The Microwave Expander (also known as just Expander) is a new weapon presented in the Plutonium Pak expansion pack. It is an extension of the Shrinker weapon and uses a secondary slot in the keyboard.
The weapon itself is found for the first time in the first level of Lunar Apocalypse episode, Space Port in the Atomic Edition as it's an extension of the Shrinker; however the player doesn't get the chance to use it till The Birth. It's Impossible because ammo for it doesn't become available till that point as the first three episodes were available with Duke 1.3D and were made before 3D realms introduced the weapon; so the weapons official debut would actually be in The Birth.
The Expander may not be picked by itself; instead, it becomes available to use when the player has the Shrinker and picked up some Expander ammo. When the Expander is activated, it looks similar to the Shrinker, but the crystal within is red rather than green, and an antenna reflector is mounted on the weapon.
The attack function of the Expander is the opposite of the Shrink Ray. Instead of shooting green projectiles, it is a hitscan weapon that emits small glowing sparks that instantly hit the enemies. Once an enemy is at the brink of death, they'll grow and expand almost double their size, and eventually explode into a shower of blood and gore, damaging any unlucky enemy or player standing near it.
While the Shrinker is better used against strong foes, the Expander may be exponentially more devastating against weaker ones.
The Expander is the most powerful hitscan weapon of the game. It has the highest damage and completely accurate auto-aim (being the highest menace in a Deathmatch combat). Its side-effect increases its threat even more. Despite that, the weapon has a very limited maximum amount of ammo.
Tips and Tricks Edit
- It is a great weapon to use against groups of enemies, especially weaker ones such as Assault Troopers or Captains.
- Considering the fact that it has a very low amount of ammo, and chews it up fast, it would be wise to hurt enemies and lower their health a bit before using the Microwave Expander; you'll save a lot of ammo doing this.
- The message displayed when picking up a Shrink Ray changed in the Atomic Edition from "SHRINKER" to "GOT SHRINKER/EXPANDER!". This is because the two weapons are more accurately described as one weapon with two kinds of ammo.
- Therefore when the Shrink Ray is picked up, the Expander can also be selected as a weapon by pressing its weapon key or scrolling through to it. However, the only ammo for the Expander is in episode 4 The Birth, so it is useless in the first three episodes.
- The Expander is the only weapon to be picked up with no ammo already in it.
- There exists a full weapon sprite for the Expander. It is used in multiplayer games to indicate the weapon being used by another player. The sprite is similar in appearance to the Shrink Ray sprite, but with the Expander's dish on top and a red line on the side.
- An expanded enemy, just before exploding, will be 175% of its regular size. The two exceptions to this are the Assault Commander (250%) and the Shark (140%).
- Mini Battlelords will not expand and explode when killed by the Expander; instead, they use their standard death animation as if killed by any other weapon.
- When firing the Microwave Expander, only its impact on walls/floors can be seen. This behaviour not only matches the other hitscan weapons, it is also quite realistic, as microwaves are a kind of EM radiation and thus wouldn't be seen leaving streaks through the air. Only their impacts are visible.
Microwave Expander in other games Edit
- The Microwave Expander is not present in the Duke Nukem: Total Meltdown and Sega Saturn console ports, since they do not contain the episode The Birth, which is the only episode in Duke Nukem 3D the Microwave Expander features in.
- Likewise, Duke Nukem 64 does not contain the fourth episode. However, some of The Birth's levels are moved into other episodes, and the Microwave Expander is also distributed around some other levels as well, mainly the more popular levels in Lunar Apocalypse and Shrapnel City.
- It is first encountered in Lunar Apocalypse, Incubator.
- In Duke Nukem 64, as all other weapons it has new tiles. It does not contain the antenna reflector and will look exactly the same as the Shrinker except for the red crystal (and the ammo pick-up is simply a red crystal). Also the Expander has its own weapon pick-up, instead of just a ammo.
- If the Expander is used on babes, they will grow and expand to about twice their size, but the explosion will not deal any damage to the player. This possibly could have been bad CON coding, as all explosions deal damage, but the babes explosions do not.
- A bug can be found which multiplayer defined Expander weapons are found in single player in a blue-like color (because Build determine a weapon as multiplayer flag using palette 1, i.e. blue tone by default). This can be explained due to bad CON coding, as the sprite was originally used as the icon displayed over the player head to show his weapon in multiplayer, it has a different statnum that doesn't allow it to be deleted through normal ways.
- The Expander in Duke Nukem 64 is able to make a Mini Battlelord grow and expand. They will expand to about the size of a Battlelord.
- Raven Software's 2000 hit Soldier of Fortune features a weapon clearly inspired by the Microwave Expander. The weapons primary fire mode which fires bolts of electricity at enemies does not resemble Duke's weapons, its secondary fire mode acts in much the same way as the Expander inflating enemies until they explode, leaving their gory remains littered about.