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It's time to kick ass and chew bubblegum and I'm all out of gum
~ Duke Nukem

Duke Nukem is a fictional character and action hero who has been the protagonist in over a dozen video games. Duke is voice by Jon St John.


The character first appeared in the 1991 video game Duke Nukem (also temporarily known as "Duke Nukum") developed by Apogee Software. He has since starred in multiple sequels developed by 3D Realms, and presently by Gearbox Software who have since bought the rights to Duke Nukem and own the intellectual property. The character was created by video game developers Todd Replogle, Jim Norwood, George Broussard, and Scott Miller of Apogee Software.

The character was redesigned into the present tough guy incarnation by George Broussard and Allen Blum for the 1996 game Duke Nukem 3D. In the dozen or so Duke Nukem games since Duke Nukem 3D, this incarnation of the character has been constant, and voiced by voice actor Jon St. John. A sequel to Duke Nukem 3D, Duke Nukem Forever, had been in development hell since at least 1997. The game was released in the US on June 14, 2011 and was released worldwide on June 10, 2011.

Personality / Appearance


Duke Nukem as he appears in Duke Nuken 3D.

In the original two games Duke Nukem barely spoke and was portrayed as a self-proclaimed hero, initially hired by the CIA to save Earth from Dr. Proton. According to the information from the backside of the Duke Nukem Character Memory Card he is 6'4" (1,93 m) and weighs 240 lbs. (109 kg). Duke's personality in all his games since the third game in the series, Duke Nukem 3D, has been that of a wise-cracking, hyper-masculine tough guy. It should be noted that in Duke Nukem II he starts to move more into the direction of a traditional action hero. His missions generally involved killing aliens that had invaded Earth. He is apparently sexually adept and irresistible to women, and circumstances generally find him surrounded by many buxom women. He does, however, frequently mention an estranged love named "Lani" in numerous games, although she is never elaborated on and seems to be the butt of many of his jokes (Indeed, in Duke Nukem 3D, it is shown that he has a tattoo of her name on one of his buttocks).

Duke Nukem's character is a pastiche of a number of Hollywood action heroes, such as those played by John Wayne, Charles Bronson in Death Wish, Arnold Schwarzenegger in Commando, Sylvester Stallone as Rambo, Bruce Willis as John McClane in Die Hard, Kurt Russell as Jack Burton from Big Trouble in Little China, Roddy Piper's character Nada from They Live, and Bruce Campbell as Ash Williams from The Evil Dead series. Even his most famous line "It's time to kick ass and chew bubble gum, and I'm all out of gum" came from the movie "They Live" with Roddy Piper saying "I have come to chew bubble gum and kick ass and I'm all out of bubble gum".

Voiced by Jon St. John in all incarnations in which the character speaks (with the exception of Duke Nukem II), Duke's voice is based on that of Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry.

Like the characters often played by Schwarzenegger and Stallone, Duke is a confident, aggressive, and frequently politically incorrect muscle man, who, although not superhuman, nonetheless manages to achieve incredible physical feats of violence and conquest through sheer machismo and expertise with automatic firearms. (However, a poster in the "barracks" in Episode 4, Level 1, suggests Duke Nukem may have been genetically engineered.) Other than a wide array of automatic firearms, explosives, and energy weapons, Duke is best known for his trademark jet pack, which gives him the ability to fly short distances in quick bursts. He is also known for his golden Colt 1911 Pistol and sunglasses, which completely conceal his eyes and which he has not been seen without (even at night) since Duke Nukem 3D, his leathers, his motorbikes, and his platinum blond, military-style haircut, which is existent since the first game. In every game, he traditionally wears a red tank top and blue jeans. In some of the games, Duke has a melee attack known as the "Mighty Foot", which is basically a strong kick to the face.

In Duke Nukem II, it is shown that Duke wrote an autobiography entitled Why I'm So Great. This will later become autographed by Duke in Duke Nukem Forever.

Like the character played by Bruce Campbell, Nukem is also a smart-mouth (although Duke's humor is somewhat less sarcastic and more straightforwardly aggressive, a few of Duke Nukem 3D's phrases are taken directly from the Campbell vehicle Army of Darkness; Campbell has expressed anger at not being consulted or paid for the use of these phrases), and his sneering visage is often found speaking one-liners while slaughtering his enemies.


  • "Hail to the King, baby!"
  • "Damn I'm good!"
  • "It's time to kick ass and chew bubble gum...and I'm all out of gum."
  • "Eat shit and die"
  • "I've got balls of steel!"
  • "Damn! I'm looking good!"
  • "Time flies when you're kicking ass"

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