Top 10 ‘Hitman’ Missions
Here’s what doesn’t work about the Hitman games. Sometimes the controls are very clunky with the sleek killer sometimes bumping into door-frames because he turns like a shopping cart. Performing simple tasks like like opening doors can feel like an interruption when you have to get close enough to see the controls appear on screen and you fumble for the right one to press. It’s patently ridiculous that nobody finds the scary looking bald guy with a barcode tattooed on the back of his head suspicious, especially when he’s wearing an expensive Italian suit with a bright red tie. Also the movie sucked.
But none of those really matter when you’ve let yourself get immersed in the game because it features some of the best level designs and concepts ever created. This is especially true when the developers dropped this notion of building a story across the missions and made each one a stand-alone area with a simple framing device to propel the game along. These are the ones you want to play again and again to find all the hidden details.
#10 – Till Death Do Us Part
Two words: redneck wedding. The level of detail in this mission is brilliant. Gangs of tuxedo-ed yahoos taking pot-shots at gators, a barn dance, a buffet tent and the definitive Louisiana mansion complete with massive greenhouse. A great level to stalk around in, especially with the ability to shut off power to different parts of the building and the gun-toting antics of the wedding guests providing plenty of noise cover. Especially well planned are the scheduled wedding events and toasts that often conveniently take place under light fittings.
#9 – The Meat King’s Party
Hitman wasn’t a pioneer of adult targeted gaming, but it certainly stood out as an early trendsetter. At a time when gaming was still largely considered a form a children’s entertainment (a perception many people still need to shed) the opening mission of Hitman: Contracts may have come as a shock. After Agent 47 infiltrates a rave party held in a meat warehouse he bears witness to some serious depravity. Orgies, opium, the grossly obese target ruling over it all and the psychopath hidden in the depths being fed victims. Your side mission to rescue said victim falls a bit flat when there’s only an arm left.
#8 – A New Life
Most Hitman levels take place in an enclosed location, either a building or the walled in area of an estate. ‘A New Life’ was a massive change in setting sending Agent 47 into an expensive suburb. Although your targets are located in the same house there are about a half dozen houses all up and a number of people unrelated to the mission going about their business – how much or how little you involve them is entirely optional.
The target, a gang boss turned state witness, is preparing to host a party and his house is packed tight with secret service agents. You’ve also got the caterer getting set-up and a clown whose costume is just begging to be stolen. The neighboring vet provides some items handy for quick despatch – especially when the tranqs get combined with the air gun located in a kids tree house. The garbage truck passing through the neighborhood is a nice touch for disposing of bodies and the FBI surveillance van is a fun diversion when they’re lured out with spiked doughnuts. These are just a few of the great interactive elements to find.
#7 – Flatline
Sometimes the key to a good Hitman level is a good sense of a self-contained world. We have a here a rehab centre that Agent 47 must either check himself into (giving up his arsenal) or sneak his way into as a member of staff. Inside are groups of patients going through routines and making appointments and members of staff and security doing the rounds with the trick to catching your multiple targets without striking panic to blend in. Plenty of creative ways to perform your hits exist from dropping a barbell on someone to rigging a stove to explode, to the really daring with drugging the psychiatrist, taking his place and bumping off your three targets as they come in for their appointments.
#6 – Anathema
Even if you only have fleeting experience with the Hitman series you’d know this level. The first mission on the first console release was designed to demonstrate the different ways a player can approach a level and did it better than most subsequent missions. Agent 47 is positioned outside of a heavily guarded mansion. There’s the delivery man dropping off flowers to the front door, the grocery boy taking trays of food to the kitchen entrance and the security guard taking a leak by the side entrance…every approach is a valid option and each is a fun challenge and the mansion is packed with great detail.
#5 – A Murder of Crows
The biggest crowds seen in Hitman levels occur on levels centered around parties, and this proved to be a greater challenge as more people mean more potential witnesses. ‘A Murder of Crows’ took things up a few notches, and then took it up again by dropping you and your targets right into the middle of Mardi Gras. The streets are bursting with throngs of people and floats, making the risks all the greater. Tracking down a target is tricky enough but when you’ve got two assassins in different parts of the crowd who will act if they lose touch with their partner things are tense. Also you can disguise yourself as a chicken.
#4 – You’d Better Watch Out
So we have an old man who likes wearing a smoking jacket and owns a softcore porn publication throwing a massive themed Christmas party in his crazy mansion. Subtle. Also fun. Once you’ve snuck your way into the impressive crib you’ll find bars, spas, a grotto, private rooms, the whole nine yards. Plus there are a couple of secret passages and balconies to make sneaking around all the more fun. There are plenty of interesting secrets around the place – shooting out the bottom of a spa overhanging a chasm is an especially nasty way to hit your target, spiking a target’s drink with aphrodisiac to force him into a private room, a drunken Santa whose costume can be swiped. Most curious is a the random woman who lures you into a private suite only to kill you…another assassin who’s targeted you with no explanation found anywhere in the game. A nice touch.
#3 – Beldingford Manor
Snobby people living in a mansion waiting to be assassinated? Sounds fun! The owners of Beldingford Manor have a nasty habit of kidnapping people and hunting them for sport, so first you have to free their latest target from the stables (without waking the horses). Then you’ve got a few obstacles between you and your targets. Patrolling guards with dogs. A hedge maze. A complex four floor building littered with secret passages and dumbwaiters (the secret passage linking the bookcase in the library to the mirror in the bathroom being the coolest). Poison and butlers serving drinks. Gas cans dropped down chimneys. It’s like the freaking Cluedo Mansion. And it’s awesome.
#2 – Curtains Down
Sure, it’s an opera house with the actors doing a rehearsal. Pretty cool I guess. What elevates this above other missions are the drastically different routes the player could take. The building is under construction so the basement is filled with workers to blend in with (giving you a nifty excuse to carry a claw hammer). You can join a tour group of the building. You can nick the suit of a security guy and pretend to patrol the wings. Players can get creative about the fact that their target is rehearsing an execution scene by swapping out the prop gun for the real thing, or go with the classics by dropping the chandelier. Plus there’s that curious room staffed by rats.
#1 – A Dance with the Devil
Creativity is first and foremost in this unusual mission. Some obscenely rich people are having a party that take place in the penthouse and the basement of a skyscraper, each different area hosting a different theme. After sneaking into the elevator shafts (a challenge in itself) you get out at the penthouse to find gentle music, white decor and people dressed like angels. Rather skimpy angels. The you get down to the basement and you’ve got a hellish moshpit, tanks full of sharks and a torture chamber.
Sure you’ve got a job to do, but there’s no way you cannot slow down and enjoy just how damn cool this party is.