Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Game 30: Manhunter 2 - Won!

Manhunter Journal Entry 9: “It’s….really….quite difficult…to write…while hanging off the back…of a spaceship! I’ve…freed…the mutants. Stopped…the Orb’s…plan…and destroyed the…tower that was…causing…the mutation. All that’s left…is to take Phil…down. Am…hanging onto…his ship…and will attempt…to destroy him...(he’s a…robot!)…when we reach…our destination…”

"Oh boy oh boy oh boy my very own bunny rabbit. I will love him and pet him and take care of him and call him George"

My last session saw me travelling by boat to Alcatraz, where I discovered a plethora of imprisoned green mutants. While I was able to make friends with one of them (Ming) by offering her the statue her father had previously given to me, I soon realised that I wasn’t going to be able to free them without the card that was mentioned in Noah Goring’s letter to the doctor. I did however have a pretty good idea where it might be, so this session began with me restoring back to the mainland and heading straight for the Wax Museum. I’d noticed the white thread sewn into Noah’s tie when I first discovered his corpse, but at the time I’d thought it was probably there with the purpose of helping me identify the body. Now I figured the card I needed could very well be hidden inside, but how would I get it out? I looked at my inventory, and the one thing that stood out as a possibility was the fang. I worked!!!

This was actually a very good puzzle!

So now I had the card to free the mutants from Alcatraz! The question was, should I head straight back there, or is there something else I needed to do prior? I looked through my list of locations and items, to see if there was somewhere I didn’t feel I’d completed or something I hadn’t yet made use of. There were only three locations that I felt were incomplete, being the Ferry Building, Hyde Street Pier and Ghirardelli Square. The only items that I’d not found a use for were the camera, the matchbook, and the empty gun. I suddenly realised that I’d now used the flask of urine to get the hatchet off the rat mutants, and every time I’d entered the tower at Ghirardelli Square that item would smash and dead end me. Did I now have something else that might allow me to defeat Phil? No, I didn’t think so! Still, I decided to go back to the tower to see if the game would throw some other dead end message at me now that the flask was gone. What did I have to lose?

The Orb language seems way too simple for such an advanced race

I climbed into the tower and just as before, tumbled all the way down the stairs to the gate below. I opened the gate using the ring I’d got from the man electrocuted on the sign, watched the odd cut-scene with Phil using the viewer, then fell through the collapsing floor in the passageway onto Phil. There was no message about dead-ending myself on the way, so I quickly saved my game and put on my thinking cap. As before, I picked up the Orb on a Stick that had broken off the chair, and then tried using it (and the other remaining items in my inventory) to no effect. Despite failing to stop Phil from spinning me around with his one remaining robotic arm and throwing me to the rats, trying all these items did give me an idea! Whenever I’d used the camera in the game so far, it had used up the one and only available flash. I’d noticed that if I ever used it in the most likely scenarios (i.e. when confronted by a mutant at the square, in Zac’s Howse, or in the pipe at Hyde Street Pier), that it would allow me to escape the situation. I’d had to restore on each of those occasions anyway since I didn’t want to use up the one and only flash, but I now wondered whether this was the time to use it.

Orb on a Stick!

As Phil threw me down into the pit filled with mutants, I used the camera flash, hoping that it would allow me to escape. As much as it had made sense that it would, I was still utterly surprised that I was suddenly shown a screen filled with all the mutants covering their eyes! Control of my manhunter was temporarily taken away from me as he ran from the room, pushed another mutant in the back that was guarding an exit, and then jumped through a pipe to safety. Not just any pipe mind you, I came out of the pipe at the Hyde Street Pier, meaning I could now cross that location off the list as well. I felt like I was nearing the end of the game now and getting pretty damn excited! Could I really make it without assistance?! Before I travelled back to Alcatraz, I spent some time at the Ferry Building, since this was the only location on the map now where I’d achieved nothing of note. Since I still couldn’t find anything to interact with or do at the site, I decided it was time to go free some mutants!

Say cheese!!!!

