Review by mikecullerne

"Rockstar pull out yet another violently good title."

Rockstar North have always been stretching the boundaries of what is acceptable in a videogame. With titles like Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City they have turned there games into controversial pieces of art that signify just how much videogames have grown up over the past few years. Both of those titles have been rated M by the censor and it seems that their latest offering, Manhunt, will get the same treatment from the censors office But unlike the other two games where younger ones may have not been 'that' affected by the content, Manhunt is some seriously disturbing stuff and it is definitely a no-goer for children (no matter now mature they think they are). So if you are a parent take heed of the warnings - this game is not for little Johnny.

Even for older players the game may still be disturbing enough to warrant a few days off work to cope with some of the stuff Rockstar are throwing out here. Players will assume the role of James Earl Cash, some random guy caught up in a brutal blood sport where he is being hunted down by pretty much every wacko in Carcer city. The game is simple, your life has been spared by some psychotic guy known as the 'director' so he can have some fun watching you die all over again. There are no authorities to run to - in fact the only help players will get is from there own survival skills and desire to live on to fight another day.

You are one man facing off against a herd of pursuers that are all after you to get their psychotic kicks. This means the use of brute force is out of the question as you will get taken down by sheer numbers. Instead players must use wit and cunning to outsmart their enemies, picking them off one at a time whilst avoiding the attention of other people within the city. The odds are against you, you are not meant to survive, thats the whole point of the game. Maybe if you live long enough you'll find the sicko behind the sport and then maybe you can turn the game on him but until you take him out, you will never be safe.

In Manhunt there are many ways to die - whether its mauled by a bunch of angry off-duty cops looking for some fun or getting your face slashed to pieces by some crazy dude wearing a hockey mask. It's all visually represented in a disturbingly accurate fashion with plenty of blood and guts. As the game begins the director makes Cash prove he is up for mass-murder by making him go out and kill some random gangster. It's from this moment that you will realise how adult this title the game is as players slash their victim to death blood sprays everywhere... Over the floor, walls and screen for a squirm factor reminiscent of horror movies like Evil Dead and some of the stunts from Fear Factor.

Later in the game the difficulty ramps up as the numbers begin to stack up against you. What makes it tough is that all your enemies have automatic rifles and you have a shard of glass or better still a pocket knife. This is where Manhunt proves itself as a tactical game and whilst the violence is an integral part of the title, the ability to put that to one side and out think the AI will be crucial if you wish to succeed and unmask the identity of the 'director'.

Manhunt is not a kids game and I can't stress that enough. This is not a Xmas stocking filler and is definitely intended for the mother and father of the family. There will be a big shiny M sticker on the case so make note of that. If you are over 16 you are in for something very unique. From what I've seen the game plays like a hybrid of Resident Evil (GC, PS1), Metal Gear Solid 2 (PS2, Xbox) and Grand Theft Auto III (PS2, PC, Xbox) so if you enjoyed both of those titles then Manhunt will serve your blood lust needs well. Manhunt could be just the thing to get you in the Christmas mood, then again, maybe not.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 11/20/03

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