Duke Nukem Forever

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Time to cash in your bets.

Holsom Twin: "What about the game, Duke? Was it any good?"
Duke: "Yeah, but after 12 fucking years, it should be."

This is taking forever! Time to stop pissing around and describe this bad boy!

Duke Nukem Forever is, for all intents and purposes, two things.

Against all odds, it finally became available on June 14th, 2011 for Xbox 360, Play Station 3, and PC on DVD or via Steam, just in time for Duke's Twentieth Anniversary. The Hail to the Icons Parody Pack was released on October 11th as the game's first DLC pack. It includes four new maps, each making fun of an iconic FPS series with a parody-weapon based on said series, and three new game modes. A second DLC pack titled "The Doctor Who Cloned Me", released December 2011, has a smaller campaign taking place right after DNF's ending which gives proper closure to the story along with four new multi-player maps.

For more information about the game's extensive development history, see this page.

Directed by Bryan Ekman and George Broussard. Developed by Gearbox Software, with additional development by 3D Realms, Piranha Games and Triptych Games. Published by 2K.

Tropes used in Duke Nukem Forever include:

[Please remember that tropes related to the game's development go into the Development History page]

  • Affectionate Parody: "Hail to the Icons", Downloadable content made almost entirely of references to other shooters.
  • The Ahnold: Duke
  • Air Vent Passageway: Multiple occasions.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Las Vegas gets pretty mashed up by the aliens. Unfortunately for them, it's also where Duke lives, and he's not pleased that they took, of all things, his girls, while he was caught in the middle of all the action.
  • All There in the Manual: General Graves' full name, Phil Graves ("fill graves"), is revealed in History, Legacy & Legend: Duke Nukem Forever, the art book that comes with the Balls of Steel edition of the game.
  • Alternate History: Duke's universe is pretty much like our's, except that it has had alien invasions a few times in the past, the most recent being in 2007.
  • America Saves the Day
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Used in the multi-player's experience system. Killing other Dukes earns you XP, there are various challenges to complete that give you bonus XP, and it all adds up to hats and costumes you can wear. Hats that you can gain include an Uncle Sam hat (with red, white, and blue shirt), an afro for Duke, and a Conehead hat.
    • Taken Up to Eleven with the My Digs location. Everything you can unlock for it is either cosmetic, a babe you can ogle, a trophy, or an interactive distraction that serves no other purpose than to be interactive. And it is awesome.
  • Anything That Moves: Including gigantic triple-titted alien queens, apparently.
  • Arc Number: 69, for obvious reasons. It's the number of rockets the Devastator can hold, Duke lives on the 69th story of a building, and, if the ending is correct, Duke will be running to be the 69th president.
  • Ascended Meme - The "Balls of Steel" special edition. (For some backstory, the "Balls of Steel" line was used to harass a Ventrilo server constantly, causing the admin to devolve into extreme, rabid Angrish. The resulting video was incredibly popular and popularized Ventrilo harassments.)
    • In one boss fight, Duke says "I'm gonna kill you old style!' a reference to the woman who threatened the harasser. After defeating the boss, Duke will say "I've got balls of steel.", one of the mainly spammed phrases from Duke during the harassment (also made popular due to BALLSBALLSBALLSBALLSBALLS being spammed as well)
      • The spamming of "BALLS BALLS BALLS" got its own separate reference in "The Doctor Who Cloned Me."
    • Patton Oswalt's "Flagon of Chuckles" line from one of his routines was referenced as an Achievement.
  • Badass: Duke, of course, but special mention goes to Crusty Old Man, the crane operator during Duke's fight with the Octoking, who not only survived the battle but also hurled a few insults during it as though it's all part of his contract.

"Whoa! There's somethin shakin' the crane! Come on out, ya bastard! I'll donkey punch ya in the blow hole!"