I used the hatchet to get into the container at the Hyde Street Pier, watched as the containers were loaded onto the boat and then as the boat travelled out to the island. Once my container was stored in the warehouse, I hacked my way out (losing the hatchet on the way), gave the rabbit statue to Ming, and positioned myself in front of the card reader. I chose the “Orb Card” from my inventory, and watched as it was inserted into the card reader. Shortly afterwards, the camera attached to the wall above kicked into action. I was given a view of what the camera could see, which was of! The camera started scanning me, and I quickly realised that this probably wasn’t going to end well. Just as the solution came to me, an ACCESS DENIED...ELIMINATE message popped up on the screen, after which I was disintegrated by some sort of laser.

I'm an Orb! No really...I am!

I was confident that I knew what to do though, as I’d suddenly recalled one of the lines in Noah’s letter. “My creations can help but must be freed by an Orb.” I inserted the card again, and this time as the camera focussed on me I used the Orb on a Stick. This replaced my image with that of the Orb on the scanner and access was approved. The doors to the prison all opened at once, and the mutants began running all over the place! As expected, Ming quickly scooped me up and protected me from the mass exodus. She took me outside the prison and I watched as half the mutants ran into the water, presumably to swim across to the mainland, and the others went the other direction back towards the centre of the island. Ming took me to a hot air balloon and placed me gently inside, then waved to me before running back into the throng. After a while I realised the cut scene was over, and I was supposed to do something!

Every high level prison needs to have an unguarded vehicle for escapees!

Moving my cursor around the balloon, I discovered I could take a closer look at the inner workings. There was a handle I could turn, and doing so caused gas to blow out of a valve. I used my matchbook to light it, causing the hot air balloon to fill up and begin its ascent. Was this the end? Surely not! Phil Cook was still out there causing trouble and the Orbs still hadn’t been defeated. The balloon drifted away from the island, going higher and higher into the San Francisco skyline. Suddenly I found myself controlling the balloon lift in yet another arcade mini-game. It was easy enough to press the ENTER key as many times as required to keep the balloon from crashing into the city below, but there was no explanation as to where I was actually supposed to land. My first attempt ended with my balloon crashing into the power station at the very end of the second screen. It seemed that I was supposed to land the balloon somewhere between the island and the power station, but where? The castle?

The latest bra design had a neat new feature!

The hint I’d received from the statues on the stairway in the temple had said: “The Castle is the Gateway to Hell”, and I’d even seen a location called Julius Castle through the window of Noah Goring’s apartment, so when I saw the castle-looking building beneath me, I let the balloon descend. The balloon landed directly on top of the fort, causing the “basket” to tilt and throw me out. I crashed through skylight (doesn't every castle have one of those?) and into a tunnel that led deep beneath the city surface. Once again I very coincidentally landed on top of my foe, and this time it was an Orb that was levitating in front of a monitor and control panel. He literally exploded like an egg, leaving me covered in yellowy goo. Before I could consider looking at what was displayed on the monitor, another cut-scene appeared. It showed the mutants I’d freed exiting the water beneath the Hyde Street Pier, with one of them climbing onto the pier and ripping a couple of Orbs to pieces. I then witnessed the same thing happening all through the city, with the mutants running rampant and killing Orbs everywhere!

How did we let our planet be invaded by aliens as vulnerable as this?!

The mutants literally ripped the Orbs apart throughout the city

So much so that eventually I stopped cheering and started to feel sorry for them!

As soon as I regained control, I took a closer look at the monitor. At first I wasn’t sure what I was looking at, but I soon realised it was a map of numerous locations and gates beneath the city. There were three separate views that I could use, with the first one showing all the rooms that currently have lava (yellow) in them. The second one showed all the rooms that currently contain slaves (blue), while the third view showed where the robots were (red). Through experimentation I figured out that I could move slaves and robots into other rooms on the map, although I’m not entirely sure how that was actually occurring. I assume I was able to command them and they would very rapidly go where I told them to. I also figured out that I could open and close the gates, which would allow the robots to move between the rooms and could also allow the flow of lava that was pushing up from the large pool in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.

