Manhunt - Xbox

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Manhunt (Xbox)
Also for: PC, PS2
Viewed: 3D Third-person, floating camera Genre:
Strategy: Stealth
Media: DVD Arcade origin:No
Developer: Rockstar Soft. Co.: Rockstar
Publishers: Rockstar (GB)
Released: 23 Apr 2004 (GB)
Ratings: BBFC 18
Accessories: Memory Unit, Communicator Headset


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Rockstar North's extremely graphic and violent stealth-based kill-em-up, first released for PlayStation 2 back in November 2003, has now made its way over to Xbox. The game is fundamentally a direct port, but benefits from a higher resolution and some much-improved textures, meaning that its rather grim concept of snuff movies is now rendered in even greater detail.

Manhunt casts you as protagonist James Earl Cash, a guy on death row who, after waking from his 'lethal' injection, finds himself alone in a cell. Putting on an earpiece he finds nearby, Cash is soon introduced to Lionel Starkweather, who subsequently offers him his freedom in exchange for a number of 'tasks'. These tasks involve Cash being plunged into an array of 'scenes', charged with the simple yet rather unsavoury task of staying alive, on the run from a gang of relentless thugs. And the only way to achieve this is to systematically murder them in whatever brutal way he can. Throughout the proceedings, Starkweather is on hand, camcorder at the ready, waiting for some fodder for his snuff movies - lovely!

The gameplay itself features a combination of stealth and straight-up shooting action. There are shadows aplenty and much sneaking around to be done - in fact, audio plays a large part in the game, alerting you to the whereabouts of the enemy via your radar and vice versa. Alternatively, the game features a rather clumsy hand-to-hand element, an assortment of the usual ballistic weapons (pistols, shotguns, machine guns, etc.) myriad melee weapons, and, for the more resourceful amongst you, a plentiful supply of household objects found strewn around each level, such as carrier bags, wire and shards of glass. How you go about murdering your way through the game's 20 levels is up to you. A stealthy approach is encouraged but by the later levels there are far too many baddies and the action tends to turn into A Team-style shoot-outs. Except in this case, people do actually get shot.

Manhunt boasts possibly the most disturbing subject matter yet to grace the world of video games and, as a result, has proved extremely popular on PS2. Thanks to the more detailed visuals, this Xbox version is even more graphic - remember, over 18's only.