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Description official descriptions

Manhunt casts you as James Earl Cash, a prisoner on death row. You are led down a corridor where you are about to receive a lethal injection. The needle goes in. You wake up hours later. A mysterious voice tells you to stick in the nearby earpiece, and explains that the "lethal" injection was just a heavy sedative. The man, later identified as Starkweather, turns out to be a director of snuff movies, where the people are really killed. He explains that if you follow his directions, manage to kill people and survive, you'll earn your freedom. This begins James Earl Cash's journey.

Throughout the course of the game, you'll have to make your way through different locales, such as a city and a mall, while killing gangs. You'll face lots of different gangs, from The Hoods and The Skins to tougher gangs like The Innocenz. Gang members carry weapons ranging from pistols and shotguns to knives and glass shards.

Manhunt is primarily a stealth game. You'll have to hide behind walls, flatten yourself against walls, crouch, hide behind objects, and walk to avoid attracting attention. You can also throw glass bottles to create a distraction, or you can punch surfaces and yell to get gangs to come to you.

You have a variety of weapons at your disposal, from the traditional, such as the shotgun and uzi, to the disgusting, such as a sickle and plastic bag. Each weapon has three different ways of attacking, depending on how long you hold the button. A quick attack will do the job, a medium attack will be bloody, but a high attack, requiring the longest amount of time, will earn you the most points, and will allow you to see your kill in a cinematic style, with blood splatting on the camera, and gurgling noises.

Manhunt also lets you use a USB headset, such as the one that came included with SOCOM: U.S. Navy Seals. With the headset, you will hear Starkweather speak into your ears instead of through your speakers, and you will be able to shout into the microphone to attract gangs instead of pressing a button.

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Credits (Windows version)

115 People (86 developers, 29 thanks) · View all



Average score: 71% (based on 47 ratings)


Average score: 3.5 out of 5 (based on 96 ratings with 6 reviews)

blood, gore, and lots of fun

The Good
The dark atmosphere of this game is just awesome, the characters are awesome, With gangs, to Starkweather, just awesome.

The controls are very well down, the ambient music helps set the mood, and it is just one of them games that you can never stop playing.

The Bad
The game was in my opinion way to short. I think that Rockstar could of done a longer game and they could of added more levels, more characters and what not.

The Bottom Line
A stealthy action game, where you play as James Earl Cash, a death row inmate who gets a second chance at life, and stars in a snuff film from director Lionel Starkweather, Starkweather is giving you another chance at life, if you can get by his obstacles, then you get to go free.

If you haven't checked this game out, I would highly recommend this game.

PlayStation 2 · by AaronGamer (29) · 2009

Excellent if you can stomach the content

The Good
The concept and story were absolutely superb. The music keeps up a constant tension that cannot be ignored and the outright explosions of graphic violence on screen can be as horrifying as they are thrilling and heart-pounding. Nothing compares to sneaking around in the dark corners, making fools of your enemies before you literally eviscerate them.

Now, as you read, you might be turning your nose up in disgust. That's the whole point of this game. Rockstar pushed this game out as a kind of social question: what will you allow? There is no way to avoid the dark, gritty story that glorifies violence as you literally work to create a gruesome snuff film in the game. If you enjoy every minute of the murders, you are pointed out by Rockstar as taking part in the dark underlining of humanity. If you abhor the violence, you are still taking part in that dark underside since you're simply ignoring the plight of these disturbed individuals.

A damned if you do, damned if you don't type of story. The controls are simple and easy to learn and the camera keeps the feeling throughout that you are simply watching a homemade slasher flick, complete with TV static and tape noise.

The Bad
There are only three kinds of attacks for each weapon, which can drain the excitement of the killings about halfway into the game. More variety would have been excellent. The voice acting can vary from superb to downright laughable (as in the case of some of your enemies) but you would never want to mute the audio since the bad moments are few and far between. The tutorial level is also lacking, as it doesn't detail how to actually play the most important part of the game: stealth kills, so the first few levels you may find yourself brawling it out with chumps instead of sneaking around in the dark like Rockstar intended. A minor gripe, fixed simply by reading the playing manual carefully.

Also, the extreme violence and horrifyingly mature content will alienate some players. That's just fine though. If the gore freaks you out, then Rockstar has done its job well of terrifying you. If you aren't bothered by violence of the extreme adult themes, then sit back, relax and prepare to be frightened until you crap your pants.

