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Video Game / Maneater

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Maneater is a 3D action-sandbox game developed by Tripwire Interactive, where you play as a man-eating shark and fight, kill, eat and evolve to become the apex predator you were born to be.

While filming a cable show about shark-hunting near the Gulf Coast city of Port Clovis, third-generation shark-hunter and captain of the Cajun Queen, "Scaly Pete" Pierre LeBlanc, hears about a man-eating female Bull shark terrorizing a nearby beach. After seeing the shark kill the first responding hunters, Pete takes the shark down with a harpoon shot as she charges him. As he guts the day's catch, Pete sees the shark was pregnant with a female pup. After cutting the newborn to mark her so that he will remember her when she's worthy prey, the pup bites off one of his hands and is flung aside for her troubles.


And that is where your story begins.

Daryl Hall & John Oates's song has no relation to this game, nor is it part of the game's soundtrack, sadly.

Examples in Maneater:

  • Absurdly Low Level Cap: The game caps at level 30, which is easy to reach by about 2/3rds of the way though the game if you're trying to complete all objectives in each area as you unlock them.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Port Clovis' sewer system is a labyrinth of mostly-flooded tunnels and cisterns, allowing the Maneater and other animals to traverse them. Then again, it's not a sewer system but the dilapidated cooling system of the nuclear plant.
  • Acceptable Break from Reality: The entire biology of the game is often nonsense, but the narrator acknowledges this, and tells the player the MST3K Mantra. invoked
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Approaching the Apex bosses has the game introduce them with a cutscene and an alliterative one-liner.
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  • Albinos are Freaks: There are special albino versions of sea life that grant you Mutagen, the one resource needed for special top-tier mutations.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Pete loses an arm in his first encounter with you. In the next, he loses a leg.
  • Animal Nemesis: You become Scaly Pete's practically from birth. As he suffers more losses hunting you, he becomes more and more obsessed with killing you.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • Where to begin? Sharks don't have sonar.note  Bull sharks can't breach like dolphins.note  Sharks don't cry out in pain or really make any sounds. Sharks are also incapable of bursting onto the shore and dragging prey back into the ocean. In fact, the "shark" has more in common with an orca than a shark. The narrator acknowledges this, though, and the game goes into pure science fiction territory such as giving the bull shark an electric bite.
    • A single specimen developing new or altered characteristics is mutation, not evolution.
    • The narrator and some mission descriptions acknowledge the Misplaced Wildlife as well.
    • The Mother is indicated to be the same shark who killed Scaley Pete's father as she had a rusty harpoon in her side that belonged to his father. However, it's eventually revealed that Pete was only a kid when his dad died and he's currently in his 50s, which means the mother shark must have been over 40 years old when she died. In real life, Bull Sharks can only live up to 12 to 16 years old in the wild, with one shark being recorded as living up to 30 years old due to living in captivity. Due to the strong theme of mutation in the game, this particular shark may have also been affected by the sunken nuclear plants.
  • Body Horror:
    • Some of the shark’s upgrades look horrific, especially the bone parts.
    • Scaly Pete loses parts over the course of the game, getting badly scarred as he goes.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: The "hunted" alligators have a far higher level than the adolescent shark, usually at 15 while the shark is still around 5. They would be considered a Disc-One Final Boss, but there are too many for them to be considered a level boss.
  • Bullying a Dragon: No matter how big and fearsome the shark gets, tiny muskies keep trying to pick a fight with it. This won't stop until you unlock a mutation from the final Apex, which causes smaller fish to become neutral.
  • Camera Abuse: While loading up for the final confrontation, Pete knocks the camera out of the cameraman's hands so he won't get in his way.
  • Cap: The shark levels out at 9 metres and can't grow any further — justified, given that, if there was no cap, traversing Port Clovis's tighter waterways would eventually become impossible.