The red boxes mark where the robots are. The little crosses are closed gates. I have to click on Lava or Slaves to view which rooms they're in.

I won’t lie. I “died” many, many times at this section of the game! It took me a long time to figure out what the hell I was supposed to be doing, and even once I thought I had, I’d continually run into disaster. If I opened a gate to allow lava to flow through, yet didn’t move all the slaves out of rooms that it could flow to (i.e. that weren’t behind closed gates), then it was time to restore. If I moved a slave (or a robot for that matter) into the same section that I was in, then it was time to restore. I set about moving all of the slaves into rooms in the right side of the map and all the robots into the left side, then starting closing off the gates so that neither the lava nor the robots could get to me or the slaves, but kept failing. However, whenever lava was allowed to flow up into the landmarks on the surface, I would witness cut-scenes of it pouring out of the buildings. Once the lava poured out of the Coit Tower, a cut-scene appeared that showed all of the mutants around the city turning back into humans!

Apparently this rather phallic looking tower was being used to create the mutation. Why wasn't everyone affected by it?

At least low quality graphics make nudity acceptable...

...except when it's a character the player knows apparently (Ming transformed into human form fully clothed)

It seemed that whatever had caused the mutants to change in the first place was somehow controlled by the tower, and the lava destroying it had reversed the effect. As great as witnessing this scene was, it was also the cause of much frustration. Every time I tried letting the lava in with slightly different setups of gates, slaves and robots, I had to go all the way through the lengthy cut-scene before finally being shown slaves dying or the robots coming to get me. However, after a while I noticed something important! The three larger rooms were called Slavery, Hell and Freedom! The note given to the dragon member by the slaves before he died had said “Bring us to Hell and we will show you Freedom.” I was in the room called Hell, so I guessed that the idea was to bring all the slaves to Hell, and that they would then show me how to get to Freedom. I then tried numerous other arrangements in an attempt to kill all the robots without harming the slaves, but continued to be unsuccessful.

The robots kept blowing my brains out, over and over again

Just when I was beginning to wonder whether I was going to get stuck at the very last hurdle, I tried something I hadn’t before. I moved lots of the slaves into the same room! I have no idea why I hadn’t tried this before, but can only say that I’d assumed the mechanics of the puzzle were stricter than they really were. No wonder I hadn’t been able to move every slave into a separate protected room and have every robot into a separate unprotected room! It just wasn’t possible, nor was it required! As soon as I figured this out, I was easily able to set things up so that the only survivors were the slaves, who I then moved into Hell where I was located. They picked me up on their shoulders and carried me through the passages to Freedom, where I discovered some sort of drilling vehicle. I think this was what Phil was looking at through the viewer, since there had been a green object at the bottom that had been bouncing up and down.

Only when I saw the word FREEDOM written on the wall here did I look back and see HELL written in the control room

The slaves placed me gently in the cockpit of the device, and I then found myself staring at the controls. I immediately noticed the symbols I’d seen on the slave’s hand (as part of the severed arm the mutant rats were gambling over) and knew exactly how to proceed. I pressed the buttons in the correct order (UNNC), and then pressed the brown button above them (it was the only button I was able to interact with). This caused the monitor to light up, so I clicked on it to take a closer look. It was no surprise that I was going to have to complete yet another arcade game, but I have to say that this one was probably the most painful of them all! Steering the ship between all the rocks to reach the surface was easy in theory, but the collision detection, the drift, and the over-acceleration of the craft made it close to impossible. I found myself saving and restoring regularly, and probably did so over twenty times before I finally reached Alcatraz.

I can't tell you how happy I was to reach the surface. This arcade game stalled my push towards the ending!

