Manhunt 2 - hands-on with the game you might never play

We get up to our elbows in gore-soaked torture-horror insanity

Sometimes, collecting heads serves a different purpose. In level "Sexual Deviants" (an S&M club secretly run by the Pickman Project), for example, we had to decapitate some bondage-masked creep named Father Fist (the club's loud music muffled the noise) and then hold his dead face up to a door slat so that the guard behind it would let us in.

What lay behind that door, incidentally, was the best part of the game we've seen so far: a horrific VIP dungeon, directly inspired by the movie Hostel, in which freaks in business suits and animal masks torture hapless victims to death. It's all being observed by the Pickman Project, of course, in a bid to recruit sadistic candidates for its create-the-perfect-killer-program. Guess who gets to ruin everyone's fun?

Luckily for Danny, the torturers left a lot of their equipment just lying around in hallway alcoves - which could conveniently be used as hiding spots, once we'd knocked out the light bulbs in them - and these made for some intensely shocking executions. Handheld circular saws, for example, could be used to slowly shear off limbs and heads at the highest brutality level, while cattle prods could be shoved into a torturer's mouth and turned on to light up his head. It was the environmental kills that yielded the most gruesome results, though. Our personal favorite was a dentist's chair that enables you to shove a torturer into it, stake his legs to the seat and go to work on his face with the dental tools.

Another of the levels we got to try, "Best Friends," was less disturbing but no less gruesome. A playable flashback triggered when Danny looks at a photograph of a fellow researcher, the stage is some sort of dockside warehouse in which you'll be able to play as Danny's sidekick, Leo Kasper. Leo starts the level weaponless, with a bunch of armed goons (presumably Pickman Project hunters) about to bust in. We were able to turn on a big industrial press, which masked any noise we made as we ran for the shadows, and also provided the means for head-crushing environmental executions when a couple of hunters wandered too close to the rollers.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.

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