  • Crapsack World: Port Clovis is an utter shithole. Every area is densely populated with predators, there is rampant pollution everywhere you look — largely due to Sunshine Solutions using the city as a dumping ground for everything from toxic sunscreen to military mutagens, the waterways are policed by freelance shark hunters like Pete without any oversight (given how easily he runs around polluting and attacking wildlife); and the narrator makes it clear that the human inhabitants are all vapid, selfish materialists who expand the city and destroy the environment for the sake of luxury. Even the broader world is indicated to be an unpleasant place, if the Landmarks/Easter Eggs are to be believed, what with genetically-engineered supersoldiers being mass-cloned, kaiju and eldritch gods rampaging around the place, and extraterrestrials infrequently visiting.
  • Create Your Own Villain: The baby shark had no real attachment to its mother (most sharks don't) but neither was it interested in revenge until Pete casually scarred it just so he could recognize it when it was bigger. The first thing the baby player shark does is bite his hand off in self-defense and it escalates from there. Later on, Pete goes a bit nutty and tries contaminating the ocean with pollutants to kill the shark, but this just turns a zone of the game into a mutagen-rich area, the same mutagen responsible for making the shark abnormally large and superpowered.
  • Critical Existence Failure: In addition to the normal stuff for a video game protagonists, enemy predators can absolutely get ripped apart by your attacks yet still fight with no apparent lack of ability- you can bite the fins and even the tail off another shark and it will still (somehow) swim around and attack you.
  • Cycle of Revenge: The LeBlanc family is involved in one against Nature, having been shark-hunters for generations. After Pete's father was killed by what Pete remembers as a supernaturally-gigantic shark, he becomes completely obsessed in his pursuit of the "mega", saying he'd kill every shark on Earth if he could. When he catches a pregnant bull shark and pulls the pup out of its dead mother, he even goes so far as to mark its fin so he can know if it's the beast or not once it matures. This earns him the lifelong enmity of the Maneater. The game ends with Pete's own son Kyle dead and Pete — a broken, disfigured madman — killing both the Maneater and himself in a gigantic explosion. The fact that it's a hollow triumph isn't lost on the narrator or the audience.
    • It's heavily implied that the playable shark in the intro with one of Pete's dad's old harpoons in it really was the one that he was looking for, but Pete disagrees because it's just not big enough. Kyle points out Pete was a kid when it happened, so all animals would have looked gigantic. His lust for revenge is so great he can't even recognize it when he's gotten it.
  • David vs. Goliath: You might be a Shark but that doesn't make you the biggest thing out there. Even among sharks you are a Bull and the Great Whites are often larger until you hit the Elder stage of growth. The bosses include an Orca and a Sperm Whale that vastly outsize even the biggest shark. Zig-zagged with the humans. You're easily bigger than them, so the real boss is their massive boats that can look like tanks on water for the late bosses.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The narrator, with plenty of veiled and not-so-veiled insults in the spirit of This Loser Is You. Since he's voiced by Chris Parnell, one could see it as Jerry taking out his frustrations.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The shark of the tutorial dies in the first minutes, her daughter is the true protagonist.
  • Deep South: Pete and Kyle are from the southern parts of the US, specifically Louisiana, due to their French surname and Pete's use of Cajun French.
  • Disposing of a Body: One area is a pool called "Dixie Mafia Disposal Service"; the shark will find a bunch of corpses wearing Cement Shoes. There are also other places and locations that are similar, and not only are there corpses wearing cement shoes, there are also other corpses that have been disposed of in the typical Mafia way from body bags to cars that have presumably been pushed into the water with victim inside of it. The shark can decide to target the Mafiosos on the beach instead, but the corpse also make fine meals themselves.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: Mama Maybelle's quote in her description.
    Mama Maybelle: This shark is going to be swimming with the fishes... but swimming with the fishes differently than it already does... 'cause it will be dead.
  • Easter Egg: Almost all of the land marks take the form of these, with them even being Shout Outs too! Go see the Shout out part of the page to see most of them.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: The player character starts out as a relatively normal shark, but as the game progresses she begins to develop strange powers, in addition to becoming a giant by the standards of her species. The copious amounts of mutagen in crates are the given "explanation."
  • Evolutionary Levels: You can evolve into even more ferocious forms after a while. Each with ever deadlier abilities.
