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Somewhere in America criminal James Earl Cash is waiting to receive the lethal injection on death row. The moment comes, he trys to fight it but cant break out his straps and sinks into the dreary darkness of the afterlife.
Or so he thinks! Cash wakes to the sound of a ear piece, in a sealed room. A voice comes through from a man at this point only referring to himself as 'the director' (we soon find out his name Starkweather), he tells cash he was only sedated but the whole world thinks he's dead, that if he just follows his instructions he'll be a free man before the night is out. Cash takes the earpiece and is then directed into what can only be described as a ghetto like neighbourhood, instructing him to sneak through the shadows and brutally murder every member of a gang know as 'The Hoods', using whatever he can find (with broken pieces of glass and plastic bags being the weapons of choice for the first level), while the director films everything for illegal 'snuff' videos.
I purchased the Xbox version of this game after my PS2 broke and it was in the second hand section at my local Video Game store. I figured I was in no rush to get the PS2 fixed (with my laptop, wii and 360 being my main entertainment these days) but fancied getting back into Manhunt. I'm not sure if it was due to the fact I hadn't played it for awhile but it seemed harder than the PS2 version ever did slightly, and still does.
Don't get me wrong this is NOT a game for the weak at heart or the easily offended. This is one of the most violent games you can find mixed in to stealth game at the level as such others like Splinter Cell. You have no hi-tek gadgets, just basic weapons (bricks, bottles, crowbars, hammers, baseball bats etc, with it moving on to firearms later into the game) to batter your enemy senceless with or use to misdirect them and skip past.
The main way to kill people is to sneak up behind then, wait for the targetting circle to go white, hold the button in till the circle changes colour depending on what you wish to do (white is a quick kill, yellow medium violence, and red for the most violent), release and watch as you kill another gang member.
The guns add another dimension to the game as once these are available you can use the free aim for head shots for quick kills, but of course your enemys come packing aswell.
There is a particular level near the end where you are in the grounds of a massive mansion, with a maze, graveyard etc and a whole lot of 'hunters' looking for you. The level is very dark (as is most of the game) which I used to my advantage to take out each one of my enemy one by one, either with head shots or the sneak kills, then picking up the bodies and hiding them so no-one was alerted to my presence. You don't have to do it that way, in fact you can get where you need to be on this level without having to kill alot of the enemys, get into the mansion and find a sniper rifle to take out any people you passed by in the gardens, it just shows that several levels can be completed in varying ways depending on your own choice.
The option of using the Xbox Live Headset headset/mic combo brings a new level to the game, with Starkweathers instructions coming through the headset only and the user having to be very careful not to cough or speak into the mic for fear of alerting gang members to their presence.
There are 4 bonus games which can be unlocked by finishing the games normal levels with high scores, (execution like kills getting the highest) which are quite fun to play. I'll not spoil it for you what they are but I will say they are worth unlocking.
The controls are fairly easy to use (not quite as good as the PS2 version IMO) and shouldnt be a problem for most people, but I do warn you have patience the first time you are about to sneak up and execute someone, it does take alittle bit for the circle to change colour from white.
Many people will be put off by the violence, many wont have the patience to spend so long sneaking about in the shadows, but if your a fan of films like Saw or Hostel and you have the patience to play this sort of game then Manhunt is a must have!
When I was a young kid, I use to love playing this popular Nintendo game called Duck Hunt. On the surface, that game may appear to have cute family friendly cartoon-like visuals but the whole idea of Duck Hunt is to shoot down wild ducks while your dog collects the corpses; kind of sick if you think about it. The makers of the controversial Grand Theft Auto series (Rockstar North) are taking the idea of the hunting game one step further in their new title here. Instead of gunning down harmless ducks, you have to kill actual human men to survive in a city with no laws or rules. What makes Manhunt so disturbing, however, is that all the gory violence is being filmed by a creepy director for a new snuff movie. Can you fight your though the brutal hordes of demented gangs just so you live another day. Will you even care?
The game here begins with a high note as you get to witness someone get executed. James Earl Cash is a death row inmate and he has been finally ordered to die by lethal injection. Although all records say that he died that day, James suddenly awakes up to the sound of a director's voice. Since the world now thinks he's dead, the director plans to have him be the star of a real life murder flick. In Cancer City cameras are everywhere and so are a group of killers ready to hunt you down for sport. You have no choice but to listen to this man and play his twisted game if you want to continue to live. This is a great story for the adult player who wants a more mature theme in their video games but the only problem I have with it is that your main character is nothing more then a bald, one dimensional Vin Diesel wanna be. James has no personality whatsoever and I really didn't care when someone would kill him or not. If I wanted to see a one dimensional story line then I would watch a real Vin Diesel movie instead!
