Before BioShock toyed with the notion of player agency and will, Manhunt did the very same thing. Killing enemies is expected in gaming, carried out without thought or consideration, but Manhunt’s notorious ‘three-tier’ kill system changes that. As you sneak up behind a hunter – one of Carcer City’s twisted gang members, employed by The Director as both enemy and prey – the reticule changes colour depending on how long you’re willing to wait before delivering a kill.
The longer you wait, the more gruesome the slaying, giving you a higher rating at the end of each level. But who are you doing it for? For The Director, and certainly not yourself. Manhunt makes you question exactly why you’re electing to execute your enemies – who are you pleasing, why do you want to see the worst, nastiest kills?
Like the more recent Amnesia, this is finely crafted to be a deeply unpleasant experience, but that’s the point.