Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project Review
publisher: ARUSH Entertainment
developer: Sunstorm Interactive
PII 300, 64MB RAM, 4MB Video Card, 300MB HD
|ESRB rating: M
release date: Mar 13, 02 (released)
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"I go where I please! And I please where I go!" This is one of the mottos of everyone's favorite monster-kicking action hero Duke Nukem. Through the years Duke has become increasingly popular thanks to his attitude, charisma, and babe-charming temper. It's been a long time since a game grasped so much diverse qualities. In Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project, you'll have it all - non-stop blood-spilling action, sexy babes that need to be rescued, and a slight reminiscence of platform oldies (which has its ups and downs, I guess).
Dance to the beat, 'tch out for ma feet! Yeah!
Duke is called on once more to defend the world against the spiteful Mech Morphix. This extremely evil character has unleashed massive rivers of GLOPP on the Big Apple. The so-called GLOPP is a fluid that mutates all innocent little animals into hideous ill-tempered monsters. Duke must find out where the strange and exceptionally toxic liquid is coming from and he must destroy Mech Morphix once and for all.
At the outset, the players get to choose the difficulty of the game. If you prefer you can switch off the gore and violence (which BTW, can sometimes be quite excessive, although nothing we haven't seen before). When you've done this, the mayhem can begin.
You'll notice that the controls are very simple and straightforward, which will make the gameplay fun and fluid at the very beginning. The gameplay boils down to running, jumping, ducking enemy fire, and of course using various types of powerful weapons to ice an oncoming sea of huge mutated pigs, rats, insects etc. Our tough hero begins his journey armed with only his faithful Golden Eagle Pistol. Along the way, Duke will also get to use the Shotgun, Assault Rifle, Pulse Cannon, Pneumatic Rocket-Propelled Grenade Launcher. Since the ammo may be limited in certain situations it is often advisable that you use it with care. This means that racing around and shooting like crazy is not always the right solution, because you will loose a lot of ammo and that's when you're pretty much a goner.
Perhaps the most thrilling aspect of gameplay is that you can sometimes use alternative methods of killing instead of frantically firing your gun. Pipe Bombs are usually a good weapon to exercise if you wish to see pig guts splattered all over the place. Another interesting and most original weapon is the GLOPP Ray, thanks to which you have the delightful opportunity of changing huge hogs and enormous insect-like creatures into harmless little animals. A nice moment, however, is that they can grow back if they happen to walk across a radioactive puddle. For close encounters, Duke can also use his mighty boot kick. On his way through the levels Duke will be able to pick up various power-ups that can give him some special abilities such as increased weapon damage, invulnerability, and so on.
Your enemies are also very well equipped and are not to be underestimated, which I guess means that the AI is OK. Although, I have to point out that a few strange things have often occurred with some of the boss-enemies. Some of these bosses will often stand defenseless while Duke is hanging from a ladder and filling them with a rain of Pipe Bombs. Pretty lame I'd say.
Just one more time baby!
The graphics are colorful, and abundant in texture detail (especially in high-res modes). Each in-game model was done completely in 3D and was apparently animated with utmost scrutiny. The (limited) 3D environment really looks cool. The camera angle has its qualities as well as some obvious flaws. First of all, it is great to see the camera shift and automatically change angle - in which case the action assumes Hollywood movie proportions. Sadly, sometimes this camera can limit your field of view, which might cause good ol' Dukie to miss a crucial area (a way out, or the location of a key card). The game does offer you a chance to change the camera mode from 'Normal' (automatic) to 'Toggle' - but, that doesn't improve the situation much I'm afraid.
The levels are designed perfectly. You get to rush across high skyscraper rooftops and plunge all the way down in the depths of the sewers. Duke will also have to go through crowded city streets, dark and icy plants, and hazardous factories operated and owned by the evil Morphix dude.
The atmosphere in Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project will rarely be dull thanks to the variety of these numerous levels. My favorite section was China-Town, where Duke hurries across streets avoiding cars and screaming: "What am I a frog?" Another original location was the night club in China Town - Duke fights karate-trained lizards, while the strobe-lights draw your attention to the contours of sexy chicks dancing in the background. Sweet man!
The in-game sounds and music tracks are excellent and they enrich the whole atmosphere. And we mustn't leave out Duke's humorous catchphrases such as: "Makin' bacon," - which he says when he slices pig-like enemies; and the "So, there is life after death!" - that comes out of his mouth when he is respawned.
After all that I've seen in Duke, I have to admit I had a lotta fun. What can be more satisfying than moving around through perilous levels, rescuing big-boobed babes in distress? I'm sorry to say though, that the whole Duke-visiting-the-Big-Apple experience looses its charm because the game's not very long, and when you complete it you'll realize that there isn't anything that might make you play it again. Let's face it, jumping up and down on platforms hardly contributes to the game's replay value.
8.0 Very Good
Lots of monsters that need to be "put to sleep." Huge-breasted ladies that need your help. Great graphics and sound. Thrilling non-stop classic Duke Nukem action;
Well, the game's kinda short I guess, and there are no exceptional features that may boost the game's replay value. The AI has certain flaws. And the camera angling can be a pain in the neck.
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