  • Back from the Dead: Dr. Proton.
  • Berserk Button: This is the first time we have ever truly heard Duke angry. Not just "This really pisses me off", but tangible, human, rage. Duke loves his babes, and by God does he hate aliens.
    • Also, occasionally, when he messes up at the pool table in his mansion.
  • Black Comedy Rape
  • Bland-Name Product: the game has several instances of real-life brands being modified, usually with a Double Entendre. For example, Abercrombie & Fitch becomes Analcrumbly & Itch, while Macy's becomes Fecy's.
  • Bling Bling Bang: Duke's gold plated 1911 pistol. There's even an achievement for holding onto it for the entire game.
  • Book Ends: In the beginning of the game, you take a piss and kill a giant cyclops alien in a videogame. The last boss is that very alien, and you piss in his eye socket after killing him. To which he remarks before fighting him, is a one liner ascended from a very familiar one: "I'll rip your eye out and piss on your brain!"
  • Booze-Based Buff: Duke can down a tallboy beer to drastically enhance his damage resistance in exchange for blurred vision. On top of that, multi-player features Duke-brand Whiskey that provides temporary invulnerability.
  • Bond One-Liner: Duke has a ton of them. What he says depends on what he kills.
  • Cable Car Action Sequence: In a dumpster suspended from a crane.
  • Call Back: You can sign "Why I'm So Great," Duke's autobiography first mentioned in Duke Nukem II.
    • Interacting with the "Balls of Steel" pinball machine back in Duke Nukem 3D would cause Duke to remark "Hmm, don't have time to play with myself." Now that you can play "Balls of Steel", Duke says "Now I have time to play with myself!"
    • The achievements for beating the game on each difficulty are named after the Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels from Duke Nukem 3D.
    • The very first boss is similar to Duke Nukem 3D's Cycloid Emperor. In fact, the entire level is pretty similar to the last 3D's last level, right down to the field goal.
  • Captain Obvious: Done as a joke, some of the loading screen messages give obvious advices, to say the least:

"Take less damage to avoid being killed"
"Touching the hot grills will cause damage, touching hot girls will not"
"If you died from falling off of a high ledge, it’s probably your own fault"

  • Colossus Climb: How you finish off the bosses.
  • Cosmetic Award: Aside of the achievements, simply leveling up (No challenges required) earns you decorations for "My Digs", which when selected takes you to a whole separate floor of Duke's casino which you can explore at will, much like Lara Croft's Mansion in Tomb Raider. Most of these are just photos of Duke doing manly things or giant gold statues of naked babes.
  • Crossing the Desert: The desert section with The Mighty Foot.
  • Disc One Final Boss: In "The Doctor Who Cloned Me", after you fight and kill Dr. Proton, you'll find that the game isn't even halfway over yet.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Frequent. For example, while playing pool, Duke will moan suggestively. For bonus points, do this in Duke's Penthouse while the Holsom Twins are nearby.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Totally inverted. Not only are drugs good in this universe, but Duke remarks to a child that if he "Takes his pills... er, vitamins" he might grow up to be as awesome as Duke. Duke has his own brand of "Nukem-RX" steroids, which he can take to temporarily give him One-Hit Kill punches at the cost of slightly blurred vision and no ranged attack.
  • Dummied Out: Using console commands, players can give Duke a weapon called the Mini Nuke, complete with model, textures, animations and all -- everything, in fact, except the damage expected from a nuclear missile.
    • The console. You need to use an external program to re-enable it.
  • Evil Laugh: The twins have a wicked cackle, first seen at when, ah, playing with Duke, then again when one of them makes a joke about him.
  • Exotic Weapon Supremacy: Golden M1911. It's shiny, and it's Duke's.
  • Exposition Diagram: Right at the beginning. You may also add your own thoughts to the white board.
  • Fingerless Gloves: He's got nuke-symbol branded sport gloves as opposed to his old biker leathers.
  • Forklift Fu: One segment of Duke's trip inside the Hoover Dam encourages him to use a forklift to kill a bunch of pigcops.

"Fork you!"

  • Four-Star Badass: During the single-player campaign of the DLC "The Doctor Who Cloned Me", General Graves, of all people, joins up with you and Captain Dylan in battle during some segments, wielding a Ripper and throwing occasional pipebombs at enemies like a boss in his official attire.
  • Gameplay Ally Immortality: Mauve Shirt Captain Dylan, who can't die because he's a named character. He does get critically wounded late in the game and "dies" of said wounds... and recovers during the single-player campaign of the DLC "The Doctor Who Cloned Me"!
  • Genre Savvy: It can be said that both Duke and the Aliens are this. The aliens know that beer is a power up for Duke. Duke meanwhile knows that the aliens didn't really return for a peace talk, and even correctly concludes even that he was dreaming at the start of the Titty City chapter.
  • Groin Attack: Appears as a finisher against the Battlelords.
  • Gunship Rescue: After spending pretty much the entire game as butt monkeys and walking item-drops, the EDF gets a chance to shine in the final battle: Supplying Duke with a BFG, helping mop up the remaining alien foot soldiers, and flying Duke out of a nuclear explosion.
  • Humiliation Conga: After finishing the first boss, Duke punts his eyeball for a field goal.