  • Expy:
    • Pierre LeBlanc (a.k.a. "Scaly" Pete) is clearly one to Captain Ahab from Moby-Dick, mixed with Quint.
    • Pierre LeBlanc (a.k.a. "Scaly" Pete) is also one to Kratos from God of War (PS4); both being muscular, bearded, tattooed men who share wrath as a flaw and both have trouble with being publicly affectionate towards their sons. After the first boss fight against him and his son, Pete loses his hair and nearly resembles Kratos in the final fight when he shaves off the rest of it off until he changes his beard to a long goatee.
    • The Apex Sperm Whale boss is basically Moby Dick. Complete with Albinism and harpoons embedded to show its experience with whalers.
  • Eye Scream: The Apex Mako’s habitat is the waterways by a golf course, which has somehow led to it having golf balls in its eye sockets.
  • Famous Last Words: "Laissez les bons temps rouler!"note  Fitting, since Pete says them before barbecuing himself and the Maneater just as she's about to eat him.
  • Famed in Story:
    • Scaly Pete is famous for being a shark hunter, hence why a film crew is documenting his life.
    • The apex alligator and apex orca are both show animals: Rosie the alligator was part of a stunt show and escaped captivity, whereas the player broke into the orca's enclosure. Famous or not, both these animals are a threat to you and must be killed in self-defense.
  • Fatal Flaw:
    • Scaly Pete's flaw is his anger: his hatred of sharks stems from his father's death and he projects a lot of his own issues onto the shark. When Kyle seemingly dies, Scaly Pete blames the shark and becomes obsessed with avenging him, losing most of his redeeming qualities in the process.
    • Kyle's flaw is his desperation for Pete's approval since the two haven't bonded that much due to Pete's career as a fisherman. His apparent death is caused by trying to put out the flames to save Pete's boat, despite being told the boat isn't worth saving.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: The three evolutionary paths of Bone/Bio-Electric/Shadow. Bone gives you the best damage reduction and health and is best at fighting boats with high ramming damage. Bio-Electric does the most damage and its dodge makes you invulnerable with lots of your abilities shocking and stunning enemies. Shadow is the fastest of the three and focuses on health drain with your bite and poisoning your enemies.
  • Fragile Speedster:
    • The Mako sharks aren't particularly durable but they're damnably fast.
    • The Apex barracuda would be an easy kill except for the fact it has speed dash attacks and dodges.
  • Gaia's Lament: It's subtle, but the land is sickly, there are dilapidated buildings, and even a broken down nuclear plant with a nuclear fallout region, as well as Sickly Green Glow areas. The safe haven grottos feature broken down but still working technology. In this setting, one might consider the shark as Gaia's Vengeance.
  • Gang Up on the Human: Predators and humans always go after the playable character, and while predators will attack other wildlife you'll never see shark hunters targeting a mako, hammerhead, or great white; and conversely you'll never see any of them attack a human. This can be intensely frustrating if you're doing a battle against a shark hunter boss or an Apex Predator only to have it interrupted by shark-hunting divers because you've drifted into an area where they spawn.
  • The Ghost:
    • The cameraman and narrator, who may or may not be the same person, of the Show Within a Show aren't seen in-game.
    • The alleged Mega that killed Pete's father never appears.
  • Gorn: Leap onto boat. Chomp human. See boat get painted red.
  • Government Conspiracy: Kyle thinks the government created a genetically engineered megalodon. The shark the gamer plays as might as well be, since the player earns DNA points to create unnatural mutations. In addition, there's also the gamma radiation and nuclear waste that permeates the area.
  • Green Aesop: As noted in Gaia's Lament, the game's own misuse of the term evolution can be an in-universe reflection of how mutations can be mistaken for evolution when the public is ignorant of the damage they do to the environment and wildlife. This gives the lesson that we should be more considerate of the environment and wildlife, and not use ignorance and wrath to justify atrocities.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Assuming Pete was telling the truth, there is or was another Mega.
