Published on May 25, 2023
Updated on May 30, 2023

10 Best Duke Nukem 3D Mods

When talking about 90s FPS games, Duke Nukem will be mentioned sooner or later. The 80s/90s amalgamation of action heroes, Duke has starred in games since 1991, but he is most remembered for his third game, Duke Nukem 3D. Released in 1996, and developed on the Build Engine, Duke Nukem 3D broke new ground at the time, and cemented its place as one of the greatest FPS games of all time.

With its popularity also came a bunch of expansion packs, some official, some not official, plenty of map packs, a thriving and still active multiplayer scene, and of course plenty of mods. A good number of them can be run through its source port, EDuke 32, which became a standard for running the game and any of its mods.

Over the years, there have been plenty of all kinds of mods, from minor improvements to total conversions. With that being said, here’s a list of some of the best mods for Duke Nukem 3D, which will bring you hours of new content and plenty of ass-kickings!

Table of Contents

Duke Nukem: Alien Armageddon

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Alien Armageddon is a mod that, on the surface, looks like just another collection of weapons and maps, but it goes much deeper, to the point where it feels more like a stand-alone sequel.

The biggest addition is the introduction of a new playable character, Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison. First introduced in the 1998 Duke Nukem Forever trailer, she was supposed to be Duke’s sidekick. Here, she sports the same look as she did in the early DNF trailers. She wears a white tank top and short jeans, and you can dress her up in an alternative costume.

Duke’s arsenal, for the most part, is mostly the same as what we’ve seen in the base game. Bombshell carries a different arsenal, such as a Desert Eagle, a pump-action shotgun, M4, RPG, a portable turret, Dual Grenade Launchers, and an Incinerator. Duke and Shelly also share several weapons, such as the Alien Laser Pistol (carried by Assault Troopers), Shrinker, Babifier (Expander replacement that transforms enemies into babes), Railgun, Phased Plasma Rifle (as seen in The Terminator), Nuke Launcher and a Spidermine (replacing the Laser Tripbomb).

All of the episodes from the original Duke Nukem 3D are playable, but the mod also introduces two new unique episodes. There are the expansion packs for the base game, albeit with a few changes, like EDF soldiers fighting beside you, which only adds to the atmosphere. Alongside these are two new chapters, one of which is set on an alien planet hosting a tournament. The new missions are significantly larger and feel like three maps from the original game meshed together in one complex level, with plenty of enemies and mid-level bosses.

Adding the new character, co-op, new episodes, story, enemies, and bosses is more than anyone could’ve asked for. It’s like reaching into what you think is an empty cooler, and finding more beer! It’s a win-win and a definitive recommendation.

Duke Nukem Forever 2013

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Now here’s a unique mod for Duke Nukem 3D. As many of you may already know, the Duke Nukem Forever development cycle is legendary. Spanning 14 years and 43 days, DNF went through many iterations, and naturally, various trailers were shown throughout the years. One of the most memorable ones is the 2001 E3 trailer, closely followed by the 1998 E3 trailer. While it never saw an official release and was later scrapped, the trailer was memorable and it still even to this day looks amazing. This is where, Duke Nukem Forever 2013, comes into play.

Developed and inspired by the two trailers, it manages to fill in the blanks rather nicely and give a coherent story and experience. It was created by two developers Gambino and Mikko and was finally released in 2013. Not only is it a reimagined game, but it’s also a collection of great levels.

Since most of the resources and footage were available, it follows a similar story. The mod opens up in Las Vegas and is once again invaded by the aliens from the previous game. The structure of the levels is great and you start in Duke’s casino, then acquire a bike and head to the highway, right through the old mining town, and then finally reach the Hoover Dam and beat the aliens once more.

The mod manages to recreate most of the memorable parts from the trailers, which is rather impressive since some of them were shown for a few seconds. It features new enemies, such as the mind-controlled EDF soldiers, Dukeinator (a Terminator clone), and a new weapon (M16, which replaces the Chaingun cannon), while the Shrink Ray has an updated look. The biggest highlight is the motorbike and riding a donkey while battling aliens along the way. There are a few variations of existing enemies as well, such as the Laser Enforcer and Freezethrower Enforcer, which are pretty much self-explanatory.

Overall, a great mod, whose only downside would be its shortness. There just isn’t enough of it, but this was fixed with the release of the DLC. The levels are enormous, detailed, and in some cases so well put together that you will forget that you’re playing a Build Engine game.

The AMC Squad (The AMC TC)

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The AMC TC is an unbelievably vast mod, that features several protagonists and has plenty of content to offer. The AMC stands for Allied Military Complex, and it’s set in a world of Duke Nukem, but without Duke himself. Instead, now it’s up to this group of misfits to save the world, and of course, kick some alien butt.

