[[caption-width-right:350:No need to ask twice, buddy.]]

-> ''You awake to the sound of your own panicked breath. You must run, hide and fight to survive. If you can stay alive long enough, you may find out who did this to you.''
-->-- Back cover blurb

In between ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'' outings, Rockstar Games published '''''Manhunt''''' and ''Manhunt 2'', two controversial [[StealthBasedGame stealth]]/[[PsychologicalHorror psychological]] SurvivalHorror games that share gameplay mechanics, similar settings, and [[NonLinearSequel little else]]. It is one of Rockstar Game's most infamous masterpieces, and the TropeCodifier for games going too [[RatedMForMoney controversial]] and too [[MurderSimulators bloody]] for the public to accept.

The chief gameplay mechanic revolves around "executions" (gruesome {{Finishing Move}}s a player can perform after a stealthy sneak-up on gang members): if a player waits as long as possible to pull off the execution, it will become more drawn-out and elaborate. The game rewards players with a higher ranking after a level ends if they perform enough of these top-level executions.

In ''Manhunt'', the player controls James Earl Cash, a Death Row inmate who had his execution faked; he was spared the death chamber by Lionel Starkweather, a disgraced Hollywood director who now makes his own "independent" films -- {{Snuff Film}}s that he sells on the black market -- and has picked out Cash as [[CondemnedContestant his newest star]]. Starkweather promises to free Cash if he can make it out of Carcer City alive -- but trained thugs that belong to various gangs will do everything they can to ensure Cash becomes another bloodstain on their boots, and Starkweather has cameras everywhere to capture all the action...

In spite of the controversy, the game was quite well-received for its original premise, tight stealth gameplay and frightening atmosphere, but also attracted significant criticism for its shifting emphasis on gunplay over stealth in the latter portion of the game.

''Manhunt 2'' casts players as an amnesiac scientist who wakes up in a mental asylum; with the aid of another inmate, the scientist hopes to escape the asylum and unravel the government conspiracy that locked him up. This game added jumping, gun- and environment-based executions to the gameplay mechanics -- and it also stirred up far more controversy than the first instalment, as several countries denied the game a content rating due to its violent content (which made the game near-impossible to sell). This forced Rockstar to release the game in a revised form that heavily censored the gory execution scenes, though the game was eventually released online in its original uncensored form.

''This game series has a [[Characters/{{Manhunt}} character sheet]].''
!! The ''Manhunt'' games contain examples of the following tropes:

* AintTooProudToBeg: 1 on 1 fights with other Hunters aren't encouraged (and 2 or more is just plain suicide), but beat down one enough, and they'll plead for mercy (although [[VideogameCaringPotential showing that mercy]] [[ISurrenderSuckers often has them go after you AGAIN]]). That said, a few [[DefiantToTheEnd keep boasting about their superiority]], [[GetItOverWith or just tell the player to hurry up, and kill them already]].
* AKA47: The Glock is called the Light Handgun, The Desert Eagle is called Heavy Handgun, The M16 is called the Assault Rifle and so on.
** The game manual gives actual names to the weapons, but they still invoke this trope. For example, the SPAS-12 is called [[FunWithAcronyms the SAP-12]], the Uzi is [[FunWithAcronyms the SPAZ Mark 1]], etc.
* AndNowForSomeoneCompletelyDifferent: In the sequel, Danny is the main character but Leo is playable in the chapters [[{{Flashback}} that takes place 6 years ago]], [[spoiler: and the AlternateEnding, where he kills Danny]].
* AntiHero: Cash is certainly not one of God's best children, but he's up against people who are way worse than him, such as {{p|aedoHunt}}edophiles and [[ANaziByAnyOtherName neo-Nazis]]. He's also shown [[EvenEvilHasLovedOnes to try and save his family]] ([[spoiler: and declares ItsPersonal when Starkweather [[KickTheMoralityPet kills them out of spite]]]]) and guides an innocent journalist to safety even after she witnessed him slaughter a bunch of police officers ([[spoiler: albeit [[CorruptCop ones on Starkweather's payroll]]]]). In fact, the only indication we have that Cash is evil at all is the fact that he was a DeathRow inmate, [[NoodleIncident for unknown reasons]]... although, given his ability at being an ImprobableWeaponUser, he probably isn't the victim of a FrameUp...
* AssholeVictim: ''Everyone''! ...Well, ok, outside of a few {{Morality Pet}}s for the heroes, but damn near everybody else is fair game, ''including'' [[AntiHero the "heroes"]].