  • Guns Do Not Work That Way: In reality, when hitting water, bullets are almost immediately stopped as if hitting steel. They do not pierce the water and continue with any speed as they do in the game. It's an Acceptable Break from Reality, however, as the game would be too easy if all the shark needed to do to avoid gunfire was to go more than a foot underwater.
  • #HashtagForLaughs: They'll appear during the game's show segments (such as #GubmentConspiracy).
  • Hero Antagonist: Scaly Pete isn't the most heroic of characters, but he's still hunting a pair of man-eating sharks. After surviving multiple injuries and losing his son, Pete develops a personal vendetta against the shark and becomes obsessed with killing her.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Not once does Pete consider the idea that shark hunting has consumed his life and cost him dearly. Even when his own son declares his opinion that it's all rather pointless, Pete gets defensive.
  • Interactive Narrator: The narrator comments on your actions, with plenty of snark.
  • Jock Dad, Nerd Son: Pete's son is a college student and is more introspective and reasonable compared to his father, who is an outdoorsman dedicated to shark hunting. Despite this, Pete does want to see his son graduate from college.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: The RMS Queen Mary 2 makes an appearance, here named Queen Barryl so Cunard won't lawyer up against Tripwire.
  • Lemony Narrator: The show's narrator vacillates between genuinely informative marine biology factoids, nonsensical tangents, and deeply cynical diatribes against Port Clovis. To hear him tell it, sometimes it's because the show is trying to engineer drama where it doesn't exist, and sometimes he's just bored and trying to entertain himself.
  • Lighter and Softer/ Denser and Wackier: Compared to Jaws Unleashed. That game was much, much gorier, at least regarding the human characters. In that game, you could see heads, limbs and guts floating about after an attack. This game still has limbs and arms being torn off, but the guts are gone. Also tonally, Maneater is a lot more comedic.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Pete's father was also a keen shark hunter, but he spent little time with Pete as a child. Despite this, Pete is also obsessed with shark hunting and spends little time with his own son, who joins him in his hunts only for the sake of parent-child bonding.
  • Like Mother, Like Daughter: The mother shark was in full rampage against humans. The bull shark that is torn out of her body is female — and goes on the same rampage.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Larger creatures explode into chunks — which are also edible.
  • Made of Iron: Pete survives 2 shark attacks and an explosion in the story.
  • The Mafia: The Anatoli crime family is a minor presence in the game's narrative, with one of the Landmarks being a dumping ground for bodies; and one of the Elite Shark Hunters, Mama Maybelle, being a high-ranking mobster who goes after the Shark when she starts taking a bite out of the Mob's profits. However, even the Narrator is scared of them and states that footage of said dumping ground will be removed from the broadcast of the show.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Pete gets his hand bitten off in the intro and only looks mildly pissed about it because he doesn't want to look weak on camera.
  • Meaningful Name: LeBlanc is an old French name meaning "White". Considering the theme of the game, it's likely in reference to the Great White Shark, or LeBlanc being a white hunter, a term used to denote hunters who were... overzealous in their hunts.
  • Mega-Corp: Sunshine Solutions is a corrupt corporation behind most of the pollution in Port Clovis, and also sponsors the game's Show Within a Show. Their activities range from producing toxic sunscreen to mass-cloning genetically-engineered super-soldiers. Their logo is also shown on the cooling towers of Port Clovis' derelict nuclear power plant, indicating they owned it and were responsible for the meltdown.
  • Megalodon: Sort of; while you do reach "mega" status, the most you grow up to is just under 30ft. This is close to the size of Carcharocles/Otudus megalodon, which was on average 34ft.note  Regardless, the game refers to that form as a megalodon — keep in mind the largest bull shark ever found was a mere 8 feet.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: The game includes species of animals that aren't found in Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico, which the game's narrator and some of the mission descriptions are all-too-happy to point out.
    Narrator: The muskellunge, or "muskie", is a fresh-water fish commonly found throughout the Great Lakes region... so I have no idea what it's doing here.
  • Monster Is a Mommy: The prologue involves playing as the protagonist shark's mother, and watching as Pete pulls the pup out of the mother's carcass. The main shark is herself a female, but does not procreate at all.