As soon as I did, an image of a very angry Phil appeared, and I watched him run and hop into his Orb spaceship, preparing to take off. My manhunter ran and jumped, just in time to grab one of the landing feet, and I hung on while the ship flew high above San Francisco. I was shown an image of me hanging on desperately to the craft while it sped along, and suddenly the words “THE END?” were on the screen. Huh!? That’s it!? I guess that’s exactly how the first game ended, with Phil and I leaving New York for San Francisco in that scenario, and I realise the Murry’s had plans for a third game in the series set in London, but I still had lots of questions that remained unanswered. After weeks of solid adventuring, I had mixed feelings at the game’s completion. On the one hand, I couldn’t help feeling a little let down at the lack of closure, but on the other hand, I felt on top of the world for conquering this tough game unassisted. I’ll expand on all of this and more in the Final Rating post. Thanks for sticking with me on this one. It was epic!

I'm really not sure why Phil would be at Alcatraz, but there he is (he's the little brown blob in the distance)!

If I press ENTER, will I find out what happens next???

Session Time: 3hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 13 hours 30 minutes


  1. Congratulations! It's too bad the third one never got made, it's such a shame the story never got wrapped up.

  2. So is that quote from "Of Mice and Men" or Daffy Duck when he meets the abominable snowman?

    The Murry's did have a third game planned in London and apparantly you would have travelled to the Orbs home planet as well. Guess we'll never know how that turned out, although armed with a pin you could probably pop the lot of them.

    1. I believe it was Bugs Bunny that met the abominable snowman, but could be wrong. It's firmly entrenched in my childhood memory!

    2. I've checked it out. Daffy Duck was dressed as a pink rabbit.

    3. Actually, we're both correct!

  3. I'm surprised you made it through in one post, but definitely a job well done. You persevered where a great many never thought you'd make it very far without working out a great deal of these illogical puzzles (The camera flash to get out of the mutant sewer bit stumped me for literally weeks as a kid.) Still, you made this game far more entertaining to read than I ever had playing it. Kudos! (Now that we've seen that your best work comes through games with more irritants than cleverness, though, I'm making it my mission to make you play Les Manley for sure!)

    1. Aperama: We have discovered there is a point at which the game is too annoying for good posts, as seen in Emmanuelle (A Game of Eroticism) (1989), so don't push him too much.

    2. Canageek: Don't worry, Les Manley is not THAT bad, it just has some frustrating dead ends and non-sensical puzzles (lbh unir gb yvgrenyyl trg lbhefrys xvyyrq gb trg n cvpgher bs Ryivf).

    3. It's the very cusp of what I'd consider reasonable to do to somebody.

      Abg gb zragvba gung lbh pna qrnq raq lbhefrys va gur bcravat gjb fperraf. Naq va rirel fhofrdhrag nern. V'q rdhngr vg va guvf zhpu nf orvat fvzvyne gb gur cynlguebhtu bs pbqranzr VPRZNA. Jvgu gur rkprcgvba bs gur bar tvzzr snvyher ng gur sbeghar gryyre, rirelguvat pbzrf onpx nf na "BU. GUNG'F jung V unq gb qb..." cvkry uhag nsgre gur snpg. Vg'f fhcerzryl naablvat, ohg oyvffshyyl fubeg.

  4. Woohoo! Another game comes to an end. Congratulations getting through this, especially unassisted.

    I'm already looking ahead to see what games I might join you for in the next release year, but it's hard to do that without knowing what order you're playing them. I know I'll join you for QfG II, and I've just ordered the console version of Loom to compare. Maybe I'll find a way to play Secret of Monkey Island.

    1. I just picked up Rise of the Dragon, and having never played Secret of Monkey Island I'll definitely find a way to play it as well.

      I've been reading up on some of the games coming up, and I really can't decide if I want to play along with you on them or play through them to see really how difficult they can be so I can make bets against you. :D

    2. If you are looking for a good way to make CAPs, playing along has been more reliable, because Trick hasn't required that much assistance anymore.

    3. Yes, more reliable, but the amount of points for playing along seem to vary. Seems I should really start playing along though so I can get Trickster to play more games.

      I'll be sure to play through the games a bit before suggesting he play them though in order to avoid another Psycho incident.

    4. The reason why the CAP distribution varies is because I hand them out for a) attempting to play along with me, b) playing along and completing the game and c) playing along and completing the game with me unassisted.