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking: Played straight with [[EgomaniacHunter Ramirez of The Wardogs]] and the [[GasMaskMooks Cerberus team leader]], both heads of their respective gangs and both playing out like standard boss battles, complete with health bar. [[ContractualBossImmunity Executions don't work on them]], forcing you to beat them in gunfights. That being said, they're hardly any more resilient than basic enemies - a headshot will kill Ramirez instantly, and the Cerebus team leader only requires a few extra rounds from the assault rifle than the amount that would kill any Cerebus team member.
** Averted with BigBad Lionel Starkweather, [[spoiler: who you simply gut open with a chainsaw]]. ClimaxBoss Piggsy is an interesting case, because, while he doesn't play out like the previous boss battles, [[PuzzleBoss he can only be killed by performing multiple executions on him]].
* AwesomenessMeter: Arguably yes... and arguably no. See "VideoGameCrueltyPotential" and "DoNotDoThisCoolThing" for more details.
* AxCrazy: '''All''' of the characters, especially the major antagonists.
* BatterUp: A good old-fashioned weapon present in both games. The original has wooden and metal varieties, while the sequel has one [[ChainPain with a chain wrapped around it]] [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill for good measure]].
* BeatingADeadPlayer: Literally in the first game, as the hunters punch and kick your bloody corpse.
** Only if you put up a tough fight, though. If you have a baseball bat duel with an enemy and almost kill him but he beats you, he will continue pummeling your body until the screen fades to black. Otherwise they just laugh and taunt your corpse. Also, the crooked cops you fight later on always do this no matter what.
* BlackAndGrayMorality: Just about everyone in the first game is an AxCrazy murderer in some way, to the point that the DeathRow convict is possibly the lesser evil.
* BlackComedy: Starkweather's comments can be kind of funny every now and then. If anything this makes him even ''more'' frightening than he would otherwise be.
* BloodSplatteredInnocents: In the second game, [[NiceGuy Danny]] gets splattered in blood from his executions - doing enough "Violent" and "Gruesome" executions in a level can make it look like [[HighPressureBlood he swam through a whole river of it!]] This also applies to Leo in the {{Flashback}} missions, although his [[AxCrazy considerably more callous]] BloodKnight attitude makes him more of a BloodSplatteredWarrior.
* BondVillainStupidity: In an instance of CutsceneIncompetence, Ramirez captures Cash and has him dead-to-rights after he's been given explicit instruction to kill him, and decides that ''now'' would be a good time to have his men continue HuntingTheMostDangerousGame rather than simply [[WhyDontYaJustShootHim shooting him dead]].
* BoomHeadshot: A reliable OneHitKill if Cash is close enough in the first game. All of the firearm executions in the second game.
* {{Bowdlerise}}d: The second game, to avoid an AO rating (which is effectively a ban, since many shops refuse to stock games with it).
* ButNotTooBlack / AmbiguouslyBrown: Cash, if [[ANaziByAnyOtherName The Skinz']] motivation in hunting him is anything to go by.
** On the other hand, being [[ThoseWackyNazis neo-Nazis]], this can extend to [[TheSocialDarwinist anybody "non-Aryan"]], which can make Cash AmbiguouslyJewish, ButNotTooForeign, and more.
* ChainsawGood: The first game mainly, but the second game features a smaller circular power saw.
* ClimbingClimax:
** Played straight and then inverted in the boss fight against Ramirez. Cash chases him up through several floors of an apartment building, but when he gets to the top, Ramirez runs right back down again and Cash has to chase him downstairs again.
** Played straight in the final fight against Starkweather, who barricades himself in his office in the top floor of his mansion.
* ComeOutComeOutWhereverYouAre: Repeatedly said by hunters.
* [[CrapsackWorld Crapsack City]]: ...is an understatement of how fucked up Carcer City is.
* CruelAndUnusualDeath: Plenty of 'em.
* CorruptHick: The Skinz and Wardogs gangs in the first game and the Bloodhounds in the second.
* CutsceneIncompetence: About half of the first game basically consists of "Cash makes his way through an area, gets captured by Starkweather's goons in a cutscene, gets dumped out in a new location", rinse and repeat.
* DamselInDistress: The journalist certainly acts like this. Unlike the tramp in the previous EscortMission, she will panic if Cash leaves her for too long, and says stereotypically girly things (perhaps ironically) like complaining about her bad hair day. Unlike the tramp, Starkweather actively wants her dead which may explain why she is so frightened, and probably part of the reason the tramp wasn't as frightened as her is because he was too drunk to much notice his surroundings.
* DarkerAndEdgier:
** Thought the first game was absurdly grim, drenched in urban decay, and brutal? The sequel, complete with a level named "Sexual Deviants" that channels ''Film/{{Hostel}}'', is a giant TakeThat to you and everyone else who was apparently severely underestimating what Rockstar was capable of.
