A 1996 prototype build of the unfortunate Duke Nukem Forever video game has been leaked online, allowing fans of the foul-mouthed, alien-bashing antihero from 3D Realms to play a side-scrolling version of the game. The Duke Nukem Forever build was published online only days after a 1995 prototype of 3D Realms’ portal-powered shooter Prey was also exposed.
Duke Nukem Forever, first revealed in 1997, has become notorious for both its lengthy production cycle and the critical and commercial roasting it got upon release. Duke Nukem Forever was a sequel to 1996’s hit first-person shooter Duke Nukem 3D, which was praised by critics and fans for its satire of pop culture and the remarkably interactive game world for the time. It underwent numerous revisions before being handed over to Gearbox Software and released in 2011. Following the release of an early prototype of Duke Nukem Forever earlier this year, Duke Nukem co-creator Scott Miller took to Twitter to describe what went wrong with the game’s difficult production.
A user called x0r jmp has uploaded a 1996 build of Duke Nukem Forever to Archive.org, which shows Duke back to the side-scrolling gameplay of Duke Nukem and Duke Nukem II, surprising fans who still hold a torch for Duke despite his catastrophic previous excursion. The leaked copy includes the prototype’s original game files and a level editor, as well as patched versions meant to run on contemporary hardware. This isn’t the first time x0r jmp has contributed a key leak linked to the Duke Nukem series, as they also gave the leak that served as the basis for the Duke Nukem Forever 2001 fan restoration effort earlier this year.
The side-scrolling Duke Nukem Forever prototype has many of the franchise’s iconic components while having very little amount of gameplay. As they battle their way through the restricted number of stages, players may employ a range of various weaponry and distinctive devices such as Duke’s jetpack. Although reverting to a side-scrolling style after the success of Duke Nukem 3D was a surprising decision for 3D Realms, the stunning visuals and physics for the time demonstrate that the company was still committed to developing a game that would be a technological showpiece, regardless of viewpoint.
The Duke Nukem Forever leak may serve as another illustration of all that went wrong during the renowned game’s difficult creation for players still reeling from its underwhelming release. While Duke’s most ardent fans may never get their hands on the version of Duke Nukem Forever that they’ve been waiting for for so long, they do have a Duke Nukem movie to look forward to at some time.