Post news RSS You're Not Supposed To Be Here - Level Lore - "Big Apple Smoke Toke" (level 3/BRL3.map)

Upon realizing the breast, uh, West Coast is toast, Duke Nukem heads out East to check on N.Y.C.; and it shouldn't take long before he remembers how all the action there seems to come in its own, unique flavor. He's still ready for it, though; as much as you are, that is.

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Download Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius (last update: 03/04/2024; v. 5.0.2)

In level 3 of Blast Radius: "Big Apple Smoke Toke", Duke gets perspective from the introductory Californian catastrophe as witnessed in levels 1 and 2 and mightily sets foot in New York City; but that's only to even further realize the true extent of the ongoing invasion and also remember the East Coast does things its way.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB

History: Chronologically, "Big Apple Smoke Toke" was the first level designed for Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius; it was made April - Dec. 14th, 2019 which sounds like it was a longer span than any of the other levels, but really meant more spread out development time due to personal availability reasons and also the need to adjust focus onto how exactly Blast Radius should be, look, play and feel like.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDBN.Y.C. meets Duke Nukem 3D: an opportunity for references.


For that latter reason, "Big Apple Smoke Toke" might qualify as a particularly interesting level to study amongst the set as still one of the most rooted in experimentation with various concepts, and yet already strong of a certain direction and qualities that will only confirm and affirm themselves throughout the development of all the other levels in the campaign. (To a degree, this also stands for the two levels that were conceived just next: level 7 "Lights, Camera, Revolution" and level 9 "Nakano Nightmare", respectively.)

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB
This is CBGB, playing the best tunes in this side of town.


Something to note is being the sudden result of my ideal vision for a potential "Duke Nukem 3D II" that had been maturing since the release of the base game back in 1996, most of making Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius really came down to tackling raw execution - which means most everything conceptual about the project already was firmly decided upon before ever drawing the first wall, but needed practice.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDBBuild engine recreation of a Mark Gonzales sculpture.


One aspect of the experience I knew I wanted was it should subvert the user's expectations; being the first sketch of possible playgrounds, "Big Apple Smoke Toke" ended up encapsulating many of the episode's later more prominent traits. It also became the perfect compromise between, and complement to the successive safety of level 1 then wildness of level 2 by simultaneously evoking both grounds (1 in the layout style, 2 in the relative frenzy), insisting on blurring the line between the familiar and unfamiliar to maintain Duke hesitating all the while keeping introducing him to some more new elements.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB

Bloody graffiti as a nod to "The Warriors" (1979).


The first part of the level consists in an introduction to its gimmick; "Big Apple Smoke Toke" circumstantially being bound to qualify as one (surprisingly rare) instance of an explicitly New York-themed map for an otherwise traditionally Cali-centric game, strong callbacks to the basic Duke Nukem 3D essence and nature were in order as not to completely alienate the player just yet (and also to reassure them a little with the fake promise that level 2 was only exceptionally overwhelming), albeit with some sort of twist in the effort of distinctly marking the regional and cultural distance from the classic settings.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB

Secret place referencing the Ramones' 1975 performance at Arturo Vega's loft.


That would be achieved, layout-wise, by playing on the familiar with a level start recycling the classic formula of the typical base Duke Nukem 3D level: one major outdoor hub, and then pseudo-complex indoor hallway circuitry that slowly reveals itself to be interwoven and articulated around a core, where progress is sequenced by the progressive collection of keycards and finally culminates with the level closing back on itself.

