Manhunt 2

The first kill - a security guard, dispatched with a syringe to the neck - is only messy because Daniel, nauseated by what he’s just done, vomits up his lunch. As you roam through the hospital’s nightmarish interior, though, Leo’s sinister whispers guide you into more terrible acts of brutality. As with the original Manhunt, violence is conducted covertly from the shadows. A map shows the location of roaming enemies, the shade dictating their level of alertness - yellow means they’re not aware of your presence, while deep red means they’ve heard or seen you.

Often you’re massively outnumbered. So to off an enemy, first you’ll need a weapon - anything from a plastic bag or shard of glass to a circular saw or axe should do the trick. Then it’s a matter of artful sneaking, distracting an enemy with a tossed brick or bottle, or tapping the wall and hiding in the shadows (although aficionados of the former Manhunt beware - now it’s not just a matter of standing stock-still in the gloom; sometimes you’ll have to complete some nimble button presses to avoid being spotted by an enemy gazing right in your direction).

Killing a clueless enemy is easy: target them, hold a button and let rip. Depending on the time you have to make the kill, executions range from swift “Hasty” kills to limb-severing “Gruesome” finishers (oh, and keep that severed head - you might be able to use it later). Additionally, now there’s a variety of special environmental executions. Marked on the map with a skull, they include pools of fuel you can use to turn enemies into screaming fireballs, factory presses that splatter them to the width of a cheese slice or handy ledges perfect for gaining the velocity it takes to smash a head like a ripe watermelon. Brutal? Yeah, but most of them deserve it.

Your victims are a gruesome menagerie of leather-clad perverts, fringe-of-society outlaws, and the sinister Watchdogs - Matrix-like agents in sharp suits and facemasks who work for The Project, the shadowy company that’s behind Daniel’s amnesia. Yeah, this is a game with something unsavory under its fingernails. Few other games, certainly, have welded sex and death with such blackly humorous success as this. Take the scene in an adult cinema, where you pick off Project agents with gunfire to the gasps and slaps of an X-rated movie blown up on a massive cinema screen behind you. Those ushers are probably used to cleaning up all sorts of nastiness, but gobbets of brain aren’t among them.


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