Everyone’s favourite hero is back! Duke Nukem returns to the PC once again in SunStorm Interative’s PC platformer Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project. New York has been overrun by a green slime and there’s only one man that can save the day and he’s right at your finger tips. Unlike most action titles that appear these days, Manhattan Project takes Duke back to his roots in a side scrolling adventure powered by the rather impressive looking Prism Engine. So it’s no real FPS extravaganza, but to be honest it’s great to see a title like this make it onto the scene, shooters are ten a penny these days.Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project follows the plight of Duke to rid the city of a green goo that’s taking over and mutating anything that comes into its path. The man responsible is the evil Mech Morphix and your adventure begins with Duke making his way across the New York rooftops with only one objective, find Mech Morphix and save the city.ControlsBeing a platformer the game’s controls are pretty simple, left, right. up, down, fire and jump with combinations of these to make use of the special moves. The speed of your fingers on the keys or joypad are going to be working overtime to keep our hero alive, the action comes thick and fast. Duke’s movement is fluid with and he can perform a number of tricks like sliding and summersaulting to help you get out of sticky situations. The game’s physics are what helps the game flow making the whole thing rather pleasurable to play right from the start.Those d** pigsThe game features a variety of Duke enemies, 24 in total, some that will be more than familiar if you put the time in on Duke 3D. The pigs are back causing mayhem in the game’s initial levels and you’ll come across new unfamiliar enemies as you make your way over the rooftops, through China Town, into the sewers and so on. The enemies get progressively difficult making the game a real challenge in places.You don’t just run from level to level take down the gad guys, it could never be that easy. End of level Bosses put in an appearance and these guys can prove really tough. Pumping 10,000 rounds into a boss may not do much good unless your using the right weapon so it’s a bit of trial and error on your first attempt to take them down. To make the end of level bosses a real challenge you need to take them out in one sitting, should you fail, you then get further attempts but the boss will be back to full health. Some may find re-fighting the Bosses frustrating but we found this made taking out the big guys all that more satisfying should you succeed.Kaboom!An a**nal of devastating weapons are at your disposal in Manhattan Project delivers.. Duke has a total of 9 weapons at his disposal, pistol, shotgun, Rifle, Pipe Bomb, GLOPP Ray, Pulse Cannon, Pneumatic Rocket-Propelled Grenade Launcher and Duke’s boot kick action . One of the most unusual weapons is the Glopp Ray which fires ray of green goo at the enemy vaporising them on contact and turning them back to their original form, very nasty. Weapon selection is pretty standard via the number keys and you also have the ability to throw Duke’s famous pipe bombs and then set them off when you see fit with another press of the fire key Overall the weapons are superb giving the same level of satisfaction as they did in Duke 3D.To 3D or not to 3D?As I’ve already mentioned, the game makes use of the Prism Engine which does the job perfectly and SunStorm have a few tricks up their sleeves . Although the game is meant to be a side scrolling platformer, they’ve made clever use of the camera to switch viewing angles at certain parts of the levels. For example you can be running along the street firing away and then the angle will switch so your viewing Duke coming towards you or from above. Another example of this is when Duke enters a building. As you run along you’ll see open doors which you can enter to open up a new section of the game, usually to find an object needed to progress or to save a damsel in distress. These changes help add variety to the game and give that extra something you don’t get from run of the mill side-on platformers. The camera switching can be a little confusing in places due to the game being in 3D so you just have to know what to look for after playing for a while. Graphically the game looks great with dynamic lighting and some impressive weapon and environmental effects. The textures look a little similar in places but nothing to detract from the game, overall the game is visually quite impressive.Shake it baby!No Duke game would be complete without the voice of the man himself piping in with one-liners. Again the voice of Duke has been supplied by Jon St John who added his voice talents to Duke3D, so you know what to expect right from the start. Duke has become one of the best known gaming characters, not only because of Duke 3D but because of his wit, humour and outright sexism. DNMP sees Duke more vocal than ever before and you won’t be disappointed if you’re looking for comments that some may find a little close the knuckle. Some of the old familiar sayings return but there’s real classics in DNMP, one of our favorites is when Duke takes out one of the female whip enemies and chirps in with ‘I’m an equal opportunity a* kicker’. You gotta love it!The sound works well in DNMP, You’re not totally bombarded by Duke’s comments, they appear every so often making them a great addition to the gameplay. The weapon sounds are also nice and booming if you have your speakers cranked and the game’s music suits the game fine, although it can get repetitive after a while with its sort of techno style. More variety from the music maestros would have been appreciated.Wrapping upIt’s great to see a platformer make its way onto the PC and there’s probably no better character other than Duke to pull it off. Even though the game has no multiplayer, would be pretty hard to do, the game is very enjoyable. The action is fast, addictive and you do want to keep playing to reach the next section which is always a good sign. The game’s autosaves save a lot of frustration helping the game flow without having to reload every 10 minutes or so. The camera and the 3D may be a little confusing at times but you do get used to it, although it may not be to everyone’s liking.Overall DNMP is well worth a look, it’s fun, addictive, the voice of Duke is superb and another important deciding factor is the game sells for a very reasonable £19.99
Founder and Editor of PC Invasion. Veteran PC gamer of over 22 years.