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The series is the ancestor of all first person shooter nods to both films and other videogames.
Duke Nukem and Duke Nukem II
- In the "Mercury Mines" level of Duke Nukem 1, Dr. Proton issues a taunt via a monitor:
"Why bother Duke? Not even Commander Keen could survive the perils of my Mercury Mines!"
- E1L1, "Hollywood Holocaust":
- The level is based on Escape from New York.
- 867 5309 written on the wall in the cinema restroom. It's a reference to the song "867-5309/Jenny" by Tommy Tutone.
- A Duke Nukem II game in the arcade (the previous game in the series)
- A Balls of Steel pinball machine in the arcade (Apogee would later release Balls of Steel for Windows)
- The "innocent?" billboard at the beginning of the level is reportedly also referring to OJ Simpson.
- E1L2, "Red Light District"
- On the TVs in the bar area of the strip club is OJ Simpson's white Bronco.
- E1L3, "Death Row":
- E2L2, "Incubator", has at least two occurrences of the number 1138.
- E2L3, "Warp Factor", is one big Shout-Out to Star Trek, from the overall shape of the level, to the secret mockup of the TNG Enterprise bridge.
- After revealing two secrets, the player can visit the bridge of the Enterprise, NCC-1701D, as well as Picard's "Ready Room".
- E2L6, "Tiberius Station", was named after James Tiberius Kirk.
- E2L7, "Lunar Reactor" contains a mutilated stormtrooper. There's also a secret where Luke is hung upside down from a cave.
"Now this is a force to be reckoned with!"
- E2L8, "Dark Side", includes the monolith from 2001: A Space Oddysey near the end.
- E3L1, "Raw Meat", starts with Duke sprouting the infamous Chew Bubblegum line. He can also sing "BOOOORN TO BE WIIIILD" in the karaoke.
- E3L4, "L.A. Rumble", has a building that crumbles due to an earthquake looks exactly like the building where id Software's offices are in. While the building crumbles Duke will state "I ain't afraid of no Quake!"
- E3L5, "Movie Set" is a movie set where a film based on the previous episode is being filmed. The helicopter that crashes at the start hits a water tower (a possible shout-out to Warner Bros, there). The poster for the film shows up in a couple of later levels, too.
- E3L7 is named "Fahrenheit" and the music is called "233C".
- E3L8, "Hotel Hell", has a secret area, found by entering behind the pool's waterfall, where Indiana Jones is speared.
"We meet again, Dr. Jones."
- E3L11, "Freeway", includes a flattened Terminator in a compactor. When you go inside for a look:
- Near the end of the level, the player will face a police car on its side with the number 54. This is an homage to Car 54, Where Are You?
- The blimp advertises for Homer Simpson's beer.
- There's TV footage parodying the OJ Simpson car chase. It also shows up in several other levels, notably E 1 L 2 and E 3 L 1.
- E4L1, "It's Impossible", is a big Shout-Out to Mission Impossible, but also includes a corridor of opening doors, along the lines of the Get Smart opening titles.
- E4L2, "Duke Burger", has Butthead through the drive-thru speaker of the restaurant, admonishing the player to leave, because the place is 'like, closed'.
- E4L3, "Shop-N-Bag", is based on a real chain of stores with the same name which closed down in the late 1990s.
- At one point, Duke comes across a badly mutilated corpse dangling from the ceiling. Said body is that of Snake Plissken. If the player takes a closer look at it:
"Huh. Guess he didn't escape from L.A."
- E4L5, "Pigsty", contains several desk name-blocks which reference a number of characters in law enforcement from 'Die Hard, Judge Dredd and Dirty Harry.
- The car-crashing-into-police-station sequence is a reference to The Terminator, complete with Duke saying "I'll be back".
- E4L6, "Going Postal", includes a reference to The Simpsons - "trab pu kcip", to be viewed through a mirror.
- E4L8, "Critical Mass", has a secret area which is a mock-up of Homer Simpson's work area, including donuts on the console and a sign saying "Sector 7-G".
- E4L9, "Derelict", is a tanker named Valdez 2.
- E4L11, "Area 51", has a few for Independence Day.
- Duke's "Groovy" and "Hail to the king, baby!" are references to Evil Dead.
- When you approach a captured woman, she'll sprout "Kill Me". It's a reference to Aliens.
- The Chaingun Cannon is a Russian made Pribor-3B Nordenfelt gun.
- The Play Station port (Total Meltdown) has a control scheme called "Doomed", named such because it's based on the default control scheme of the Playstation Doom port.
