Monday, 8 April 2013

Game 30: Manhunter 2 - Taking the Piss

Manhunter Journal Entry 9: “I have discovered the body of Noah Goring, stashed in the Wax Museum by Zac West. I believe this man was doing everything he could to reverse the damage his mutant creation experiments have caused, but it will now be up to me to complete his final work. I’m one step closer too, having finally gained entrance to the private club by disguising myself as a mutant human rat. I was able to do this after winning a rat mask off the shopkeeper! Not sure why it took them so long to figure out I wasn’t one of them, but by the time they had, I’d stolen their hatchet. I imagine this item will come in handy soon enough!”

The tracker recording at the end of last session ended here, at the Wax Museum

I began this session by heading straight to the Wax Museum. It was here that the tracker recording showed that one of the Day 3 suspects was taken by who I could only assume was Zac West. On arrival I found the body of the suspect, stuffed in amongst the other corpses in the part of “show” that depicted the Orb’s conquest of Earth. I looked closer, and discovered white thread in part of the dead man’s tie. This was clearly suggesting that this man was the scientist Noah Goring, as I’d seen a needle with white thread on a table in his house. So the mutants had destroyed their creator! They must have known that he was now set on stopping the Orb’s from succeeding in their current project beneath the Earth’s surface. I couldn’t find anything else of interest on the screen, so I moved on to whether Zac was now in da howse.

Quite dead...white thread

He was, and unfortunately for me I’d interrupted his meal. He temporarily put down the human leg he was chewing on, and killed me. I restored a few times, but there appeared no way to avoid being masticated by the half human, half rodent. I’d expected to get something out of this trip to the Wax Museum, so was feeling a bit disappointed not to. I went back to the tracker recording and followed all the suspects and mutants to their final destinations, but gained nothing I didn’t already know. One suspect died at the top of the sign, the other (Noah Goring) in front of the entrance to the Square. One mutant went back into the tower, another (Zac West) took the body of Noah back to the Wax Museum, and the final mutant is still in the square, rueing the fact he only has one hand now. I’d found no way to defeat or get past either of the mutants and entering the tower had caused a dead end.

I see you already have a leg there! Let's not be greedy hey!?

I decided to follow the dead end for the time being, to see what would happen in the tower if I continued on. My reasoning was that knowing what happened next, and what items I might need to use during it, would likely help me solve whatever I needed to do prior. So it was that I re-entered the tower and fell my way down to the gate at the bottom. I’d not even tried to open it last time after the Murry’s informed me that I should restore, since my flask of urine broke on the way down the stairs. The same thing happened again, but this time I took a closer look at the gate. The keyhole was in the exact shape of the extension on the ring I’d collected from the first suspect’s suspended body! I used the ring and opened a passage up that required me to crawl through it. It was here that I witnessed another cut scene!

So the suspect now dead at the top of the sign was heading for the passageway with the ring when he was confronted and chased!

It began with Phil, seated on his throne in the underground, surrounded by mutants. At first I thought part of his body was transparent, but after studying screenshots since I’ve realised that he was holding the viewer in front of himself, projecting an image of something. I was then given a close up of the “viewing”, but couldn’t make heads or tails of any of it. It looked to me like some mechanical contraption, but triggered no memories of anything I’d already seen. The view then switched back to me, crawling through the passageway, and then suddenly the ground collapsed beneath me, causing me to fall into the cavern below. By total coincidence I landed directly on top of Phil, severing his arm in the process. To my shock, it was revealed that Phil was (and I assume still is) a robot! I'll have to contemplate what this really means later! My fall also knocked one of the Orb statues off his chair, which I was able to pick up. Regardless of what I tried to do next, Phil picked me up and flung me into the pit of waiting mutants, who unsurprisingly tore me apart.

Aaagghhh!!!! You're transparent! Well you can't blame me for thinking that!

Phil's a...robot!!??

Unfortunately Phil only needed one arm to literally spin me around and throw me to the rats.