** The first game itself was much bleaker and more serious in tone than Rockstar North's previous output at that point, occasional flashes of BlackComedy aside.
* DeathByRacism: It's possible to kill members of the Skinz midway through their white supremacist ranting.
* DeathBySex: In the first game, it's possible to lure out an enemy who's busy watching porn by breaking the circuit powering his TV. When he goes to fix it Cash can execute him.
* DeconstructionGame: The first game deconstructs and satirizes the conventional relationship between player and player character in violent video games. The player character James Earl Cash is being controlled from the outset by Starkweather, a weird creepy guy sitting in a dark room in front of a computer screen, who watches him through cameras and urges him to commit unspeakably horrific acts. It's pretty obvious who Starkweather is meant to represent. And why does Starkweather urge Cash to carry out these shockingly violent murders? For no better reason than he finds them [[SnuffFilm entertaining]] (not to mention sexually arousing).
* DifficultySpike: In the first game, the increased emphasis on gunplay from about the tenth mission onwards makes the game substantially harder.

* EnemyChatter: Often as a setup for DeathByIrony and FamousLastWords.
* EnemyDetectingRadar: This shows the enemy state, facing, and position. It is disabled on hardcore.
* EscortMission: Not as bad as most, since you can tell the escorted individuals to hide in the shadows until you've dealt with all the hunters. The tramp will have the presence of mind to actually follow Cash's instructions, whereas if the player leaves the journalist behind for too long she will panic and run after him, possibly giving away both of their positions.
* EverythingsBetterWithMonkeys: One of the bonus missions in the first game, unlocked after you earn 3 stars each in scenes 11-15, has you revisiting the Carcer City Zoo to deal with a gang of psychos dressed up as monkeys.
* EvilVersusEvil: The first game involves a death row convict singlehandedly fighting against entire gangs of AxeCrazy murderers and one sick and twisted individual with a fetish for extreme violence.
* ExecutiveSuiteFight: It's hardly a spoiler to say you're going to meet Starkweather face-to-face at the end of the first game, and it's not hard to guess where.
* EyeScream: One of the executions in the first game, a few in the second.
* FacelessGoons: A lot of the hunters wear masks or face paint.
* FalseCameraEffects: The main game camera uses a constant film-grain filter to make it resemble an old VHS tape, and during executions it uses more exaggerated camera effects (as in the page image above). Both of these can be disabled.
* FeaturelessProtagonist: Cash might as well be this - he barely speaks, and all we learn about him is that he was sentenced to death for an unspecified crime, he was never particularly close with his family and he's of mixed-race heritage.
* FedToPigs: Piggsy, the sadistic psycho-killer in a mask made from a pig's head, believes that he's a pig, and feeds off corpses that the Cerberus provide for him.
* FiveBadBand: Although [[BigBad Starkweather]] gets most of the spotlight, there are a few guys that he manipulates under him that form a classic FiveBadBand, ([[WhatCouldHaveBeen give or take a few characters left on the cutting room floor]]).
** BigBad: [[CaptainObvious Lionel Starkweather]] - [[AnticlimaxBoss Although he's nowhere near intimidating in a one-on-one fight]] ([[spoiler: [[TooDumbToLive ESPECIALLY]] [[MuggingTheMonster against a]] [[RoaringRampageOfRevenge PISSED OFF]] [[TheDogBitesBack James Earl Cash]]]]), [[TheChessmaster his ability to essentially control all of Carcer City]] (on [[{{Gangsterland}} both]] [[CorruptCop sides]] [[WretchedHive of the law]]) make him somebody who can draft anybody he wants to star as "[[InsistentTerminology extras]]" in his SnuffFilm.
** CoDragons: [[ScaryBlackMan Ramirez]], and [[NoNameGiven the Leader]] of [[GasMaskMooks the Cerberus Unit]]. Ramirez also has shades of TheEvilGenius (or at least a VERY ManipulativeBastard), as he directly leads [[CrazySurvivalist the Wardogs]], and is implied to directly control the rest of Carcer City's gangs for Starkweather.
** TheBrute: [[FatBastard Piggsy]]: [[OneSceneWonder We don't see him in action much]] [[DragonTheirFeet until literally the last level]], but the fact [[MadwomanInTheAttic he's chained up in Starkweather's basement]] means he must have SOME reason to keep such a THING around. Most {{Fanon}} interpretations see Piggsy as a frequent "star" of Starkweather's SnuffFilm ring, [[AxCrazy and a really uncontrollable one at that]].
