Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Manhunt (video game)
The story revolves around a man on death row named James Earl Cash, sentenced to death by lethal injection due to a grievous but unstated crime in his past. An exceedingly wealthy former Hollywood director, who runs a seedy community named Carcer City, pays the doctors to inject him with a powerful knockout serum instead. He plans to make a snuff film, with the player character as his new star. As is mentioned often throughout the game's manual, the Director's company is Valiant Video Enterprises.
The game both references and satirises various aspects of the media. At the most basic level, it is an homage to Paul Verhoeven's (or possibly David Cronenberg's) movies. It is also a sharp satire on the ever-escalating nature of the reality television craze. The central concept of the plot- murder as the basis for a massmarket entertainment- is a very self-conscious reference to many people's views of the Grand Theft Auto series.
The game's levels are called scenes, in a parody of film.
The controversy surrounding the game is due to the graphic manner in which the player kills enemies. Almost all of the game's special "stealthy" kills involve large amounts of blood. In Germany, Australia and New Zealand the game has been declared illegal even for adult players; in the UK, the game received a BBFC 18 certificate, legally prohibiting its sale to anyone under that age.
In the United Kingdom the game was blamed by lawyer Jack Thompson for inciting the murder of Stefan Pakeerah (14 years old) by Warren Leblanc (17). However, UK Police revealed  in the following weeks that the game was owned by Pakeerah, not Leblanc, and that they were satisfied that robbery to fund a drug addiction was the motivation for Leblanc's actions. This did not affect Thompson's view of the case .
During the subsequent media circus, the game was banned by some vendors, such as the UK and international branches of GAME , leading to increased demand. It's notable however that none of the UK chains pulled other violent games, such as the Silent Hill or Grand Theft Auto series, from their shelves, or refused to stock the later Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (indeed, GAME ran a vast midnight opening campaign for the latter). GAME have since returned Manhunt to their shelves.
There are five gangs encountered during the course of the game, plus the corrupt police force (who seem to think Cash is some sort of drugged up hobo), the SWAT team and the Cerberus, the director's elite bodyguard.
The Hoods: Street thugs that usually use baseball bats and clubs as weapons. They wear hoods resembling that of the KKK, or pantyhose, to cover their faces. The Hoods are the first gang Cash encounters.
The Skins: A gang comprised of redneck white supremists, they are out to get Cash because he is (or they think he is) Mexican, although the director may have told them that so they will attack him with more hatred. They are armed with knives, nail guns and strong metal baseball bats and are found through out the junkyard. The Skins wear hockey masks and are covered in tattoos.
The Wardogs: A group of military veterans (or military wannabes). They are outfitted in camouflage and carry tranqulizer rifles, machetes and knives. They are found throughout the zoo, and later in the game armed with shotguns and sniper rifles in the apartment building. They hold Cash's family hostage in the zoo. Their leader is one of the directors top soldiers, the one eyed Ramirez.
The Innocentz: A gang of satan worshipping, drug frenzied Mexicans, located in the shopping mall and various other parts of the city. They are the first gang encoutered who use guns (particularly revolvers and double barreled shotguns), but are also armed with knives, hatchets, and sickles. The Innocentz have two different types of gang member: the Skullz, who wear skulls masks and hooded sweaters, and the Baby Faces, who are fat and wear creepy, doll like masks. The Skulls seem to be high on drugs, and can be heard to mention peyote. The Baby Faces may be high, or they may be insane, because they ramble on crazily.
The Smileys: Truly insane. They wear yellow smiley face masks, usually with things such as "Kill" and "please stop me" scrawled messily across them. They are covered in tattoos, and sometimes wear blouses and dresses. Many of them seem to think that they are female. The smileys appropriately occupy the mental asylum. They are armed with meat cleavers, revolvers, handguns, double barreled shotguns and spas shotguns.
The Police: The cops in Carcer City are following the orders of the corrupt police chief Gary Schaeffer, who is working for the director. The police are patrolling around the reporter's apartment, in the subway and at the trainyard. They are armed with nightsticks, revolvers, handguns, spas shotguns and sniper rifles. Normally they will chase after the player, but if they find one of their own dead, they will shoot on sight. The same goes for the SWAT team.
