There's a grim tawdriness to Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project that shows just how much of an anachronism the macho, misogynistic, lump-headed goitre of a character has become.

Hideous pixel boobs jiggle like deflating beachballs when you rescue a 'babe', and the Duke's quips are ground out through a filter of gritted teeth and lukewarm testosterone.

The clunky, angular graphics, and an uninspiring platforming core combine to create a slice of retro misery that highlights the simple fact that some old games are best left in a bin to die.


The game sees you leaping manfully around a variety of 2.5D levels, blasting pigs and dominatrixes with your trusty weapon while pushing switches, jumping over things, and generally being confused because there are too many buttons on the screen.

You clunk around the bland environments using a bizarrely complex D-pad, mashing tiny buttons to fire, jump, slide, throw pipe bombs, and do all manner of pointless things that you end up regretting once you've done them.

In one section you need to twice navigate awful-looking bursts of flame, first by jumping, then by shimmying along a pipe. It's a piece of game design so old fashioned that even when the game was first released more than ten years ago it would have felt ancient.

And thanks to slippery and imprecise controls you're probably going to end up doing it more than a few times.

There's no spark to proceedings, no zip to the gun battles, or intrigue to the puzzles. You're just an awful man wandering through an awful gameworld wondering where it all went wrong.

And then you fall in a hole and stop playing.

Puke Pukem

Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project is a dud of a game. It slopes along, trading on its ageing franchise, begging you to engage with its seedy underbelly of crude jokes, jiggling flesh, and a fading concept of muscular cool.

The years have not been kind to the Duke, not because of some shift in attitude, but because his back catalogue is bloated and boring.

The Manhattan Project might be morally questionable, but it's also not very much fun. Whichever of those upsets you the most is your best reason not to bother with it.