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Duke Nukem 3D: McClane or McClain? That is the Question

If you’ve read this blog before, you’ll know that I’m all for classic gaming, and right now I’m playing Duke Nukem 3D, complete with the EDuke32 source port, the HRP, and Duke Plus, an probably some other stuff too.

Anyhow, I was watching Die Hard the other night, and I made it my AAA’s choice on Sunday. What does this have to do with Duke Nukem 3D? Well, Die Hard and John McClane were some pretty heavy influences for the game, particularly in the fourth episode called “The Birth”, which came with Duke Nukem 3D Atomic Edition, where there’s a level called “Pig Sty”. In this level, you’ll come across a plaque with the name “J.McClain” printed on it:


This is a sprite or texture taken from the HRP folder of my Duke 3D setup. J. McClain obviously refers to John McClane from Die Hard, right? But why is the spelling wrong? According to official sources, and wikipedia, it’s spelt “McClane”. I’m not sure whether this was an error by the team at 3DR who made the level and game years ago, or if it’s just a mistake by the HRP guys.

Ah, but I looked it up on 3D Realms’ website, on the walkthrough for this very level, “E4L5”, and it’s written right there:

“This time it's a "J. McClain", which prompts a famous Dukeism borrowed from the original "Die Hard" movie”

And the walkthrough uses the original, unmodified game (possibly a console, non-PC version though), with no high-res textures like the ones that come with the HRP. So the HRP guys - Parkar and Nightfright, last time I checked – were merely copying what had all ready been done except making it look all nice and high-resolutiony (not a real word).

That dukeism referred to is this, by the way. A famous line from Die Hard.

I mean, it crossed my mind that it could have been spelt this way intentionally to avoid a lawsuit or something, but there’s another plaque in the same level that reads “H. Callahan”:


This obviously refers to Harry Callahan from Dirty Harry, but unlike the J. McClain one, this one is spelt properly.

It’s unlikely it was done intentionally seeing as if 3DR wanted to avoid a lawsuit, they wouldn’t have “borrowed” so many lines and ideas from films like the Evil Dead series. It’s quite amazing how much stuff was copied from this series. Bruce Campbell hates Duke Nukem for this very reason.

Just an interesting thing though. Has anyone else ever noticed this?



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