When it comes to first-person shooters, few game franchises are as interesting as Duke Nukem. The first two games in the series were side-scrolling action titles, but that all changed when Duke Nukem 3D came out. Duke Nukem 3D brought the franchise into the FPS genre, which is where it has stayed since. The next main game in the franchise, Duke Nukem Forever, was stuck in development hell for a whopping 15 years.
By some miracle, it finally hit store shelves in 2011. There hasn’t been a major installment in the Duke Nukem franchise since then, but we still hold the series fondly in our hearts.
Between the one-liners delivered by protagonist Duke Nukem and the arsenal of outrageous weapons, there’s a lot to love about Duke Nukem 3D. Where other FPS games went for a more serious tone, the Duke Nukem franchise has always been about ridiculous and occasionally offensive fun.
This attitude extends into the weapons you can equip, resulting in bombastic and well-designed guns. On this list, we dive into our favorite weapons from the Duke Nukem franchise!
Vote for your favorite and help us decide.
Although the pistol is good in a squeeze, the shotgun often feels like the default gun in Duke Nukem 3D.While the shotgun is a bit harder to find in early levels, later levels are often abundant with shotgun ammunition. Like every other gun in Duke Nukem 3D,there's no reload time on the shotgun. Instead, Duke will automatically rack the gun between each shot. Given the strength of the shotgun, this makes it reliable tool for surviving most encounters, granted you have the ammo.
The shotgun also packs a forceful blow, which is able to blast enemies apart given the right circumstances. Like Duke's mighty foot, the shotgun can shatter frozen enemies into shards of viscera. When you're trying to kill an invasive alien species that's trying to steal all of Earth's babes, the shotgun can get the job done (and then some).
This piece of experimental weaponry packs an explosive punch, and is one of the most damaging guns in the entire Duke Nukem franchise. Built in a secret government lab for military use, this RPG-like weapon sprays out rockets at a high rate of fire. It's essentially a machine gun combined with a rocket launcher, and what can be better than that?
When wielding the Devastator, you'll have to be careful not to accidentally blow yourself up. The gun has an unsurprising amount of kick-back, and one or two loose rockets will quickly equal your demise. When it comes to boss fights, you'll definitely want to have the Devastator by your side.
The pipe bomb is an excellent weapon for making an entrance, as a single well-placed bomb can insta-gib most enemies. It's a simple concept; you toss a pipe bomb a few feet in front of you and then hit the detonator. This results in a satisfying boom, laying waste to anything unlucky enough to be nearby.
The pipe bomb differs from a standard grenade due to the many ways you can utilize it. You can absolutely litter the floor with them, laying a trap for unlucky deathmatch opponents or beefy bosses. Pipe bombs can also be detonated with a well-placed bullet, and their small size makes them too hard to see until your enemy is standing on top of one.
The Freezethrower is one of the rarer weapons you'll find in Duke Nukem 3D and Duke Nukem Forever. Although it doesn't deal a ton of damage, the Freezethrower is able to freeze enemies in position for a significant period of time. This gives you plenty of time to set up pipe bomb multi-kills or shatter them with bullets and kicks.
We love the Freezethrower for its unique utility and the variety it introduces to gameplay. Like a few of the other weapons in the Duke Nukem franchise, the Freezethrower is more about having a fun time than killing enemies quickly.
If the shotgun is the go-to weapon for most enemy encounters, the Ripper is what you turn to when you run out of shells. This triple-barreled machine gun is able to mow down enemies up close, as well as control large crowds of enemies with its extremely high fire rate. It's a great gun for players who like to get up close and personal, as the accuracy falls off with range.
Although it's not as damaging as the shotgun or any of the explosives, the Ripper stands out due to its awesome sound design and stunning effect. Laying into a single target causes them to seize during the spray of bullets, usually rendering them useless. With a deluge of spent casings, the Ripper is easily able to lay waste to a group of unlucky aliens.
The Laser-Trip Bomb is the perfect tool for a trap-laying fiend, who revels in the art of setting the stage for death. This simple weapon can be attached to most walls and surfaces, sending a red laser directly across the room. If an unassuming alien enemy waltz through the laser the trip-bomb explodes, usually blowing them up in the process.
Although you can't shoot the bombs to make them explode early, a well-placed pipe-bomb toss can get the job done. When properly placed besides each other, trip-bombs can also be used to create a carpet of explosions. It takes a bit of time to set up, but the laser-trip bomb is capable of wiping out entire groups of enemies in the blink of an eye.
Like the Freezethrower, the Shrink Ray is beloved for its wacky effect rather than the damage it deals. Shooting out a green ball of energy, the Shrink-Ray can appropriately shrink most enemies down to the size of a mouse. This makes them incredibly easy to kill, as a swift stomp of your boot is all it takes to finish them off.
The Shrink Ray is an excellent gun for strategic use and the occasional laugh. If you find yourself up against a large group of enemies, the Shrink Ray is a great way to isolate high-value targets and kill them quickly. Be careful though, as shrunken enemies will regrow back to their normal size after a few seconds.