Sure, being encouraged to brutally kill some local low-lifes sounds like a good excuse to go wild in the game but to survive in Cancer City here you must kill your enemies quietly and wisely (boring!). If you don't want to be discovered by a large group of killer thugs it's a good idea to go for the instant kill by sneaking up behind them with one of the many nasty weapons available. Plastic bags, chainsaws, guns, crowbars, nothing is off limits and remember; the bloodier the better!
Most of these murderous thugs are no pushovers either. All these different street gangs and weirdos won't think twice about beating you to death and a lot them look like some freaks from the band Slipknot or something. The game has good controls and auto aiming feature is cool but the camera can get very wonky in some close corner rooms and other inside areas. You also have to worry about how much noise you make as well which proves how realistics and lame it is.
That brings me to what this game has for graphics. Manhunt looks a lot like the Grand Theft Auto Vice City minus the colourful scenery and lack of usable vehicles. The characters are well designed but they still have some blocky textures and stiff animations that plagued the GTA 3D games plus the backgrounds are very dull compared to other high profile Xbox games like Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell. The sounds don't fair much better either. Although the game has some great voice samples that may actually help you in the game's strategy (enemies may give away their location by talking or your director buddy may drop a few hints), the music here is very forgettable.
Although Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto games were mega hits on the PS2, Manhunt didn't sell nearly as well. Both versions are pretty much the same too. The Xbox version would have been a great way to improve on some of the Playstation2's problems but the graphics still look rather plain and there is no new Xbox Live support either. Manhunt is definitely one of the most controversial video games ever made, no question about it, but that doesn't mean it makes for excellent game, unfortunately. The game heavily relies on stealth kills to be played correctly but the simple mechanics of taking out a bunch of dirt bags is laughable compared to tons of other sneaky action video games like Tenchu and Metal Gear. The filming of deaths is a gruesome yet cool concept but the gimmick quickly wears thin after a few a boring levels and some dull story lines. If this were a real movie it would be quickly returned to Block Buster the same day and not because it's disturbing, it's because Manhunt is average in every way.
MANHUNT overall rating: 58/100
For 1 player only
Rated (M) for Mature
This review is also on:
(Ryan Genno) 2007
This is definitely not a game for the young ones or the squeamish as even by game standards it is quite violent however once you get past the gore you are left with a really good game.
In the game you take on the role of James Cash and having been sentenced to death you instead awake in a cell with an ear piece. Yu are promised your freedom by a character called Starkweather however you must complete some tasks for him. Unknowingly you are actually starring in Starkweathers latest snuff movie as you go about killing those who attack you or get in your way.
In the game you have to combine the ability to go undetected with plenty of shooting and slashing when you are or you pounce upon a target. The stealth qualities of this game are what make it stand out and this is by far the games strongest feature.
With regards to the fighting in this game it is not very refined and is just a case of pounding the buttons as fast as you can, the shooting function is very precise with automatic targeting that automatically aims for the head just to increase the splatter effect and there are a good selection of weapons that you will pick up along the way. Also while progressing through the levels you will come across boosters for your health to repair any damage that you may incur.
With regards to the stealth mechanics you are able to hide in the shadows however there is no ducking down or climbing up on ledges, all of the levels are pretty flat in layout, you have the ability to run but that is noisy whilst normal walking is effectively silent unless you disturb something.
The thing that makes this game really violent is not the shooting but the large of array of small weapons at your disposal such as knives, axes, sickles and lots of other sharp things including shards of glass even. It is this slasher element straight from the scenes of a horror movie that provides all of the gore. When you complete a killing in this method the graphics resemble an actual movie scene and there is lots of blood and relevant sound effects.
There are a lot of strong features to this game, the opponents you face are varied and there is pretty good responses from these depending on the situation faced. Visually the game is excellent; the graphics are tight and often feel like you are in the middle of a movie and all of the environments help to create an oppressive menacing feel to the game. The atmosphere is further enhanced by the sound quality which adds extra layers of tension and an all too disturbing sound when you execute people. Even the gun shots are loud enough to make you jump. Even the commentary which in most games is a let down is strong in this game.
I would definitely recommend this game if you can cope with the subject matter however I would not go out and buy it for little Timmy unless you want to have a kid with nightmares on your hand. There is a lot of replay value in this game particularly at the harder level settings and it can become a bit addictive which is slightly worrying.
This is available at Amazon for £32.99 new or a much more reasonable £6.89 in the new and used section