  • Never Found the Body: After their fight with the shark, Kyle tries to extinguish the flames but he, Pete and the shark are all caught in the explosion. The explosion appears to have killed Kyle since he didn't respond to Pete's cries and because his body was never found, fueling the idea that the shark devoured Kyle. However, the show humorously uses #WheresKyle to suggest Kyle might have survived the explosion as well with similar injuries. However, Pete blames the shark for his death and becomes determined to kill her.
  • Oxygen Meter: The shark has one. Uniquely as a shark the meter measures how long she can be out of water instead of in it.
  • Papa Wolf: Kyle's apparent death sends Pete off the deep end and gives him a personal reason to kill the shark.
  • Parents as People: Pete's treatment of his son, Kyle, stems from how his own father raised him. Both men loved their sons but rarely interacted with them due to their careers. As such, Pete can be hard on Kyle but he shows in private that he does love him and respects his decision to study Marine Biology at university rather than become a fisherman like his dad.
  • Psychological Projection: Scaley Pete blames a lot of his problems on the shark due to his anger issues, his hatred of sharks stems from his father's death. Pete claims he was killed by a megalodon but Kyle believes his grandfather was killed by a regular shark and Pete was just so young and traumatised by it that he exaggerated the incident. When Kyle is seemingly killed by the shark, Pete blames the shark and sets out on the warpath in order to put her down for good. Even though Kyle's alleged death was merely an accident: Pete set fire to the shark and the creature unintentionally knocked off a fuel pannel while flailing around in pain. Kyle tried to put out the flames but was too late and he was knocked off the boat during the explosion. His body was never found.
  • Reality TV: The game is a black comedy version of a reality TV series about the life of a shark hunter who comes across a new, mutated shark that may have descended from a megalodon (or been genetically engineered by the government).
  • Real Men Hate Affection: Pete genuinely loves his son Kyle, admits the life of a fisherman isn't for everyone and does wish him the best in university, but he expresses it through tough love. When Kyle seemingly dies after their fight with the shark, Pete goes on the warpath and becomes devoted to killing the shark to avenge his son. To drive this home, Pete's last words to Kyle showed how he loved him more than his career as he told Kyle the ship was not worth saving.
  • Recycled In Space: Grand Theft Auto WITH SHARKS. It even shares the mechanic of attracting the hunters like the players do in GTA with police, and having to lower their wanted level.
  • Revenge Myopia: Pete considers sharks to be little more than pests fit only for slaughter. During one of his shark hunts, he casually guts the player's mother and then tosses away the newborn player like it's nothing. After the player accidentally causes an explosion that seemingly kills Pete's son, Pete himself becomes obsessed with killing the player and prepares for the final hunt by using a World War II-era torpedo boat and contaminants to pollute the oceans where the player lurks. At this point, it's hard to tell who the true monster is.
  • Rule of Cool: This is honestly the only reason you get away with all the nonsensical things that happen.
  • Scars Are Forever: The nick Pete marks the playable shark with persists all game, and she only picks up more scars as she fights further.
  • Scenery Gorn: The game is very pretty, but a lot of the underground sewer areas and one entire zone of the game is completely flooded with trash and debris. The crates full of mutagen are implied to be part of some unlicensed dumping program.
  • Shout-Out: So many as to get their own page.
  • Show Within a Show: The game is framed as a Reality TV series called Maneater, along the lines of Swamp People. A station bug with the show title sometimes appears in the lower right of the screen.
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift: Pete's final design in the final boss battle against him is a physical representation of how the cycle of revenge has physically destroyed him and turned him into a maniac. He's covered in scars, 3rd degree burns, he's shaved off the rest of his hair and he's now changed his beard to a long goatee.
  • Silent Protagonist: Since this was a given, the developers stated that this was the main reason for the presence of the Lemony Narrator of the game, and thus the reality show framing device.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Jaws Unleashed; the original sandbox shark simulator.
  • Sunken City: Dead Horse Lake contains the submerged ruins of part of Port Clovis, including its nuclear power plant.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: Many predators will chase you, even if there are much easier prey around. Possibly justified in that you are an obvious competitor shark rather than just human prey.
