Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (39506)
Written on  :  Jan 29, 2003
Platform  :  Windows

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A reminder of the first two Duke Nukem games

The Good

It will be a long wait until we get our hands on 3D Realms’ latest Duke Nukem game, Duke Nukem Forever, but in order to keep us entertained, 3D Realms, in conjunction with Sunstorm Interactive and Arush Entertainment, bring you Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project. And if you played the first three Duke games (Duke Nukem, Duke Nukem 2, and Duke Nukem 3D), you’ll know who the hero is by now. Only this time, Duke takes a trip to New York where it seems that an evil ruler known as Mech Morphix is producing Glopp, radioactive slime capable of turning innocent citizens into monstrous beasts. And as part of his plan, Morphix has taken a few babes and strap them to bombs that will explode at any minute.

There are eight areas to explore: Rooftop Rebellion, Chinatown Chiller, Metro Madness, Unholy Underworld, Fearsome Factory, Tanker Trouble, Deviant Drilling, and Orbital Oblivion; and there are three parts in each area. When you load up Manhattan Project, you can also load up one of your saved games and pick which area and part you want to play or replay. Only those parts can only be played if you at least complete that part. In each, the object is simple: find the bomb strapped to a babe, defuse it, get a keycard that will open up the exit, and get the hell out of there. When Duke defuses the bomb, the babes will then thank you and position with her arms up in the air, suggesting that either she is holding up an invisible object, or begging Duke to hold her tight.

Stopping you from defusing the bombs and obtaining keycards are a bunch of enemies such as Fem-Mechs, Ratoids, and Gator-Oids. There are also your favorite Pig-Cops from Duke Nukem 3D. To kill these bastards, you have up to seven weapons at your disposal. These include the Golden Eagle, shotgun, pipebomb, assault rifle, missile launcher, and Glopp Ray. You also have your mighty boot kick that really packs a punch. Out of all these enemies, the Fem-Mechs are worse, as they somersault all over the place to avoid being shot at, and use kinky devices like whips and electrical rods. However, two shots from the mighty rocket launcher will wipe out these bitches. Some weapons have their advantages and disadvantages. The Glopp Ray, for instance, may be used to shrink enemies to the size of a rat to make them less threatening, but the process of shrinking takes time and it’s more likely that they will kill you before they have a chance to shrink.

You also can get items called Nukes, which helps you build up your weaponry if you manage to get all ten of them in each areas. Some may be out in the open, or hidden behind walls, which might be blown open by a pipebomb. Secret areas may also contain a few power-ups like more health, Double Damage and Force Field. Double Damage makes your weapons do twice the damage, while Force Fields turn you invincible for a short period of time.

Gameplay is similar to Duke1&2. Yes, you do have infinite lives, but there are some major differences. Unlike in these games, Duke can double jump to help him get to hard to reach areas, and if he is about to miss, he can hang on to the ledge and pull himself up. One thing I like about the game is when Duke moves, the camera angles moves as well, allowing you to either view the action close-up or far away (you can make the camera stay still by turning automatic zoom off in the Options menu). There is also no score indicator. You can even save in the middle of your game, so when you die, you’ll restart at the last save point.

Duke can interact with the environment. In most areas, for example, you can look at a monitor and spy on something. In the Chinatown Chiller and Metro Madness areas, you can use the phone to receive a funny response. And you can use soda machines to receive more health. But more often than not, you’ll have to push a switch in order to open a door, raise heavy items like crates, or make platforms appear. And finally, your favorite "Duke-Talk" from Duke Nukem 3D is back, with Duke this time saying one-liners like "You're more beautiful when you're dead!", "Say hello to my little friend", and "I hate pigs!"

The Bad

While playing the game, I found several bugs, even when I patched the game to Version 1.0.1. When I fired several weapons at some enemies, particularly the rocket launcher, the bullets and rockets go straight past the enemies, missing its target. In Part 2 of Orbital Oblivion, the part where you have to open the lab doors and de-mutate a couple of fiends, I was able to go beyond the start point, causing Duke to be sucked into space and float around (see Screenshot #28) Finally, the frame rate was a bit choppy when I got through this area.

The Bottom Line

Great game. If you’ve played all Duke Nukem games straight away, and can’t wait until Duke Nukem Forever is released, then Manhattan Project will get you playing for hours. ***