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Generally favorable reviews - based on 47 Critics What's this?

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8.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 105 Ratings

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  • Summary: They just killed Cash. Now, they want to kill him again. America is full of run down, broken rust-belt towns where nobody cares and anything goes. In Carcer City, nothing matters anymore and all that's left are cheap thrills. The ultimate rush is the power to grant life and take it away, for sport. This time James Earl Cash, you are the sport. They gave you your life back. Now, they are going to hunt you down. You awake to the sound of your own panicked breath. You must run, hide and fight to survive. If you can stay alive long enough, you may find out who did this to you. This is a brutal blood sport. [Rockstar] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 47
  2. Negative: 4 out of 47
  1. A subversive parody that cleverly indicts our depraved culture? If it makes you feel better about having a shitload of sadistic fun, sure.
  2. With all of the variety and unlockable content, you'd be hard-pressed to find a game more gut-wrenchingly intense and disturbing as this one. That being said, it makes for one hell of a good time.
  3. The sound quality of Manhunt is surreal, simply because the game seems like a living, breathing entity by itself.
  4. The phenomenal use of sound and the "snuff" executions are exceptional, and the attention to detail in both the environments, the gangs, hell, even the instruction booklet is top notch.
  5. I liked the game sometimes and other times I despised it. Then again, maybe that is what they were shooting for.
  6. A very good game, it's just hidden under a coat of blood and filth. The game engine is good, and the gameplay, graphics and audio are well done. If you can stomach the disturbing images and violence, you'll find a solid stealth/action game.
  7. Manhunt is boring. Cash's standard walking pace is painfully slow, press R1 and his running speed is ridiculously fast. Navigating the game is therefore less than pleasurable and, should you not have anyone to dice up, a tedious experience.

See all 47 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 46 out of 59
  2. Negative: 5 out of 59
  1. Nov 16, 2013
    10
    i wish i can go back to the same day this came out in 03. i still got the same magazine of game informer with manhunt gameplay pics. this was the main game we wanted out of the game books of 2003. still play one and two in 2013. these classics i hope, wont ever be forgot. Expand
  2. Jan 15, 2013
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. You are put into the shoes of convicted criminal James Cash. Sentenced to death (for a crime that is unknown to the player), his execution is staged, and rather than being put to death, he is simply given a sedative, and then abducted. Thus, he ends up in the clutches of a sick snuff film director, who intends to use James in his latest movie. Left in an abandoned part of city, with paid gangs hunting him down, James has no choice but to listen to his instructions given to him through an ear piece. He must survive by killing those that are hunting him, and remain hidden, whilst the director catches it all on film.

    Throughout the game, the whole point is to remain hidden from the gangs hunting you down, and then either creep past them without them seeing you, distract them, or creep up behind them and kill them. If you walk, rather than run, your footsteps are too quiet for the hunters to hear. If you run, they will hear you and investigate, similarly, if you bump into a trash can or walk on a noisy surface, then they will hear. The game is set at night, and so there are lots of dark shadowy areas to hide in. Once you are completely within a shadow, hunters will not be able to see you.

    The game is split up into scenes, and each scene involves a particular gang of hunters. Each of them has their own kind of dress code and way of speaking. You start off against The Hoods, who are basically just thugs in balaclavas. You later face a gang of racist skin heads, some lunatics, some ex-army nutcases and so on. Each gang uses different weapons, starting unarmed, then gradually getting more dangerous with knives, bats, and eventually guns.

    The hunters will actively search for you. They do not follow set paths as they look for you, unlike other stealth games. Some hunters in the game are reluctant to leave a certain post that they are defending, but 99% of the time, hunters will look anywhere for you. This means that you constantly have to be careful about what you're doing, and where you are.

    If a hunter is at long distance, and he catches a glimpse of you, he will just walk over and examine the area, he won't know that it's you instantly. Similarly, if you make a slight noise, he will check it out. If you are close by and he sees you, he will recognise you and chase you, and call any of his partners nearby. With this in mind, the best thing to do is wait in shadows, or out of sight, and wait for opportunities to strike, or to creep past. By tapping walls with your hand, you can lure hunters to your position, and then creep away, leaving them where you were. This becomes a basic tactic that you will continually use in order to get past hunters, or to lure them in to kill them.

    Once a hunter has been alerted and is chasing you, he will run as fast as he can, and so you must run away. You can decide to fight hunters face-to-face, but you will normally get defeated if they gang up, which they normally do. The best thing to do is to try and lose them. If you just run straight ahead down an alleyway or corridor, you will never lose them because they will be able to see you. You have to break the line of sight, by taking a corner. After you do this, the hunter will run to the junction or corner, and turn in the direction that he saw you take. But if by then you're hidden somewhere, he won't know where you went, so he will stop and search. Depending on what gang you are against, they will search for longer periods of time, and they can run faster and have a higher state of alert and awareness.

    Whilst you could try to get through the game by avoiding the hunters, your best bet is to try and take them down if they're in the way of progress. The best way to do this is by using stealth kills. The way this works is by targetting a hunter from behind, when they are unaware of you, then getting in range and then holding down the kill button. Then, when you release the kill button, James will perform the stealth kill, which the hunter cannot escape from. You must use a weapon in order to perform a stealth kill, James can't do it with his bare hands.

