Duke Nukem began his rise to cult classic status in 1991 with Apogee Software's game of the same name. Much like the majority of the classic shooters of early PC gaming, the game started as shareware, which took off like wild fire. This first "episode" was followed up by two additional installments to round out the first game.
1993 followed with the first sequel, Duke Nukem II. All seemed well on track for the Duke series to be a hot commodity on gaming markets. The success kept coming with 1996's Duke Nukem 3D. Then like someone switching off a light switch, Duke Nukem simply ceased. Rumblings were heard throughout the gaming world as early as 1997 of a future Duke game, and even promotional material was distributed. However, years passed, and no game ever surfaced...(continued below)
A little late to the game, no pun intended, ReSaurus picked up the licensing rights to produce and distribute action figures based on Duke Nukem. The figures get high points for being fairly spot on renditions of their pixilated counterparts. Not only that, but the articulation is pretty generous - Basically put, these are excellent quality figures.
Numerous figures were planned for the series, but only six ever made their way out to markets - Seven if you include the chase variant...Eight if you include the internet version.
Duke Nukem*Duke Nukem with Freeze Thrower
Duke Nukem had a chase variant which included a Freeze Thrower gun which was packed one per case. This chase version could also be obtained by ordering it online directly from ReSaurus. The benefit to this route was that it also included a shareware version of Duke Nukem 3D.
You have to look close to see the Freeze Thrower in the package. It is the bit of yellow plastic protruding out from the left shoulder of the artwork on the package. Oddly enough, the chase variant is the more common version being sold on secondary markets these days.
Night Strike Duke*Battlelord
With the exception of the Previews Exclusive figure (below), the enemies are the most valuable and difficult to obtain figures - Specifically Battlelord which can reach a $75.00 price range for a mint on card version. The Octabrain and Pigcop aren't far behind at prices hovering around the $55.00 mark.
The last figure in the series was the Previews Exclusive figure, S.W.A.T. Duke. It's not a relatively common figure, but can still be found here and there on secondary markets. A mint in package one can be obtained for roughly $45.00. This is definitely one of those buy it when you see it figures (if you're collecting them) because you don't know if you'll find it again. Of course, the same statement could be made about the "enemies" in the line as well.
Duke Nukem Forever
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As years continued to tick away past the new millennium, many gamers forgot about Duke. We were now in an era where Call of Duty vs. Battlefield disputes were erupting across the internet. Regardless, classics such as Doom and Wolfenstein were reemerging, reminding gamers that the games that started it all could be re-visioned to compete in today's heavily saturated first person shooter market. It was the perfect time.
Enter Gearbox Software who made a deal to complete the long awaited Duke Nukem Forever (originally entitled Duke Nukem 4ever - Appropriate being that it was the fourth installment planned in the series). Backed by a heavily marketed campaign, and a promise that the game was well worth the wait, DNF was finally unleashed on the public in 2011. Riddled with bugs, long loading times, clunky controls, offensive humor, and dated design, the game received critically disappointed reviews...(concluded below)
NECA produced a one and done figure based on Duke with their Player Select line. It's a spot on rendering of the character, and the articulation is definitely ample. Unfortunately, much like the game it found little success on the market.
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Gearbox Software made plans to reboot the DN series following Aliens: Colonial Marines. However, with the poor reviews for both the aforementioned Aliens game and Duke Nukem Forever, it is unknown at this time if those plans will proceed.
There's no doubt that Duke Nukem helped to shape the first person shooter genre into the format it is today. Unfortunately for the character, there just doesn't seem to be enough room in the sandbox (or enough desire from players) to continue his exploits. We leave off with a question to all of you. Is Duke Nukem past his prime?
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