** EvilGenius: [[CorruptCop Police Chief Gary Schaffer.]] Again, [[OneSceneWonder only "appears"]] [[TheFaceless in a phone-call with Starkweather]], but since he has scores of [[CorruptCop Corrupt Cops]] on his payroll [[spoiler: to hunt after James Earl Cash and The Reporter near the end of the game]], he must be good at working the legal side of Carcer City, and ensuring NO evidence gets out on Starkweather's SnuffFilm ring. May borderline with TheDarkChick, given how the phone call has him jerked around by Starkweather, implying he's being blackmailed as much as being rewarded bribes.
** DarkChick: The White Rabbit. He actually comes off as the most "sane" of Starkweather's killers and is fairly easy to defeat, as opposed to the others.
** [[spoiler: SixthRangerTraitor: [[TheDogWasTheMastermind The Tramp]] you escort in "Drunk Driving", assuming he was [[WhatCouldHaveBeen still the secret identity of "The Scarecrow", a boss cut from the game]].]]
** [[spoiler: TheManBehindTheMan: Mr. Nasty, the producer of Valiant Video Enterprises, which sells Starkweather's [[SnuffFilm Snuff Films]]. Again, [[WhatCouldHaveBeen this assuming the information presented about him is still canon]], or indeed that "Mr. Nasty" isn't just one of Starkweather's pseudonyms.]]
* FollowTheWhiteRabbit: Self-explanatory in the mission "Kill the Rabbit".
* ForeShadowing: In the level "Broadcast Interrupted", there is a massacre near a projector. Daniel is sickened and asks what happened. After Leo gives him a vague reply, Daniel demands him what really happened to which Leo doesn't answer. If the player clicks on it, they'll watch a short cutscene of Leo brutally killing a group of Project-members with a katana, but the screen itself shows that it's [[spoiler:''[[MindScrew Daniel]]'' [[MindScrew doing the deed]], [[JekyllAndHyde hinting that they are the same person]].]]
-->'''Leo:''' ''[[LampshadeHanging I tell you the whole story and your brain would implode. Trust me.]]''
* FromBadToWorse: In the first game, Cash's executions are extremely brutal, but they're also quick, clean kills. In the second game, the executions are often [[ColdBloodedTorture blatantly sadistic]], like gouging somebody's eyes out or needlessly mutilating them ''before'' delivering a killing blow. The way this is [[JustifiedTrope justified]] for NiceGuy Danny is that [[spoiler:he's being manipulated by the implanted personality of a sadistic serial killer]].
* FullFrontalAssault: Piggsy. All together now: EWWW!
* GaidenGame: Very obliquely, as this game is [[SharedUniverse set in the same universe]] as the ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'' series.
* GangOfHats: The hunters are assorted into various gangs or groupings: the Hoods are WhiteGangBangers, the Skinz are [[ThoseWackyNazis neo-Nazi]] [[PoliticallyIncorrectVillain white supremacists]], the Wardogs are CrazySurvivalist [[MildlyMilitary Rambo-wannabes]], etc.
* GasMaskMooks: Lampshaded, as the guards on patrol complain about not being able to see in them, and ask why they're being forced to wear them.
* GenreShift: In terms of gameplay, the first half of the game is primarily stealth-based SurvivalHorror, while the second half is more heavily based around gunplay, with less of an emphasis on SurvivalHorror tropes. In terms of plot, the game begins as a VideoNasty-style horror story which plays its SnuffFilm premise to the hilt, but after Starkweather betrays Cash it becomes more of an action-heavy revenge thriller in which the player character faces off against corrupt cops and special forces teams, with Piggsy being the only conventional "horror" character in the latter half of the game.
* ''{{Gorn}}'': So much that anyone who happens to love horror and blood would be proud of.
* GroinAttack: One of the executions in the first game, a few in the second.
** [[{{Squick}} To elaborate]], the first game allows you to [[TooMuchInformation yank off a Mook's testicles with a]] {{Si|nisterScythe}}ckle. The second game keeps that, and features one PlayedForLaughs ([[AmusingInjuries kicking the victim in the groin]] [[MoodWhiplash before stabbing their neck with a syringe]]), and three [[RuleOfScary Played For Scares]] big time! [[spoiler: [[IWarnedYou If you]] ''[[IWarnedYou really]]'' [[IWarnedYou want to know]], one shoves a shovel between the legs, at an angle the spade will cut off the victim's junk, another yanks off the groin with a pair of pliers, and the third saws through the groin with a length of barbed wire!]]
* GunsAreWorthless: Played with in the first game. In the early parts of the game and in true SurvivalHorror fashion, guns are few and far between, ammunition is even scarcer, they're so loud that they'll attract practically every enemy in the vicinity, they can't be used for executions (so the player must have at least one melee weapon on them) and Cash's aim is unreliable beyond a few metres (except with the sniper rifles). This effectively forces players to rely on stealth and executions rather than running and gunning, as guns are rarely useful for much more than taking the edge off big groups of enemies. However, later on in the game guns and ammo are much more commonplace and many levels force the player to use them almost exclusively - but Cash's aim hasn't become any more reliable, so shooting is often very frustrating. This is a major reason the latter portion of the game was so poorly received in comparison to the first half.
