|Publisher(s)||Eidos Interactive (original)
Square Enix (HD Edition)
|Distribution||DVD, Blu-ray disc, download|
Hitman: Contracts is a stealth video game developed by IO Interactive and published by Eidos Interactive. It is the third installment in the Hitman game series. The game features recreations of four levels from Hitman: Codename 47. The storyline intertwines between two missions in its sequel, Hitman: Blood Money. As of April 2009, the game has sold around 2 million copies. The game was released on April 20, 2004 in North America, April 30, 2004 in Europe, and on October 14, 2004 in Japan for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, and Xbox. The Hitman HD Trilogy was released on January 29, 2013 in North America, January 31, 2013 in Australia, and February 1, 2013 in Europe for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
The game has been bundled with a compilation of other Hitman titles in releases such as the Hitman Trilogy (for Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 2), Hitman: Ultimate Contract (Microsoft Windows), and Hitman HD Trilogy for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
Due to licensing issues with a song featured in the game ("Immortal" by Clutch), Hitman: Contracts did not get a release on the online distribution service, Steam, until 2014, despite all other Hitman games being released on the platform. For the 2013 release of Hitman HD Trilogy, the copyrighted song was replaced with another.
In Hitman: Contracts, gameplay centers around the exploits of a hitman, Agent 47, as he is sent to various locations to assassinate targets. An array of weapons can be used, from kitchen knives to belt-fed machine guns. While stealth and subterfuge is encouraged, the game allows the player to take a more violent approach and gunfight their way to their mission goals. As players progress through the game, they can collect the various armaments found in the levels, allowing them to be used in future missions. Aside from the more straightforward ways of killing targets such as gunplay and strangulation, several missions allow the player more subtle ways to eliminate hits, such as judicious use of poison, or arranging "accidents" like a heat-induced heart attack inside a sauna.
Players are rated on their performance based on several factors; key among which are the number of shots fired, NPCs killed (and whether they were armed adversaries or innocents), and the number of times the guards are alerted. The lowest rank is "Mass Murderer", which is awarded to players who kill large numbers of NPCs in the pursuit of their target and do not use stealth. The highest rank is "Silent Assassin", which is earned when the player accomplishes their mission without being detected, and generally without killing anyone other than the intended target(s).
Contracts continues the trend of context sensitive actions, which means that one button is used in multiple situations for multiple uses. For example, when the player is near a door, the context sensitive button will allow the player to perform door-relevant actions such as keyhole-peeking, lock picking, or if allowed, simply opening it. When the player is near an unconscious or dead NPC, the same button will allow the ability to either acquire the person's outfit, or drag the body to an area where it will not be found by guards.
Along with the context sensitive button, the "Suspicion Meter" returns as well; this meter informs players of how close they are to blowing their respective cover. Actions like excess running indoors, brandishing weapons openly, residing in restricted areas, or sneaking can raise suspicion. Proximity will also usually raise the meter. As previously stated, if the "Suspicion Meter" fills, guards will open fire on sight of the player and the current cover becomes useless. If the guards discover a fallen body, or if an unconscious person awakes and alerts them, the Suspicion Meter will raise much faster than it would otherwise.
Disguises can be either found in the environment or taken from the bodies of male NPCs. Depending on the disguise, the player can then access areas restricted to most individuals in a level. These disguises can be seen through by guards, as stated above; e.g. if guards in a level are all wielding shotguns, a player dressed as a guard but not similarly equipped will draw more suspicion. Also, certain behaviors (like picking locks) will cause guards to see through a disguise as well.
The game begins with a cutscene showing a wounded Agent 47 wandering through a dark hotel corridor and entering his room. He collapses and begins to have flashbacks regarding previous assassinations he committed, beginning with the aftermath of killing Dr. Ort-Meyer at the end of the first Hitman game. The missions are primarily focused on replays of previous missions in the original game, except played in reverse. The graphics, maps and artificial intelligence have been customized and improved. In the game, 47 visits several locations, including Romania, Kamchatka, the United Kingdom, Rotterdam, Budapest, Hong Kong, and finally Paris.
An Agency doctor visits unexpectedly and treats 47. Groupe d'Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale (GIGN) officers surround the hotel but the doctor escapes; 47 continues his memories. At the end of the game, 47 regains consciousness in the hotel room with an expired mission briefing. It is revealed that 47 was hired to kill a U.S. ambassador, Richard Delahunt, and a famous tenor at an opera house in Paris (an event later seen in Hitman: Blood Money); both men were involved in a child slavery ring. 47 was also tasked to kill their mutual friend, Inspector Albert Fournier. That police officer has sent a team of police to capture 47 after discovering his hideout.
47 manages to kill the inspector and escape the area. He then makes his way to the airport, where he boards a plane and escapes the country. His contact, Diana, previously a presence on the other side of a communications system, is actually sitting behind him. The player does not see her face. She suggests to 47 that his target may have been tipped off, and that an unknown group is targeting him.
|Soundtrack album by Jesper Kyd|
|Genre||Classical, choral, electronica, ambient, progressive EDM|
|Jesper Kyd chronology|
Hitman: Contracts Original Soundtrack was composed by Jesper Kyd and released in 2004. The score features the same Latin choral arrangements as in all the other scores; however, they are heavily sampled and mixed into the dark electronic soundscape. As summed up by Kyd, "First of all it is a much darker score. Hitman 2 was an epic story that kind of spanned all over the world. This one, although there are different locations, it's not one big epic story. It's a lot of darker, psychological small stories mixed together, so the score follows the darker aspect of Hitman and his career." The score was awarded the title of "Best Original Music" at the 2005 BAFTA Games Awards.
|Hitman: Contracts Original Soundtrack|
|1.||"White Room & Main Title"||5:31|
|3.||"Hong Kong Underground"||4:43|
|5.||"Streets of Hong Kong"||6:40|
|8.||"Weapon Select Beats"||1:40|
|13.||"Budapest Bath Hotel"||5:23|
Besides the original Jesper Kyd score, the game features the following songs:
- "Put Your Head on My Shoulder" by Paul Anka in Level 2 "The Meat King's Party". 2:37
- "Brand New Image" by Cecilia Cheung in level 4 "Beldingford Manor" 5:18
- "Immortal" by Clutch in Level 5 "Rendezvous in Rotterdam".
- "Walking Dead" by Puressence in Level 6 "Deadly Cargo".
- "Le Souteneur (Monsieur Claude)" by Faf Larage in Level 12 "Hunter and Hunted".
Hitman: Contracts received generally mixed to positive reviews. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the PlayStation 2 version 79.92% and 80/100, the Xbox version 77.57% and 78/100 and the PC version 75.14% and 74/100.
- "Corporate Strategy Meeting". Square Enix. 22 April 2009. Retrieved 3 July 2012.
- Hinkle, David (21 January 2014). "Hitman: Contracts emerges from the shadows, stalks Steam". Joystiq. AOL. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
- SoundtrackNet review
- IGN: Jesper Kyd Speaks on Hitman: Contracts
- MonstersandCritics.com - Hitman: Contracts Soundtrack Wins at 2005 BAFTA Games Awards
- "Hitman: Contracts for PlayStation 2". GameRankings. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
- "Hitman: Contracts for Xbox". GameRankings. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
- "Hitman: Contracts for PC". GameRankings. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
- "Hitman: Contracts for PlayStation 2 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
- "Hitman: Contracts for Xbox Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
- "Hitman: Contracts for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 13 April 2013.