To simultaneously clash and complement, exoticism would be accomplished by markedly repurposing the yellow keycard into N.Y.C.'s notorious Metrocard (of course) and evidently linking it to two possible, yet opposite ways out of the hub; the omnipresent sight of which would contrast with the otherwise suspiciously crystal clear progression through the very short, on-the-nose initial blue key and red key segments, maybe instilling early suspicion about a possible set-up or red herring there in veteran Duke 3D players already - especially after how the whole of level 2 would have had just used familiarity against them.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Surprise is then introduced indeed under the yellow key being hidden in a discreet spot of an otherwise mandatory room and thus possible to miss right at the apex of the mysterious build-up by the inattentive player, whose progress towards the exit of the level actually won't be stopped in retribution; instead, they can still navigate onwards to the next section - with their only price to pay then being living with their tolerated omission all the while freely theorizing about its consequences.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Another trumping of the usual codes would come in leading the player to expect the end of the level around the time of the third key pad (and so the yellow one), only for twice as much as they just traversed to brutally be thrown at them, thus simultaneously rewarding and overwhelming them and by doing so, completing their disorientation and surprise.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB

"Enter with or buy Metrocard."

Having found the Metrocard, that sudden reveal might come in two flavors: the more direct access via the nearest gate will literally unwrap seemingly endless urban scenery and scale from space which, so far, had literally been nothing but mystery, the second its door finally moves out of frame; whereas backtracking to the opposite end of the starting hub will allow for a smoother transition courtesy of the MTA subway system, and being rewarded with access to an entire, optional underground layer of the map. That allows for lateral navigation, an easier time getting around in general, an alternative way of approaching the second half of the level and so more articulate strategies, and the element of surprise remaining intact as the first time player finds themselves venturing into the unknown as they exit the system through a new station, feeling very much like a tourist would in real life.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB

Beta screenshot of the starting area showing a different sky texture, subtle arrangement variations,
and the East Coast Pig Cops.


Whoever initially fails to locate the Metrocard, on the other hand, will meet with all the upcoming, surprise terrain with disbelief as they encounter the end of an otherwise rather innocent ventilation shaft that is designed to drop them in a relatively safe zone, albeit in the midst of all the imminent action.

If level 1 re-introduced Troopers, Pig Cops, turrets (on the Come Get Some skill settings and up) and introduced the Scorpion Tanks, and level 2 re-introduced Octabrains, mini bosses and introduced new variants such as the Bomb Squad Pig Cops or Sunburnt Sentries, here the New York City theme (and props) singlehandedly dictated the invention of one particular enemy: the Assault Taxi Driver, a yellow-vested Trooper with deadly mortar throwing capabilities and accuracy whose weakness is being too obsessed with their designated vehicle to ever leave its parking spot. By design an overpowered, yet fragile coward and so a particular asshole to run into, it purposefully was presented as such in the level, the first couple of them hiding behind decorum in a rather mean way; that aspect of its conception probably influenced how each and every of the 40+ new enemies in Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius would end up bearing a distinct psychological profile that would influence their behavior and preferred settings.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB

Assault Taxi Driver and Mistaken Assault Taxi Driver (M.A.T.D.) page from the manual.


"Big Apple Smoke Toke" also re-introduces Fat Commanders from base Duke Nukem 3D and presents their freeze ray-shooting counterpart, which will smash our hero's HP digits to smithereens provided that you let him let them; the Expander gun-sporting and -dropping East Coast Pig Cops; and some other new variants, e.g.. the mostly annoying, shrinker and spitter Copium Battlelord.

Second half of the level revolves around a N.Y.P.D. police station which can be used to loop back to the first area, the Brooklyn Banks which are under heavy guard but also a major item cache, the Mario Bros.' apartment (and truck) as inspired by the 1993 movie, a bar that is no less than the historic CBGB and a small boardwalk section over the East River, next to a collapsed Brooklyn Bridge.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Similarly to the play on the yellow key/Metrocard in the first portion of the level, the second one repurposes the red key into a more unique artifact. Main progression goal is to unlock the Badass shop, which is a spoof on Supreme - complete with relatively difficult accessibility, emphasis on red in its logo, and a long queue of Troopers lined up across the block and bound by the same eager wait for the store opening. This can be achieved by exploring around the neighborhood and retrieving two red keycards, a possible allegory for Supreme cards. Successfully doing so will reveal a secret tunnel into the back stock, itself leading to an online reseller's hideout in the basement next door - which was already established as spied on by the N.Y.P.D. and so the subject of an investigation. From that point onwards, Duke can flick a switch and gain access to an emergency elevator platform in the place's backyard, allowing for a steroids-fueled chopper escape.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB
Page from the manual.

