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The series is the ancestor of all first person shooter nods to both films and other videogames.

As such, every Continuity Nod, Mythology Gag, Captain Ersatz, "No Celebrities Were Harmed", Expy, and Shout-Out reference in any of these games go here.

Duke Nukem and Duke Nukem II

  • In the "Mercury Mines" level of Duke Nukem 1, Dr. Proton issues a taunt via a monitor:[1]

  "Why bother Duke? Not even Commander Keen could survive the perils of my Mercury Mines!"

Duke Nukem 3D

  • 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":
    • A hanging monk from Rise of the Triad.
    • The "doomed" space marine.
    • The poster in one of the cells covering a tunnel to the outside is a reference to The Shawshank Redemption.
    • Later on, the player encounters Hannibal Lecter standing in his prison cell. (N64 version only)
  • 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.
    • There are also magazines featuring Moger Roore on the cover.
    • There are also an umbrella and a hat hanging under the sign "Steed" in the level - an obvious reference to The Avengers (TV series)
    • And, of course, a sign of U.N.C.L.E.
  • E4L2, "Duke Burger", has Butthead through the drive-thru speaker of the restaurant, admonishing the player to leave, because the place is 'like, closed'.
    • The list of specials includes references to Pulp Fiction - Big Kahuna Burgers are most prominent.
    • Not to mention the brief appearance of "Scrappy Due".
  • 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.
    • The same port also add a new episode which features a few levels spoofing popular Playstation games: "Nightmare Zone" is based on the first level of Tomb Raider, "Trackside Tragedy" parodies Wipeout and "Gates Motel" pastiches Resident Evil and horror movies.

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.

Duke Nukem Forever

  • 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

  Stage Hand: "Thanks Duke. That guy was a douche."

Other Duke games


  1. 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.
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