Manhunt
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  • Rockstar Games
  • ?
  • Adventure - Survival/Horror (example - Resident Evil)
  • 11/18/2003
  • 1
  • Memory Card
  • 1
  • $9.00
  • Mature
2  |  More like 'Slow Moving Lawn Mower' Hunt
fishbulb , 11/25/2003 3:55:09 PM

ManhuntManhunt is the newest game from Rockstar, the creators of the smash hit super popular and critically loved by everyone so good its like sex and ice cream Grand Theft Auto series. Grand Theft Auto Vice City being on most people's list as one of the greatest games made for the PS2 (and now its on the XBox as well). Even people who haven't played GTA know of it because of its reputation as a violent crime filled video game, but it doesn't rely on its heavy violence and 'offensive content' for all of its glory, it has an innovative design system, massive amounts of game play including numerous side plots and mini games and is just over all a well made, excellent game.

Manhunt is like the exact opposite of that. Manhunt is a poorly made game that has nothing to show for itself besides its hefty helping of 'I can make this guys head explode when I hit it with a baseball bat.' I'm not a reactionary 'violence in the media and entertainment is wrong' person, but when that's all you have to show for yourself without some kind of content to back it up, you fail. It relies too heavily on its plot and content to interest people without giving us a good dose of solid and fun game play to go with it.

The basic premise is that you are a convicted murderer, put to death by the state, or so they think. You somehow survive your lethal injection, only to be somehow captured by 'the director' and somehow forced into escaping a number of situations he has established for you by killing a lot of people with various objects while he films everything. So that's your "so offensive and wrong it's innovative" premise. Don't you want to play it? You get to make snuff films and murder people who cuss at you and say racial slurs!

Technically this game would fit into the 'sneak around and kill people' genre, like Metal Gear Solid, Splinter Cell, or Tenchu. Unfortunately it doesn't bring anything new to the table, and in fact has far less interesting possibilities than those games. Your movement set is limited to running and leaning on walls, I understand the character is supposed to be some kind of brutish slug of a lumbering ogre murderer, but it seems so limiting compared to other games in the genre its almost criminal. Not that it matters because the developers decided to give you less than retarded Resident Evil style control scheme, where your character reacts more like you are a driving a lawn mower than running around as a person. Turning around requires you to hit the two back shoulder buttons at the same time and takes much too long. You can lean up against walls and look around corners, but if you do you are stuck with your back to the wall until you press the button again and when you leave the wall you are generally facing away from it, meaning you have to spend the 12 seconds it takes to turn around to go back the way you wanted to in the first place. Its just frustratingly bad. You can hide in 'shadows' pretty much anywhere on the map that is dark, which tends to be pretty silly, you can sit inches away from a hunter 'in the dark' perfectly visible, and he walks by humming to himself, even if he was just hunting you a moment ago. To kill the hunters you are supposed to sneak up behind them and hold down one of the attack buttons while armed with a fork or a glass shard or whatever it is you are going to kill them with until the icon that appears starts to change color. The color of the icon determines how brutal your killing attack will be when performed. This is the games biggest claim to fame. You put a plastic bag over a guys head and punch him until blood somehow squirts out of the bag on the camera, or you choke them with a bat until they go down on their knees and then you hit them in the head and it pops like an over ripe zit on the target audiences face. All with dramatic 'hand held' camera vision. The best part about all that is half the time while you are sneaking up behind someone to do what you do best when you hit the button to start the 'waiting period' for your execution instead of killing them your character will punch at the air for no reason, which somehow alerts the hunter to your presence. The other half the time you will be so paranoid about noisily punching the air that you'll try to sneak up closer to them and thanks to the lovely contact detection of the game, you'll bump into them, which also alerts them to you presence.

The sad thing is none of that really matters, that's not the point of the game. This isn't a game designed to innovate a new direction in a genre or engulf players in an excellently crafted digital world, its supposed to make teenagers go 'holy sh!t, I just cut that guys head off and threw it at that other guy to distract him!' and get Rockstar on 60 Minutes again defending their right to sell violent games. Unfortunately its a better argument when the game is actually worth playing.

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