PC Software: Duke Nukem Manhattan Project

Do my eyes deceive me? Is this the Duke Nukem game the world has been waiting for? And what's this on the side of the box? Duke returns to its platform roots in this third-person 2D sidescroller? This must be a filler rather than a killer. How can it pass muster when it's a homage to gameplay we all enjoyed over 10 years ago? I made a bet with some fellow staff that I'd eat my hat if Duke Nukem Manhattan Project proved to be any fun. Well, pass the Akubra, go light on the vegemite, and watch me eat my fill.

You play the egocentric Duke and it's your job to stop an evil madman called Mech Morphix from infecting New York City with Glopp - a radioactive substance that's turning the roaches, rats and all manner of foul beasties into gun-toting, paranoid creatures. It wouldn't be a Duke Nukem game without pig cops, damsels in distress and Duke's glib borderline misogyny - just take heed not to play this game if Germaine Greer is within earshot.

The environments diversify nicely, from the streets of China Town to a Space Station, and they cover three levels in each of the eight episodes. Duke interacts with each environment according to different enemies and challenges, so gameplay is kept interesting. It's not a long game and has little replay value, but that's reflected in the bargain price.

Being a 2D platform game means Duke Nukem is strictly linear and non-exploratory. However, it utilises current gaming technology to achieve some stunning results. The 3D engine means it looks great and allows for interesting changes in perspective when you're playing. This is classic addictive action - it's easy to pick up and play without having to engage your brain. Well worth the money.

Publisher: SunStorm Interactive.

Developer: ARUSH Games.

URL: www.dukenukemmp.com.

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