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  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: At the end of the credits of the first game. There is a Video Clip of... something that looks like a robot chef hosting a cooking show, and it has absolutely nothing to do with anything in the game. The implication of the brief scene seems to be that the events of the entire game were playing on a VHS tape that had been used to previously record something else, and the player has now reached the point in the tape where the previous recording is coming through on the magnetic tape.
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    • Manhunt: Lionel Starkweather is a rich man who creates snuff films for his own pleasure and profit. Using his fortune to acquire convicted death-row inmate James Earl Cash, Starkweather sets him loose in an urban jungle while hunted by gang members and corrupt law enforcement. Starkweather constantly ups the stakes by putting others in danger and has Cash's innocent family kidnapped to face almost-certain death (they all end up dying). Starkweather's prize fighter is an insane, naked man wearing a pig's head named Piggsy who has clearly lost his mind through what Starkweather has put him through. Starkweather's voice dogs the player throughout as the depraved millionaire positively revels in the horror and brutality he creates.
    • Manhunt 2:
      • Dr. Pickman is the head of the Project and the man responsible for their long list of atrocities. Once a scientist working for the government who had his research shut down for his willingness to torture people without remorse, Pickman continued to work illegally with the help of private funding and used human subjects in a series of sadistic experiments, including forcing a man to feed on corpses driving him crazy enough to commit suicide by hitting his head against the wall for almost an hour; reconditioning a man with various forms of torture and Mind Rape before offering him a victim to be killed; and engulfing a man in flames until his skin and nerves were permanently damaged, causing him to fall into a coma before death. Pickman dumps those who survive but are broken beyond repair at Dixmor Asylum, where they live in horrible conditions and are regularly abused by the staff, with some committing suicide to escape the suffering. Running a strip club as a front for the Project, Pickman recruits sexual deviants to "work" there for him in bringing victims to a torture dungeon and producing Snuff Films. Creating the Pickman Bridge, which would allow two personalities to co-exist within the same body, Pickman places the psychopathic Leo Kasper inside the mind of Daniel Lamb and feels indifferent when Leo goes on a killing spree, controlling the damage by erasing Daniel's past and condemning him to Dixmor Asylum for six years with other failed Pickman Bridge subjects.
      • The aforementioned Leo Kasper is a murder-obsessed government assassin implied to have been a patient afflicted with an acute case of antisocial personality disorder. After having his own personality placed inside the mind of Daniel Lamb by the Project, Leo takes the opportunity to cause as much death as possible and erase Daniel's past to assume total control over his body, starting by killing people close to him, including his best friend and his therapist; and committing a killing spree in his neighborhood which ended with the brutal death of his wife, stabbing her multiple times with a kitchen knife while laughing maniacally. Using a katana, Leo breaks into a TV station owned by the Project and slaughters more than twenty people inside, dismembering some of them and hanging one with a microphone. Despite his crimes, Leo maintains a façade of being Daniel's ally, instructing him into killing his enemies in the worst ways possible, just so he can see Daniel becoming a "sick fuck" like himself before he can destroy his personality. In a franchise filled with depraved and repugnant criminals, Leo manages to be one of the worst.
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  • Contested Sequel: The second game, while uniformly more poorly received than the first game, still has its defenders.
  • Disappointing Last Level: The last few levels of the first game mostly abandon the stealth elements and executions in favor of gunplay. A large chunk of the second game falls prey to this as well.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Among the Gangs from the first game, The Smileys seem to be the most popular due to how insane they all are and how hilarious their lines can be.
  • Fridge Brilliance:
    • A game in which a sick guy sitting in front of a computer screen in a darkened room encourages the player character to violently kill people for his own pleasure - an incredibly brilliant postmodern satire on violent video games?
    • When Cash saves the journalist and gets the evidence she wanted, why doesn't he just get out of Carcer City instead of personally going after Starkweather? The director's proved his influence on the police department with the corrupt cops who Cash just encountered. The mere fact that Starkweather can even host these "games" means that even if someone brought evidence against him, he could just make it go away. Cash is just making sure that Starkweather won't escape punishment.
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    • In the second game, some of the Watchdogs hunting dialogue includes lines where they call Daniel by his name. However, they say them even during the levels where you are playing as Leo. At first it appears to be just a scripting oversight, making players figure that Rockstar just didn't bother to record and program audio specific for the levels where you're playing as Leo. Turns out it was a foreshadowing to the fact that Leo and Daniel are actually the same person.
      • This is even shown as of the first level, since Leo is often on the other side of locked doors while Daniel is trying to escape. It's an early hint that he's not really physically there.
  • Fridge Horror: One of the smileys talks in an unnaturally high voice, talking like a woman accusing her husband of cheating on her... except one line where he talks with a much deeper voice, Crying about how he's sorry and begging his wife to breathe.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • At least some of the hunters from the first game (see Tear Jerker).