The SWAT Team: The SWATS are called in at the subway and the trainyard. Armed with heavy handguns, uzis and spas shotguns, they can take care of Cash fast. They also wear body armor and can take more bullets than the average cop.
The Cerberus: The most dangerous enemy in the game. The Cerberus are equipped with heavy handguns, spas shotguns and M16s, and will make short work of Cash. They usually work in groups, which makes it very hard to take them out. Over the course of the game, they ambush Cash and bring him to a new area, taking his weapons when they do so. They guard the directors mansion and the surrounding grounds, and also make an appearance at the end of the asylum.
The Monkeys: A maniac group of men in Monkey suits appearing in The Zoo in a bonus game. The story has it that they are indeed real monkeys and have an appetite for death due to banana shortage. Extremely fearful, carrying shotguns, going crazy on spotting the player and/or hearing noise.
Lionel Starkweather: The Director: The twisted mastermind behind the whole scenario, the director communicates to you through an earpiece until after the asylum. He tells you where to go and sometimes gives special instructions on murdering certain people. He hides up in the top of his mansion, although some fans debate that the director at the end is actually a decoy, due to the slightly different sounding voice, and how his appearance differs from that of the pictures in his mansion. His voice was provided by the British actor Brian Cox who played Hannibal Lecter in the movie Manhunter.
The Tramp: In one scene Cash must lead the tramp through the city to the cemetery, protecting him from gang members along the way. He is drunk and is constantly swigging liqour. He seems oblivious to the danger he is in.
The Reporter: Cash must lead the reporter back to her apartment so she can collect evidence on the snuff ring, protecting her from the police force along the way. If she is left on her own too long she will come running to find Cash, which puts her in danger.
The Rabbit: Found at the end of the asylum. The rabbit is a sick parody of Alice in Wonderland. The rabbit is supposed to be the end of the line for Cash, and after he is killed the director stops giving Cash directions.
Ramirez: Seen giving orders to various gangs throughout the game, Cash encounters Ramirez at the apartment building with the Wardogs. Ramirez has orders to make sure that Cash is killed, and by the end of the scene only one will be left alive.
Cash's Family: In the zoo you must save at least one of your family members. It looks like its your mom, dad, brother and sister. If you are spotted a Wardog will run to execute the nearest captive. It doesn't matter who you free, since the survivors are killed soon after by the Innocentz.
Monkeys: Found in a bonus level at the end of the game, a banana shortage has given them a hunger for death. The monkeys attack you in the zoo with shotguns and knives. You must kill them and escape the zoo.
Cerberus Leader: Cash must kill this elite Cerberus in the second to last scene, so that he can take his key and activate the elevator up to the director. He can take a clip or more from the M16 in the torso, and can even take several bullets to his head before he dies.
Piggsy: Found dwelling in the directors attic, this fat insane man thinks he's swine and wears the skin of a pig over his head and upper body. Other than that he is naked, and has a disgusting penis hanging almost to the floor. Piggsy does not appear on the radar, and attacks with a chainsaw that will kill Cash in 2 hits. Piggsy is quite obviously a take-off on the famous fictional character "Leatherface", the villain in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It takes 3 executions before Cash can go in for the final kill, which takes place just outside the directors final room.
The following are weapons Cash uses to execute his enemies.
- Plastic bag
- Glass shard (the glass shard can be found when Cash breaks a window or glass sheet)
- Fiber wire
- Wooden baseball bat
- Metal baseball bat (The metal version of the bat is stronger than the wooden one.)
- Chainsaw (only found in the very last level, taken off Piggsy, and in a bonus level.)
These small ranged weapons cannot be used for executions, but one shot to the head (3 with the nail gun) will kill an enemy.
The following weapons can do a small amount of damage, but are mainly used to lure enemies so that Cash can sneak up on them. If a gang member finds the severed head of a fellow gang member, he will become more alert and call for help.
- Severed Head
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