"Right in the jewels!"

  • Immune to Bullets: Bosses are arbitrarily immune to small arms fire; only explosives or mounted turret guns can harm them.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: Duke is shrunk down to miniature size at several points during the game by stepping on special shrink pads. The following sections (played when shrunk) allow you to jump on shelves, use various tools and implements (like small pipes, kitchen spatulas and more) to traverse puzzles, and allow you to ride in an RC car given to you by a young fan.
  • Jiggle Physics
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    • The LONG development cycle gets referenced in the first level, after Duke ends playing the game while the Holsom twins "do some favor" to him.
    • During one particular section, shooting some barrels next to a Pigcop sends him flying. "Huh. I guess pigs do fly!"
    • Plenty of other things get lampshaded. For example, when Duke comes across some locked double doors at the Duke Dome, he remarks, "Who locks these things?!"
  • Ladder Physics: Averted. There's even an animation showing Duke's hands as he climbs, and he has to face towards the ladder while he climbs.
  • Living Legend: Because of the previous game, Duke's now quite famous.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: The loading times on consoles are atrocious, taking nearly 30 seconds, and installing the game onto the hard drive hardly affects it at all.
  • Luck-Based Mission: The encounter with eight Octabrains late in the game. They throw either wooden crates or steel drums at you; the latter of which cannot be deflected and will kill you with just two hits. If more than two of the Octabrains choose to throw drums at you during the fight, you're basically screwed.
  • Made of Iron: The Ego bar and direct RPG hits aside, in the DLC The Doctor Who Cloned Me, Dr. Proton seems to lampshade just how much damage Duke can take...

"Rammed that thick skull of yours against the mountain and it moved for you, did it? I knew you wouldn't disappoint."

  • Mars Needs Women: The game's plot.
  • Mauve Shirt: Captain Dylan, the named EDF soldier who appears in several levels and swears every other word.
  • Medium Awareness: Numerous jokes indicate that Duke is aware that he's in a video game.
  • Melee a Trois: "The Doctor Who Cloned Me" has a couple firefights with Aliens vs. Dr. Proton's robots vs. Duke and his allies.
  • Mercy Kill: In The Hive, Duke Nukem can remorsefully put out of their misery the women that have been impregnated.
  • Minigame Zone: Duke Nukem's Titty City. This is a Happy Place that comes right after Duke blacks out after defeating the Alien Queen that contains an incredible amount of Ego-boosting objects.
  • Mood Whiplash: The infamous 'Hive' level.
  • Multi Boobage: One of the alien bosses. Duke notes that he'd still hit that.
  • Mythology Gag: Almost certainly a reference to the 2001 trailer, in the opening level of the game, an EDF soldier taunts Duke:

"Hey pal, what are you going to do? Save the world all by yourself?"

  • Nintendo Hard: Some LPers have complained about Duke dying very easily even on the lowest difficulty. When you factor in, among other things, Duke's rather short Ego bar at the very beginning of the game (which can be doubled in length through interacting with several specific objects throughout the game), as well as enemies being capable of emptying nearly three-quarters of that amount with a single attack, not to mention Duke being the One-Man Army that he is, it's not that hard to figure out why.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Duke lives with the Holsom Twins. The president, whose name is never mentioned in the game, but who is revealed to be a bad guy in collusion with the aliens, looks like Richard Nixon.
  • No Fair Cheating: One of the load screen hints tells you that if you ever get lost, you could always cheat by looking at FAQs online.
    • The Steam version would even suspend the game with the Steam key combo so you can take your time to look up whatever it is you want to look up (including YouTube videos) using steam's integrated web browser, then let you instantly get back to the game with no time wasted using the same key press.
  • Quad Damage: Perhaps as a nod to the Berserker powerup in Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project, picking up a Duke statue in multi-player gives you double damage and glowing weapons, albeit green instead of red.
  • Rant-Inducing Slight: Justified in that Beer is a power-up, and Genre Savvy aliens were trying to keep it from him.

"Looks like those alien bastards drank all my beer!"

