Of course, there's a reason behind all the gore. Manhunt 2 is the story of Daniel Lamb, a researcher working for the mysterious Pickman Project. When the project runs low on funds, Danny - a well-meaning family man who believes in his work - volunteers himself as a test subject. And then one day, he goes to work and never comes home.
Six years later, Danny wakes up in a cell with no memory of where he's been or what he's been doing since his disappearance. He's an inmate at Dixmor Asylum (apparently a dumping ground for Pickman subjects), the power is out and a sociopath named Leo Kasper is telling him it's time to escape. So begins the first level, "Awakening," in which we had to sneak past a bunch of creepy set pieces - including an inmate hanging himself, a laughing weirdo who really wanted to pee all over us and more than a few orderlies savagely beating inmates - and fight or kill anyone who got in our way.
This was our introduction to stealth-killing (for which we used piss-poor weapons such as syringes and pens), as well as to one of the game's recurring puzzles, which forces you to open or close all the cell doors in an area before it'll unlock the door that lets you move on. Given that most of the inmates were overjoyed to have their cell doors open and unhappy to see Danny, this was a little harder than it sounds.
"Awakening" also introduced us to something new for a Manhunt game: context-sensitive kills. These include environmental kills, which are denoted by a skull on your radar and usually involve shoving someone into something lethal, like a fusebox or an iron maiden or even a toilet (you'll need to hold them down for that one, obviously). But in the case of Awakening, it involved climbing onto the top of a truck with an axe and waiting for an unsuspecting orderly to pass underneath us. Once we initiated the kill, Danny leapt off the roof of the truck and cleaved off the guy's head (splattering him with blood, which soaked in and stayed on his clothes), which we were then able to pick up and toss, distracting another guard while Danny escaped.
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