    • Cash, after watching his family get butchered. He's not a very nice guy, but even he was pissed at that.
    • Piggsy. Implied to be mentally retarded, his mind was only further broken after "starring" in several of Starkweather's films.
  • Most Annoying Sound: The goddamn heart-beating noise in the first game. Unfortunately, there's no way to get rid of it...
  • Narm: The second game's use of Your Head A-Splode reaches ridiculous levels, and about half of the game's weapons have at least one execution resulting in most of the hunter's head vanishing. Even a flashlight will tear a head apart.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: Both games had gathered mixed reviews, damning the gore but praising the atmosphere. Yet politicians bring this up as an example of a "murder simulator", and one murder incident led to a public outcry in Britain, which normally never censors a game, and shops there were hesitant to sell the game until it was proven the game wasn't to blame and the perpetrator never played itnote .
  • Paranoia Fuel: If you wore a headset while you played, noise that you made into the headset caused noise in the game. This literally allowed you to call over badguys to kill them, but the inverse was also true: if you were hiding in the game, the player had to physically be quiet.
  • Rated M for Money: "Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs." These are the content descriptors for the second game. The first game only had the first three. The second even had an AO rating note  in the US!
  • Scrappy Weapon: The flashlight shotgun. While it has the same effect as the standard shotgun, the flashlight tends to give away players that are hiding in the shadows.
  • Spiritual Licensee: Some have described Manhunt 2 as a video game adaptation of Fight Club.
  • Squick: Big time. Especially in the second game. There's a reason it got the Adults Only Rating.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • Cash watching the videotape of his family being killed by the Innocentz, followed by him knocking over the TV and Starkweather taunting him about it. For a ruthless killer who never displays emotion and even shows irritation towards his family when he rescues them, it's really sad to see him of all people break down like he did.
    • Some of the Hunters' dialogue surprisingly falls under this. A member of the Skinz and the Smileys are revealed through dialogue to have been abused by their parents. Specifically, the Skinz member had a physically abusive father that he felt the need to impress, and the Smileys member's mother beat him for things as minor as losing his shoes. Then there's a Hood who has a family and will tell you as such to try and dissuade you from killing them. Unfortunately, you had to kill them in order to survive the bloodbath, though. And special mention goes to Barry, a Smiley who abused his wife, eventually murdering her and assuming her identity out of grief.
    • Manhunt 2 also features this, such as Daniel's Heroic BSoD when he realizes that Leo killed his wife. Even the canon ending also counts as well.
  • That One Level: Three words: Divided. They. Fall. First you have to kill a few Wardogs, then you're free to head into the apartment complex and save your game. But do you think it's all uphill from there? It's not. You have to hack and shoot your way through numerous Wardogs on the apartment's many floors, then when you reach the top, Ramirez will flee and call for backup, at which point you have about two minutes to kill him before he doesnote . And killing him — assuming you can't find him from the upper level and snipe him — entails going all the way back down, killing another batch of Wardogs, then killing his bodyguards and sneaking up behind him and shooting him in the back of the head (you can't execute him, because he'll just shove you off of him if you try). Oh, yeah, and that save point you get once you're in the apartment? That's the only other one you get. So if you die — and there's a good chance you will — you have to redo that whole process all over again. Have fun.
    • Not far off in regards to Divided They Fall is the level Wrong Side of the Tracks, which has you enter a subway station occupied by police searching for you. Entering the first hallway on your left has you walk right into the firing line of an Uzi wielding cop, who can quickly shred your health if you don't expect him and get a headshot in time. Moving on has you enter the train tracks, where you're introduced to a cutscene of the Swat Team rushing from the far end of the track ahead, and directly behind you from where you came from. Your only option is to run like hell and hide before you get caught in the pincer attack. Unfortunately, unless you saved the crowbar from the level before, you won't have a reliable way to quietly execute the SWAT, so trying to shoot one will instantly incur the wrath of the rest of the team, who can and ''will' cut you down in seconds. To make matters worse, most of them come with flashlights on their shotguns, so hiding will eventually become futile once they're checking the shadows for you. Finally, there's another few squads worth of SWAT dead ahead who can't be ran past without a fight, so avoiding the ones that tried to ambush you and engaging the other squads will very likely end up with the squad you ran past rushing back in to shoot you in the back while you try to outgun the ones hold up.
  • They Censored It, Now It Sucks:
    • The heavy filtering added to the executions in the second game, mainly on the Wii. Is there an equivalent of Executive Meddling for censorship?
    • According to a YouTube user, Manhunt 2 had blurred out executions in the game. And gamers were not impressed with this (but hey, they got it uncut for the PC). And with hacking, even consoles have the uncut versions- there's ISOs floating around for Wii and PSP that have the blur turned off, and on PS2 it can be disabled with a GameShark/Action Replay code.
  • Uncanny Valley: The Babyfaces from the Innocentz gang all wear creepy porcelain doll masks.

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