* HaveANiceDaySmile: The masks of the 'Smilies' gang. Needless to say, [[DarkerAndEdgier they're considerably more menacing]] than most versions.
* HeartbeatSoundtrack: Uses it ''constantly'', both to build tension and as an audio reminder of how long the player character can sprint for.
* HeyYouHaymaker: One of the executions, albeit with a hatchet rather than bare fists.
** Another in the sequel involves tapping the victim on the shoulder, catching the punch, then jabbing [[ThePenIsMightier a pen]] in their neck. Also, "Long Gun" executions involve budging into the victim, watching them turn around, then [[BoomHeadshot blasting them in the face]] [[ISurrenderSuckers when they try to throw their hands up]].
* HuntingTheMostDangerousGame: What the hunters do.
* HyperspaceArsenal: ''Almost'' completely averted - the player characters can only carry three types of weapons and [[GoLookAtTheDistraction one lure]], and every item he's carrying is always visible on his person. However, no explanation is given for the spare ammunition he carries.

* IdiosyncraticDifficultyLevels: The first game has ''Fetish'' which is Normal, and ''Hardcore'' which is, you guessed it, Hard. The second has "Sane" and "Insane", which are basically the same thing.
* ImprovisedWeapon: The weapons you use include plastic bags, [[ThePenIsMightier pens]], pliers, fire extinguishers, telephones, and hedge-clippers.
* InstantSedation: The tranquillizer rifle in the first game knocks out enemies practically instantly.
* InstitutionalApparel: Something of a trademark outfit for the protagonists. Comes in DeathRow blue for Cash and BedlamHouse green for Daniel/Leo.
* InterfaceScrew: Getting shot with a tranquillizer dart causes the screen to blur and temporarily prevents the player from aiming with a gun.
* JekyllAndHyde: [[spoiler:Danny and Leo]].
* JumpScare: Used from time to time in the first game.
* KarmaMeter: The second game, surprisingly. Performing more Violent and Gruesome level executions (both of which tend to be [[ColdBloodedTorture more sadistic and gratuitous]] than Hasty level ones) awards more style points. Your style point count by the penultimate level determines whether you get the normal final level where [[spoiler:Danny enters his mind and kills the Leo personality and is given a new identity to live a peaceful life]] or the alternate where [[spoiler:Leo kills the Danny personality, and prepares to go on a SerialKiller [[OmnicidalManiac murder spree]].]]
* KickTheSonOfABitch: [[TitleTheAdaptation The Game]]. As bad as Cash may have been, just about everyone he kills over the course of the game had it coming.
* KillEmAll: Fairly obvious, as the goal of the series is to kill everyone in sight in order to survive. There are very few characters that survive the events of both games.
* LampshadeHanging: One of the cops can observe that the situation is just like the start of a bad horror movie.
* LimitedLoadout: As noted under HyperspaceArsenal, in the first game Cash can only carry one disposable weapon, one light weapon, one heavy weapon and one lure. What's more, any weapon he's carrying is visible on his person at all times. The only thing he's carrying that ''isn't'' visible is any additional ammo clips.
* LudicrousGibs: ''Oh so much''.

* MacheteMayhem: Many of the Wardogs gang members in the first game wield these. Which of course [[HoistByHisOwnPetard can be turned on them]] [[OffWithHisHead with vicious effect]].
* MeaningfulName:
** "Carcer" is a Latin word meaning "prison", from whence the word "incarcerate" is derived.
** "Starkweather" is an allusion to Charles Starkweather, a famous American spree killer.
* MediaWatchdog[=/=]MoralGuardians: They reacted as badly as could be expected to the first game, and [[BannedInChina more badly than was expected]] to the second.
* MookHorrorShow: Picking off enemies one by one and watching them become increasingly frightened as their numbers grow smaller is immensely satisfying. WebOriginal/ZeroPunctuation described it as the logical opposite to a ''Franchise/FridayThe13th'' film, in that he played "a desperate, terrified, normal guy, stalking and dispatching droves of masked psychotics."
* MurderSimulators: Inspired a great deal of controversy because of it.
* NailEm: Found in the junkyard that the Skinz call home.
* NoNameGiven: The tramp, the journalist, the white rabbit etc.
* NonLinearSequel: The second game, which features similar gameplay mechanics and is set in the same universe as the first game, but is otherwise unrelated.
* OffWithHisHead: Several executions allow you to do this. And you can scare other mooks with them.
