrels and near some boxes in a futuristic setting

Duke Nukem began as a figure in a side-scrolling game. He wore a pink vest and didn’t say much back then, just a few lines of dialogue at the start of each show. Still, for 1991, it was a lot of fun to play, and more than 60,000 copies were said to have been sold.

In every way, the sequel was better than the first one. Many people fell in love with Duke because of its bright graphics, better sound effects, more action-packed games, awesome music by Bobby Prince, and more varied level designs. Sunstorm Interactive even made a 2.5D spin-off side-scrolling game with Duke that is very fun and involves defending New York City from aliens.

Duke’s 3D Games

Duke Nukem

Duke Nukem 3D really made the figure and the series famous. It was a lot like DOOM, but it had even cooler features. The levels were a mix of urban settings and future space stations. You could interact with computers and water fountains, use Pipe Bombs and Shrink Ray to destroy creepy aliens, and the music was simply amazing. The same goes for its popular cover of “Grabbag,” which is the song’s main theme.

Many spin-offs were made while people were waiting for Duke Nukem Forever. Duke Nukem: Time to Kill and Land of the Babes were like Tomb Raider games with a Duke twist. There were even Nintendo games for him that were just as badass.

His Attitude And Design

Promotional art for the release of Duke Nukem Forever

This person looks exactly like Duke Nukem. They have a red vest, blonde hair with spikes, and black shades. His style is so well-known. Of course, the fact that he has a lot of strength is also part of his signature look. There’s no doubt that he looks hot in his games.

It’s not just a show. Duke may be full of himself, but he’s still likable. He often says cheesy one-liners that his fans repeat word-for-word. Some favorites are “come get some!” and “damn, those alien b*stards are gonna pay for shooting up my ride!” He also always has a funny or sarcastic thing to say when he’s with his fans. In his own silly, out-of-this-world way, the man is very charismatic.

Pop Culture References And Easter Eggs Galore

A robot facing the player in a torture room near TVs depicting Duke Nukem

Even in the first game, Duke was known for making nods to movies and TV shows. From vaporizing over-amplified Energizer bunnies to finding the body of a certain “doomed space marine,” there are a lot of silly jokes and references hidden around the place.

Even his one-liners make connections to other works of art, mostly movies. Lani Minella wrote about Army of Darkness and They Live for Duke Nukem 3D. Sometimes Duke has made fun of other game characters and characters, like when he made a rude joke about people in Duke Nukem Forever who wear power armor. Master Chief would not like to hear that, though.

His Numerous Feats

A gun-toting Duke Nukem facing Jack The Ripper in a shady, Victorian alley

Duke never has a dull day. For one thing, he’s been to many games where he went through time. In Duke Nukem 2, he held on to a fired rocket pipe and fought aliens without fear. In Duke Nukem 3D, he kicked a huge “one-eyed freak” in the butt and took out its eye. As part of Zero Hour, he assassinated Jack the Ripper, a savage vicious criminal in Victorian London. In Manhattan Project, he destroyed a huge robot that looked like him.

He has done even more amazing things. Even though Duke Nukem Forever got bad reviews, Duke has smashed aliens in a monster truck and driven and ran across the moon’s surface while holding his breath (it’s a long story). He also wrote a best-selling book called Why I’m So Great?

The Voice

Image from the Duke Nukem 3D boxart showing the titular Duke firing weapons.

Jon St. John is known for giving Duke Nukem his voice. For an over-the-phone audition for Duke Nukem 3D, he was told to sound like a bigger version of Dirty Harry. Some might say that the hero’s voice is almost as recognized as Mario’s on its own.

His voice sounds strong, tough, and cool all at the same time. It’s true that Duke’s voice made him famous in video games, even though it sounds a little different in each one.

Memes And Jokes

Duke Nukem

Indeed, Duke Nukem has been a common character in internet memes, with fakes often doing terrible jobs of copying the character and making him say bad things. He’s also been in some funny cartoons made by Basket Random fans. For starts, people who want a taste can play gems like Duke Nukem ForeverQuest.

There are also things that Duke’s voice actor has done that are helpful. He has recorded lines where the character says funny asides and inside jokes. There are even movies of Jon St. John’s Duke puppet, which is called the “Duppet,” saying rude and funny things. These videos can help you pass the time while everyone waits for a new game. He really does sound like he’d say those jokes at the dinner table!

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