First ever thread on these forums, woo.
Making a Manhunt thread is pretty tough on me, mainly because I'm such a total fucking crazy-in-love geek for the first game that it'll take some serious restraint for me to not descend into batshit loco fanboy mode once I get talking. Suffice to say that it's one of the most personally important games I've ever played, and there's barely been a week that's gone by since November 2003 that I don't boot this masterpiece up and bathe in it's atmosphere, like a carefree baby frog frolicking freely in a spring fountain in some nature reserve like the Animals of Farthing fucking Wood or some such. The game oozes horror. And not in the supernatural, zombies, aliens and mutants type of fantasy horror that's so easy to recreate in a Resident Evil sort of fashion. I'm talking human
horror. The evil that men resort to when they're at the end of their fucking rag, when survival is the only thing that matters, when they're alone with a machete in a city choking under the drugs, sex and violence that runs rampant, reflecting the human condition. The horror of five men with baseball bats hunting you down in some godforsaken fucking warehouse in the arse-end of the some rust-belt industrial town deep in America's heartland. Carcer City, a hellhole so bad it makes the other GTA cities (yes, they are in the same universe) look like that Cypress Creek place that Hank Scorpio runs in The Simpsons.
It's 1980s video nasties, it's 1970s grindhouse, it's Preacher, it's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, it's The Warriors, it's John Carpenter's entire movie career distilled into one awesome stealth game with the guts of a GTA, the soul of a Metal Gear and one twisted fucking sense of humour. Manhunt is Rockstar's way of saying to all those Daily Mail prudes "you think GTA is fucking violent, banging hookers off-screen? Take a look at this scythe castration!"
I love it to death, for its boldness, it's brutality and its incredible vision towards scaring and thrilling the shit out of you with every silent step and carrier-bag asphyxiation. You don't, as certain lawyers would suggest, have to be a basket-case to play this game. You don't have to have fantasize about gutting your co-workers, and you don't have to "lie around masturbating in your own feces", to quote Brad Pitt in Se7en. You just have to appreciate good horror, and good stealth gaming.
The atmosphere is helped by the vocal talents of Emmy-award winning actor Brian Cox, who snarls and screams out words of derision and encouragement as The Director, directly into your ear if your using the USB headset. It's a stealth game that dares to ask you 'what if you aren't the hero?' You're not some government agent snapping terrorist necks for your 'fat reward and ticket home' - you are a bastard. Everybody in this game is a bastard, except for the one woman in the storyline. A comment on the male ego, perhaps. It's no random decision to set three whole levels in an abandoned zoo, free of the animals. This is a zoo for violent men to hunt each other in caged surroundings whilst somebody else observes them through a camera lens. For the Manhunt.MANHUNT - PS2, Xbox, PC, released November 2003 (UK)
What's the story? James Earl Cash is a convicted murderer, facing the ultimate price for taking a man's life - the death penalty. Instead of being administered the lethal injection though, a tranquiliser inoculation sends him to sleep. When he wakes up he thinks he's in Hell - ironically not far off. A mysterious voice on the end of his headset tells him that he's been given a second chance. "Do exactly as I tell you, and this will be over before the night is out", he's promised. Cash is urged to step quietly through sectioned-off areas in Carcer City, in the dead of night, and brutally murder the roaming gang members in the bloodiest fashion possible, for the cameras. For this, you see, is the Manhunt - an epic snuff film organised and arranged by an ex-Hollywood (Vinewood?) mogul so powerful that he even has his own private guard of hired mercenaries working for him. There is no escape, and there is no bargaining. The cops are in his pocket, and the gangs are his pawns. The show must go on.
There are various gangs: The Hoods (basic street mob, cowards if isolated), Skinz (trash-dwelling self-righteous white supremists), the Wardogs (dumbass army guys), Innocents (mainly Mexican murderers and psychos), the Smilies (Insane asylum residents), CCPD (Carcer City's finest), and the Cerbeus Unit (The Director's private guard).
Defining moment: Deliverance, the final level. Scariest gaming moment ever. You can take your Pyramid Heads, Eternal Darkness bathtubs and Resident Evil dogs and windows, because Piggsy has this genre covered.
He's an obese naked guy with a hollowed-out pig's head over his own. He's cannibalistic, screamingly bleeeeeeeeeeblblblblblblb insane and chases you relentlessly with a chain saw in the game's climatic scene. With the ability to disappear from the radar (and your senses) by simply turning off the weapon, he's one of the most memorable antagonists in gaming history. The set-design of the level looks like something from a Nine Inch Nails vid, your main character is completely (well, almost) defenceless, and the game delivers the ultimate gratification when you defeat the psycho and take the chain saw for yourself, gleefully dismembering a few assault-rifling toting mercenaries before busting down the door of the Director's editing room and giving him the definition of 'stomach pains'.
Manhunt 2 - PS2, Wii, PSP, out July 2007.
^----Actual image photographed from a HMV store.
Imagine my face when I heard Manhunt 2 was coming. Just imagine the smile of sheer delirious fucking joy on my impish face, when I saw that news. Like this:
IGN articleOfficial Site
An experiment at a secret research facility has gone catastrophically wrong. Daniel Lamb and leo Kasper are the only surviving subjects. The Pickman Project will stop at nothing to hunt them down and stop the truth from getting out.
Demented screams echo around the dank asylum that has caged you for the last six years. You open your eyes. A white-coated body slumps to the floor through your shaking hands. A bloody syringe slips from your arm. Waves of confusion and paranoia crash over you. You have no idea who you are or how you got here.
The door to your cell is open. One choice. One chance. They took your life. Time to take it back.
The new hunt begins soon.