* OneDoseFitsAll: The tranquillizer rifle in the first game affects all enemies the same way, regardless of size.
* OneManArmy: Cash cuts his way through dozens of hired goons and Starkweather's personal army all by himself.
* PaedoHunt: The Babyfaces faction of the Innocentz. Also, the Cerberus accuse Cash of being a pedophile while in search mode.
* PetTheDog: We're not given a whole lot of reasons to like Cash, but (trying) to save his family has to count for something.
** Later on [[spoiler:he does help the journalist reach her apartment safely and urges her to leave the city, even after she witnessed him possibly murder several police officers.]]
* PlayerAndProtagonistIntegration: A rare subversion, in that the AudienceSurrogate in the game is actually the villain and the primary antagonist.
* PrettyLittleHeadshots: Averted - close-up headshots with even the basic revolver are liable to blow half an enemy's face off.
* PsychologicalHorror: Heavily informed by the genre, in keeping with the mundane setting unusual for SurvivalHorror games. Rather than monsters, you're facing up against enemies who embody much more human brands of evil, while in the employ of a SnuffFilm director who literally masturbates to videos of people being brutally murdered. In place of frequent [[JumpScare jump scares]] and other more overt kinds of horror, there's a constant atmosphere of nerve-wracking tension and paranoia.
* PsychopathicManchild: The Babyfaces. At least, [[SoftSpokenSadist the ones who don't think they're your "daddy"]].
** Piggsy has been described to have the mentality of one.
*** Also goes hand-in-hand with some of [[InsaneEqualsViolent the Smileys]], as well as the more mentally unbalanced gangs in Manhunt 2.
* PunBasedTitle: A great many of the names of the levels in the first game, e.g. "Trained To Kill" takes place in a train station, "White Trash" takes place in a junkyard full of white supremacists. FridgeBrilliance when you realize that the levels represent scenes from a snuff porn film, and lots of porn films have really terrible puns as titles.
* PunchClockVillain: Some of the hunters aren't really crazy, they're just doing their job.
** This, however, [[VoodooShark begs the question]]: what sane human being would pick "snuff porn hunter" as their occupation?
*** This argument is addressed over on the ProfessionalKiller page, and people like this are diagnosed as insane.
*** Obviously, the hunters have no idea they're in a snuff film - or if they do, they presume they're meant to be the ''star'', not the victim. [[XanatosGambit Either way, Starkweather gets plenty of bang for his buck.]]
*** There are also hints that these Hunters, much like Cash, [[GotVolunteered were dragged into his films against their will]], [[IneffectualSympatheticVillain and are only playing along just to stay alive]]. [[ShootTheDog Doesn't mean they still won't try to kill you if they see you]].
* PuzzleBoss: Piggsy, who can only be killed by carrying out a series of executions on him and then luring him to a metal grill which collapses under his weight, dropping him several stories.
* RuleThirtyFour: The first game's premise hinges upon this. As if to make sure the players were as squicked-out as possible, Starkweather repeatedly makes oblique (and [[InLoveWithYourCarnage not-so-oblique]]) references to how well he's responding to Cash's performance.
** Also used in parts of Manhunt 2, the most obvious being the [[BondageIsBad BDSM club]] with a {{Hostel}}-esque TorturePorn dungeon, and UnsexySadist Hunters [[CombatSadomasochist that get their rocks off from this flavor of murder and mayhem]].
* SameContentDifferentRating: Most of what was cut to take the second game from AO to M was present in the first game.
* SawedOffShotgun: A weapon available in both games.
* ScoreMultiplier: Via the different kinds of execution.
* SequelEscalation: Compare the executions [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGuhX5AmjuA from the first game]] with [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATw6FAmeMdo those from the second game]]. ((Warning: both are NSFW.))
* SharedUniverse: Takes place in the same universe as the ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'' series, most notably the GTA III/3D Era. There's a few references to Carcer City in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas'', and there's also the AllInTheManual backstory that the antagonist Starkweather was a failed film director in Los Santos before moving on to snuff porn. Police chief Gary Schaffer is also mentioned in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIII'' on a news report about how he was "cleared of corruption charges".
** Danny is [[AllInTheManual also revealed to have studied in San Fiero]] before the events of the game.
* ShoutOut:
** ''Manhunt'' and ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'' both reference each other. Multiple ''GTA III'' Era cars appear in the game.
** Starkweather's name is more than likely a reference in name to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Starkweather Charles Starkweather]], American spree killer.
** Piggsy's appearance in the first game is a reference to the film ''Film/MotelHell'', where towards the end one of the main antagonists shows up wearing a pig's head and wielding a chainsaw.
** The hockey masks worn by the Skinz are a shoutout to ''Franchise/FridayThe13th''.
** Starkweather and Leo often yell [[Franchise/MortalKombat FINISH HIM!!!]] when the player is about to carry out an execution.
