Once I read the announcement from Arush Entertainment that Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project went gold my heart stopped. As many of you Old School Gamers know, the Duke Nukem series has always had a highly regarded reputation. It all started way back when side scrollers were the “IN” game. Two Duke Nukem titles followed this genre until the major change in the Gaming Industry took form. First Person Shooters came along and quickly after, Duke was transformed into one of the most popular network FPS’ of the nineties. The DN series has always been at least at par with all of their competition until now.
Most of us, including myself, were hoping for a Quake III alike engine which would bring an all-time favorite quote back to life: “Time to kick ass, and chew bubble gum”. Unfortunately, DN MP is merely a scanty graphics side scroller, which can’t bring my blood to boiling temperatures.
What was the last Side Scrolling Game released for the PC? Its hard to remember one so it will be that much harder to Benchmark this game. But I can say this, even though it is a Side Scroller, the engine did do a great job in creating an atmosphere of a pretty darn good arcade game.
I am going to have to say, the best part of the game were the Cut Scenes which certainly give the Developers a place to shine in. These animations show up in and between levels and are in full blown 3D.
The textures and backgrounds were very weak and repetitive and lacked any sort of detail. This game was supposed to take place in Manhattan but even with an over imagination I could not see it. Zooming in on an enemy from far away showed me just how poorly detailed these graphics really are. Even the weapons and their projectiles lacked luster. What about the gore that was in the other Duke Nukem’s you ask? Well for the most part, it’s gone! I felt as though I was playing Mario Takes Manhattan… (Don’t get me wrong, there is some blood here and there, but not what Duke Nukem fans are used to)
For what its worth, the engine does fulfill what its screenshots promised, a Duke Nukem side-scrolling action game. It might not be Duke Nukem Forever, but it is something to hold us over till its release.
The storyline follows the classic Duke Nukem plot; fight Mutant Pigs on skyscraper rooftops, save half-naked girls in gritty subway stations and defend Manhattan against the power-hungry villain, Mech Morphix.
It certainly sounds like a great game, but I found that most levels were very repetitive and often kept the same theme. Its pretty hard to give this game any sort of replay value as not only are the levels the same, but also the objectives.
The controls are of the standard Side-Scroller. forward, backwards, jump, shoot, etc.. It doesnt require being a rocket scientist to learn them quickly, Although, unlike a 3D shooter, the options are very limited. One option I have yet to figure out why they added, is a zoom in and out. I assume the zoom feature was added to help navigate, but it is still worthless in my opinion.
The Audio is what impressed me most about the game. The soundtrack, speech and Sound effects in the game were very well done. The Music was very uplifting, and made me want to bash, slaughter and kill those Mutants. And following its past Duke Nukem still has his wonderful sexist comments which made us love him.
The sound effects were right on, whether it was shooting mutants with tons of ammo, helicopters flying overhead, or dead mutants falling to the ground, the sound was perfect. If there is one thing that would make you buy this game, it would have to be how brilliant the sound really is.
If your a Duke Nukem fanatic or just like side scrollers, then you might want to pick this up. But I just don’t think there is enough replay value here to keep the everyday normal gamer happy. I would wait till Duke Nukem Forever finally hits the shelves, and take a pass on this retro side scroller.