Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project
Action based side-scrollers steadily fell out of mainstream gaming throughout the 90’s in favor of their more spectacular 3D first-person cousins. It’s then all the more surprising that Manhattan Project not only exists, but that it’s surprisingly enjoyable. Here’s a Duke Nukem game that throws you back into the early days of PC arcade platforming where it all began, and doing so in a completely unapologetic way.
Notable enhancements include the pretty cool 3D engine that doesn’t get in the way of the casual side-view platforming action. More so, the 3D visuals enhance the game in more ways than one, adding alternate paths around levels that, despite their linear get-from-point-A-to-point-B gameplay, feel notably large and complex.
The ensuing gameplay is pretty much identical to classical arcade style sidescrollers. Duke can only advance sideways along predetermined paths scattered throughout the world. The entire game spans 8 chapters totaling 24 levels, each with an increasingly deadlier repertoire of monsters and weapons, secret areas and lots of various goodies scattered throughout. Adding a light sense of challenge are the mandatory key cards and big-boobed babes strapped to bombs that you have to save in order to pass each level. The only notable missing feature is the onscreen high score counter. Now how on earth could have they forgotten that part?!
Duke blasts his way through rooftops, subway stations, factories, sewers, nightclubs and more. Keeping true to its roots, each chapter ends with an old-fashioned boss fight, but these get progressively more dull as the game plays on. The very first battle takes place atop a New York skyscraper and is quite a blast, but it’s the sort of excitement and originality you won’t find in later portions of the game (except possibly the endgame fight, which is pretty entertaining as well).
Duke’s explosive resurrection isn’t without its mind-numbing repetition several hours in, but it does come packing lots of simple fun that arcade junkies can engorge themselves in.
System Requirements: P III 350 Mhz, 64 MB RAM, 8 MB Video, Win 98