      In case you were wondering. :)

    5. Oh, okay, I noticed the point difference between Psycho and Hero's Quest, and wondered why Hero's Quest was lower. I'm still not sure, but maybe it wasn't clear that I completed the game and without assistance?

      No worries though, I'll be sure to play through a few games right along with you this time. It's too bad I fell behind in blogging it. I'm finally rounding out the posts though and should have my last post on the thief up by the end of the weekend.

      I'm looking forward to getting through some of the games next gaming year. Are you going to update the play order soon, or are you waiting for the very end of the year? I want to try to gauge how much time I have before the next game I want to join in on since I still have to get through Star Saga 2 (and that'll take a few months). Thanks Trickster.

    6. Finagling sales is a good way to get CAPS as well; I don't actually play adventure games, which locks me out of a lot. I just try and be an evil the comments, which gets me a not-insignificant number of CAPS. Then I subscribe to GoG's email, and some subreddits, and try and notice when big steam sales are on. I won't have much time for this in the near future, as I'll have work during the hours these are announced, so I may be leaving my position in the top three very soon.

      I may have to start playing along to get my CAPS, or seeing if Trickster will give me CAPS for naming a new uranium compound after him or something.

  5. Great job, Trickster! These write-ups were very enjoyable, even though I had never played either Manhunter game myself. The story--sparse though it is--makes even me wish that the third game had been comlpeted.

    I look forward to your ranking of this one.

  6. :(

    1. No wonder it's cancelled, I'd expect Disney stamped their boot down.

  7. The guys behind Quest for Infamy (Infamous Quests) are establishing a crowdsourcing "blog", KickstartVentures. According to them, it'll "be a blog dedicated to showcasing upcoming adventure gmae Kickstarter campaigns and giving them more exposure as well as featured articles, updates and more".

    So far they've got a Facebook page up while waiting for the blog to come online:

    Seems to me both they, Trickster and this awesome place can benefit from knowing about each other?

    1. Will definitely check it out! We'll join forces in fighting the good fight for the underdog that is the adventure genre.

  8. Congratulations on beating the game! Here's a quick list of all the plot holes and unresolved questions I could think of:

    - What was so special about the viewer and what did it actually do?
    - Who were the people locking you up a the laundry?
    - Are the two kinds of Orbs different species/races, different sexes or Orbs at different ages?
    - I won't criticize the incredulity of destroying a building for curing all the mutants, but it seems a bit inconsistent, when the rest of the game makes you think that the remedy would be something to drink.
    - Is Phil a robot or more like a cyborg or human with mechanical enhancements?
    - Was Phil all along working for the Orbs or is he just doing it all for his own fun?
    - What was the point in Phil becoming the King of the Rats?

    Anything else?

    1. I've got a couple:

      - Why is the mutant Ming's butt on her forehead? That's quite a mutation.
      - Why do the female rat mutants bother wearing bikinis?

    2. Should all questions be answered? Leave something to your imagination.

      Eg. IMO two kinds of Orbs show how they evolve. Maybe they changed their shapes to survive Earth's climatic conditions. And developing to the more advantage form was able not before the climate changed enough thanks to aliens work.

    3. I see a four-leaf clover not a butt :D

  9. I just beat Manhunter 2 myself (what lead me to this awesome blog) and one demerit that has to figure in in the 'Puzzles and Solvability' is all the dead-ending, or the FATF (Fubar After the Fact) phenomenon. Manhunter 2 has an off the charts FATF factor. Luckily, as with most adventure gamers, I learned my lesson early when at the tender age of 10, I got FATFed by Police Quest 2 by not correcting my gun sights. When you have to start over in a game that takes 3 disk swaps and 5 minutes to load each screen, you learn to keep many saves!

    On the other hand, there were some surprisingly novel puzzels in mh2 and I'm not sure if you can deduct for FATF since so many of the early adventure games did the same thing. That was considered 'gameplay' back then. At least mh2 tried to warn you and back you up to safer places after you died. Hell, they even gave us an 'easy' mode, which was welcome indeed for those of us playing these games on a smart phone!