In development for several years, this mod is highly ambitious, and its biggest strength is the variety of play styles. It features a total of 11 (so far) playable characters, and each one has a unique loadout, special abilities, and weaknesses. Since you might get lost in its vast selection, for first-time players, I would suggest either Highwire or Geoffrey, as they play more like classic FPS protagonists.

However, this is not the only thing unique to The AMC Squad. In this, you can also do research, own factories, and supply military bases with aforementioned factories, which will help you out in certain missions. To do research you need money, but certain research also requires a high enough tech level. To raise the tech level, you will need to rescue scientists, but if you miss a few, you can always visit the level again.

The AMC TC currently has four episodes released, and there is plenty of content to keep you occupied for hours. For example, you can do missions protecting Earth, but you will also have missions visiting other worlds, and later different solar systems. The vast amount of weapons can also be upgraded and modded, and to top it all off you can also drive various vehicles, but not limited to tanks, spaceships, and even horses.

This mod is like a combination of every 90s FPS idea but put into one whole neat package. It also has a standalone release and has won numerous awards since its release. A definitive recommendation, just beware to not get sucked into its world too much. It’s still in development and even more things will be added in the future.

Demon Throne

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What would happen if you put Duke Nukem in a fantasy setting and then add some RPG elements? Demon Throne or WGRelams Demon Throne, as it’s also known.

Demon Throne is essentially a huge world, with more than 25 levels, new enemies, and unique bosses. It also features two protagonists to choose from, Duke and Jedrik Demonhorn. Choosing Duke, you will learn that while traveling through space, his ship started falling apart, but instead of dying, Duke found himself in another world. He was summoned by Axon, who needs his help in defeating a demon invasion of his domain.

The gameplay is a bit different from your standard Duke 3D mod because you also have access to POW MODE. Pow Mode is magical energy for spells, both offensive and defensive. Fully maxed out and leveled out, it can cause chaos on the map. There are two POW modes that you choose at the begging of the game, the standard meter and the revenge meter. Standard increases energy when you kill enemies, but decreases when taking damage, while Revenge increases when taking damage, or collecting health items at full health.

Level design is a bit more abstract, and will require a fair bit of platforming in certain sections, but the environment is full of small details. It manages to give you this idea, that this is certainly a magical place, out of this world, but still retains that fantasy sense, that everyone is familiar with. The weapons are the same but, with a unique look to the setting, so you’ll have things like Dual Revolvers, but eventually, you’ll get the Plasma Gun, BFG, Flamethrower, and so on. Upgrades for weapons and abilities can be purchased as the game goes on, by collecting coins and gems (gems are spent in shops, while gold is exchanged for gems).

In conclusion, a very unique mod, with plenty of content to spare. Offering two playable characters, a unique level design, and the sheer madness and chaos it causes, it’s not something to miss out on. The developers also used new voxels, created new enemies, and even put in a tutorial for newcomers. The mix of fantasy and Duke Nukem worked surprisingly well, and you should give it a try.

Blast Radius

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Blast Radius is one of the latest, mega-sized projects that shows the love that people have for Duke Nukem 3D. It features a brand new episode, which consists of 14 maps, as well as new enemies.
Its creator ck3D, wants to be as close as possible not only to the games but its level design philosophy as well. Upon starting the mod, one of the first things that you will notice, are the insanely detailed maps, that it offers. All of the maps are based on real-life locations, and you will travel across the world, kicking alien butts along the way.

You will visit such places, as Paris, Pula (Croatia), LA, Tokyo, Russia, and so on. All of the levels are big and detailed, and roughly take around 30 minutes to complete. However, the time in this case isn’t a bad thing, as the levels themselves offer more than enough content and challenges, leaving you wanting more. The new enemies that are introduced, are essentially pallet swaps, with a few new weapons, which is just enough to spice things up.

Blast Radius feels like a long-lost episode of Duke Nukem 3D, and you can see the dedication and passion that went into creating this mod. The sheer amount of love for level design, detail, and keeping the spirit of the game, is enough reason to give this one a go. You won’t be disappointed.

Savior of Babes

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This mod takes the classic Duke Nukem formula and turns it up to 11. In short, it makes the game an even bigger power fantasy, and it even gives you new weapons, and even more blood and gore.
One of the first things that you will notice is the sheer amount of weapons that this mod has to offer.

You will no longer start with a pistol, but instead, you’ll be wielding an M60, that can obliterate anything in its path. As the game goes on, you will pick up various other weapons, such as the Shrapnel Storm, Four Horsemen (an RPG), and many other unique weapons. All of them will come in handy, as the maps are littered with hordes of enemies. In addition to the classic ones, there are also beefed-up versions of them, so don’t be surprised if you see a stronger version of an Octobrain or a Pigcop with an auto rifle.

Depending on the weapon used to dispose of them, you can expect copious amounts of gore and blood all over the place. So much so, that once you kill them you can step in blood and hear that puddle sound. While the mod does use in some instances borrowed assets from other games and Duke mods, it also uses maps from Fatal Mode Atomic, which was originally made to make the game harder and you would pistol start each level. All in all, if you like gore, or are looking for something similar to Brutal Doom, but in Duke Nukem 3D, then Savior of Babes is the mod for you.