This seemed like the beginning of the game’s climax to me, but one I was unprepared for. I played through it a couple of times, but no matter what I did, Phil would throw me to the mutants. Now that I knew what to expect when the time came that I was better prepared, it was time to take stock of my current situation. What puzzles were still open? What objects did I have in my inventory that I hadn’t yet made use of? I felt like I’d done everything there was to do at Noah’s house, the warehouse, Tad’s apartment, the laundry, the temple, the Bank of Canton, the Transamerica Pyramid, Pier 5, Embarcadero Fountain and the doctor’s house. That left Ghirardelli Square (the tower), Hyde Street Pier (the pipe and the pier itself), the Wax Museum (surely I would need to do something there), the private club (I hadn’t even gained entrance yet), the Ferry Building (it couldn’t be there for no reason) and the shop (I still needed to choose an item). As for my inventory, I’d used all the items in some way or another apart from the fang, statue, camera, matchbook andthe empty gun,....

...and even if none of those inventory items would work, there was always the shop!

I focussed on figuring out whether any of the items I could win from the shopkeeper might be useful for any of the locations I’d not completed yet. Yes, there was one seemingly obvious puzzle solution! When I previously won three straight games of cards against the shopkeeper twice, he’d offered me either of two rat masks. When I’d tried to enter the private club, I’d been rejected and killed because “he must not have liked your looks”. Perhaps if I disguised myself as a rat, they would let me through!? I made my way back to the shop and easily won the games necessary to be offered the rat masks. The only difference between the two masks was that one of them had the eyes cut out of it. I chose that one and then went straight to the private club to test my theory. Just before I knocked on the eye slot, I used the mask, and was ecstatic when my manhunter put it on. Clearly this was going to work!

Michael Myers had finally met his match!

The mutant inside must have been fooled by my disguise, as he let me into the club. Inside were three mutant rats playing a game, and I sat down to join in. One of the mutants displayed a prize for winning the game, which was the severed arm of the slave in the doctor’s house. I noticed something odd about the arm, being a sort of code marked on the hand (it looked like UNNC). I’d seen a code very similar in the first Manhunter game, which if I remember correctly, was used to fly the craft at the game’s climax. I tucked that piece of information away for later, and focussed on understanding the mechanics of the game at hand. The mutant with the prize rolled a die (it could have been a two sided item rather than six but it was hard to tell), with the result being what I took to be a smiling rat. He then tossed the die to one of the other mutants, who also rolled it. This time the upward face showed a skull, which clearly wasn’t good. The losing mutant picked up the hatchet that was on the floor next to him, cut off his own finger, and threw it to the winning mutant!

I'd hate to know how much it costs to buy back in!

So the stakes were pretty high in this little game, and now the leading mutant was pointing my way! I nodded my head, picked up the die, and rolled it. A skull!!!! However, before I could even do consider doing anything to my anatomy, the leader suddenly realised I might not be a mutant after all. He crawled towards me and pulled my mask off, revealing my true identity. Unsurprisingly, the three mutants then ate me! I was confused as to what I was supposed to have done differently during the course of the little game, but the Murry’s death message pretty much gave me the answer on a platter. “Instead of being the main course, offer them an appetizer...” I looked through my inventory for something these rat mutants might want to eat, and decided to give them the flask of urine. It didn’t dawn on me straight away why this might work, but once the three of them starting fighting each other for it, I realised it was because it said “REMEDY” on the bottle! These guys thought it would change them back into their original human form!

Who would have thought a flask of urine could cause such bickering

Once one of them drank the flask’s contents, he spat it out and killed me anyway, but I soon realised the whole reason for being in the club was to pick up the hatchet while the mutants were fighting over the flask and then walk out. This worked, and as soon as I was out, I knew exactly where to go with the hatchet! I raced over to the Hyde Street Pier, climbed up the pillar, and used the hatchet on the container that was visible through the wooden boards. As expected, my manhunter started hacking away at the wood until he was able to climb into the container. I had little clue as to what I was going to do once I was in there, but the answer came quickly as a cut scene took over. It appeared as though I’d got myself into the container just prior to them being loaded onto the waiting ship by a robot. Once all the containers were onboard, the ship left the pier and slowly travelled across the water to Alcatraz.

Surely cutting through the wire fence would have been easier.

The container I was in was then taken across the island by the robot and dumped in some sort of warehouse. I once again used the hatchet, this time to cut my way out of the container, but in my haste to leave the room my manhunter tripped and fell flat on his face, causing the hatchet to fly up in the air and get stuck in the wall. Clearly I wasn’t going to be using the hatchet again! Once I scraped myself off the floor and exited the room, I found myself looking at row upon row of green alien-looking mutants, all locked up behind bars. I could get a close-up of no less than twelve of them, and boy were they ugly! All bright green, but with heads that varied from lizard-like to multi-eyed monsters! There was one of them that got my attention though, as he had a squarish shaped face that I’d seen before. Of course! This was Ming, who I’d seen in the vision after lighting four pinches of heaven in the pipe near the temple!