    Each weapon has three kills. While you hold down the kill button, the target around the hunter's head will turn from white to yellow to red. Thus, there are three levels of execution. The level 1 (white) executions tend to be instant kills, level 2 (yellow) involves a more brutal killing, and level 3 (red) will have James trying to inflict as much pain as he can whilst executing the hunter. The purpose of this is to satisfy the director, who insists that James makes his movie as brutal as he can. Ultimately, however, it is up to the player how James deals with the hunters, and you can choose to punish the hunters with level 3 executions if you feel like it; it allows you to vent your frustration especially if the hunter is badmouthing you, or has been difficult to stalk. On the other hand, you can give the hunters a break and kill them instantly
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  3. Dec 3, 2011
    8
    Is it scary? Sure. Is it gory as hell? For the time, definitely. One thing it truly is, is one twisted and disturbing game. You literally play as a killer who, against his will, stars in what is the largest snuff film ever made. This game is 50% survival horror and 50% sadism, and what better than a soundtrack sounding somewhat like Ennio Morricone's music in John Carpenter's The Thing. Low synth-bass notes play constantly and when you get noticed by the insanely sadistic gang members who constantly hunt you down these notes get louder and intensify. This is one of the first survival horror games to use the element of sound to not only create atmosphere, but also to be apart of the survival aspect itself. Running causes hunters to hear you, banging against walls and fighting does the same thing. If you kick a shopping cart by accident or walk on gravel, noise is emitted. Really the game is brilliant, even if it is shockingly sadistic. It's unique and all survival horror fans should experience it all the way through at least once. Expand
  4. Jun 8, 2013
    8
    Building up to Manhunt's release in 2003 media focus centred solely on the games graphic violence and, while it is certainly rated 18 for a reason, this attention caused many to overlook just how good a game it actually was.

    The player takes on the role of James Earl Cash, a criminal sentenced to death for committing a series of heinous crimes. Instead of being put to death however he is given a second chance by someone known as "The Director". Waking in an isolated area of Carcer City Cash is instructed to murder the gang members that inhabit the streets and alleys in front of the hundreds of cameras set up to create his very own snuff film. Every level is even narrated by The Director who passes comments as to how well you are progressing.
    With little story to be told (aside from the final couple of levels) the focus is very much on the stealth based gameplay. What makes Manhunt different however is that Cash is very much the hunter rather than the hunted as is often the case in games such as Metal Gear or Splinter Cell. On the normal difficulty setting an on-screen radar provides information as to the enemies position and state of alert. The environment itself can be used to cause distractions and once approached enemies can be dispatched in a variety of ways depending on which weapon the player is holding. Be sure to strike quickly and quietly however as Manhunt can be an unforgiving games and it is easy to find yourself surrounded by shotgun wielding enemies in later levels.

    Each of the games twenty or so levels plays out in similar fashion but enough variety is added as the game progresses to help retain the players interest. One level for example sees your family members captured and being spotted even once results in their deaths whilst another tasks the player with accompanying a drunk man through a cemetery. Some of the later levels even see a shift to more gun based gameplay helping to pick up pace as the game reaches its climax.

    Manhunt may be violent and a little too slow for some but it is truly on the best games available on the Playstation 2 and at the price it can now be found for a must have game.
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  5. Oct 12, 2012
    8
    Disturbing, scary, graphically violent. Rockstar North's urban horror game is a tense and taut spin on "The Most Dangerous Game". Players control James Earle Cash, an inmate who is busted out of prison by The Director; a mystery man who sees your every move. Once Cash escapes the prison facility, his journey home becomes a literal fight for survival. Armed with bladed weapons and firearms, Cash uses both stealth and full-out assaults as to fight off the creepy gangs who are out to kill him. The macrbe twist is that The Director aids Cash through an earpiece throughout the game. He directs Cash to his final destination, ordering him to kill as gruesomely as possible every step of the way. The disturbing aspect of the game is that it rewards you for doing so. You are encouraged to perform the most graphic killings to unlock challenge rooms. In movie terms, "Manhunt" is "The Running Man" meets "The Warriors" with a touch of "8MM". Gameplay-wise, it is very similar to "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell" and "Hitman 2". This game features shooting segments, but it's very much a stealth game. The horror atmosphere is extremely thick with a synth musical score straight out of an 80's slasher flick. In a sense, "Manhunt" is a survival game as much as it is an action title. In fact, you'll probably creep out when you first get spotted by a crazed gang member.

    Rockstar North made three great "Grand Theft Auto" games for the PS2. This game is nowhere as grandiose as those mammoth titles. But it is an efficient and effective actioner that is truly creepy. 8.5 out of 10.
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  6. Mar 21, 2013
    5
    This game is designed to be "shocking," uber-violent and do what no other game has done before. And with that it does succeed. But does that make it a good game? No. For the most part the story is nothing we haven't seen before in movies, the gameplay is really nothing more than a violent Splinter Cell or Metal Gear clone. General graphics in game are dull to look at and add very little to the atmosphere. However it does have some nice camera work/effects that fit nicely into the tone. Kill sequences are also done very well and are rather graphic. Overall: A game that perhaps relies too much on its own notoriety to sell itself. Those who are a bit squeamish or not use to this type of violence in the media are likely to enjoy it more. Those who have been numbed by years of violent media bombardment will just think it's OK. Expand
  7. Jun 24, 2013
    5
    I admit that I never played Manhunt until the year 2013 when I anxiously downloaded it from psn. I have no problem with the violence or the blood, I actually find it entertaining but I do hate poor controls (a rockstar trademark during the ps2 era), I also despise the poor camera angles, lack of save points, lack of choice, and the dull graphics (even for the ps2, this is not good). I do love the story and the premise of the game but unfortunately at some point you have to actually use the controller and that is when the game fails. Its different, its violent, and at first its exciting--if you can deal with its many, many problems. Expand

See all 59 User Reviews