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PC: Duke Nukem - The Manhattan Project review

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The evil Dr. Morphix is attempting to take over Manhattan with his band of mutants born from radioactive GLOPP material. Only one man stands in his way: Duke Nukem. Duke must fight his way through Manhattan, across skyscrapers, past sewers and even into space as he tracks Dr. Morphix...

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What's it all about?
It's a 2D sidescrolling shooter/action game, done in 3D. You play as Duke Nukem as you move about on 2D planes and mow down just about anything that gets in your way. Think of any given 2D sidescrolling shooter, Contra, etc. but imagine the backgrounds being in 3D and you'll get the picture. In true Duke-fashion, you'll be able to acquire quite a few kicking weapons throughout the levels that'll vastly increase your killing power. To make it through any given level you'll have to search for the ever-present keycards(Duke really "enjoys" this, btw) to open the various locked or blocked doors. Past that, the only other real requirement is that you find and save a babe from the "bio bomb" that she's tied to(there will be one of these per level). About every three levels you'll run into a boss...and then you'll rip them in half...

Graphics - Gorgeous! I've not seen a game that looks this mind-numbingly good in a long while, it's just incredible. The textures, the enemies, the levels...all look so amazingly sharp and vivid, it'll just blow you away. Due to the game's 2D element, it means that the perspective really only changes when the developer wants it to, so they can optimize each level in a way that you never run into an area from an odd angle(it's all pre-calculated), which can distort the graphics. It's a very hip way of doing things, and they have pulled it off flawlessly.

Sound - The soundtrack consists of some lighter, techno-like tunes that really groove(I dig it). Unfortunately, like most techno, it all sounds sorta the same after a while. The sound effects are amazingly loud, and really clear...those shotgun blasts will knock you back. The voice is quite good, with Duke spouting off with the usual comical, over-the-top macho commentary...most of the enemies even talk this time around too...

Control - Using a controller of some sort(I use a Sega Saturn controller via the "3 in 1 PC Joybox" USB adapter), control just godlike-smooth. Duke responds immediately, switching weapons with the shoulder buttons is a snap and double jumping has never come off more easily...all in all, it's just excellent, excellent control. As for the keyboard and mouse...I have no clue, never tried it. This *is* a console game, I play it with a controller...like a console game should be played.

AI - Unfortunately there seems to be a lot of cheap hits in the game. A lot of the time, as soon as an enemies appear on the screen they'll immediately attack and hit Duke. Now, if you play really cautiously, as in inching your way forward, you can get around it...but who wants to play like that? What saves this flaw from ruining the game is the fact that *everything* seems to give Duke "ego" points(health). Shooting an enemy gives him points, killing the enemy gives him points, grabbing health and saving babes...they all give Duke health...so the cheap hits never really get to be an issue until the last few levels. Bosses are pretty easy...I'd say overly easy in fact. Seems like if you've got a decent weapon, you can just sit there and blast them with minimal trouble...

Replay value - Well, like most sidescrolling shooters, there's really only so much you can see in any given game as they are, in nature, quite linear...but with DNMP, the levels are just so big, so there's just so much more to see, and then there are so many secrets to go back and find(not to mention trying to scrape up all the "Nukes" in the levels). On top of that, the game is just a blast to play, really fun stuff that never seems to get old.

Getting it to run - Easy. Pop the CD in, run the installer, then run the patch...done! From there, make sure the disc is in the drive(it requires the CD to be present to play the game) and start it up. You'll be presented with a nice GUI for all the graphical and sound options, set'em up the way you want, hit "Play" and you're good to go. Once at the game's title screen you can make further changes, like setting up your control pad, etc(it has a very friendly "hit key you'd like to assign to this action" sort of thing going for it, makes setting up the pad a snap).

Tips for better gaming experiences:
Watch out when shooting down androids or any kind of robot...they usually explode, and it hurts Duke A LOT.

Anytime you see a bug or something walking around, hit your Kick button to stomp it....generally there will be some GLOPP in the immediate vicinity that will allow them to morph into full size enemies.

Duke gets hurt from falling long distances. With that said, anytime you feel like simply falling down a ladder, instead of climbing down it, don't.

Pipe bombs can be used to destroy GLOPP puddles.

Need some help finding those Nukes? Give Dave3d's excellent Duke Nukem Manhattan Project Secret Areas FAQ a shot.

Still Supported?
Sort of. Due to ARUSH going out of business, the rights to the game have been bounced around quite a bit but have finally ended up with 3D Realms. On their official DK: TMP page, you can find limited support for the title.

Rating: 100(out of 100) - Really slick level design, outstanding graphics and the signature Duke humor: It's the most fun you'll have in front of your PC, with a game that you should have been playing on your Dreamcast. Though the AI is a bit cheap, all is forgiven due to the high amount of health given out. It's perfection on a disc!

 Pig blasting has never looked so good...  Breaking up the party.
 Filled with that quality Duke-humor! Babes...now in 3D! 
For more info: 
Duke Nukem: TMP Demo
Publisher: ARUSH Entertainment
Developer: SunStorm Interactive

Media: 1 CD
HDD Installation: 235.8 megs

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