Duke Caribbean: Life's A Beach
- The recurring boat is titled Kobayashi Maru. Three guesses where that comes from.
- The title theme for the expansion pack is based on the Hawaii Five-O theme.
- The key cards are replaced by Vista credit cards.
- L1 has Duke singing a Beach Boys song.
- L2 features a quote from The Fifth Element.
- L5 has quotes from Fantasy Island.
Duke It Out In D.C.
- L1, "Hell to the Chief", is based on the White House, of course.
- L2, "Memorial Service", is based on the Lincoln Memorial.
- L3, "Nuked Files", is based on the FBI Offices. The name is a riff on The X-Files.
- L4, "Smithsonian Terror", is based on the Smithsonian Museum, down to the exhibits.
- L5, "Capitol Punishment", is based on the Capitol, yes it is.
- The secret level, L10, "Top Secret", was based in part on a user map named "Aztec".
- L7, "Dread October", is referencing The Hunt for Red October.
Duke: Nuclear Winter
- L1 and L2 are essentially E1L2 and E1L1, respectively, done in reverse.
- L3, "Land of Forgotten Toys", features Mario playing Mario Kart and a portion of E1L1 from the original Doom as part of the level.
Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project
- The Duke Nukem 1 sprite appears as graffiti in some levels.
- The intro cutscene, after two Ratoids wreak havoc, has Duke saying this before shooting his first bullet:
- In the first level, there's an outdoor to the "Rats" play, a reference to Broadway's "Cats".
- In the second level, if you pick up a public phone you'll hear a woman's voice saying something like this:
- Later, you must avoid some cars crossing a street. After a couple of times:
- After taking a Berserk pack, Duke sprouts this:
- Crossing with Development Gag and What Could Have Been in Duke Nukem 3D part, the Pig Cops can hit the player with their gun, something which the Pig Cops were meant to do in 3D, but couldn't.
- Another one-liner, after he destroys a pair of camerabots:
- The secret boss Wozma seems to be a reference to Ozma.
- The plot of small animals mutating when coming into contact with spilled ooze, especially in a game called The Manhattan Project, is strangely familiar.
- In the first room, there are names of all ex-3DRealm employees on a plaque above the football uniforms, including Broussard's.
- One of the things Duke sees while flipping TV Channels is The Holsom Twins' music video, from the album Full House...
- The name of the late night show host is actually a combination of the names of various Real-Life late night show hosts.
Johnny Carson, Conan O' Brien, Jay Leno and David Letterman
- At the late night show Damn, It's Late, if Duke speaks into the mic, he boasts, "I am the Duke! I am A-number one!" It's not the last time he says it.
- The computers in the Duke Cave has a damn accurate boot bios screen, resembling those of an Award BIOS boot PC.
- When shrunken in the casino, after killing some rats, Duke will comment, "Talk about Rodents of Unusual Size!"
- Killing some aliens, Duke will sometimes say, "Remember when I said I'd kill you last? I lied."
- When the first Battlelord appears, Duke yells, "You are one, ugly motherfucker!"
- At one point, Duke finds a certain set of green armor, and snarks, "Power armor is for pussies!" Overlaps with Mythology Gag, since Duke found a dead Doom marine in Duke Nukem 3D, which he commented, "That's one DOOMED marine!"
- Duke comes across an EDF soldier who knew Duke's retirment "bullshit was just bullshit". He then goes on in a mocking voice about how he just helped one of his friends find his wife and calls his friend a pussy.
- The game's Regenerating Health bar being an Ego bar might be a reference to the Ego system on Duke Nukem Manhattan Project, where Duke would get ego by shooting things, freeing women and, of course getting ego boxes.
- The first level of the game is a boss fight against the Cycloid Emperor, last boss of the third episode of Duke Nukem 3D, taking place in the very same stadium...sort of.
- The "Balls Of Steel" edition and the achievement of the same name might be references to an old 3D Realms pinball, and a Shout-Out to a line that quickly became memetic due to a harassment video where Duke's voice lines from Duke Nukem 3D were played to infuriate a Ventrilo server admin.
- "I'ma kill you old style!" is a reference to said harassment.
- Duke's autobiography, "Why I'm So Great," was first mentioned in Duke Nukem II.
- In the First Access Demo, when exploring some mining tunnels, as Duke breaks through wooden barricades, he declares his need for a crowbar in a situation like that.
- The Railgun in the First Access Demo looks and sounds suspiciously like the Quake III Arena railgun.
