It's been two long, tedious years since the invasion. They came suddenly, like a thief in the night... it was all over by dawn's first light. I have no idea how the rest of the world is doing... outside communication has been suffocated.
All of us are required to wear the designated uniform, brown robes, and we must keep our faces hidden as much as possible. Above all else, we are not allowed to speak to each other. To do so would mean certain death.
A select number of humans were chosen by the Orbs to become Manhunters. I have no idea how the selection was made or how I was chosen. Tomorrow is my first day on the job... and I have no clue as to my destiny.
— Excerpts from the Official Manhunter's Field Guide
Manhunter's job is tracking down humans, who violate Orbs' laws, and reporting them to Orbs at the end of the day. Implanting tracking disks should've sufficed, but as it turned out, the disks can only transmit the host's location, not the identity. And they don't work underground. Hence the need for Manhunters.Manhunter: New York
and Manhunter 2: San Francisco
are Adventure Games
released by Sierra
in 1988 and 1989. Two more games were planned, but never went into production.
You start the first game as a press-ganged Manhunter assigned to investigate some murders. This puts you on a track of escaped serial killer
Phil, lets you find out Orbs' true intentions
and lets you eventually clean New York from aliens. The game ends with you chasing Phil in stolen Orbs' ship.
The second game starts with you crash landing in San Francisco and accidentally killing a local Manhunter. You assume his identity and use his position and equipment to continue chasing Phil and fight Orbs Alliance from within.
While the games used the same AGI engine as all the previous Sierra text adventures, they did not employ a text parser. And unlike earlier parserless Sierra adventures, they lacked dialogs, relying on more creative ways
to give in-game information. Also, they featured then-unique first-person gameplaynote
, similar to Myst
, with many New York and San Francisco landmarks as a background.
Not to be confused with the 1987 film
or the comic book
of the same name. Or with the Manhunt
series of games.
The series contains examples of:
- After the End: You live in ruins of New York. Much of the population has disappeared shortly after the invasion. Probably it's not the end yet, because it's going to get worse.
- Alien Invasion: Two years before the game starts.
- Aliens Are Bastards.
- Big Brother Is Employing You: Your task is finding humans who commit crimes against Orbs. At least murdering humans is still a crime.
- Blue and Orange Morality: Averted. The aliens are hypocritical genocidal colonialists, but their motivation is disturbingly human-like.
- Comedic Underwear Exposure: Your robes fly up during long falls.
- Everything Trying to Kill You/Have a Nice Death: Typical for a Sierra adventure.
- The Faceless: Almost everybody wears hooded cloaks. In the third-person scenes, the protagonist's face is always obscured by the hood.
- Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: While it's not a boss, there is a part of the game where a dragon comes right out of nowhere, with no warning. Oh, Sierra...
- Guide Dang It: Humans are not allowed to speak to each other. Thus they communicate with the protagonist in rebuses. Good luck guessing them.
- Some important hints appear in the death messages.
- I Am A Humanitarian: Save the game and try checking corpses in hospital at the beginning of the first game. That's what "transfer to Chicago" probably is — being eaten by young Orbs.
- Also rat mutants in the second game.
- Jump Scare: Be wary when you inspect corpses. The instant close-ups of their faces may be a bit unnerving. Also, if you run into Phil's ship in the bombing section, you'll be treated to a nice portrait of Phil's satisfaction.
- Hostile Terraforming: Planned fate of Earth.
- Hulk Speak: Messages written by mutants.
- La Résistance: Several groups. But quite ineffectual.
- The Masquerade: Despite being employed by the Orbs (or rather, forced to work for them), you are actively looking for a way to stop them from about the second day on. In order to keep them from killing you, though, you have to keep hunting the targets that they assign to you and accurately reporting who they are at the end of the day. The Orbs see through your ruse anyway, and tell you that you're being transferred to Chicago at the beginning of the last day in New York.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The Orbs task you to hunt down people that threaten their reign. The problem is that at least some (and as it turns out, most) of those people are part of the human resistance against the Orbs. And you're not too happy about the Orbs repression either...
- Silent Protagonist.
- Starfish Aliens / Oculothorax: Orbs that control New York◊ look like a head-sized floating eye with an eyebrow-like antennas. Orbs in San Francisco◊ look more like a floating head — with wrinkled forehead, two eyes, nose and mouth. And similar antennas.
- Unwinnable by Design: Surprisingly for a Sierra adventure, you are frequently warned when you are going to do something, that will make the game unwinnable. Probably because this happens way more often here.
- What Could Have Been: Some sources indicate that the third game was going to be set in Chicago and the fourth and final in London. Others claim London for third and Orbs' homeworlds for fourth.