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Many people know Duke Nukem by the 3D series of games; however, he first started with platforms similar to Mario or Sonic. A first game called Duke Nukum (in order to avoid lawsuits) was about jumping and shooting mutants and robots. Later, a similar second game, Duke Nukem II, was launched, bearing the current name. Then, in 1996 the game that made Duke popular appeared as Duke Nukem 3D, in which the actor Jon St. John gave Duke a voice everyone will remember. Subsequently, other shooters featuring Duke appeared. And now, Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project brings Duke back again, but as a platform game with a 3D engine, which adds good effects of movement and some freedom to move around the world.
The game starts awarding Duke with a public celebration in New York, but it is interrupted by Mech Morphix. He is using a substance called "glopp" that turns cockroaches, rats, and others into half animals, half humans. So Duke must fight his way to finally beat Mech Morphix in a game that is fairly amusing most of the time.
The game is basically a side scroller about jumping from platform to platform and shooting almost everything moving. It has eight episodes with three levels each, and a fierce boss at the end of every episode. Starting with “Rooftop Rebellion” on the buildings of Manhattan, it moves to “Orbital Oblivion”, out in space. This one is the best and the most original of all the levels, because it requires a high level of precision when jumping due to low gravity. Killing any enemy gives you back x points of health (here it is called "ego"); killing enemies by kicking them gives you 2x points.
As a platform side scroller, one usually thinks of a 2D game, but Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project is completely rendered in 3D. However, although the game engine is in 3D, there is no freedom to move around: you are restricted to a single plane at all times. In some places, it is possible to change direction or the active plane; this is more evident from the third episode onwards, in which the game becomes more complex and maze-like.
The enemies are varied - most of them are mutants, such as rats and the already known pigs. Most of them are dead within a few shots - so the shotgun becomes the most useful of all weapons. Be careful with all the glopp that you find around - if it reaches an animal, the animal will become a mutant and a new enemy. As it usually happens with these games, at the end of each chapter there is a boss. A few of them are really worth the fuss, especially the first one - a helicopter which gives you a good battle. One would expect to see amazing bosses, but most of them are disappointing and easy to beat, except for the last one maybe.
With the release of Duke Nukem 3D, Duke's memorable voice was introduced, acted by Jon St. John, with lines such as “Piece of cake” or “Damn, I’m good”. Here we have the same actor with more memorable quotes - for example, “Guns don’t kill mutants, I kill mutants”. Unlike older games with an 8-bit quality sound, here all sounds and music have good sampling quality, making Duke’s words easier to remember for long.
Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project is a good game that can make you have some nostalgic memories of the old game, while enjoying a completely new version remade according to the high standards of recent years. It will give you more reasons to remember Duke, such as his unforgettable “I go where I please, and I please where I go”.
- Platform game with a 3D engine
- Eight different weapons
- Various enemies
- Good boss battles
- Realistic environments
- Only a few weapons are really useful
- Most of the game is easy even in "hard mode"
- It becomes boring after a while