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Duke Nukem

From PCGamingWiki, the wiki about fixing PC games
Duke Nukem
Duke Nukem cover
Apogee Software
Retail Apogee Software
Digital (former) 3D Realms
Digital (current) Gearbox Publishing
Digital (current) 2K Games
Release dates
DOS July 1, 1991[1]
Windows (DOSBox) December 6, 2012[2]
macOS (OS X) (DOSBox) July 2, 2013[3]
Linux (DOSBox) May 21, 2015[4]
Monetization One-time game purchase
Modes Singleplayer
Pacing Real-time
Perspectives Third-person
Controls Direct control
Genres Platform, Shooter
Themes Sci-fi
Series Duke Nukem
Duke Nukem on HowLongToBeat
Duke Nukem on IGDB
Duke Nukem guide on StrategyWiki
Duke Nukem on MobyGames
Duke Nukem on Wikipedia
Duke Nukem
Duke Nukem 1991
Duke Nukem II 1993
Duke Nukem 3D 1996
Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project 2002
Duke Nukem Forever 2011
Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition 2013
Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour 2016
Duke Nukem Forever (2001) 2022
Duke Nukem Forever: Restoration Project (unofficial) Early access

Duke Nukem is a singleplayer third-person platform and shooter game in the Duke Nukem series.

Version 2.0 is named Duke Nukum due to trademark concerns; this was resolved for the sequels.[5]

General information

Official 3D Realms forum for game series Community Discussions for game series Support Page
Steam Community Discussions


Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Sold separately or on the Duke Nukem 3D disc.
ZOOM Platform
Pre-packaged with DOSBox-staging.
macOS (OS X)
Linux (unavailable)
Pre-packaged with DOSBox.
macOS (OS X)
Steam (unavailable)
Icon overlay.png
Pre-packaged with DOSBox.
macOS (OS X)

Shareware version

A shareware version is available (contains Episode 1).

Essential improvements

Level editor

A Level Editor is available. According to the documentation, it also make a good cheating tool for familiarizing yourself with levels before entering them (just don't push the wrong button). Run using DOSBox.


Duke Nukem 1: The Returning

Duke Nukem 1: The Returning is a fan-made episode containing 10 levels.
A single fan-made level can be found here.

Run in DOSBox (retail)

Duke Nukem runs in DOSBox at default settings. Ensure cycles= is still at its default setting of cycles=auto.[6]

Episode Launcher

Duke Nukem had each episode as its own executable, making it annoying to configure if you have the retail version. Luckily you can save the following as a .bat file and run it in DOSBox to get around this annoyance.
Supports the Map Editor and the custom episode "The Returning", though requires it to be placed in the return folder (DOS 8.3 compatible naming scheme). Also requires only one (not both) versions of the add-on to be installed.
Episode Launcher
@echo off
@echo off
echo                            ══════════
echo                            Duke Nukem  
echo                            ══════════
echo      ┌───────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────┐
echo      │ [1] Episode 1: Shrapnel City                                  │
echo      │ [2] Episode 2: Mission: Moonbase                              │
echo      │ [3] Episode 3: Trapped in the Future                          │
echo      │ [4] Episode 4: The Returning (custom)                         │
echo.     ├───────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────┤
echo      │ [5] Map Editor                                                │
echo      │ [I] Hints/Help                                                │
echo      │ [Q] Quit!                                                     │
echo      ─────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────
choice/c:12345iq/n Choose Number:
if errorlevel 7 goto exit
if errorlevel 6 goto help
if errorlevel 5 goto edit
if errorlevel 4 goto epi4
if errorlevel 3 goto epi3
if errorlevel 2 goto epi2
if errorlevel 1 goto epi1
if errorlevel 0 goto exit

goto start
goto start
goto start
cd return
cd ..
goto start
goto start
goto start

Source ports

Reverse engineered source ports are available.


The game is also parodied by Dave Gnukem.

Game data

Configuration file(s) location

System Location
DOS <path-to-game>\KEYS.DN*
Windows <path-to-game> (mounted in DOSBox)[Note 1]
macOS (OS X) <path-to-game> (mounted in DOSBox)[Note 1]
Linux <path-to-game> (mounted in DOSBox)[Note 1]
Steam Play (Linux) <SteamLibrary-folder>/steamapps/compatdata/240160/pfx/[Note 2]
All files have a number (1-3) corresponding to the episode.
It's unknown whether this game follows the XDG Base Directory Specification on Linux. Please fill in this information.

Save game data location

System Location
DOS <path-to-game>\SAVED*.DN*
Windows <path-to-game> (mounted in DOSBox)[Note 1]
macOS (OS X) <path-to-game> (mounted in DOSBox)[Note 1]
Linux <path-to-game> (mounted in DOSBox)[Note 1]
Steam Play (Linux) <SteamLibrary-folder>/steamapps/compatdata/240160/pfx/[Note 2]
Saves are SAVED*.DN* with a number for the save number and the episode number.
High scores are stored in <path-to-game>\HIGHS.DN*

Save game cloud syncing

System Native Notes
GOG Galaxy
Steam Cloud


General settings.
General settings.

Graphics feature State Notes
Widescreen resolution
320x200 only.
4K Ultra HD
Field of view (FOV)
For DOSBox toggle with Alt+ Enter (see the glossary page for other workarounds).
Borderless fullscreen windowed
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
Anti-aliasing (AA)
Vertical sync (Vsync)
For DOSBox use an unofficial build (see the glossary page for other workarounds).
60 FPS and 120+ FPS
Game runs at 16 FPS.[7]



Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
On/off only (toggle with S).
Surround sound
Uses only PC Speaker for audio (mono channel).
Everything is text-based.
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
For DOSBox change the priority background value in the DOSBox configuration file.
Royalty free audio


Language UI Audio Sub Notes

Other information


Technical specs Supported Notes
DOS video modes EGA Uses VGA only for menus

System requirements

Operating system (OS) XP
Processor (CPU) 1.8 GHz
System memory (RAM) 512 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 7 MB
These are the system requirements for the Steam version.
macOS (OS X)
Operating system (OS) 10.6.8
Processor (CPU) Intel Core Duo 2 GHz+
System memory (RAM) 1 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 7 MB
Video card (GPU) 64 MB of VRAM
These are the system requirements for the Steam version.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 File/folder structure within the installation folder reflects the path(s) listed for DOS game data. For the release, file changes in DOSBox are redirected to <path-to-game>/cloud_saves/ even if GOG Galaxy is not used (this folder contains all redirected files, so some files in the cloud_saves folder might be temporary files or other files that do not contain saves or settings).
  2. 2.0 2.1 Notes regarding Steam Play (Linux) data: