Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project

a game by Hipnotic Entertainment
Platform: PC
Rating: 7/10


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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