Manhunter: San Francisco

Publisher: Sierra
Machine: Atari ST

Published in Computer & Video Games #100

Manhunter: San Francisco

Sierra's Manhunter series is quite different from any other Sierra adventres. The storylines are bizarre, the mode of play is bizarre, the mode of play is bizarre, and Manhunter San Francisco, the second in the series, is no less bizarre than its forerunner.

The alien Orbs that terrorised New York have now spread to San Francisco. Humans must wear hooded robes, and may not speak to one another on pain of death. Certain individuals, equipped with a tracking devie from the Orbs, have been selected as Manhunters, people who track down those who have acted illegally according to the Orbs' laws.

After fleeing New York in an alien ship, you crash land in San Francisco. Stealing a dead Manhunter's tracker, you set off on his original trail. The tracker follows the subject to a bank, a warehouse, a ferry building, and finally to a fountain, where the trail goes cold. Dead end, it seems. But there's other people involved, and these, too, must be tracked...

Playing the game involves no text input at all. Everything is controlled by cursor keys, joystick, or mouse and options accessed from pull-down menus. In the midst of all this are embedded a number of quite tricky arcade sequences, which add to the unusual nature of the game.

Atari ST

Whilst adventure players are not usually averse to a spot of arcading from time to time, I doubt that they like the two formats mixed - and that's the trouble with Manhunter II.

Progress through the story is too often brought to a grinding halt, frustrating the main objective of what is primarily an adventure game. If you enjoyed Manhunter I, or you enjoy an adventure that's a bit arcade-y whilst not being an arcade adventure, you should enjoy Manhunter: San Francisco. Personally I prefer the more orthodox Sierra adventures.