The Total Recall


Artist touch: C'mon, it's just a blurry guy wearing a mask. Big deal! This hardly tells me anything about the game here. Cover art rating: 2/10
Month it won: August 2005

(Rockstar Games, 2003)
Special note: This game is so violent that it has already been blamed for some murders. Proof that the game is bad in so many ways.

Introduction and Story:

When I was a young kid, I use to love playing this popular Nintendo game called Duck Hunt. On the surface, that game may appear to have cute family friendly cartoon-like visuals but the whole idea of Duck Hunt is to shoot down wild ducks while your dog collects the corpses; kind of sick if you think about it. The makers of the controversial Grand Theft Auto series (Rockstar North) are taking the idea of the hunting game one step further in their new title here. Instead of gunning down harmless ducks, you have to kill actual human men to survive in a city with no laws or rules. What makes Manhunt so disturbing, however, is that all the gory violence is being filmed by a creepy director for a new snuff movie. Can you fight your though the brutal hordes of demented gangs just so you live another day. Will you even care?

The game here begins with a high note as you get to witness someone get executed. James Earl Cash is a death row inmate and he has been finally ordered to die by lethal injection. Although all records say that he died that day, James suddenly awakes up to the sound of a director's voice. Since the world now thinks he's dead, the director plans to have him be the star of a real life murder flick. In Cancer City cameras are everywhere and so are a group of killers ready to hunt you down for sport. You have no choice but to listen to this man and play his twisted game if you want to continue to live. This is a great story for the adult player who wants a more mature theme in their video games but the only problem I have with it is that your main character is nothing more then a bald, one dimensional Vin Diesel wanna be. James has no personality whatsoever and I really didn't care when someone would kill him or not. If I wanted to see a one dimensional story line then I would watch a real Vin Diesel movie instead!

Controls and Game Play:

Sure, being encouraged to brutally kill some local low-lifes sounds like a good excuse to go wild in the game but to survive in Cancer City here you must kill your enemies quietly and wisely (boring!). If you don't want to be discovered by a large group of killer thugs it's a good idea to go for the instant kill by sneaking up behind them with one of the many nasty weapons available. Plastic bags, chainsaws, guns, crowbars, nothing is off limits and remember; the bloodier the better!

Most of these murderous thugs are no pushovers either. All these different street gangs and weirdos won't think twice about beating you to death and a lot them look like some freaks from the band Slipknot or something. The game has good controls and auto aiming feature is cool but the camera can get very wonky in some close corner rooms and other inside areas. You also have to worry about how much noise you make as well which proves how realistic and lame it is.

Graphics and Sounds:

That brings me to what this game has for graphics. Manhunt looks a lot like the Grand Theft Auto Vice City minus the colourful scenery and lack of usable vehicles. The characters are well designed but they still have some blocky textures and stiff animations that plagued the GTA 3D games plus the backgrounds are very dull compared to other high profile Xbox games like Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell. The sounds don't fair much better either. Although the game has some great voice samples that may actually help you in the game's strategy (enemies may give away their location by talking or your director buddy may drop a few hints), the music here is very forgettable.

The Bottomline:

Although Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto games were mega hits on the PS2, Manhunt didn't sell nearly as well. Both versions are pretty much the same too. The Xbox version would have been a great way to improve on some of the Playstation2's problems but the graphics still look rather plain and there is no new Xbox Live support either. Manhunt is definitely one of the most controversial video games ever made, no question about it, but that doesn't mean it makes for excellent game, unfortunately. The game heavily relies on stealth kills to be played correctly but the simple mechanics of taking out a bunch of dirt bags is laughable compared to tons of other sneaky action video games like Tenchu and Metal Gear. The filming of deaths is a gruesome yet cool concept but the gimmick quickly wears thin after a few a boring levels and some dull story lines. If this were a real movie it would be quickly returned to Block Buster the same day and not because it's disturbing, it's because Manhunt is average in every way.

overall rating: 58/100

For 1 player only
Rated (M) for Mature

graphics: 5/10
sound: 6/10
gameplay: 5/10
replay: 5/10

(Ryan Genno) 2007

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