There's a frisson of legal tension between 3D Realms and 2K Games currently, so the true fate of Mr Duke Nukem cannot be told. But the cold hard fact is that as of right now the wheels have fallen off the Duke Nukem Forever project good and proper. So, with the aid of developer leaks in the wake of the lay-offs at 3D Realms, here's what we could have been playing. Remember though: nobody steals our Duke and lives.
1. The game was to open in Duke's Las Vegas casino - the Lady Killer. Here he was to have sex with twins while playing his own game, before being part of a talk show that would be interrupted by a vast Alien Mothership hovering over the Vegas skyline. Someone then had to pay for knocking Duke off his stride.
2. A boss battle would have taken place against an Alien Queen in a boxing ring within a vast arena known as the Duke Dome.
3. At different points in the game Duke would be able to shrink himself - capering through giant kitchens in a fast food joint and taking out the giant (normal-sized) foes that stood in his way.
4. You weren't only going to get to play as Duke. You could also play as a sexy lady called Bombshell, who at one point saves Duke from certain peril through the medium of lapdancing. One can only guess at the amount of research money developers spent in getting this scene right.
5. Bombshell would be able to shrink herself too, and would spend several missions bombing around in a remote-controlled car.
6. Familiar creatures to shoot would have included Pig Cops on flying machines, bullet-fodder Enforcers, Octobrains and topless women trapped in alien goo. Stamping on stuff would be a frequent occurrence.
7. One boss was to face a humiliation move that would have involved a pipebomb being stuck up its bum. Duke's potential witticisms for the occasion included: "This is about to impact your colon", "Montezuma's revenge", and "Colon-ize this motherfucker".
8. As the Duke slaughtered babe-stealing alien bastards, he'd earn Ego Points. In post-DN3D games Ego had been the Duke-speak term for health, so Duke's self-regard was generally both high and easily dented by bullets.
9. Chucked pipe bombs had a really cool red smoke trail effect as they flew through the air.
10. The whole thing was going to be a bit sexist.
This article is part of a wider feature in the last issue of PC Zone. Buy a back issue if you missed it or buy the latest issue of PC Zone online and have it delivered to your door.