Finally, "Big Apple Smoke Toke" also may qualify as representative of Blast Radius direction as a whole in that in addition to sequentially pulling impressionistic fake outs, it also follows a rhythm of thirds that is an omnipresent motif on both the micro and macro scales throughout the entire project: here the first third of the map singlehandedly loops back onto itself, the second third only complements but never contradicts, and integrates the first loop all the while forming its own, and finally the optional underground layer also forms its own literal track all the while tying the former two together, and geographically underneath them, thereby establishing the third dimension of the entire ensemble (see automap).

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB

Another aspect in that regard is its marked focus on colors; in addition to all the key shenanigans, red in particular is important here and simultaneously symbolizes continuation and rupture with tradition - the one established earlier in the West Coast-based, former two levels which felt crimson and now only prolonged at a superficial, literal ground level with a clear restriction to the Brooklyn Banks bricks, but also the one of vanilla gameplay with particularly strong insistence on the Expander as the level's go-to weapon (especially since now appearing as a gun), and having to find a total of three red keys in order to dominate the level. In its own right, due to its relative rarity in base Duke Nukem 3D, yellow is mostly reserved to the player's assimilation of novelty elements i.e.. the taxi/Assault Taxi Driver set-ups and the central-yet-optional Metrocard.

"Big Apple Smoke Toke" as a title is a reference to scientologist actor Steve Berra breaking down in tears at the sight of professional skateboarder Tony Hawk smoking out of an apple when both were teenagers.


Walkthrough:
"New York - if I can kill 'em here, I can kill 'em anywhere!" - Duke starts his East Coast romp in somewhat safe cover behind the car he 'borrowed' out of San Francisco, but the ongoing invasion already is audible. One step back might reveal one of the sources of all the explosions: meet the Assault Taxi Driver, a Martin Scorsese-obsessed extraterrestrial asshole who will bombard Duke from great distances, but otherwise never leave the safety of their vehicle of choice, the body of which they will use for some deadly hide-and-seek.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Due to how hazardous they can get if let loose, Duke should learn to prioritize those freaks the very moment he sees them, or taxis. Thankfully they are just as weak as regular Troopers, and so a few pistol wounds shall suffice for bringing them down. On the Come Get Some skill setting, the first block presents two of them.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Going after them invariably will draw Duke some undesired and undesirable attention, courtesy of one more new enemy variant: the East Coast Pig Cops, who are recognizable by their navy blue uniform and Expander-infused gun blasts. They live and die exactly like the classic Pig Cop, but their attacks will fry Duke and they will drop the corresponding equipment once killed. Thankfully, the start of the level conveniently provides with enough boxes of pipebombs to fight back and baconize, mostly around the taxis and also the subway entrance - where Duke will learn he could use a Metrocard.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Level start also conceals a "Hollywood Holocaust"-inspired secret RPG and rockets. Duke will need to figure out at least one out of two ways to get up there, though; but especially off pistol start, he might end up really appreciating the acquired firepower when the time (immediately) comes to clean up the area.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


In particular, the RPG is very helpful when it comes to handling those pests as soon as they first try sniping Duke with lasers from their supposedly safe balconies. Any worthwhile succession of basic pistol shots will also do the trick, but leave Duke exposed for longer when he really has no time to waste and needs to get familiar with the zone.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Further exploration of the block will reveal the existence of a few locked shops, of one suspicious-looking, raised elevator platform, of two yellow key pads and of an emergency exit set-up behind the central building. Climbing up the two floors worth of stairs there should reward Duke with a view and a full chaingun, as he can't help but also note the existence of a manhole cover which can be exploded (or accidentally fallen into) at any time.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Once done clearing the block of all the contained alien scum and taking a look around, it's time for Duke to progress onwards.

