When talking first person shooters as classic games, I could have reached down to Doom, Quake or even Wolfenstein 3D but there is one that stands out as an absolute classic for me, Duke Nukem 3D.
Developed by 3D Realms and published by GT interactive it was a sequel to the platform titles Duke Nukem and Duke Nukem 2.
Turning the game into a FPS was an absolute masterstroke and being extremely controversial just added fuel to the burning desire to own it.
You could kick enemies with your mighty foot or use the various weapons in your arsenal like a pistol, shotgun, the chain gun, rocket launcher, pipe bombs, laser mines, the freeze and shrink rays or even the mighty “Devastator”.
Along side the weapons were also items that would help you in your quest, like the holo-duke which projected a holographic image of your actions and was used to distract enemies, similar to the hologram in the Arnold Schwarzenegger film “Total Recall”.
The game was incredibly funny and entertaining in single player mode, but the real genius was in the multiplayer. The games levels would be used to battle for head to head or play through cooperatively.
Throughout the game there were several secrets and homages to popular movies. Like the tunnel behind the poster mimicking “The Shawshank Redemption” or seeing the Monolith from “2001 A Space Odyssey” and the various quotes Duke would say during the game that were more often than not reference to pop culture. Even the cover of the game bares a striking resemblance to the Evil Dead 3 – Army of Darkness cover.
(Warning – Coarse Language in this video)
Duke Nukem 3D was a brilliant masterpiece of parody, it’s successor Duke Nukem Forever just didn’t capture the same magic, but perhaps its just that a game like this can’t exist in the world today. Sure we have games like GTA but this was next level.