Faces of Death was originally a Duke-match level in Duke Nukem 3D, grouped with the levels in Episode One, L.A. Meltdown. Despite being a multiplayer-only level, it could be reached in-game from the singleplayer mode as if it were a regular secret level. The problem there is that being designed for multiplayer, there is no exit button, and once a player reaches the level, they are trapped there forever. In the original PC-DOS version of the game, the only way to get to this level was with command line parameters, though it could be reached in later versions through a glitch involving the hidden exit button in the level The Abyss or simply using the clipping cheat.
Faces of Death was later altered for the PlayStation release, Duke Nukem: Total Meltdown, in which it became a regular secret level, complete with an exit; in Total Meltdown, the secret exit for it can be found in Alien Rendezvous which is a level in the Exclusive Plug 'N' Pray episode.
As of Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour this level is now a regular secret level complete with a level exit that can be accessed without cheating; the secret exit can be found in the Abyss. This is the first time the player can officially access this level while playing through the L.A. Meltdown episode without cheating as well as being able to complete it.
Interestingly the level exits for Total Meltdown and World Tour are different. The Total Meltdown exit is notably more obscure as the developers added an extra room to accommodate the exit button whereas in World Tour the exit button was added without adding anymore rooms to the level.
Faces of Death has a very simple design, consisting mainly of a large ring, with several floors. The only enemies in the level are Mini Battlelords, of which there are many. The name of the level comes from its primary distinguishing feature: arranged on the main floor around the ring are water tanks containing specialized sprites, space suits with faces displayed in the helmets. Going to the top floor and finding the top of the tanks will reveal another picture of the appropriate face, and a nameplate. The faces in the spacesuits are all digitized photos of 3D Realms staff members. The level is set in space and appears to be some sort of alien space station.
How to get to the level in the PC version Edit
In the original DOS version, start the game with the command-line parameters "/v1 /l7" (without the parentheses). You can also add a parameter to set the difficulty level.
In the circular room just before the player gets to the Battlelord in The Abyss, there is a section with three Ripper ammo packs. Behind this section is the secret exit which can only be accessed with the no clipping cheat; so it's impossible to actually get to the level in normal gameplay without cheating. When players hit the button, they will be taken to Launch Facility, even if they previously completed it before getting to the Abyss initially. After completing Launch Facility, they will be taken back to the start of the Abyss. The player will have go through The Abyss again till they get to the same secret exit; this time, it takes the player to Faces Of Death. According to 3D Realms, this level technically has a level exit because the game wouldn't recognize Faces Of Death as a valid level without it.
However, in the 20th Anniversary World Tour edition of Duke Nukem 3D, the secret exit in The Abyss is now possible to reach without cheats, and Faces of Death can be completed in Single Player.
Easter eggs Edit
- If the player uses the show map cheat; if they look around the Map they'll see three small letters that spell AHB; which are the initials of Allen H. Blum III; the designer of this level; the letters are a good bit apart from the main areas of this level.