  • Take That!: Both Gator Land and Sea World have expies and the narrator doesn't shy away from blasting both for their practices and mistreatment of the animals.
  • Taking You with Me: Consumed by vengeance and cornered by his hated foe aboard his own boat, Pete sets off onboard explosives as his last resort, resulting in a Pyrrhic Victory. The game's Cycle of Revenge had finally come full circle.
  • A Taste of Power: Of the Castlevania: Symphony of the Night variety. You play as a big bad momma shark with all of the upgrades — then after snacking on hunters and beachgoers, she's killed and you play as a pup who has to level up.
  • Technicolor Toxin: The Mutagen that can be obtained from sunken chests or eating albino enemies is a virulent green. Sections of the sunken nuclear power plant also emit the eerie blue glow of Cherenkov radiation, which can damage the Shark if she swims into the plume of it erupting from the reactor's damaged core.
  • Threatening Shark: Well, obviously. Changes in that you're the threat this time around. Although, there are plenty of sharks in the game world that can make quick work of you if you're below their level, in the form of Makos, Hammerheads and Great Whites.
  • Title Drop: The name of the Show Within a Show is Maneater. The last line of the campaign is dripping with Leaning on the Fourth Wall.
    Narrator: This has been Maneater.
  • Toxic Waste Can Do Anything: The announcer wonders if gamma rays can give superpowers, and the shark could test that theory out.
  • Uncertain Doom: Twice
    • After a fight with the Bull Shark, Kyle tried to extinguish the flames but it resulted in the boat exploding. Kyle's body was never found, there was no blood in the water and it's strongly indicated that the shark ate him. The show uses #WheresKyle to fuel the idea that Kyle survived the explosion and escaped the shark.
    • In the climactic final battle, Scaly Pete detonates some explosives in a last-ditch effort to kill the Bull Shark, the ship explodes and the ship sinks to the bottom of the sea. The credits music initially appears to indicate that Pete succeeded in killing the shark and both characters don't re-emerge from the water. That being said, the credits music changes to a sinister tone as if to suggest the shark survived.
  • Unscrupulous Hero: Scaly Pete is a proud hunter of sharks and is the main antagonist of the game. He kills the mother because she started eating people at the beach and starts hunting the protagonist when she starts becoming a man-eater as well. After Kyle's apparent death, Pete resorts to polluting the ocean in order to poison her and sacrifices himself to finally kill her.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: By killing your mother, scarring you as a pup, and tossing you out into the wilderness so you can be "fair game" later, Scaly Pete became the catalyst for possibly the most dangerous marine predator on earth. What follows is an uncountable number of gruesome human deaths, a severe depletion in the population of a number of sea species, an enormous amount of property damage, the assumed death of his son, the loss of not one but two limbs, horrible scarring, and pollution of the eco-system. Needless to say, Pete done goofed. Especially considering that the pup got a taste for human flesh in the first place because Pete's hand was the very first thing it ate.
  • Villain Protagonist: The shark you play as is an active hunter of humans and the focus of the story is Scaly Pete, the antagonist who wants to kill you.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: The strained relationship between Pete and Kyle reaches a breaking point when Kyle tries to save their burning boat in hopes to gain his father's approval. It fails and Kyle seemingly dies, not knowing that his father truly loved him.
  • The Worf Effect: After killing a few shark hunters, the mother's rampage is easily stopped by Scaly Pete, showing you will have to be more than a regular shark to beat him.
  • You Killed My Father: Mother in this case. Pete killed your mother before you were born. Turned around later, the first battle with Pete seemingly gets his son killed.
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: The various nutrients you get from devouring animals are Proteins, Fats, and Minerals. (Humans give you a smattering of all three, all the more reason to go maneating). As an Anti-Frustration-Feature, most evolution sets only require one of these so they don't cut into each other's needs. Mutagen is the fourth, rarer material needed for the final tiers of your mutations. Bits of it can be found in nutrient crates or in mutated albino fish.

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