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The Manta is a very lightweight, very agile hovercraft-type vehicle. It has neither strong armor (200 HP) nor much firepower. Its main strength is its agility. Due to this, it is mainly feared by infantry which can easily get squished by the Manta from nearly anywhere, as well as slower-moving vehicles such as the Leviathan and the Goliath.
Unlike wheeled vehicles, the Manta is able to jump. When the jump key is pressed, the Manta will quickly rise several feet into the air, and gently float back down to the surface. This move is useful to allow the Manta to ascend steeper hills and cliffs, and also to position the vehicle over an enemy's head to perform a pancake. After a jump has been performed, the pilot must wait a few seconds, as indicated by a bar gauge, before the Manta is ready to jump again. Also, a jump can only be performed when the vehicle hovering just above the ground or water surface.
The primary fire shoots a plasma projectile from the front of the Manta that does 30 damage with a direct hit. Although an individual plasma projectile does not do much damage on its own, the vehicle's rapid firing rate will allow the pilot to quickly chip away the health of an enemy, or the energy of a power node rather easily.
The Manta is highly maneuverable and can dodge most types of enemy fire.
If a flag carrier enters a Manta in VCTF, he drops the flag immediately, just like he does when he enters a Raptor or Cicada, for balancing reasons, since a Manta driver could easily get away from enemies nearby.
Unreal Tournament 2004
In this game, the Manta excels at Offense, Transport and Overall Annoyance.
Although a flag can't be transported in a Manta, a flag carrier can stand on either one the Manta's wings or (more infrequently) on top of the Manta so the driver can transport them. This is commonly called a Manta run. Some people see the Manta run as an exploit, yet some see it as a valid tactic, so most VCTF servers allow Manta runs.
Manta runs are also useful in Onslaught when vehicles are rare and the team needs to get to the front as fast as possible.
Mantas can also be used as transports for Mines from the mine layer, just shoot them at the wings. Maximum of 3 mines per wing, otherwise the fourth one will explode causing nearby damage. So you can take a quick trip to a powernode and defeat any pesky units that stand in your way.
Unreal Tournament 3
In UT3 the Manta excels at road kills and orb runs. The newer design aims to fix issues regarding manta spawn-camping. It also makes flag runs impossible; players that try to stand on the wings will get sucked into the rotor and turned into gibs. Also, this version's open design means that the driver can get hurt as well as the vehicle.
Tips and tricks
- The Manta's high speed and acceleration make it very valuable for flag or orb runs. Due to its fast speed, the Manta is also a good vehicle for getting to places quickly.
- The Manta is great for taking out fast smaller vehicles such as the Scavenger or Viper because it can keep up in speed and chip away their armor with its plasma guns. A skilled player can even take out a full-health Goliath.
- Overall, the Manta is great for notching up vehicular manslaughters, pancakes, and road rages. It is easy to run over enemies and take out other small vehicles. It is the perfect anti-infantry weapon; it will probably rack up more kills than the Redeemer, if used properly.
- In UT2004, an additional player can literally hitch a ride on the Manta's Rotor frame. This 'hack' enables speedy transport of more than the vehicle's intended capacity. However, it is fixed in UT3, now killing the bot instead, who tries to be "too smart".
- Part of being a good Manta pilot involves keeping your Manta healthy as long as possible, while knowing when to dump the Manta before it is too late.
- Aside from the usual method of killing enemies by running over them, a more challenging and fun method is to pancake them literally. This can be done by positioning the Manta above the enemy by jumping, and then using the "Alt-Fire" or the "Crouch" key to quickly descend, crushing the player like a pancake, usually ensuring an instant kill. This also makes the Manta useful for squishing enemy flag carriers, especially if the carrier is distracted by other players.
- Sometimes Mantas can run low on health quite quickly, and you might want to take down your enemies before your die in the vehicle. Your option in this case is to do a 'Manta Jettison', by simply using "Alt-Fire", until you get close to the opponent, then exit the vehicle, the Manta will go flying into the enemy, crushing them. Also, you can use this if you do not want to take damage, but want to make a surprise attack. Then after using, you can go back in the Manta, it is just like a frisbee, except with spikes and blades. Not to mention that incoming AVRiL missiles will lose their target lock since they can't home in on any unmanned vehicle.
- As a Manta driver, the AVRiL, Raptor, and Scorpion are your most feared enemies:
- Raptor missiles are possible to dodge with some practice, but you are toast at mid or close range.
- The AVRiL shot is slow enough that it can be jumped over with the correct timing, but be wary of lock-ons hitting you in the back afterward. The Manta is often fast enough to get behind cover to avoid both types of missiles.
- The Scorpion's mortars in UT3 are often most effective weapon against the Manta, as they home in very strongly, difficult to and sometimes negating dodging, and 2-3 shots are enough to kill the driver or Manta. In UT2004, the fans suck in the ribbon which the Scorpion shoots and receives additional damage from it. Usually, staying out of range of Scorpions is the best strategy in both cases.
- At least in UT3, other enemies of the Manta are the Viper's Kamikaze mode, the Impact Hammer's EMP mode, the Darkwalker and the Sniper Rifle:
- The Vipers' Kamikaze explosion will probably severely damage if not kill you outright if done at very close range.
- A fully charged-up Impact Hammer's EMP mode will push back the Manta and severely damage it.
- The Darkwalker's secondary "horn" attack will push the driver out of the Manta.
- A lucky shot with the Sniper Rifle can headshot the pilot out of the cockpit.
- The Necris rival of the Manta is the Viper.
- The Manta and the Viper have the lowest health of any vehicle in the Unreal Tournament series, which is 200.
- Vehicles @ UT2004.com