Manhunter: New York

Apple II Specs [ all ]
Buy on Amiga
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Buy on Apple IIgs
Buy on DOS

Description official descriptions

The Earth has been invaded by the Orb Alliance, and a tightly restricted regime instituted for the humans that remain. Brown monk robes are the only garments allowed, speaking is a capital offense, and every human has been implanted with a tracking chip recording their every move. To track down criminals, the Orbs enlist "Manhunters" - humans given access to advanced technology and selected to be a combination of police officers and bounty hunters. The player controls one such Manhunter as he unravels a conspiracy inside the decaying heart of the New York ruins, and a mysterious serial killer on the loose.

Each chapter begins with the Orbs assigning the player's nameless Manhunter with a crime (such as murder) or target to investigate. The player gains leads through the use of the "MAD" computer, which displays the logs of all civilian movement in an area in an overhead map view. By starting with the victim and following the people who encountered him that day, the player can then go to a first-person investigation view at various New York landmarks to find clues to the suspect's identity. At the end of the day, the player must report the correct name of their suspect to the Orbs.

Manhunter uses a modified version of Sierra's AGI interpreter, with a rudimentary point-and-click interface used to locate and uncover clues at the investigation sites. At various times throughout the investigation, the player will also have to directly control the Manhunter in arcade-style challenges, like dodging gang attacks or throwing knives between a bar patron's fingers.

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Credits (Apple II version)

11 People

Written by
Designed by
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Average score: 65% (based on 7 ratings)


Average score: 3.5 out of 5 (based on 50 ratings with 5 reviews)

interesting setting, terribly presented

The Good
Cool sci-fi adventure where an alien race called the Orbs has invaded the world. You work as a manhunter in NYC who hunts down troublesome humans for the aliens.

The game has a great setting in the crumbling conquered city of New York. There is some detective work to be done at each crime scene which is well presented as you find one mutilated body after another.

The game while being one of Sierra's adventure games does not require the typing of the other games to solve puzzles. But at the time of this game mouse was not supported, the interface could REALLY use a mouse to speed things up and make it easier to use, however the joystick/keyboard combo worked fine in its time, it wasn't until I started playing mouse based games that I realized how slow this game was without a mouse option.

The Bad
While the game had a cool setting and murder puzzles that remind me of the movie Blade Runner what was not so cool was the annoying mazes and arcade sequences that continually popped up.

These arcade games were either easy or tedious and always boring, luckily you could save in the middle of one to speed your progress in case you died. Having arcade sequences in an adventure game is not bad but when they are poorly made and boring they become a chore and would detract from my enjoyment of the game (anyone remember the thugs in the alley?).

What was worse were the mazes in the game, maps of them could be found in the game so getting out of them wasn't a problem. What bugged me was how the interface of the game could make you very disoriented as you could not easily figure out which direction was "up", so you had to very carefully chart your progress.

The game presents a pretty serious story and has a lot of grusome murders but the designers flake out on making this a fully adult game by doing stuff like trying to make a bloody corpse seem a little more "funny" by having a purple tongue hang out of the mouth or by having.

Also what bugged me was how you go from being an agent of the Orb to fighting against the aliens. Of course we expect to be rid the alien menace at the end of the game but the game does not present as to WHY you switch sides (other than aliens are bad). You go from one case to another and learn more about an anti-alien group you are hunting but there is nothing really compelling you to switch sides until late in the game. I would have liked more of a build up of evidence against the aliens, perhaps some more conversation and a cut scene or two could have filled in the holes.

The Bottom Line
Likeable game was a bit of ground breaker for its interface. But a decent game is spoiled by some really bad arcade games and some gaps in the story.

DOS · by woods01 (129) · 2002

A futuristic scenario presented with an old game engine

The Good
The scenario itself was quite fun. You were working as an investigator in New York for aliens named Orbs. The gaming interface required no keyboard input and showed that you could actually play adventure games without typing up every command. It probably served as a precursor to King's Quest V's interface.

If I remember right, the manual was really cool, it was in fluorescent yellow and consisted as a book prepared by the Orbs for human investigators.

The Bad
This, along with Manhunter 2, was one of the last games made with Sierra's adventure game interpreter. This means that there was no sound card support (Editors's note: There was additional 3-voice sound if you had a PCjr/Tandy) and low resolution graphics. Back in 1989, many games (including some from Sierra) started supporting sound cards and the EGA, so I guess this one looked pale compared to other high tech games released back then. The graphics were nice, but they would have been a lot better in 320x200.

The Bottom Line
If you liked the movie Escape from New York, you'll defintely like this game, as it recreates the same atmosphere in the Big Apple. It shows a lot of New York landmarks either destroyed or occupied by aliens. Working for the vilians is also very fun!

DOS · by Olivier Masse (443) · 1999

Dark and brooding

The Good
Firstly the lack of graphical interfaces made controlling the game a piece of cake. You used the arrow keys and the TAB key to select your inventory.

Story: You are a Manhunter, a human assigned by the orbs to watch other manhunters and track their movements. You are awoken to investigate an explosion at a manhunter hospital, from then on, things get dicey. You embark on a quest to stop a madman from killing people and work out the truth behind the manhunter organization.

graphics: Great for it's day. The realism of the graphics, the accurate map of N.Y, landmarks are recognizable. The graphics are good in the tracking parts where you can track any known being, hopefully working out where they head off to. The death scenes are gory, from your head becoming a ceiling decoration to your body being flung to kingdom come.

Sound: Rather dull, the usual blips and beeps, but the manhunter theme still rings in my mind, quite memorable.

Gameplay: Controlled by the cursor keys, you have to spend a lot of time in mazes or puzzles where one wrong click means your body is strewn across the place. A note pad is VERY useful as a lot of minor things become large clues.

The Bad
The mazes were hard, although you have the map, it is still annoying. Also the little arcade game you HAVE to play is hard as the little guy only stops when he reaches a goal. The puzzles take a lot of time to work out hint the first day has something to do with an orb.

The Bottom Line
Hard, yes but your brain gets VERY stimulated after playing it. Play the sequel Manhunter:San Francisco.

DOS · by Sam Hardy (80) · 2001

[ View all 5 player reviews ]



Manhunter: New York was the first Sierra-published game to break the text parser interface, instead going with a complete "point-and-click" interface. Many people think that King's Quest V was the first game to abandon text input, but it was really Manhunter: New York that was the first.


  • Power Play
    • Issue 01/1990 - #2 Best Adventure in 1989

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Related Sites +

  • Hints for Manhunter: New York
    These hints help you solve the game on your own.
  • ScummVM
    supports the DOS, Amiga, Atari ST and Apple IIgs versions of Manhunter: New York under Windows, Linux, Macintosh and other platforms.

Identifiers +


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Trixter.

Macintosh added by Trypticon. Amiga added by POMAH. Apple II added by The Game Boy. Apple IIgs added by Scaryfun. Atari ST added by Belboz.

Additional contributors: Jeanne, Macs Black, Patrick Bregger.

Game added March 1st, 1999. Last modified August 13th, 2023.