  • Rated "M" for Manly: Duke gives his ego a permanent increase by watching strippers, smoking cigars, appreciating himself in the mirror, lifting weights and a whole damn lot of other ways.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: Duke returns to kick some alien ass to the tune of Invaders Must Die. Another trailer features "Battleflag" from Lo Fidelity Allstars. Ultimately, they make a new remix of the classic Grabbag theme from Duke Nukem 3D.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: General Graves, a remarkably even-tempered and stoic commanding officer, who tends to back Duke on the whole Aliens Are Bastards thing. The president is most definitely not this.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Expected. Oh so expected.
    • The level Duke Nukem's Titty City. Washroom. Gloryhole. Button prompt. Do the math.
  • Refuge in Vulgarity: It's possible to pick up a turd out of a toilet, and throw it at a water fountain, then drink out of the fountain. And that's just the start of it.
  • Regenerating Health: Parodied: Duke's "health" bar is an ego bar, like it was in Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project. He's not slowed down by piddling little bullets and lasers, but it does hurt his morale, which is why doing manly things like getting drunk, pissing, watching strippers, or drinking from a water fountain gives the bar a permanent increase.
    • Taking the above into account and with a bit of Fridge Logic too, the Strip Club level makes PERFECT sense. How else would Duke survive the injuries he picked up from the Triple Boob Monster, not even having any broken bones, unless he gets himself a huge dose of Ego from his own dream sequence?
  • Redshirt Army: The EDF troops mostly exist to witness Duke being awesome, and die because they're not as awesome. Duke even lampshades this when going into the Hive, and finding the corpses of the advance team that was supposed to meet him.

"Advance team, my ass!"

    • Lampshaded even further when an EDF commander sends a rookie with you and even says "Try not to let him get his ass killed." Of course he immediately goes running into a hail of bullets at the first opportunity, a reference to his name and also probably a joke about terrible team AI in FPS games.
  • Retcon: In one level, you visit a museum containing artifacts from Duke's previous games, including screenshots from them. One is from the opening from the first game, where Duke says he'll kick Proton's ass and still have time to watch Oprah. The text has been changed from "Oprah" to "Lenoman", a talk show host that briefly appears in the game. Strangely, Duke's salmon shirt still remains.
  • "Ride of the Valkyries": During the opening segment of the Mighty Foot level. Intermixed with the title theme, slowly creeping from orchestral into heavy metal as the level goes on. AWESOME.
  • Self-Deprecation: Duke has several lines mocking the long delay.
  • Sequel Snark: Duke meets a dying character and merrily quips that he won't be in the sequel. "The Doctor Who Cloned Me" reveals that he was wrong.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Unless you're fighting a major boss (which are only harmed by explosives), the game's shotgun is generally the most useful weapon in the game.
  • Shout-Out: Check the page.
  • Shrink Ray: As part of Duke's arsenal.
  • Step Three: Profit: Invoked during a conversation between two EDF soldiers.

EDF #1: Step three is... uh... uh...
EDF #2: Uh, profit?

"I'm going to run for President (Beat). Hail to the king, baby!"

"Power armor is for pussies!"

    • The talking pink car Shrunk!Duke drives in the Meat Grinder chapter of The Doctor who Cloned Me intermittently spews inane phrases that are reminiscent of a talking version of a certain doll back in the 80s (although Gearbox also threw in a few exaggerated lines). Duke's response to those lines pretty much sums up how many people felt about the phrases.

"Shut. The Fuck. Up!"

  • Testosterone Poisoning: Duke might be the most exaggerated example of stereotypical manliness in video game history.
  • Title Drop: The opening line of the game: "This is taking forever."
    • Also seen in a trailer close to the game's release: "What, did you think I was gone forever?"
  • Unexplained Recovery: Captain Dylan shows up alive and well in "The Doctor Who Cloned Me" after his apparent death near the end of the main game. The explanation is that he only passed out from blood loss.
  • Video Game 3D Leap: This was the game that finally brought the main Duke series into Polygons.
  • Viva Las Vegas: The game mostly takes place around a fictional version of Vegas, the Nevada desert and the Hoover Dam.
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous?: Multiple times. For example:

"Looks like those alien bastards drank all my beer."

"What kind of sick motherfucker picks up wet feces?!"
"What's next, shit finger painting?"

  • Writers Cannot Do Math: The game claims to be set twelve years after Duke Nukem 3D, which was set in December 2007, so DNF is set in the year 2019 or 2020. However, at the beginning of the game, we are informed that the USA is on its 67th president. Even if we assume that all of the presidents in the intervening time only served a single term (four years), that would place DNF in 2104 at least. Therefore, either the writers ignored their mathematics when it comes to the passage of time, or the USA went through some serious political instability.