Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project

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Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project
Duke Nukem - Manhattan Project Coverart.png
Developer(s) Sunstorm Interactive (Microsoft Windows)
3D Realms (Xbox Live Arcade)
Publisher(s) Apogee Software (GOG.com)

Microsoft Game Studios (Xbox Live Arcade)

Interceptor Entertainment (Steam platform/Greenman Gaming/Desura)
Steam [1]
Series Duke Nukem
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
Xbox 360 (Xbox Live Arcade)
Steam (Windows & OS X)
Release Microsoft Windows
  • NA: May 14, 2002
  • EU: June 14, 2002
GOG.com (Windows & OS X)
  • WW: March 10, 2009[2]
Xbox 360 (Xbox Live Arcade)
  • EU: June 23, 2010
  • NA: June 23, 2010
Steam (Windows & OS X)
  • WW: July 2, 2013[1]
  • WW: January 9, 2014
Genre(s) Platform
Mode(s) Single-player

Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project is a platform game developed by Sunstorm Interactive, produced by 3D Realms, and published by Arush Entertainment.[3] It was released on Microsoft Windows on May 14, 2002, in North America and on June 14, 2002, in Europe. A port of the game would be released through Xbox Live Arcade from Xbox 360 on June 23, 2010, by 3D Realms directly.


Manhattan Project features the humorously chauvinistic action hero Duke Nukem, this time fighting Mech Morphix, a mad scientist who is using a radioactive slime dubbed G.L.O.P.P. (Gluon Liquid Omega-Phased Plasma) to metamorphosize creatures into deadly monsters in order to take over Manhattan island, New York City. These enemies include metamorphic alligators, giant cockroaches, and even the Pig cops from Duke Nukem 3D. Duke also faces a few enemies who are not mutants, such as Fem-Mechs, lethal whip-wielding gynoids. Levels in the game contain recognizable parts of New York City.


Manhattan Project is played from a 2.5D perspective. Though the engine projects the game in 3D, gameplay is restricted to a two dimensional plane.

Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project was built using a 3D engine known as Prism3D. The levels and characters are fully three-dimensional, and both the camera and Duke can move along any axis, but movement is restricted to a two dimensional plane. Utilizing the 3D engine, the player can zoom in and out focusing either on the enemy approaching or an overall view of the field. Duke can crouch, run, jump and slide kick underneath small counter space.

The game is organized in 8 chapters, each one having 3 parts. In each part, the player must rescue a "babe" strapped to a GLOPP bomb and find a coloured keycard to unlock the way to the next part. At some parts, the player gets to use a jetpack to fly over large voids or hazardous ground. The controls are also quite easy to get used to, with buttons only for jumping, moving, firing, and weapon changing. Using a cheat, player can also move the camera to any angle and take screenshots. The game CD includes a level editor named "PrismEd", but level-creation activity for the game never reached popularity among the players, and only a tiny level editing community is currently active.

Manhattan Project is not a direct sequel to any earlier Duke game. Manhattan Project is much like the original Duke Nukem due to its many similarities, such as 'Mech Morphix' looking and acting very similar (e.g. half a metal face and also a mad scientist) to Dr. Proton, the main antagonist of Duke Nukem. The side scrolling element also pays homage to the original.

Duke's primary enemy in the game was originally supposed to be his old nemesis Doctor Proton, but this was changed to avoid possible continuity clashes with Duke Nukem Forever.[citation needed] Though in the end, Forever does not feature Proton at all while the DLC for Duke Nukem Forever called The Doctor Who Cloned Me featured the return of Proton.


In 1996, George Broussard was interviewed about future 3D Realms projects: he said that a Duke Nukem side-scroller called Duke Nukem Forever was in production and was supposed to come out by Christmas 1997.[4] The project was later cancelled, with the name Duke Nukem Forever reassigned to the true Duke Nukem 3D sequel. When Manhattan Project was first shown to the public, rumours began to spread about it actually being the cancelled Duke Nukem Forever side-scroller, but this has since been clarified: Manhattan Project is a game original to ARUSH. A port of Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project was released to the Xbox Live Arcade on June 23, 2010, for 800 Microsoft Points (MSP). The release includes two avatar awards (Jetpack and Duke Nukem logo T-shirt) that can be unlocked in game.[5]

Legal status[edit]

In 2004 Manhattan Project developer ARUSH Entertainment was bought out by HIP Interactive. Soon afterwards, HIP went bankrupt. Because of bankruptcy proceedings, the legal rights to Manhattan Project are now held by a court-appointed bankruptcy firm. 3D Realms has inquired about retrieving the rights, but has been unable to do so. This has been detailed a few times online by 3D Realms' webmaster Joe Siegler in their online forums,[6][7] most recently in June 2006. Of the situation, Siegler said:

Sometime after the bankruptcy, the official website for Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project was allowed to lapse and as was registered by a domain squatter.[8] Fortunately, before all the materials were lost, Joe Siegler was able to recover a copy of the contents of the official Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project website from a former ARUSH employee, and now hosts the former contents on the 3D Realms Website.[3]

In late February 2009, the online gaming distribution site GOG.com announced some Apogee Software titles as being available in the future for sale on their site. On this list was Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project.[9] The game actually became available again for sale on March 10, 2009, through GOG.com's online store. When queried about this chain of events, Joe Siegler responded with a post on the 3D Realms forums,[10] saying that some legal work was being done in 2008 to unstick the rights to the game. It would appear that these rights have been cleared up, but the exact nature of the issue (or more to the point, the resolution of the legal quagmire) is currently unknown.

As of now, the game is also available for purchase and download via Steam and ZOOM Platform.[11] It is also available for purchase through the Xbox Live Marketplace for Xbox 360 and is backwards-compatible with the Xbox One. [12]


Manhattan Project received mostly positive ratings, in the range of 7–8 out of 10. GameSpy gave the game 83%, calling it "A slick platform arcade game at a reasonable price... captures Duke perfectly; great system performance; clever use of 3D. Similarly, Game Over gave the game an 81% score, praising it: "Movement is kept at a brisk pace and there are plenty of monsters to blow away... a refreshing evolutionary step for the platform game without play devolving into a third person behind-the-back affair" GameSpot, with a 7.9 out of 10, was more neutral, saying, "It's straightforward and good-looking... the levels are huge, and most have several paths you can take."[13] IGN awarded it a 7.7 out of 10, citing, "Manhattan Project is a polished, tried, and true title... worthy of a recommendation, especially given its keen price point and familiar antihero."


External links[edit]