Manhunt | Rockstar Games Wiki | Fandom


Name: Manhunt
Developer(s): Rockstar North
Publisher(s): Rockstar Games
Release date: Nov 18th, 2003 (PS2)
Apr 20th, 2004 (PC/Xbox)
Platform(s): Playstation 2
Engine: Renderware
Series: Manhunt
Protagonist: James Earl Cash
Date takes place: 2003
Location: Carcer City

Manhunt is a controversial stealth-action game in the horror genre, developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. The game was released in 2003 for Playstation 2 and 2004 for PC and Xbox.


Manhunt is played in 3rd person in a linear "level" style, unlike other, free roaming games by Rockstar such as Grand Theft Auto. The game focuses on stealth and at most times the player must stay hidden in the shadows and execute hunters from behind in brutal ways, with a variety of weapons. The player can also create distractions to lure hunters, like throwing bricks and cans, hitting walls, kicking trash cans and more.

Executions are performed by sneaking up behind an unaware hunter with a weapon and tapping or holding down the attack button. The longer it is held down, the more brutal the execution and for each weapon there three levels of execution: Hasty, Violent and Gruesome. The game also contains firearms which give a more action style to the game.

A key ability in Manhunt is to hide dead bodies. If a hunter sees a dead body, he will become aware of the protagonist's presence and searches harder. Often hunters will call for back up after spotting a corpse, making it harder.

Manhunt also makes use of the PlayStation 2's optional USB Microphone and the Xbox Live microphone feature. When such a device is connected, the player can use the sound of his or her own voice to distract in-game enemies. This in turn adds a new twist to the stealth elements, as the player has to refrain from noises such as talking or coughing or risk creating in-game noise.


ProjectManhunt OfficialGameScreenshot (61)

James Earl Cash's falsefied execution

Manhunt takes place in rural Carcer City, a location part of the Grand Theft Auto world and mentioned in almost every Grand Theft Auto game. The city is controlled by a snuff film director Lionel Starkweather, who makes films of various gang members tearing each other apart and sells the footage on the black market.

The story revolves around James Earl Cash, an escaped convict of Darkwoods Penitentiary, who was freed from death row by Starkweather, on condition that he stars in a snuff film. James is spoken to by Starkweather through an earpiece and given instructions as he kills his way through several gang controlled locations, while Starkweather films the carnage through security cameras. Starkweather has a private army named the Cerberus, who take James to each location by force and he also has a man named Ramirez, to organise the gangs so they can prepare for each "hunt".


Despite being well received by critics, Manhunt created an uproar of controversy due to it's violent nature and horror elements. The game encourages players to be as brutal as possible to the enemies and spill as much blood as possible. Manhunt was banned in several countries was even connected to a murder, but this was later dis-proven.

  • New Zealand: The game was declared objectionable on December 11 2003. Possession is an offence.
  • Canada: Following a meeting in Toronto on December 22 2003 between Bill Hastings, the Chief Censor of New Zealand, and officials from the Ontario Ministry of Consumer and Business Services, Manhunt became the first computer game in Ontario to be classified as a film and was restricted to adults on February 3 2004.
  • Australia: It was refused classification (and effectively banned for ALL ages) on September 28 2004 by the Classification Review Board after having earlier received a classification allowing it to be purchased by those aged 15 years or older.
  • United Kingdom: The game received a British Board of Film Classification|BBFC 18 certificate, legally prohibiting its sale to anyone under that age.
  • Germany: On 2004-07-19, the Amtsgericht Munich confiscated all versions of Manhunt for violation of StGB#§ 131: Representation of violence|§ 131 StGB (representation of violence). The game, the court said, portrays the killing of humans as fun, and the more fun, the more violent the killing is. They also sensed a glorification of vigilantism, which they considered harmful per se


Main article: Manhunt/trailers


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