Shooting the switch on this wall right next to his starting position will open the gate into the deli, where after some quick aisle reorganization he will be prompt to retrieve the first red key.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


As soon as said red key fetched, Blast Radius will introduce its very first Fat Commanders to Duke, spawning from atop of the Eight Seventy Five building (the whole of the first hub consisting in a loose reinterpretation of the real-life N.Y.C. intersection of 53rd and 3rd Streets, whose legacy was popularized by the eponymous 1976 Ramones song).

Duke should wholeheartedly wreck them, and then proceed onwards to the pizza joint, using the newly found key on the lock there.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Doing so will not just unlock the door, but also pry the store windows open, revealing enemy presence inside.

Duke can choose to face those head-on by keeping going through the door, or settle for a tactical approach by going back around and pulverizing the place with pipebombs from the cover the aforementioned windows allocate.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Exploring the now safe pizza joint will reveal its share of intricacies including a mysterious round switch which for now seems to do nothing, various concealed items, a loop back to the deli by blowing up the bathroom and most crucially a door in the back Duke can unlock via the flick of this switch.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


The door now reveals a back room with a printer that is normally used by the store tenants for the pizza boxes.

Naturally pressing the switch on it will result in printing out the level's first blue keycard.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Per using it, Duke can now get inside the sushi joint next door.

Exactly as established by the pizza place, unlocking the door will also trigger the automatic opening of the next window, allowing for a new dimension in approaching the alien vermin that's occupying the restaurant.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


After securing the spot, Duke is free to locate more potentially suspicious bathrooms as well as some goodies and last but not least, a door in the back, behind the counter.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Traversing that door will lead Duke into an underground space shared by the previously visited deli, pizzeria and sushi restaurant for frozen back stock.

He will meet some more alien scum down there, including the first Ice Cold Commanders whose projectiles will lock Duke in place at 1 HP for a few seconds upon hitting, and a wave of Assault Troopers that really is organized around Duke's finding of his own freezethrower.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Flicking the button for 'all lifts' will activate every elevator platform in the area, and render them locally operable.

As demonstrated on the security camera screen, that means Duke can now finally access the big, prominent lift outside, and also use either of the elevators next to him to loop back to the deli (via a new room behind the counter) or the pizzeria (through the now revealed mechanism behind the wall).

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Of course, he also might choose to just run back up the stairs and out through the sushi shop.

Regardless, his choice will determine a lot since activating the lifts also triggered an intense three-way battle just waiting outside, including three strategically-placed Sunburnt Battlelord Sentries (one for each possible shop) plus a few sniping Fat Commanders.

Duke probably is safer remaining inside and using the underground connection between the different food joints to calmly wander from one target to the next, as stepping outside right now would mean getting caught in a net of potentially anally-fired rockets and assured Expander ray hitscan heat.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Only after regaining some control and composure, Duke can finally use the lift and access the upper levels around that end of the street.

Doing so will present him with two possible directions to pick; taking the bait of the RPG route will compensate for his effort under the form of more climbing and fighting, several Atomic Healths and other important supplies, and a bonus power switch - which will trigger the demolition of the building across the street, the wrath of a new wave of Fat Commanders and Troopers and perhaps, just perhaps, accessibility to a secret Devastator.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Going the opposite direction will result in the ability to enter a small, independent office space through the window, but the way ahead is blocked there by a forcefield which is controlled by this switch on the building facade.

Duke can either shoot the button from distance, or resort to some elementary platforming on the awnings as to directly reach it.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


The room past the forcefield contains an Ice Cold Commander, the shrinker Duke might want to immediately use against it, and a suspicious set-up featuring a ventilation shaft, a broken switch of mysterious purposes and one shelf in particular that shows some signs of being moved around a lot.

From that moment onwards, Duke has different ways of possibly approaching the rest of the level.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB

Manipulating the shelf will reveal a cache in the wall which just formerly concealed the mysterious, optional yellow key/Metrocard.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Once in possession of the Metrocard, Duke can choose to use it to go around the map in two different ways.

The first option consists in going back down the office building and operating the door that is directly there, resulting in the sudden, brutal reveal of unexpected new terrain on a slightly grander scale, and of one rather copious Pig Cop battle in front of the local N.Y.P.D. station.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


And/or Duke can choose to go underground, and navigate back to the opposite end of the first block in order to unlock access to the MTA subway system, the train itself and then the second block via the next station.

