Ever since Duke made his debut 28 years ago in a successful side-scroller, he’s been saving the world (and the babes) countless times while cracking oodles of cheesy one-liners ever since. This list is made up of ten moments that truly defined Duke as a badass protagonist.
Duke vs. Robot-Duke – Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project
Mech Morphix was brewing up all sorts of trouble across Manhattan. Knowing Duke would track him down to his orbital space station, the big bad guy decides to fight back with a giant Duke-bot. Duke overcomes his mechanical self by launching a few dozen RPGs into its face in a low-gravity final showdown, floating around and dodging deadly lasers. It’s proof that there only be one (king).
All Outta Gum – Duke Nukem 3D
Fun fact: Duke was originally going to be a silent protagonist. That changed when they decided to get voice over artist Jon St. John onboard to voice him. His voice over coach, Lani Minella, wrote many of his one-liners (including the numerous pop culture references).
The first level of Duke Nukem 3D’s third episode is set in a sushi restaurant. Duke starts his mission by cracking his knuckles and quipping: “It’s time to kick ass and chew bubblegum, and I’m all outta gum.” Yes, it’s a paraphrased line from the Sci-fi movie They Live, but while Roddy Piper belts out the line in the movie, Duke drops so coolly and casually in comparison. An unforgettable way to start a level.
Water Gun Genocide – Duke Caribbean: Life’s A Beach
After the events of Duke Nukem 3D, Duke decides to get himself some well-deserved R&R at a Caribbean holiday resort. However, his holiday is ruined by aliens in holiday attire! Our hero liberates a water park, empties a cruise ship, and eventually blows up an underwater alien base. The best thing is that instead of using pistols, shotguns and the like, he fights with an arsenal of water guns, explosive pineapples, voodoo artifacts, and more. After all, only Duke could turn such wacky things like these into weapons of mass destruction.
Hitching a Ride – Duke Nukem II
The Rigelatin alien race through they could capture Duke Nukem to harvest his brain for their super=computer. Bad idea. Duke finally tracks down the leader attempting to escape in his Battlenaut Planet-threatener Symmetrocruiser Mark IV, and grabs ahold of the ship before it shoots off into orbit. Can you think of any other protagonist who’s brave enough to climb across railings built around the exhausts of the ship while blasting androids and turrets in an attempt to get inside the spacecraft?
Strip Club Standoff – Duke Nukem: Time To Kill
The opening cinematic to Duke Nukem: Time To Kill is a beast. Duke visits a local strip club to the tune of “The Thing I Hate” by Stabbing Westward, only to be interrupted by time-travelling pig cops. Duke protects the babes by perforating the piggies, not to mention turning them into bacon with a flamethrower. The cutscene ends with an explosion, as the protagonist flies into the sky on a jetpack. There’s too much testosterone to measure here!
Duke Saves Xmas – Duke Nuclear Winter
In this mediocre add-on for Duke Nukem 3D, the alien maggots have teamed up with the Feminist Elven Militia in order to brainwash Santa Claus and take over the world. There is only one solution to free Santa from their control, and that’s by parking a few hundred rockets in his belly.
Rippin’ Jack The Ripper A New One – Duke Nukem: Zero Hour
Did you know Duke once travelled back in time to Victorian England? After slaughtering a few dozen extra-terrestrials, from out of nowhere comes the homicidal killer Jack The Ripper. Duke delivers an ass-whoopin’ of historical proportions as a reminder that no one who even thinks about harming the babes is safe from his wrath.
Overlord Humiliation – Duke Nukem 3D
Duke’s not above humiliating his opponents. Before sparring with the rocket-spewing Overlord, Duke shouts “I’ll rip your head off and s**t down your neck!” True to his word, he does exactly that, all the while reading a newspaper and whistling along to his theme song. You’ve got to admire Duke for his honesty…
Duke Side Of The Moon – Duke Nukem Forever: The Doctor Who Cloned Me
One of the most nonsensical moments in Duke’s career involves him running across the surface of the moon holding his breath (he inhales oxygen from destroyed alien spores that are spread across the surface as well). Eventually, our hero finds a moon buggy to splatter the gigantic Alien Empress with. There’s only one way to celebrate a monumental victory like this, and that’s by partying with some captive moon base chicks.
Showdown With The Cycloid Emperor – Duke Nukem 3D
Duke Nukem 3D’s final boss battle was an unforgettable one. The Cycloid Emperor put up a good fight, but was no match for Duke. Once the one eyed freak went down for the count, The King kicks a homerun with its eyeball, exclaiming “game over!” What better way to conclude a game than with a bit of sports, Duke-style?
Be sure to spread the word to all the Duke fans out there, and share your favorite moments in the comment section below!