Manhunt is a stealth-style video game series primarily developed by Scottish company Rockstar North, as well as several other Rockstar studios, and published by Rockstar Games.
The gameplay consists of a mixture of action, stealth and psychological horror elements and has gained controversy for its adult nature and extreme violence. The series focuses around two different protagonists who attempt to escape from some particularly dangerous and perverse situation they are left in from the beginning, although their motives for doing so vary in each game. The antagonist in each game is commonly a character who has betrayed them and has a great degree of control over impeding their progress.
The series began in 2003 and is currently composed of two installments. The name of the series and its games are derived from "manhunt", a term referring to a search for a dangerous fugitive conducted by members of law enforcement, though in the games the protagonist's pursuers are not necessarily limited to law enforcers alone. As of March 26, 2008, the Manhunt franchise has sold 1.7 million copies according to Take-Two Interactive.
The stages of each Manhunt installment are typically referred to in a way that relates to the game's plot. In the first game, stages are called "scenes," in relation to the game's plotline being that of a snuff film. In the second game, stages are called "episodes," in relation to the mental state and experiences of the protagonist, and in the vein that it refers to gameplay as "treatment." Players survive the stages by dispatching enemy gangs and "hunters," occasionally with firearms but primarily by stealthily executing them in bloody over-the-top ways.
The first game provides a rating system at the end of each stage which is largely affected by the gruesomeness of the killings and the speed of completion. Executions are preferred in order to gain a higher score, thus encouraging players to play as viscerally as possible. This rating system was cut for its sequel, Manhunt 2, in order to avoid the appearance of rewarding murder in Rockstar's efforts to get the game an M rating from the Entertainment Software Rating Board. The games' locales are full of 'dark spots' and shadows where the player can hide while being chased by the Hunters; hiding in these dark areas make the player literally invisible to the eyes of enemies.
There can be three different "executions" to be performed: hasty (characterized by the color white), violent (characterized by the color yellow) and gruesome (characterized by the color red). The execution used is determined by how long the player holds the action button while creeping stealthily upon an unsuspecting enemy. Manhunt 2 added several improvements to the execution system, including the ability to execute using firearms, perform "jump executions" from higher elevations, and environmental executions, such as pushing an enemy face-first into a live fuse box, using telephone cords to strangle an enemy or beating an enemy to death in a toilet.
Certain stages also encourage the player to dispose of the bodies of their unfortunate foes, so as not to allow other Hunters in the area to glimpse the bodies and become suspicious. Suspicious enemies are more likely to discover the player even when hiding in a dark spot.
Over the course of the games, players use a wide variety of weapons, ranging from plastic bags, baseball bats, crowbars and all sorts of bladed items to firearms later on in the game. If the player is running out of health, painkillers can be found which replenish health. The player can strike walls or throw items such as bottles, cans, bricks and severed heads to make noise to distract Hunters.
Manhunt, was the first game of the series. The game recieved very well by the critics and after the release of the game, it garnered controversies and created a media frenzy and was banned in many countries. The main chracter of the game is James Earl Cash and the director, Lionel Starkweather. The setting was set in Carcer City and many gangs crawl within it.
Manhunt 2 Edit
Manhunt 2 was the second game of the Manhunt series. It was released in October 29, 2007, although the original schedule of the release was July but because the rating rejection, it was suspended. The main characters of the game were Daniel Lamb and Leo Kasper and story revolves within The Project. The setting was set in Cottonmouth, a modern city controlled by The Pickman Project.
Manhunt 3 Edit
It is unknown if Rockstar Games will develop another entry into the Manhunt series.
The release of both games created controversies and media frenzies. The Manhunt games were banned in many countries and had rating rejections.
The controversies surrounding the games were the extremely graphic manner in executing enemies, which is called Hunters, in the game. The game has three 'levels' of executions, and the executions get bloodier as the levels of execution progress. Level 1 executions are quick and the least bloody of the three, while Level 2 executions are considerably more gory, and gruesome kills are over-the-top fatalities. An example of a Level 1 execution would be suffocating a Hunter to death with a plastic bag. A Level 2 execution might feature severing a Hunter's testicles by pulling a sickle between his legs. A Level 3 execution can involve stabbing a Hunter in the back with a crowbar, following it up by jamming it into the Hunter's head and wiggling it in the skull. The game encourages players to execute enemies as brutally as possible, and awards players who do so with higher health rewards.