Duke Nukem is the fictional character and action hero protagonist of the Duke Nukem series of video games.
The character first appeared in the 1991 video game Duke Nukem (also temporarily known as "Duke Nukum") developed by Apogee Software. He has since starred in multiple sequels developed by 3D Realms, and presently by Gearbox Software who have recently bought the rights to Duke Nukem and own the intellectual property. The character was created by video game developers Todd Replogle, Jim Norwood, George Broussard, and Scott Miller of Apogee Software. The character was redesigned into the present tough guy incarnation by George Broussard and Allen Blum for the 1996 game Duke Nukem 3D. They later said that Doug Sharp was the inspiration for the new design. In the dozen or so Duke Nukem games since Duke Nukem 3D, this incarnation of the character has been constant, and voiced by voice actor Jon St. John. A sequel to Duke Nukem 3D, Duke Nukem Forever, had been in development hell since at least 1997. The game was released in the US on June 14, 2011 and was released worldwide on June 10, 2011.
In the original two games, Duke Nukem barely spoke and was portrayed as a self-proclaimed hero initially hired by the CIA to save Earth from Dr. Proton. According to the information from the backside of the Duke Nukem Character Memory Card he is 6'4" (1,93 m) and weighs 240 lbs. (109 kg). Duke's personality has, since the third game in the series, Duke Nukem 3D, been that of a wise-cracking, hyper-masculine tough guy. It should be noted that in Duke Nukem II he starts to move more into the direction of a traditional action hero. His missions generally involved killing aliens that had invaded Earth. He is apparently sexually adept and irresistible to women, and circumstances generally find him surrounded by many buxom women. He does, however, frequently mention an estranged love named "Lani" in numerous games, although she is never elaborated on and seems to be the butt of many of his jokes. (Indeed, in Duke Nukem 3D, it is shown that he has a tattoo of her name on one of his buttocks.) This is widely believed to be a reference to Lani Minella, a voice actress who has done several voices for Duke Nukem 3D.
The October 2011 edition of the Official Xbox Magazine reports that Gearbox Software plans to reboot the Duke Nukem franchise once Aliens: Colonial Marines is complete and out the door. The series, which began back in 1991 with the original Duke Nukem PC game developed by Apogee Software, will relaunch with the long-discussed Duke Begins (possibly) on an unspecified date.
Reception of the character by the time of Duke Nukem Forever's release was mostly mixed. Dan Whitehead of Eurogamer elaborated on Duke Nukem's decreased relevance since 1996, and added that the character's "half-hearted digs" at rival franchises were ill-advised due to the game's datedness. Charles Onyett of IGN likened Duke Nukem's maturity to a "twelve-year old boy with internet access" and expressed disappointment in the character's datedness and the missed opportunity on the developers' part to "[play] with the idea of Duke as an anachronism". Ryan Winterhalter of 1UP.com noted that Duke Nukem had become "a caricature of his former self. He's crossed the line from charmingly foul-mouthed to obnoxious and embarrassing." Cian Hassett of PALGN was more positive of the character and found him to be "genuinely hilarious" due to his tongue-in-cheek rejection of video game traditions (such as finding a key to open a door or wearing a special suit of armor).
Several Duke Nukem games contained popular tracks from well known bands, a greatest hits album, entitled Duke Nukem: Music to Score By, was released in 1999, with the following track listing:
Duke Nukem Theme by Megadeth
Cinnamon Girl by Type O Negative (previously unreleased in U.S.)
What U See Is What U Get by Xzibit
Blisters by Coal Chamber (previously unreleased in U.S.)
Song 10 by Zebrahead
The Thing I Hate - Stabbing Westward
Push it by Static X
It's Yourz by Wu-Tang Clan
Screaming from the Sky by Slayer
New World Order - Megadeth (previously unreleased)
Stone Crazy - The Beatnuts
Land of the Free Disease - Corrosion of Conformity (previously unreleased)
The Stroke, by Mickey Avalon.
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