An intense and gory stealth game that plays like a murder simulator.

User Rating: 7 | Manhunt PS2

Rockstar's infamous Manhunt is a morally repugnant guilty pleasure. A stealth title that blends the premise of "The Most Dangerous Game" with "The Warriors", it is both stylish and well-made, but disturbing to a tee. The shock value is high; players are encouraged to commit grisly murders (the longer you hold down a button, the gorier they are) to survive. As your victim struggles for dear life, you can feel the controller's vibration simulate their last movements. You can use plastic bags, crowbars, shards of glass, bats and firearms to mutilate people. Of course, they're even more psychotic than your character is, so the creators would have you think the killings are justified.

Developer Rockstar North have made an intense and creepy experience with "Manhunt". You play as James Earl Cash, a prisoner that is given a chance to escape by an unseen man for reasons unknown. Just like in "The Warriors", Cash spends an entire night running through tough neighborhoods patrolled by crazy costumed gangs. The game starts out slow with simple goals, but then expands considerably as you progress. It plays out like a macabre "Metal Gear Solid" with an atmosphere straight out of an 80's slasher film (complete with a synth music score). Unfortunately, the violent kills become repetitive very fast. But more than that, the idea of murdering someone as gruesome as possible is just in poor taste.

Overall, "Manhunt" is not up in the same league with Rockstar North's "Grand Theft Auto" games. It lacks variety, a sense of humor and likeable characters. As a stealth game, it's solid, but "Hitman" is more thoughtful and "Splinter Cell" is more exciting. When it comes to horror, you'll find more scares in "Fatal Frame" or "Silent Hill". I'd rank "Manhunt" with a 7.5 out of 10.