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A brilliant scientist whose mind was tragically altered through radiation exposure, Dr. Proton was a well-regarded intellectual who left a peaceful life of robotics research after growing increasingly convinced that he could create an army of robots powerful enough to dominate the entire planet. In the secrecy of an underground lair he amasses an incredible number of highly advanced and highly dangerous robots, which he christens Techbots. Perhaps due to his belief in the superiority of his machinery, he also replaces a portion of the right side of his face with a large metal plate. When he reemerges, Proton quickly takes over the largest city on Earth and instates himself as ruler. Having gone from a a constructive member of society to the archetypal mad scientist, Proton thinks only of gaining more power and destroying those who would stop him. With the military unable to make headway against Proton's mechanized hordes, the CIA calls in the self-styled one man army: Duke Nukem.

Duke Nukem (1991)

Duke and Proton tangle for the first time.
Duke and Proton tangle for the first time.

During the events of Duke Nukem, the game's titular hero confronts the nefarious Dr. Proton on three separate occasions. Nukem first encounters and defeats him within his underground base on Earth, after which Proton unexpectedly flees to the Moon by way of a propulsion system attached to his chair. Not content to rid only the Earth of Dr. Proton's menace, Duke travels to the Doctor's secret lunar fortress, where he finds and defeats him again; unfortunately for Duke, Proton successfully escapes capture once more, this time by using a time machine to transport himself to Earth's future. Duke dutifully follows his nemesis through time and eventually defeats him a third and presumably final time. In each confrontation, Proton fights in a similar fashion, utilizing a levitating chair which acts as both a weapon and a means of escape when he invariably loses. Between encounters, Dr. Proton keeps tabs on Duke's progress through surveillance cameras, and can be seen taunting him via television monitors scattered throughout the game's levels. He is particularly fond of ridiculing Duke's (perceived) lack of intelligence.

Proton Returns

Dr. Proton in an early build of Duke Nukem Forever
Dr. Proton in an early build of Duke Nukem Forever

Though he only appeared in one Duke Nukem game over a twenty year period, Dr. Proton has a long history of attempted reintroductions in the years after the original game. He was meant to be the primary villain of 2002's Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project, though he would later be changed into a new character, Mech Morphix, a cyborg scientist with a similar metal face plate. This was meant to allow 3D Realms to use Proton as the antagonist for Duke Nukem Forever, though over the course of its protracted development cycle this idea would never come to fruition. More recent information places Dr. Proton as the mastermind behind the events of Apogee's planned Duke Nukem Trilogy.

After more than a twenty year absence, Dr. Proton makes his official return in the Duke Nukem Forever DLC package, The Doctor Who Cloned Me. Within it, Proton is found to be in control of Area 51, where he has been using his robotic expertise to manufacture an army of mechanical Duke Nukem clones called "Dukeinators." He plans to use these automatons against the invading aliens, and of course Duke himself, before running for President of the United States while disguised as Nukem. After fending off an attempted execution and fighting his way through waves of Dukeinators, Duke eventually confronts Dr. Proton, who now possesses a spideresque robotic lower body rather than his traditional levitating chair. Duke defeats him by violently ripping his head from his body.

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