Using the Metrocard anywhere at all will unlock all corresponding doors interchangeably of which yellow pad is used, and so it never matters if our hero happens to change his mind about his preferred destination after the fact.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


In all cases however, one other consequence of using the Metrocard will be the triggering of a bonus fight against the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (really four Copium Battlelord Sentry wannabe's) in the sewers, right underneath the pizza joint and with the corresponding battle theme playing on a boombox.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Back in the office, Duke can also miss or shun the Metrocard altogether and just keep progressing onwards to the second city block by venturing into and through the ventilation shaft here, which eventually will drop him into a (very temporarily) safe spot.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


As soon as Duke reaches those new streets, regardless of the path he took, investigating the N.Y.P.D. station, while optional, is recommended for supplies, progression and navigation clues, secrets and an easy loop back to the first block via the cell (watch out for the imprisoned Assault Taxi Driver who will try and break free as soon as Duke is done with the East Coast Pig Cop guard).

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Clearing the police station will most notably grant Duke access to a bunch of security camera video angles, all focused on different 'concerns': the N.Y.P.D.'s current investigations and surveillance subjects around the city, thus safely allowing the so-called So Great to get familiar and strategize.

That is, until Duke chooses to lower the gates into the N.Y.P.D. station parking lot, thereby opening up even more about the level and access to more hidden items but also prompting the spawn of some mean Pig Cop Tanks and Scorpion Tanks there in reaction (which might even enter the station itself if Duke forgot to close the door behind him).

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Progressing onwards into the city or just around the corner of the second subway station if Duke favored that path will lead to Badass, the local spoof Supreme store location with an impressive line of Assault Troopers and Generals in queue, waiting for the opening.

Make the drop of their dead bodies one they didn't expect; or just blow them all up with ease by the means of the Expander, refills for which Duke should have found aplenty at this stage.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Just across the street from Badass is a simplistic, miniature recreation of Washington Square Park, complete with a micro Build engine take on the Washington Arch.

Suppressing the East Coast Pig Cop presence there, then checking the security video camera screens will hint at Duke's next points of conquest and imminent mission consisting in retrieving three colored keycards: one blue one and two red ones, with all of their respective locations shown.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


The blue key (second one in the level) appears to be just casually sitting there on one end of the nearby boardwalk.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Then one first red key (the second one in the level) is shown to be at the Mario Bros.' apartment, amidst various other red- and green-colored elements, enemies and props.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Finally, a second red key (the third one in the level) looks like it's been dropped on a bathroom floor somewhere.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


The corresponding locks are also shown. Two distinct red ones seem to pertain to the Badass shop and so, the cards there might have to be collected then brought separately (albeit interchangeably), as Duke is too cool to carry both at once.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Except for that one practical setback, Duke is now free to go roaming and looking around town in whichever order he might aspire to.

Immediately turning the next corner will unveil some tough resistance under the guise of aggravated Pig Cop aggression due to their N.Y.P.D. car being towed. Be mindful of the Scorpion Tank that shows up to assist, but also of the corner it's coming from as it's only masking even more of the level.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Now from that end of the block, Duke can go three ways. Logically turning the corner after the towed cop car should present him with a dead-end featuring a suspicious-looking truck (complete with Bob Hoskins' hand still trapped in its door), colored enemy duo and garage door marked to match.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Rummaging through the garage will be paid for in equipment galore, including Thwomp Stompers that just so happen to double up as protective boots just fine were Duke to ever decide on exploring the subway tracks.

But right now, he should watch out for the green-vested Pig Cop and small green turrets, then ride the elevator up and watch out for the big red turret (which shoots Expander blasts).

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Just around the next corner, Duke gets to rip the red-vested Pig Cop a new one or two, fetch one of the red keys, and then leave through the window which itself reveals a balcony with some supplies.

Said balcony also makes for a great sniper spot Duke might in fact want to consider utilizing as such for a few moments, as more alien bastards have been popping up on and around the streets since he went inside the building.

