One Final Gig: Duke Nukem 3D World Tour Out Today

Old Man Duke Nukem has gotten the band back together to show us disrespectful whippersnappers what for in Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary Edition World Tour [official site]. Out today (in a few hours), it’s a re-release of 3D Realms’ 1996 first-person shooter with an extra episode made by the old gang. Original level designers Allen Blum III and Richard ‘Levelord’ Gray have made new levels, composer Lee Jackson has musicated them, and ol’ Jon St. John is back in the recording booth saying movie quotes.

The new eight-level episode sends Duke jaunting around the world to shoot those naughty aliens. Oh, and Duke gets a new gun. I am quite curious to see how the episode has turned out – designers returning to old projects with new experience can prove quite interesting. At the very least, I hope it’ll have lots of good buttons to press.

The World Tour Anniversary Tour World World Tour Time World Edition Anniversary also comes with an (optional) 3D version, magically popping Duke 3D into polygons with newer lighting and bits. It does fix(?) the problem(?) of the odd perspective on Duke’s fake 3D turning your eyes inside-out if you look up and down too much but it does also change the style and spirit of Duke a bit too much for this hoary purist. Feeling confused and slightly ill is part of the true Duke Nukem 3D experience.

Tour Tour Tour Anniversary Tour Special Tour Tour Edition is £14.99/19,99€/$19.99 on Steam. No, you can’t buy the new episode separately. No, you can’t even buy the original version of Duke Nukem 3D digitally any more. I already own Duke Nukem 3D digitally (in editions since pulled from sale) and won’t pay £15 for a new episode. I can’t imagine the fuss it’d be to untangle the rights to editions put out by 3D Realms and Devolver Digital and the hand inside the corpse of 3D Realms and Gearbox and… the situation still sucks for folks who’ve already paid for Duke 3D.

Gearbox Software getting the band back together is the most exciting thing to happen to Duke in fifteen years. It may well be the last exciting thing ever to happen to Duke. I fear Gearbox may be trying to warm audiences up for a new game of their own making and no, no thank you. Tour Tour Tour Tour Tour is a good point to let Duke retire.

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  1. Deadly Habit says:

    Hail to the king baby!

  2. vorador says:

    Better get on the review then, guys.

    But yeah, bit pricey for the old stuff, new 8 levels and a 3D mode that i can’t see screenshots or video anywhere, so it must not be that impressive.

    I will likely buy it when there’s a sale, just for the new maps since i already own the Atomic edition.

    • ANeM says:

      All of the promotional material uses the new 3D mode. They updated the engine to render actual 3D polygons instead of the weird pseudo 2D solution so many “3D” games used back in the day.

      • vorador says:

        Then it’s pretty underwhelming, but it doesn’t get in the way. Oh well.

        The original Build engine was interesting since it added height data to maps, hence it was considered 2.5D since you could make slopes and more complicated architecture than Doom for example. For a while it was the best FPS engine.

        • Kaeoschassis says:

          Even more interesting, it was actually capable of doing a true “room over room” situation (without silently teleporting the player), but ONLY if no corners of the two rooms were overlapping and only so long as you couldn’t see either room from the other. I was chatting with a friend about this a little while back, and it stuck with me – Duke3D feels, looking back, like one huge (playable, incredibly enjoyable) demo for the Build engine. Hell, go through the episodes in order and you can almost ‘see’ the mappers gradually thrashing out new ideas, playing with new abilities and, especially later on, finding ways to bend the engine to within inches of breaking point. We were running through episode 2 co-op at the time and by the end of it we were spending more time stopping and prodding at things than we were shooting bads. Fun times, actually.

          I often wonder what might have been if that engine had taken off more than it did. It got a few great games, of course, but hell, the whole 2.5 thing was already old when it came out. In a time when we were just starting to drown in (honestly kind of ugly, even then) early polygons, Build games were big, complex, fast as hell, and kind of pretty in a weird, broken way. So long as you didn’t look up.

        • Michael Anson says:

          Marathon was doing height data two years before Duke did.

      • Sic says:

        I hope you can still play it in original mode, in 320*240?

        I’ve never understood why anyone wants to play games with low-res assets in high resolution. It makes no damn sense.

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          Ericusson says:

          Cause they can probably ?
          Also, because displaying such a low resolution in full screen on any LCD will produce a horrible horrible picture.

      • MajorLag says:

        It was actually 3D believe it or not. The walls are honest to goodness polygons rendered by the engine, not scaled slivers of texture data like they were in Wolf3D and ray casters.

        IIRC, the inability to look up or down in Doom and Duke3D is limitation imposed by shortcuts taken in the rendering to make it possible to run that stuff on a 386.

        • vorador says:

          It wasn’t. It only looks like 3D, but map data is sector based like Doom. The height value allowed for slopes and more realistic looking environment, but you couldn’t put a room above another without resorting to trickery. Something that in true 3D engines like Quake is trivial to do.

          If you’re in the mood here’s a review of the Build engine
          link to

          • MajorLag says:

            Sure, like Doom the map data wasn’t 3D, but it wasn’t like a raycaster where the walls exist as cells on a 2D grid and are rendered as vertical lines of varying scale. Like more modern engines, Build and Doom rendered their levels by drawing polygons.

            So I guess it is a matter of definition. To me, the fact that Doom and Build had to occlusion testing and the like make it real 3D.

    • The First Door says:

      If you want a video comparison of the old and new modes 3D modes, Ian over at Eurogamer did a good video on the new stuff:

      link to


  3. Chorltonwheelie says:

    Kerching! Get those pre-orders in nostalgia fans.

  4. Distec says:

    If only it didn’t have Gearbox on it.

  5. Cropduster says:

    I just replayed the last re-release though…

    Sadly Duke 3D only really has 4-5 truely good levels.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      I dunno about that. There’s only really one kinda bland level in the first episode that makes me groan every time I get to it. E2’s solid throughout, though I understand some people dislike its relative linearity and tight corridors. E3’s great and manages to do some cool things that keep it from feeling like a re-hash of the first episode. The Birth is, admittedly, a mixed bag, but there’s plenty of fun to be had. Nah, I’d say on the whole it had way more good levels than bad.

  6. Turkey says:

    Here’s my impression of Duke Nukem looking through the EDF homepage for a retirement option: “Uhh! Uhh! Where is it?”


  7. inspiredhandle says:

    …Randy Pitchford. 😑

  8. syllopsium says:

    I’ve got the original on CD from the first time around, still not seeing much to convince me the original files and eDuke32 isn’t a better idea

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