By Noah Robischon
Updated December 19, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

After decapitating a fellow with a length of wire, James Earl Cash departs with a bloody eight-pound trophy hanging from his belt. It’s one of many creepy moments in this nightmarish title, which begins with you (as Cash) strapped to a gurney and about to receive a lethal injection. Only you awaken to find yourself in a different kind of hell: as the star of an urban snuff film. The grim proceedings take place in a metropolis populated by homicidal thugs, skinheads, and deranged yokels — all of whom you must dispatch to escape this game of death (assisted by the unseen director, icily voiced by Brian Cox). Manhunt is yet another engrossing thrill ride from Rockstar North, the twisted geniuses behind the Grand Theft Auto series. They make undeniably great games, but we wouldn’t want them over for tea.