(Although before he leaves, operating the "?" block as recommended by the magnets on the fridge will temporarily open a secret cache in the garage that is brimming with Expander ammo.)

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Whenever he chooses to (but the descent from that balcony might be a wise moment to), Duke can leap over the barrier from the street and into the Brooklyn Banks.

That whole park-like area and arena is optional, and strongly guarded by several Overlord Sentries of both the classic and Sunburnt types as well as Copium Battlelords, Ice Cold Commanders and then some other nuisances which might sound less important but comprise an Assault Taxi Driver.

However, it is home to a non-negligible number of item, health and ammo pick-ups (including in all the trash cans) and so wouldn't be very practical (nor professional) to overlook.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Whenever ready, Duke is free to go and use the first red key he's found on the entrance of the Badass shop.

Similarly to how stores functioned on the first block, this will not just unlock the door but also open the store windows, revealing a pack of red-vested Assault Captains inside (spread over two floors) as well as the next red key pad Duke now needs to find a new manner to operate.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


In order to get to the final red key, Duke will first need the blue key which - as he got to visualize earlier - is resting on one end of the boardwalk that is the easternmost segment of the level.

The pier itself is rather quiet except for the regularly passing boat... Until Duke comes a little too close to his own personal goal.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Venturing anywhere near the key on the pier will trigger one of the most hardcore fights in the map with three Sunburnt Battlelord Sentries spawning on top of the distant skyscrapers and shooting rockets, legions of flying Troopers blasting lasers Duke's way and, just in case he might be this unprepared, a group of Scorpion Tanks releasing from the N.Y.P.D. station to slowly creep up and towards the scene - in Duke's back.

Most practical way of handling the assault probably is for Duke to dip into the water below and use the boardwalk as cover from most of the projectiles. Another possible strategy is rushing back to the main block then to the Brooklyn Banks, and letting the enemy waves progressively buffer into the zone (which offers Duke, simultaneously, abundant cover and maneuvering space), eliminating them as they come before going back to handle the Battlelords later.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Once the blue key earned, Duke should now turn around the last unexplored corner of the map where, after taming some more Bomb Squad and East Coast Pig Cops on location, he'll get to unlock and visit the CBGB.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Just before going in though, it is recommended that he checks out the next back alley as the last member of the Bomb Squad operation is hiding there, just waiting for an opportunity to snipe an unsuspecting Duke with a well-aimed rocket.

After Duke has kicked that ass dead, it's possible for him to climb all the rubble from the collapsed building in case he feels like jumping the palisades into the reseller's backyard (which itself loops back to the N.Y.P.D. station area by the help of a scaffolding), and/or handle the Sunburnt Battlelord that is guarding the place early; but he's also a free man and therefore doesn't exactly have to.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


One last time, using this outdoor lock will not just unlock the doors but also open windows into the bar which will reveal enemy occupation and the corresponding opportunities for pipebomb throws, or RPG shots.

Minus those few Troopers and a couple of Pig Cops in the bathrooms, though, resistance shall be relatively meager and thus Duke's way to the second/third/last red key mostly undisturbed but by the potential finding(s) of secret place(s).

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Duke can now go back to Badass and unlock the door to the back stock at last.

Opening that door will reveal a surprise, red Sunburnt Overlord Sentry just waiting to ambush Duke with explosive mortars.

A variety of options exist when it comes to handling the situation: Duke probably can ridicule the enemy with one strategic Shrinker shot, or in any case just run back up the stairs to lure and fight it out on the streets, where he will be at much less of a disadvantage against all the bouncy grenades.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Now at sufficient ease to take a prolonged look at the back stock area he just unlocked, Duke most likely will take prompt notice of one more ventilation shaft around the corner of the room.

Infiltrating the ducts will uncover the existence of a man-made tunnel into the store's repository which, via its own merits, eventually will lead Duke into the hideout of an online reseller, just next door.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Once in there, Duke should watch out for the East Coast Pig Cop (whose presence on location might raise a few questions) but also for the Sunburnt Battlelord Sentry in the backyard, provided that he hasn't decimated that one yet, for the windows into the basement Duke is in can be shot through.

