Manhunt banned in New Zealand

Openly ultraviolent Rockstar title becomes the island nation's first <i>verboten</i> game and Take Two's second major controversy this week.

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While it has no problem with men gutting thousands of orcs on film, New Zealand doesn't take too kindly to men killing their fellow men in games. Today, the NZ Office of Film and Literature Classification announced it is banning the sale of the PlayStation 2 game Manhunt to all age groups. Calling the Rockstar North-developed game "gruesome," the OFLC filled a 12-page report with descriptions of its brutal levels and various weapons (which include garroting wire and plastic bags). "It's a game where the only thing you do is kill everybody you see," said Chief Censor Bill Hastings. "You have to at least acquiesce in these murders and possibly tolerate, or even move towards enjoying them, which is injurious to the public good."

While Manhunt is the first game banned in New Zealand, the island nation's antipodean neighbor Australia outlawed the sale of another Rockstar game, Grand Theft Auto III, in 2001. (The game was later allowed for sale after editing.) The ban is also Rockstar's second major controversy this week. The company's parent, Take Two Interactive, announced Tuesday that it will remove a level from Grand Theft Auto: Vice City that is still inspiring protests from Haitian-American groups.

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