Duke Nukem Legacy Edition

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If you ever wanted a remake of the original, that isn’t World Tour, then this is the thing for you. Essentially, Legacy Edition brings back Duke, remakes it, remixes it, and adds new things for maximum fun. It creates a perfect blend of old and the new, making it just right, but never going overboard.

However, there are new features as well, such as the scoring system, the option to save the babes (yet again), new weapons (those that were cut in the beta version), new enemies, and a complete rebalancing of the game. Legacy Edition restores much of the cut content, so you’ll see things such as the beta enemies (pig cops, overlords, etc), and cut weapons, such as the Laser Chainsaw, or the Sonic Resonator. Some weapons have alternate firing modes, such as the pistol, which can now fire in short bursts which are great for low-tier enemies. It also introduces an extra life system, which is an interesting choice nowadays, but it fits in this mod, making the experience much more intense. Some levels also have new secret endings, giving you a great incentive to explore and find new secrets.

The mod also rebalances the entire game making it much more challenging, and boss battles are much more interesting. For starters, each boss battle has a unique soundtrack, which makes you wonder why wasn’t it included in the original game. The beta shotgun makes a comeback, while the old one is now dubbed the “double shotgun”. Laser Chainsaw is also a great addition to the game and makes melee combat much more fun and engaging. All in all, if you’re looking for a great revamped, remixed experience, you can’t go wrong with this one.

Duke Hard

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This mod is especially interesting since it’s a community-driven episode, making a unique experience, but never sinking in quality. Taking inspiration, from Die Hard, this mod consists of 17 maps, made by 15 mappers, which take place in one building.

The community gave itself a challenge, and it delivered superb results. There aren’t any new weapons or enemies, as Duke Hard is more of a challenge to the player. Each level has a seamless (after the intermission screen) transition into the next one. It gives you a great sense of progression, as you begin climbing the floors of the skyscraper. There are plenty of references to Die Hard, obviously, and the climax of the episode takes place in a great rooftop battle.

If you pay close attention to the credits screen, you will notice several people that went and created Ion Fury (a standalone Build game), and witness their talent and creativity firsthand. Duke Hard is a great, fun challenge, and has some of the best levels that the community has to offer. If you need even more challenging episodes in your Duke Nukem game, then give this one a go.

KickAss Duke

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KickAss Duke or KADuke, or as it’s sometimes known Duke Nukem Kickass Edition, is probably the best gameplay mod for Duke3D. It greatly improves the gameplay, all the while adding new ideas, but never losing the spirit of the original. It brings a ton of new things, such as new weapons, enemies, items, inventory, and other quality-of-life features.

One of the first things that will catch your eye, is the improved melee system. Instead of just using Mighty Boot to hit enemies, now you can also throw punches and even do combos, but this will drain your stamina meter. The new melee system is a nice surprise, and with each new punch, the screen shakes a bit, adding to the realism and action.

Each weapon now has either an alternate firing mode or can be dual-wielded. So, now you have a Golden Desert Eagle, a pair of Revolvers, and Alien Weapons, and some of the weapons have been completely reworked. For example, the Devastator no longer kills enemies instantly, but now has two mods (missile bombardment, and lock on heat seekers) for you to choose from. Freezethrower is now basically a tool, called the “Caterkillar Platform”, and can be switched to Flamethrower or a Laser Chainsaw. This is particularly clever since the sprites are relatively similar.

The mod is also fully customizable, complete with violence settings, item drops, and a DJuke Box for selecting your preferred level soundtrack. Since this is a gameplay mod, it doesn’t feature any new maps, but it does work without a hitch on any other user map. So, if you want to try something new in your Duke Nukem 3D game, then give this one a go. KickAss Duke amps up the experience, making some pretty memorable scenes.

WG Mega Pack

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Developed by William Gee, with over 20 years of mapping, WG Mega Pack is truly something special. With 37 new levels across 4 episodes, plus Deathmatch maps, this mod has more than enough content to offer.

New episodes have just enough challenge for both new and veteran players alike, and you’ll be finding new strategies to beat the levels. The episodes are The Abyss, which is more vanilla Duke-inspired, featuring 4 levels, Space, which as the name suggests takes place in space, and finally Realms and Pandora, which are a mix of both sci-fi and fantasy settings. Since this is the same author that made the previously mentioned Demon Throne, you know you’re in for some quality content.

There are 15 multiplayer maps, which are fully playable with the help of netduke32, meaning you can enjoy all of them with your friends.  With that being said, if you ever needed more Duke for your game, this mod has you covered. Good levels are always in high demand, but quality levels are always rare, leaving you no reason not to try them out.

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About Duke Nukem 3D

Release Date
Jan 29, 1996
3D Realms
Country of Origin
United States

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