Of course, that goes both ways and so, if tempted, Duke can choose to fight back from his own spot - or even shun the enemy for now and go serve some cold revenge later, after he's regained better mobility once back out in the open.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Blowing up the cracked door will uncover this next red room, which contains a switch.

Pulling the lever up will bring down the emergency elevator that is located in a corner of the backyard.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


As tradition would have it, Duke's discovery of that last room of course is the moment one last wave of Scorpion Tanks and Fat Commanders will pick to emerge from the N.Y.P.D. station and various spots around the whole block, respectively.

They will also take the giant wall that's been forcing Duke around the backyard this whole time down with them, in one desperate but by all means very practical attempt to come closer.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Duke should now go back out, clean up the mess (which includes the opposition), and ride the newly operable lift in order to reach new heights - in particular, ones that will now grant him access to the top of the collapsed, burning building after the spontaneous display of absolute grace that is one simple leap of his.

Now his ride out of N.Y.C. is now completely apparent at last - albeit a bit too distant to easily be reached normally.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


However, just one quick look around should sell Duke on the present viability of his favorite approach in comparable contexts (in spite of our hero's infamous invulnerability to marketing).

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Using the collapsed building as a jump ramp whilst on a steroids-stimulated boost will allow for casually clearing the gap (if Duke's timing on the jump is correct, thereby demonstrating how he doesn't need to be taught), and reaching the last rooftop as well as this level's Nuke Button.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB



Bonus level layer: N.Y.C.'s MTA subway system can be unlocked at any given point provided that Duke has found and used the Metrocard.

This allows for rapid transit between two stations: 53rd & 3rd/Lexington on the first block, and Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall Station on the second block (both real-life settings, albeit reinterpretations and not direct recreations).

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


The MTA subway system is packed with enemies, items and secrets, in addition to breaking navigation around the level completely open in a lateral sense.

Each single boarding platform conceals one secret place - always in the same spot and following the same basic principle, but varying in trigger placement and contents and mostly meant to reward but the most observant players.

Whilst riding the train and if he's borrowed any of the Mario Bros.' Thwomp Stompers, Duke can be tempted to jump off the second he first catches notice of one suspiciously loose group of Octabrains that is just there, hanging out and around a portion of the track.

Doing so might lead him to find a cracked wall, which can be demolished then traversed to loop back to, or first run into the sewers with the TMNT fight.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Keeping going through the sewers (at any point) eventually will have Duke run into a new enemy variant: the blue, Weak Sauce Octabrain, whose attack consists in toxic spit in lieu of the usual psychic waves.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Using any of the lifts there will take Duke back to the start of the level, albeit (possibly) from a new angle.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Deciding to try and dive deeper instead - by jumping into the central slime pit with the dangerous, rotating, crushing gears - will take Duke to an underwater cache that is concealing, most notably, some potentially crucial Shrinker ammo as well as a bonus Atomic Health. Once finished or really, at all times, Duke can exit the slime pit by emerging back to the surface, and then using the stairs.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB



Par time route:
I might further edit this section in the future since at the time of writing this, I honestly can't remember how I ever managed the '3D Realms' time' for this level, since it's so old - all I know is it was a long time ago but can still be achieved in regulation (gameplay didn't budge in any way that might have altered speedrunning strats since) and like every other par time using my (personal) pistol-start-on-Come-Get-Some-difficulty rule of choice. Yet the last time I did give this level what I thought was a fast run, I ended up over a minute my own old time said I could shave off.

But the general idea is to make it to the second half of the level as quickly as possible; that might be achievable in a couple of different ways, depending on how much one likes Liztroop or Fat Commander surfing to reach the office space all the while bypassing the first two keys. And then from that point on, finding the fastest way possible to the last rooftop should become the goal, which I imagine can also be achieved in several fashions including enemy surfing.