** The Cerberus soldiers seem to be heavily influenced by the [[Anime/JinRohTheWolfBrigade Kerberos Saga]], especially their outfit's aesthetics and name of the unit.
** The game's title, coupled with a major role by actor Brian Cox, serve as a stealth reference to the film ''Film/{{Manhunter}}'', in which Cox played the role of Hannibal Lecter several years before Anthony Hopkins.
** The final scene is named Film/{{Deliverance}} and it features Piggsy, an insane nude man who believes he's a ''pig'' and constantly ''squeals''...
* ShowsDamage: Both Cash and Daniel, assuming they trade blows with their victims. And with the latter case, it's hard to tell how much blood is his, [[BloodSplatteredInnocents and how much comes from his victims]].
* ShortRangeShotgun: Very much so, although Cash has such mediocre aim that hardly any gun besides the sniper rifles are useful at more than a few meters. In effect, this makes the gunplay in the game rewards stealthy play almost as much as the melee weapons, as guns are most effective when used up close against unsuspecting enemies.
* SnuffFilm: The entire plot of the first game. Seen in the second game with the hidden cameras in the torture rooms of the sex club. Additionally at a turning point in both games the protagonist [[spoiler:is shown a video of his family being murdered]] shifting their motivation from survival to revenge.
* SprintMeter: A fairly standard implementation.
* StealthBasedGame: Although the stealth is technically optional, trying to take on hunters directly in the first game will make you regret your decision. The game's combat system is clunky and awkward enough to make stealth seem massively preferable by design. The firearms sections of the game make little use of stealth, although it certainly helps when [[spoiler: pursued by half of Carcer City's police force or facing off against seven of Starkweather's troopers]].
* StealthPun: Carcer City. Another word for imprisoned is incarceration. In-[[{{Pun}} CARCER]]-ation. Don't wonder why you feel so trapped playing this game.
* TheStoic: James Earl Cash. How he's internally handling the game events, and the details of what landed him in prison in the first place, are completely up to the player's imagination.
* StylisticSuck: The first game deliberately attempts to emulate the feel of a 1980s "video nasty" horror film or a SnuffFilm, from the omnipresent film-grain filter to the grotty VHS scanlines to the Creator/JohnCarpenter style synth-heavy score.
* SurvivalHorror: While the game has no supernatural elements, it still has the same elements - an overwhelmed protagonist, oppressive atmosphere, and need for careful resource management - of a survival horror game.

* TakeAMomentToCatchYourDeath: One reviewer said this literally happened to him. Due to being low on health, he was forced to hide in the shadows as a gang prowled for him. As they passed by, he finally breathed again... just loud enough for his headset to register it, which meant [[OhCrap the gang heard it, too]].
* TakeCover: The first game actually had a rudimentary cover system that predated many games that utilized cover mechanics, composed of commands that allowed you to hide, stand up and aim, or leave cover. It isn't remembered much, given the game's emphasis on stealth. That is, until the final few chapters where you're forced into gunfights.
* ThematicSeries: The two games have nothing to do with one another in terms of story.
* ThirteenIsUnlucky: The thirteenth mission in the first game is when Starkweather betrays Cash.
* ThisLoserIsYou: If one buys the YouBastard interpretation of the game, Starkweather is meant to represent the player - an [[FatBastard overweight]], [[CardCarryingVillain amoral]] [[ADateWithRosiePalms chronic masturbator]] [[{{Hikikomori}} who spends all his days sitting in front of a computer screen in a darkened room.]]
** [[spoiler: Leo in Manhunt 2 can be a different spin on the trope: a seemingly ordinary guy who forces otherwise "good" characters in games into committing brutal murders to satisfy his own psychotic tendencies, thus "taking over" the character themselves.]]
* ThrowingTheDistraction: Lures, which can include things like bricks, bottles, cans and [[BreadEggsMilkSquick your enemies' severed heads.]]
* TimeLimitBoss: Cash is given two and a half minutes to chase after and kill Ramirez before he calls for backup.
* TitleDrop: From the second game: "Danny, listen; It's a Manhunt. And they won't stop, until we're both dead."
* TorturePorn: The first game is a slight subversion, as it revolves around a SnuffFilm ring, and even the worst executions are relatively quick and clean compared to usual TorturePorn. The second game, which takes inspiration from most of the SlasherFilm genre, takes this trope, [[UpToEleven and runs with it to the endzone]], with the "Violent", "Gruesome", and "Environmental" kills [[ColdBloodedTorture all out to inflict as much pain on the helpless victim]] as possible before killing them. This is also clearly invoked in the "Sexual Deviants" level, which takes place in BDSM club "Dungeon" that is one giant homage to Film/{{Hostel}}.
