Duke Nukem Deserves a Reboot

Duke Nukem hasn’t seen much action since the ‘90s, despite being a legend among the ‘90s first-person shooter scene, but he deserves to have a similar reboot treatment like Doom had. It is time to see the King get out of retirement, and join the '90s first-person shooter reboot revival movement that has already been in effect in the last years.

It’s 2023, and that means it’s another year for us gamers to look forward to new gaming experiences. I’m sure everyone has a game or two they’re excited for, but there’s one particular title I always wonder if it will ever come back.

Reboots are certainly a popular thing in the last recent years in the video game world. Games like God of War and Tomb Raider have pretty much shown us that we enjoy reboots of our childhood games.

The ’90s Reboot Shooter Movement

As a big first-person player, there are games like Doom and Wolfenstein that had their reboot treatment.

The modernizations of those ‘90s classics are certainly cool. I always thought they were developed by people who truly understood what made the old games so great and be able to reinvent themselves in modern times.

To this day, I still play Doom 2016 because I love the game so much, and I honestly think it’s a prime example of how you make the perfect reboot of a beloved and influential game like the classic Doom titles were.

Wolfenstein: The New Order gave me hope for the quality of '90s reboot shooters.

Wolfenstein: The New Order gave me hope for the quality of ’90s reboot shooters.

That’s why there is a part of me that’s heavily interested in reboots of well known first-person shooter from the ‘90s.

There have also been rumors that a new Quake title could potentially happen down the line. If that was a thing, I’d definitely be interested without doubt since I grew up being an id Software fanatic.

But there’s another big 90s first person shooter I truly believe that deserves a second chance at the spotlight. It might not be developed by id Software, but it was a memorable game I grew up playing along their classics.

It is Duke Nukem. I played Duke Nukem 3D as a kid and it was weird for me to experience stuff like tipping strippers and seeing them showing me their knockers.

The Beauty of Duke Nukem 3D

I’ll admit, I probably shouldn’t have played this game at that age. My parents weren’t too aware of the sexual content back in the day. But despite the gimmicks, that didn’t stop the game from being awesome. Duke Nukem 3D was a masterpiece back then and it has aged extraordinarily well.

The combat has always been great in Duke Nukem 3D too.

The combat has always been great in Duke Nukem 3D too.

Thanks to its diverse and excellent level design. Duke Nukem 3D was the game that perfected city-based design in first-person shooters.

I still have memories of replaying levels like E1L1: Hollywood Holocaust or E3L4: L.A. Rumble because the levels were fun. It was mostly because of how non-linear the layout the maps were, and it allowed players to be able to tackle them in whatever way they want too.

The game also had some very creative weapons for the time like the Shrinker. It sounds pretty much what you think it is, you shrink enemies and then you stomp them into bits. There was the Devastator, and it is easily my personal favorite weapon because it’s a fully automatic dual-wielding rocket launcher.

The game at its core is very much a Doom-inspired experience, but it was still a blast to play because of its own personal touches it implemented.

Duke was known for saying one liners when you kill the bad guys.

Duke was known for saying one liners when you kill the bad guys.

Also, the fact that you were playing a main protagonist that talked and had personality was a relatively new thing. Silent protagonists were popular for many first-person shooters at the time. Everybody remembers Duke for his bad-ass persona and being somewhat of a silly character due to the things you’ll experience while playing Duke Nukem 3D.

If you were a gamer growing up in the ‘90s, Duke Nukem was certainly a big name. There were also ports of Duke Nukem 3D on various consoles and some spin-off titles too. Nowadays, he’s very much just looked as a relic from the past. I believe it’s time for things to change.

Duke, Where Have You Been?

With the success of both Wolfenstein and Doom, Duke Nukem should be getting a similar treatment. I can’t imagine how exciting it would be to play a modernized Duke Nukem first-person shooter with some of the design cues taken from those games. It would be cool to see something like quick switching for the rebooted Duke Nukem title or even an easy-to-use map editor like Doom SnapMap.

There haven’t been any big projects for Duke Nukem after Duke Nukem Forever that was finally released in 2011.

Duke Nukem Forever: Official HD Debut Trailer

Duke Nukem Forever was a decent game, but it definitely did not live up to the legacy of Duke Nukem 3D and I always believed Duke deserved a better reboot treatment.

After the release of Wolfenstein: The New Order and Doom 2016, Duke Nukem Forever looks like an awkward game from a creative direction standpoint. Especially the game only allowed players to carry up to two weapons, and it was missing some of the essential core design you’d expect a shooter from the ‘90s like managing your health and armor.

If you happened to be one of those who were disappointed by Duke Nukem Forever’s final version, there is a group of modders who are trying to make the 2001 version playable.

There were more ports of Duke Nukem 3D which is cool and all, but it’s obvious that it seemed like the developers were trying to cash in on Duke’s legacy rather than giving him a proper reboot.

Then there’s that gimmick where you could play Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition as Duke himself.

It’s very obvious that whoever is charge of the marketing process of Duke Nukem knows the fans want to play a new Duke Nukem game, but is refusing to make a project like that work. It just feels wrong to see an iconic figure from the ‘90s first-person shooter scene have gotten neglected for so many years.

Duke truly deserves better than this treatment...

Duke truly deserves better than this treatment…

The Future is Duke

There might be people who have moved on from the series, but I know there is still hope for the series.

A new Duke Nukem might have to tone down its politically incorrect nature in today’s times, but as long the core gameplay and design is good, that’s what matters. I want to see some smooth and fast-paced gunplay mixed with some creative and explorative levels for players to immerse themselves in. The enemy design has always been one of the intriguing parts of the Duke Nukem games, and I cannot imagine how engaging it would be fight against them with updated AI.

DOOM 2016 should be the game that Duke Nukem should strive to be.

DOOM 2016 should be the game that Duke Nukem should strive to be.

It would also be cool to see something new for the series to tackle in like maybe some sort of special cooperative mode. The cancelled Duke Nukem Begins tried to focus more of that aspect in its official trailer.

There is room for the Duke Nukem series to make an astounding comeback and it could be the story we’ll be talking about for a while.

For now, time will tell what will happen to Duke Nukem. We can always bet on Duke, and maybe he will return when the moment is right.

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