Needless to say, players who enter this map with the jetpack in continuous play are golden if speedrunning is the intent, as then all one would have to do would be secure the first block well enough so that immediately flying up to the office space doesn't kill them (the first Sunburnt Battlelord Sentry on Come Get Some comes to mind), traverse the ventilation shaft and take flight again and directly towards the exit (a whole process I'd guesstimate would take roughly ninety seconds, if that).

DNSKILL5's corner ("Damn I'm Good" difficulty deathless traversal):


Check out DNSKILL5's "Damn I'm Good" skills on YouTube!

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDBParticularities: Now this one is pretty bad; "Big Apple Smoke Toke" in a way suffers from being the oldest level in the set as its layout heavily relies on the trademark Build feature that is sector-over-sector (a trait that is generally prominent in almost all final Blast Radius maps), but does so in an overly naive and ambitious way where some large sectors do not occupy just the same X/Y coordinates but also the same Z heights and so volume. That essentially means some parts are buggy in the exact way some of the most experimental, base Duke Nukem 3D maps can be (e.g.. "Lunatic Fringe", "High Times"), and it's possible for the game to clip the player into the wrong sector-over-sector layer in some spots and under certain conditions (biggest deciding factors seem to be which EDuke32 version is being used, and how fast the player is moving which, during large scale fights, can be problematic).

The major culprit there is the subway track which isn't buried deep enough underground to the engine's liking (and due to all kinds of funny limitations, now can hardly be adjusted to match), resulting in possible conflicts in coordinates whenever the player runs and jumps sectors and walls too quickly. To save up on frustration, it is recommended the cautious player should save anytime they get close to any of the following spots:

- the subway tracks anywhere near, and the entrance of the second subway (Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall) station (might even clip the player into normally unreachable parts of the map, but those are designed to let them back);

- the Mario Bros. garage, especially near the elevator and "?" block Expander ammo secret;

- the miniature Washington Square Park recreation, around the fountain;

- the CBGB, especially around the entrance and in the bathroom;

- the Badass reseller's backyard.

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB

Rough markings of the areas where accidental sector clipping might happen and saving is recommended.


Otherwise another particularity about "Big Apple Smoke Toke" is it's essentially Blast Radius' 'keycard level' and so specifically articulated around intense focus on that (arguably absurd) mechanic.

It also may qualify as the city level that takes the most liberties with its supposedly corresponding real-life setting, loosely recreating a few bits and bobs but mostly reinterpreting the feel of the textures and architecture over translating an actual environment and so as a result, paradoxically enough, it may simultaneously be one of the most traditional Blast Radius levels and one of the most imaginative.


Soundtrack:
"Intergalactic" by Beastie Boys / "Hello Nasty" / Capitol Records, 1998 (MIDI version)


Picking soundtrack for Blast Radius' only N.Y.C.-themed level supposedly would be easy since the only two choices I could ever see make any sense in that context would have been either KRS-One or Beastie Boys.

'Intergalactic' by the latter found its way in very early on - if I remember correctly, as soon as the map was built - and then remained a rather certain, albeit cliché pick throughout the entire development; I actually found a rather stellar KRS-One MIDI and possible replacement just a few days before release, except it was too loud and "Big Apple Smoke Toke" as a video game level could use being a moment of (relative) audio reprieve after the first two maps would have smashed the player's brain in with fast-paced punk MIDIs.

The contrast with the aforementioned two previous music tracks would also solidify the identity of this level, cementing it into East Coast flavor not just by direct association but also by clashing with the different, pre-established Californian style which had been established earlier.

The relative redundancy of the beat, the depth of the bass grooves, the recurring digital scratching and the mysterious cosmic calm of the vibes would also lend themselves quite well to a slightly quieter, mostly exploration-based gritty urban level with only occasional outbreaks of hardcore action and a lot to find and feel otherwise.


Automap:

Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDBDuke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Map stats (as of v. 1.0.9):
2287/4096 sectors, 16358/16384 walls, 8316/16384 sprites.



Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius on ModDB


Download Duke Nukem 3D: Blast Radius (last update: 03/04/2024; v. 5.0.2)

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