The Bottom Line
Like I already said, it's not for everyone. But those of you who enjoyed Grand Theft Auto or, especially the Splinter Cell games should find this game not only scary and disturbed, but an excellent play that will frighten and disturb your dreams. Rockstar has made many controversial games in the past and I doubt Manhunt will ever be replaced as the uniquely depraved game that it is. It is not only a nonstop ride of fear-drenched tension but a smart social commentary on the nature of violent media. And let me say this last: the final level terrified me in ways that no other game has managed to do.

Shut off the lights, turn up the sound, and get ready to KILL!

Windows · by M C (6) · 2006

Perhaps My Least Favorite Game Ever. Sucks Eggs.

The Good
Almost nothing. The music / audio was good, I suppose. The voice acting teetered between good and hammed up. And believe me, I'm stretching with this. It's hard to come up with anything positive.

The Bad
Just about everything.

Graphics: sucks. Game play: sucks. Fighting: monotonous. Levels: tedious. The world is highly non-interactive. Physics engine: sucks. Windows and gas tanks are just about the only thing you can interact with (by breaking/blowing them up).

The only other games that I may like less than this would be the Blair Witch trilogy of games. Maybe. This may or may not be worse; at least the Blair Witch games have better graphics.

Oh, and to top it all off, it's one of those stupid "save point" games. You can't save your games until you hit certain points within the game. I hate that!

The Bottom Line
Some people focus on the violence in the game. Meh. I suppose there's some, but honestly, you're watching the same scenes over and over and over. You behead someone with a sword vs beheading them with a knife vs beheading them with a baseball bat. I pretty much got de-sensitized to the violence. Once that happens, there's really no point to the game. There is waaaaaaaay more gore and violence in a game like Doom 3. I really don't understand what people are yapping about with the gore in this game. Meh.

The game is boring. You pretty much sneak around slowly because fighting out in the open will get you killed quickly. It's a slow paced game.

The cursing? Meh. I love cursing, but this was too much. The great thing about cursing is that they're special words that you only use sparingly, so when you drop an F-bomb, it really means something. It accentuates a point. When the F-bomb is dropped on every other word you say, it kind of loses its potency. You get desensitized to it.

I really do NOT understand the other reviews -- I absolutely concur with the only other user submitted negative review by "ganjathief": I couldn't recommend this game to anyone. Not even Charles Manson.

If you have a 2 year old, perhaps you could use this game to put them to sleep because it is long and booooring. Booooring!

This game is boring and pointless. Keep away!

Windows · by null-geodesic (106) · 2010

[ View all 6 player reviews ]


1001 Video Games

Manhunt appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


The Scottish actor Brian Cox, who features in this game, also featured in the (unrelated) film Manhunter.


This game was banned in New Zealand for excessive violence.

On October 20, 2003, Manhunt was released in Australia with a MA15+ rating. Computer games with this rating are not suitable for anyone under 15 years old. The following year, the game was blamed for the death of a British teenager. Due to this, the censors met to review the game's rating on September 29. After this, the game's rating immediately changed from MA15+ to RC, meaning that it is illegal for anyone to purchase Manhunt, or import it into Australia.

In Ontario, Canada, the game was on February 3, 2004 the first ever to be slapped with a mandatory R rating (restricted to be bought or rented by those only of age 18 or older). It was applied by the Ontario Film Review Board, an agency of the Ministry of Consumer and Business Services, after its panel reviewed the game in part because of complaints by parents.

German index

On March 31, 2004, Manhunt (PS2) was put on the infamous German index by the BPjM. Both Windows and Xbox versions followed February 26, 2005.

For more information about what this means and to see a list of games sharing the same fate, take a look here: BPjS/BPjM indexed games.

In addition to the indexing, on July 19, 2004, the PlayStation 2 version was also confiscated for violating §131 of Germany's penal code (for showing cruel violence against humans etc.). Both Windows and Xbox versions followed July 21, 2005.


The game takes place in Carcer City, which is the city right next door to Liberty City, the locale of Grand Theft Auto III, and was also mentioned numerous times in that game.

Original build differences

In the original build of the game, the scene "Kill the Rabbit" was originally titled "Pool of Tears".

Information also contributed by ~~, CaptainCanuck, *Katakis*, Martin Smith, Scaryfun, and Xoleras

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by JPaterson.

PlayStation 4 added by Charly2.0. Xbox added by Kartanym. Windows, PlayStation 3 added by Kabushi. Xbox One, Xbox Series added by Eufemiano Bullanga.

Additional contributors: tarmo888, CaptainCanuck, DreinIX, Victor Vance, FatherJack.

Game added November 30th, 2003. Last modified June 24th, 2023.