Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project

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a game by Hipnotic Entertainment
Platform: PC
Editor Rating: 7/10, based on 2 reviews, 3 reviews are shown
User Rating: 7.7/10 - 12 votes
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See also: Duke Nukem Games, 2D Platformer Games
Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project
Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project
Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project

And there was me thinking it was my birthday or something when I pulled this out of the padded envelope. Until I noticed the suffix that is. The danger that 3D Realms faces in agreeing to push out this small franchise canape while they work tirelessly on the main course is considerable, as there's a chance of spoiling the player’s appetite altogether with a lacklustre game instead of whipping up a frenzy of excitement. Less of the extended metaphors, though. What does this one do?

Always With The Sewers

It’s ostensibly a 2D horizontal platform game working in a 3D engine, Duke Nukem is restricted to either going left or right, with the camera swinging around on rails if he should ever turn a pre-set corner. Think back to games such as Pandemonium or Klonoa on the PlayStation and you’ll get the idea. Which also means it can often feel a little frustrating, having to find an alternative way to get past objects despite there being a huge gap just two feet away, or running past an enemy mutant on a different level and having no chance to shoot him there and then. It may not betray the constrictions it sets itself but it doesn’t have to go out of its way to tease the player that this isn’t Duke Nukem Forever.

Even if we’re going to judge it on its platform game merits, it doesn’t fare as well as it should. For starters, the levels are full of cliches: exploding barrels, sewers and keycards. It’s for the best that the game at least manages to attain a similar atmosphere to Duke Nukem 3D. The misogynist hulk comes replete with an array of wisecracks and an abandonment of any form of political correctness sex-wise. Take that away and it’s just a bog-standard platformer with flashy 3D effects and eight three-part levels of depressingly drab scenery that would have looked tired in Manic Miner’s day.

Claustrophobia

The camera sometimes feels a little too close to the action making it difficult to plan ahead or see where the next enemy is coming from. In such a case, there’s little scope for manoeuvrability anyway. Most encounters seem to end up in a straight forward stand-off, with Duke standing still and firing at the mutants before picking up one of the abundance of health packs. It’s not even worth trying to avoid the enemies, as this method of mindless firing is far simpler to use.

Duke also seems a little sluggish in his movements, lacking that extra little bit of athleticism that provides you with a slicker playing experience. And it’s a little easy with auto-save points generously provided throughout the levels. Though I did get stuck a small number of times in later levels the game’s pretty straightforward, letting you know which way to go.

There you go, then. It’s fun for a day or so but it’s not really what we want, is it? ’Load up Duke Nukem 3D again and keep your fingers crossed that Forever sees the light of day before the sun starts to burn out.

Download Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project

PC

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Add-on to the original Duke Nukem 3D, Plutonium Pak delivers the goods with brand-new levels, weapons, and monsters. It may be more of the same, but it sure is fun.

Holy Cow!

The new levels, called The Birth, take place after Shrapnel City with a variety of settings--including a supermarket, an amusement park, and a police precinct--all overrun by aliens. Duke is called into action for a little mop-up.

The intense action is accompanied by those familiar aliens who grunt, shoot, slash, and fly at you at every turn. Equally familiar are the weapons, including a new piece of firepower called the Expander, which makes enemies inflate like a balloon and pop. The aliens, however, have a few tricks of their own--including some new monsters who can shrink Duke and squash him!

The controls are excellent, and although maintaining both firearms and special items (in addition to Duke's movements) may seem taxing, it's easy to master. While not awe-inspiring, Plutonium's graphics do the job with plenty of colorful explosions and detailed carnage.

The sound effects rock the game with thundering blasts and perfect voice digitization for Duke's one-liners. The music is subtle, but works well with the various stages.

Shoot 'Em and Smile

At times Duke does show bad taste (like the opening cinema where aliens attack a pregnant woman), but for corridor-shooting with an attitude, Plutonium is the best pack in town.

  • PROTIP: Watch out for the new aliens. These guys move fast, claw hard, and could turn you into a little man!

If you're as much of a fan of Duke as I am, then you might want to think about this review before picking up this title. It's got a lot of shiny wrapping, with a great price, neat little design, and something unusual for a Duke title, but still has a lot of kinks to work out. First and foremost, it's a side screen scroller, done entirely in 3d. Like Quake, on crack, with a forced camera angle that hints at the tantalizing prospect of freedom of vision, but then leaves you unsatisfied as it fails to deliver. Although it suggests that you've got more freedom of movement, I found all of the 3d just distracting filler. This game could've been served as well with a cartoon-like 2d style.

As always, you're back to killing mutants. To do this, you've got simple controls, and seven different weapons, all relying on only three types of ammunition. The problem comes in that most of the environments in this title are quite easy to navigate, and what little challenge comes from the gameplay is, a) in timing most of your jumps, and b) reloading when you don't manage to get the drop on a particularly nasty enemy. This boils down to a lot of shooting, and a few seriously annoying puzzles. In my opinion, it's repetitive and boring.

Manhattan Project's graphics are simple, but effective. The 3d gives you something to look at, and a somewhat creative level design keeps things interesting. In particular, the game features many little scripted pieces that add a little humor and entertainment to otherwise boring scenes. Duke himself always has plenty to say, from his sexist bravado to his machismo comments on the death of his many enemies, but the soundtrack itself isn't worth another listen. Personally, I just ended up listening to the TV more than the game. Fans beware, as the best thing about this game is the price.

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