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Manhunt is a legend that fits into the genre of its own. This simple stealth action became so infamous that the overall mediocrity of the experience didn't stop it from becoming one of the cult games of the previous generation.
The reasons for the game's cult status are the atmosphere and the violence. The story is set in Carcer City, a nightmarish US city invoking the worst stereotypes of urban decay. Dirty dark streets, abandoned neighborhoods, bums, gangs, psychopaths and corrupt cops are the population of this horrible place. It gets worse - most of those people want to kill you.
The protagonist is hardly compelling: you control James Cash, a death row convict whose death was faked in order to make him a performer in a violent snuff show pitting a hardened criminal against various gangs in order to capture gratuitous violence on camera. Cash, and by extension, the player, can hide from his enemies, sneak up behind them and kill them - mostly using improvised weapons like glass shards and plastic bags, which makes the deaths look especially violent. The longer you take before making the kill, the more gruesome it will be, that is exactly what the maker of the sick show wants.
Occasionally, you will get your hands on firearms, turning the game from hide-and-seek into a cover-based third-person shooter. Unfortunately, the game stumbles in most aspects that don't concern execution. Enemy AI is primitive, aiming and shooting feels clunky, and even the stealth part is not that good, allowing Cash to hide an inch away from an enemy simply by standing in the shadow.
At times, you almost want to quit the game, only to feel adrenaline pumping again when you manage to sneak behind a Nazi with a baseball bat. Manhunt isn't particularly well-made. But it's still a memorable ride, one of horror, blood and oozing atmosphere that will make you remember Cash's bloody adventure for a very long time.
- Thrilling gameplay
- Unique depiction of gore
- Obsolete graphics
- Primitive stealth