- The four achievements for completing the campaign in Easy, Normal, Hard and Insane are called Piece of Cake, Let's Rock, Come Get Some and Damn, I'm Good.
- Another achievement, for hitting 15 aliens with melee attacks while in Berserk Mode is called Duke Angry, Duke Smash!
- The four-digit code that Duke enters into the Super Turret is 1138.
- Duke's monster truck is called Duke's Mighty Foot.
- The twins that appear in the game are called the Holsom twins, alluding to the Olsen Twins. This is not the only reference they are to, however, since their multiplayer reward description is "2 Girls, 1 Duke", referencing infamous Shock Site 2girls1cup.
- Several in the Strip Club level:
- There's a sign saying "Open Dusk Till dawn".
- A cash terminal showing the message "Feed me a stray cat".
- A spintop which doesn't stop spinning. This is a clue that the level is All Just a Dream.
- The answering machine next to the top mentioned above will replay the message "Tonight... you!"
- The toilet has "REDRUM" written on the wall opposite the mirror
- In a specific part of the chapter "The Hive", a decapitated soldier and a very familiar-looking helmet can be found, which Duke comments on by saying "That is one Dead Space marine!"
- You get an achievement for sticking enemy with a laser tripmine called "Sticky bomb like you!"
- Early in the "Vegas in Ruins" chapter, Duke gets assigned to accompany a private named Jenkins. He immidiately runs right ahead of you into the action, disregarding any tactics, and as a result, he dies quickly. Sounds familiar?
- Duke moans, "Damnit, Leeroy!" as well.
- All of the cash registers have the value of $847.63
- "I'm from Las Vegas and I say kill 'em all!"
- In the freezer room with all the pipes, Duke says "I hate valve puzzles."
- Perhaps doubling as a shout-out to Francis.
- When Duke stomps on a tiny Pigcop in Duke Burger, one of his lines is "Better then Freckle Bitch's!"
- "Duke Burger" itself may be a Stealth Pun on "The Burger King" (because Duke is King).
- In one part of the Hoover Dam, Duke ascends a long spiral stairway while dodging incoming barrels, remarking "Where's a hammer when you need one? He finds a Pigcop at the top, but remarks he was expecting a monkey.
- The ending is a parody of Jackson's death and the ending of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, to which Duke replies "What kind of shit ending is that?"
- The girl in the Duke Burger kitchen may wonder if "there'll be another season of Lightning Bug."
- Behind the set of the "Damn It's Late Show" there's a stage hand getting berated by an angry actor for walking across the stage during filming, a parody of Christian Bale's infamous rant on the set of Terminator Salvation. Duke can even punch him out:
Stage Hand: "Thanks Duke. That guy was a douche."
- After killing the Triple Boob Monster, nearby is some evidence Sam and Max Freelance Police were there.
- On seeing the said monster, Duke quips, "Baby, you make me wish I had three guns", a reference to the Total Recall.
- Upon cracking open a supply crate, Duke might say "I'd buy this for a dollar", or "I like it!"
- One of the ambient music files is named WormHole_Xtreme.
- The aerial assault level prior to getting the Mighty Foot features "Ride of the Valkyries" as the soundtrack, slowly creeping from orchestra into heavy metal. Neat!
- If Duke gibs another player online, he will sometimes boast "I'm a mushroom-cloud laying motherfucker!"
- Occasionally after getting drunk, Duke will shout "You're my boy, Blue!" which was one of Will Ferrel's lines from Old School.
- While persuading Duke to run a few errands, the stripper promises him a lapdance... and cake.
- In one level, "Lo Wang was here" is scrawled on a wall.
- When shrinked during Duke Burger stage, during navigating a room with electrified floor, music suspiciously reminiscent of Mouse Hunt will play.
- The first DLC includes quite a bit of snapping towards other multiplayer games and websites, with new maps called "Call of Duke" and "2forts1bridge".
- Octobrains, underwater. Does this reminds you of anything?
- America, Fuck yeah!
Other Duke games
- In one level of Duke Nukem: Time to Kill, Duke can come across the Delorian from Back to The Future.
- In another, he finds the corpse of Lara Croft.
- The Bad Future of Zero Hour, has the Statue of Liberty half-submerged in nukage, a reference to Planet of the Apes.
- ↑ The Duke Nukem 1 engine is very similar to the Commander Keen: Invasion of the Vorticons engine, as evidenced by playing both for at least half an hour each, and probably explains why the credits for Duke Nukem 1 include Tom Hall.