* UltraSuperDeathGorefestChainsawer3000: Pretty much an example of TruthInTelevision.
* UnexpectedGameplayChange: The first game features several instances in which the player is forced to operate an electromagnetic crane in order to clear obstacles from their path. The controls for the crane are very awkward to use and the sound of the crane being activated alerts nearby enemies, who can shoot Cash even while he is inside the crane.
* UnratedEdition: ''Manhunt 2'' for PC: the original AO-rated version was finally released - in 2009
* VideoGameCrueltyPotential: Executions in a nutshell, as you choose how viciously you murder the hunters and can spook them with the heads of their decapitated buddies.
** In the first game this trope also applies in that, while certain sections require you to kill everyone in order to progress and you're rewarded with unlockables for indulging in the {{gorn}}, it's perfectly possible to play through the game ''not'' going for maximum gore just to spite [[ManipulativeBastard Starkweather]], who [[InLoveWithYourCarnage applauds more brutal executions]], and remains awkwardly silent (or hilariously outraged) if you're not "performing" up to his standards. The star rating system is essentially how much you're having Cash play along with Starkweather's game.
*** The second game takes this idea further: Leo acts much like Starkweather, who serves as MissionControl, while encouraging Danny to commit Violent and Gruesome Executions against the Hunters. Played with even more so than in the first game: at first, Leo seems justified, in a PayEvilUntoEvil sense, but then it's revealed [[spoiler: he's really your EnemyWithin, and wants to destroy your original NiceGuy personality in order to perform a SplitPersonalityTakeover on you: which, in the AlternateEnding that's unlocked from high enough "ratings" on each level, [[TheBadGuyWins is exactly what he does]].]]
* VideoNasties: The first game attempts to emulate the feel of one, from the retro-futuristic Creator/JohnCarpenter-esque score to the grotty VHS-style visuals.
* VomitIndiscretionShot: In ''Manhunt 2'', if you stand around long enough after making your first kill, Daniel will vomit in horror at what he just did.
** If you also [[FinishingMove Execute]] a Hunter in full-view of other Hunters in the same game, they also vomit in horror, which explains [[WhyDontYouJustShootHim why they don't attack you]] [[TakeYourTime until you're done with the Execution...]] although it brings up the FridgeLogic of how they can vomit [[MalevolentMaskedMen if they've got a mask on them...]]
* WellDoneSonGuy: Several of the Skinz talk to themselves about wanting to make their dead fathers proud of them.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: [[spoiler:Danny's two kids]], no mention of them aside from "they're fine" shortly before the game's final moments, after that in the good ending [[spoiler:Daniel adopts a whole new life as David]], basically implying that now [[spoiler:two children won't have their father, Daniel, back.]]
** The hobo in the first game that you had to escort through Innocentz Turf to the Graveyard. There is some production art that shows that he was [[WhatCouldHaveBeen meant to be a boss character called]] [[http://manhunt.wikia.com/wiki/Scarecrow The Scarecrow]], who would have been the former leader of The Smileys.
* WhereTheHellIsSpringfield: Carcer City in the first game, and Cottonmouth in the second. The first [[WordOfGod is stated to be close to]] "[[TheBigRottenApple Liberty City]]", so it's possible a [[PlaceWorseThanDeath a Newark]] {{Expy}}, while the second takes a lot from cities in the DeepSouth, such as [[TheBigEasy New Orleans]], [[OnlyInFlorida Tampa]], [[DeepSouth Charleston]] and {{Atlanta}}.
* WhiteGangBangers: The Hoodz in the first game, the Red Kings in the second.
* WhyWontYouDie: One of The Cerberus troopers says this to Cash during his capture in the end of the seventh chapter.
-->'''Cerberus Soldier:''' You just won't fucking die, will you?
* WretchedHive: Carcer City is ''filled'' with various gangs of criminals and madmen who are all connected with the local snuff film industry.
* XMeetsY: It's ''Film/TheWarriors'' meets ''Film/TheRunningMan'' meets the SlasherMovie genre.
** The sequel is the SlasherMovie genre meets [[spoiler: ''Film/FightClub'']].
* YouBastard: In the first game, Cash has to kill other people because a mysterious figure who watches him on a viewing screen and gives him suggestions via an earpiece transmitter wants a sadistic thrill. The implications of this situation grow steadily less subtle as the game goes on.
* YourHeadAsplode: In the first game, only close-range shotguns and sniper rifle headshots invoke this trope. In the second game, any headshot within a certain range will cause this, as will all firearm executions. In both games, certain melee weapons -- including the baseball bat, the chainsaw, and the shovel -- can cause this.