Manhunt 2 - first look

If you want to stay alive long enough to see all those interesting kills, you'll need to stay hidden, preferably in the shadows. Like in the first Manhunt, standing in dark areas make you undetectable by enemies, but they're not the guaranteed safe zones they used to be. Hunters will occasionally wander right into them, and if that happens, you'll need to rapidly hit a sequence of buttons or they'll drag you out and start shooting.

You'll also need to keep an eye on how much noise you're making - which goes double if you're using a headset (supported only by the PS2 version, sadly), as it'll pick up anything you say. Good if you want to lure a hunter close to you, but bad if you're trying to hide. If you absolutely need to be noisy - by breaking a window, let's say - it's better to time it with nearby ambient noises, like some guy hammering on a wall.

Speaking of which, you won't always be up against kill-or-be-killed hunters in Manhunt 2. The places Lamb creeps around in, while eerie, aren't the abandoned killzones of the first Manhunt, and as such they've got a few relatively innocent people - workmen and janitors, for instance - strolling through them. These guys got killed off rapidly in the demo we watched, but it's possible you might not have to murder them to get ahead. Then again, you'll be playing as a criminally insane slasher, so to look for ways to be compassionate is to miss the point.

Manhunt 2 is scheduled to hit simultaneously on the Wii, PS2 and PSP this summer, and publisher Rockstar says that all three editions will be more or less identical. The PS2 version will support headsets and the Wii version features motion-sensitive controls (which we didn't get to see), but in terms of visuals and content, they'll be the same. Whatever the case, our hopes are high; the first Manhunt was one of the most vile, disturbing things we've ever seen, and it looks as though the sequel will delve even deeper into blood-spurting spectacle. Assuming the actual gameplay is as well-designed as the digital gore, Manhunt 2 already looks like a low-fi horror classic.


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