reviews\ Jul 11, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Duke Nukem: The Manhattan Project review


He’s synonymous as the male specimen that adores strippers, large guns, explosions, and kicking ass. He’s also a product of the ‘90s that couldn’t get enough of films and video games that exploited over the top action and relied on cheesy one-liners. But now, when the scenery has changed to men who like to outthink their opponents (e.g. Commander Sheppard, Nathan Drake, and even Braid’s Tim), it would seem that Duke Nukem is a fish out of water.

The proof is in the pudding they say, and players don’t have to look much further than Duke Nukem: The Manhattan Project to take notice of how quickly Duke has aged over the years. As a port of a seven-year-old PC side-scroller, The Manhattan Project is as dated as they come, and it’s not a supplementary attribute as it would be with wine. Outside of humor that delivers a few chuckles, Duke Nuke: The Manhattan Project is similar to vomit in the lunchroom waiting for the janitor to clean it up.

Riddled with terrible platforming, uninspiring action, bland boss fights, and little to no excitement, The Manhattan Project takes Duke Nukem’s fame and spits on it. Whether it was missing a scaffold or falling off a ladder, The Manhattan Project is a frustrating experience from beginning till the end. The gameplay is stagnant through each and every level that players have to rid the world of pig cops, poison and fire-spitting rats, clumsy ninjas and dominatrix-like women. If there was ever a time to yawn, it would be once the game starts and every passing moment after that.

Perhaps if the boss battles were an enticing affair the overall product would be more acceptable. But, instead of epic clashes with comedic bosses, what The Manhattan Project serves up are battles that are not up to scratch. Bringing down a helicopter or fighting a mutant fly are as unsatisfactory as finding out that the milk you used for your cereal is spoiled. The final battle with Robo-Duke takes The Manhattan Project out with a whimper and provides an oh-so-telling tale of how Duke Nukem’s better years are behind him.

Even the better aspects of Duke Nukem have become detrimental to any possible enjoyment. The one-liners are repeated within a few stages of play, so hearing Duke shout “Life is like a box of ammo” becomes a tiresome event every 15 or so minutes. On top of that, the signature look of Duke isn’t the best looking rendition of America’s hero either.

What more can be said about Duke Nukem: The Manhattan Project that needs to be said? Not even nostalgia could have saved it from being a major letdown as almost every area that doesn’t include witty dialogue from our cigar smoking protagonist is atrocious.


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