Hi there! I know this is going to sound a bit strange, but I have the statue that you gave your father! Impressed?

I gave Ming the rabbit statue that his or her father had given to me after I’d caused the vision to show. As grateful as Ming appeared, nothing happened! I tried using all of my other items and pixel hunted thoroughly, but came up with nothing. So what was the purpose of that? There was only one other room that I could visit on the island, which was just to the left of the prison. It had what looked like a video camera, and something called a “Cell Door Access Machine”. Once again, I tried everything I had on the machine, but nothing worked, leaving me to believe that I was dead ended. Clearly I was going to need a card to put into the machine, which presumably would open the prison doors. Perhaps the reason for giving Ming the trophy was so that none of the mutants would hurt me. I thought about where I might get the card from and remembered there was something about a card in Noah’s letter to the doctor.

What do you mean you don't accept empty guns as authorisation!?

“My life is in danger, they suspect I have the card. I will deliver it to you as soon as possible. It is up to you and your friends to save mankind. My creations can help but must be freed by an Orb.” So these mutants are all the creation of Noah, and he had the card to free them! I didn’t think I’d missed anything at the doctor’s house, so where was the...EUREKA! The card must still be on Noah’s body, which I’d just witnessed in the Wax Museum! Maybe the white thread on his tie wasn’t there just to mark the body as Noah’s. Maybe he sewed the card I needed into the tie! Time to restore! You’ll have to wait for my next post to see whether I was right. I promise you all that I’m not trying to string this out, but it’s clear that Manhunter 2 is going to require more posts than any other so far to complete. I’m already up to 9 (with at least one more to come and a final rating post), and the current leaders (Zak McKracken and Codename: ICEMAN) both took a total of 10. I think I’m probably going to have to take up most of a post trying to piece the whole story together too, so I really hope you’re all not getting Manhunter burnout.

So why are these guys all green anyway?! I take it these were the rejects?!

Session Time: 1 hours 00 minutes
Total Time: 10 hours 00 minutes

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: I've written a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!


  1. 'Am I doing anything that will instantly make me lose? I swear there's a whole bunch of them. I'm not being paranoid, am I? Oh god, I'm going to have to re-do that maze again if I'm wrong. Please don't be wrong.'

    ... Yeah, to respond to your question in the previous thread.. I'm not the fondest of the Manhunter games. :) I think that Canageek's assertions upon the fact that they were kinda lacking in a particular clear line of thought - they had to have the humorous deaths that had permeated all of the other Sierra games of the time (save Gold Rush), and the graphics were lacking enough to make it impossible to really go the harsh grittiness that they (IMO) clearly were after.

    As an aside, though, I'd probably say you're about 75% of the way through it at present, depending on whether you make it through as smoothly as you seem to be. The good news is gung juvyr guvf tnzr unf na nofbyhgr zlevnq bs qrnq raqf, zbfg bs gurz bayl frg lbh onpx n irel fubeg juvyr.

  2. Wow, lots of excitement and carnage in this post. I'm so sorry I didn't have the time to play along! It seems to me MH2 tops the first one in every aspect.

  3. That sounds like progress to me!

    One thing I like more about this game then the last is that you get clues about what is going on as the game progresses, rather then all at the end like in the first one.

  4. It's been an interesting read, so I don't mind it continuing for a few extra posts!

    I have to say I'm very impressed by how differently they approached the idea of creating an adventure game. No doubt there would have been a certain pressure to conform to the usual Sierra or Lucasarts models, but instead they created something rather unique and made what seem to be two good games with it.

  5. This is about the time, when the game starts to turn into Too Silly mode: fooling mutant rats with a mask and making them drink urine; Phil as the King of Rats, surrounded by bikini clad rat mutants and sitting on a throne with Orbs on stick.

  6. Manhunter: San Francisco....FINISHED!!!

    Feels damn good too! :)

    Should have the Won post up tomorrow.

    1. Congrats. I look forward to hearing how the story pans out.

    2. Sweet! Onwards! Onwards!

    3. Oooo! That means I'll be playing Mean Streets soon for the very first time ever!