Hitman: Codename 47

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Hitman: Codename 47
Hitman artwork.jpg
Developer(s)IO Interactive
Publisher(s)Eidos Interactive
  • Peter Gjellerup Koch
  • Morten Iversen
Composer(s)Jesper Kyd
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
  • NA: 19 November 2000
  • EU: 1 December 2000

Hitman: Codename 47 is an action-adventure video game, developed by IO Interactive and published by Eidos Interactive for Microsoft Windows. It is the first installment in the Hitman video game series.

The story centers on Agent 47, a genetically enhanced human clone branded with a barcode tattooed on the back of his head, who is rigorously trained in methods of murder. Upon escaping from a test facility, 47 is hired by the Agency, a European contract killing organization. His missions take him to locations in Asia and Europe to assassinate wealthy and decadent criminals.


Hitman: Codename 47 takes place from a third-person perspective, but the control setup is similar to a first-person shooter as 47's movements are restricted to turning, strafing and moving forward. Each level takes place in an open environment which is populated with non-player characters such as civilians and armed guards. Although mission criteria may vary, the goal is generally to find 47's assigned target and kill them by any means possible. Though the path may appear linear, it is possible through various ways to accomplish the mission and approach a target directly without eliciting a violent reprisal. The game essentially emphasises stealth and silent kills without raising alerts, giving the player a higher financial reward for doing so. Penalties in the form of financial deductions are given, for example if the player kills civilians, but none of the guards are slain. As the money is used to purchase weapons and ammo during the course of the game, this pressures the player to utilise stealth, disguise and melee based mechanics for the most cost-effective method to take out targets.

The player can peek around corners by using the lean function, which prompts 47 to tilt slightly to one side. 47 is able to climb ladders, but cannot defend himself with a weapon while doing so. In addition, he is only able to jump from one balcony to another. There is an on-screen cursor to indicate in which direction 47 will attack. The heads-up display includes a life bar which measures 47's health, ammo capacity, kevlar durability, and the current item selected. Alert messages sometimes appear next to the health readout. These occur whenever enemies discover a body on the map, or if 47 falls under suspicion. 47's weaponry consists of various short and long-range firearms, a garrote wire, and a knife. Handguns generally have excellent range, while automatic rifles and machine guns decrease in accuracy the farther away 47 is from his target. 47 can also equip himself with a sniper rifle, concealed in a special suitcase, which must be reassembled before he may use it. Once he is finished with the rifle, 47 can take it apart and place it in the suitcase once more.

Disguise plays a large role in gameplay. Any time a non-player character is killed, 47 may take their clothes and impersonate them. This is necessary to access restricted areas where only guards may enter. At the start of each level, 47 begins in a default costume. This costume is his trademark suit and red tie which is folded and left on the ground whenever 47 changes clothes. The player may replace 47's outfit with a previous one by simply approaching them and selecting the option to change. In the event that 47 adopted the clothes of someone he has slain, his disguise will be compromised as soon as the body is discovered. 47 creates sound while walking which will alert any hostile characters in the facility. To move without being detected, the player can use the sneak function, which causes 47 to crouch and move in a stalking manner. Sneaking also allows 47 to retrieve a weapon from his inventory without anyone hearing it; if 47 is standing upright when the player pulls out a weapon, it will alert nearby characters. Characters who are dead may be dragged at any time. If anyone on the map spots a body lying on the ground, it will create unwanted attention for 47. When dragging, 47 lifts up the closest available leg or arm and begins to hoist it away as movement is directed by the player.


In the basement of a sanatorium, a bald man, referred to as "Subject 47", is awakened by an unidentified man over a loudspeaker. Following the man's instructions, the subject completes a training course, undergoes firearms training, and practices various assassination techniques. He kills two guards and escapes with their uniform. The man watches him through the security camera and laughs in satisfaction.

A year later, the Subject resurfaces as a hitman for the International Contract Agency, under the designation "Agent 47". He is briefed by his handler, Diana Burnwood, who sends him to Hong Kong to kill the Triad leader Lee Hong. He kills Hong's negotiator during a peace summit with a rival gang, frames him for a retaliatory car bombing, and assassinates the police chief protecting him, stripping Hong of his allies. He infiltrates Hong's restaurant and assassinates him. For his next assignment, 47 travels to Colombia and kills cocaine trafficker Pablo Belisario Ochoa in a staged drug raid. His third target is the Austrian mercenary Frantz Fuchs, who has been hired to detonate a dirty bomb at an international conference in Budapest. 47 kills him and his brother Fritz Fuchs at a hotel and recovers the bomb. His final contract takes him to Rotterdam, where he finds gunrunner Arkadij Jegorov (a.k.a. Boris) trying to sell weapons, including a nuclear warhead, to an extremist group. After confirming Jegorov's death, 47 finds a letter addressed to him, similar to the other three targets. He learns from Diana that all four were once part of a French Foreign Legion unit serving in Vietnam, and they have been discussing something involving an "experimental human". The letters also mention a fifth man, Professor Ort-Meyer.

Diana informs him that all four contracts were ordered by the same man in violation of Agency rules, and her superiors have authorized an additional mission. 47 is to kill Odon Kovacs, a doctor at a sanatorium in Satu Mare, Romania, which turns out to be the one from which 47 escaped. Ort-Meyer is revealed to be the client, as well as the man who oversaw 47's orientation. Romanian special forces raid the building while 47 kills Kovacs, who he recognizes as Ort-Meyer's assistant.

47 finally learns the truth behind his existence. He is the result of a cloning experiment which combined the DNA of his four previous targets, as well as Ort-Meyer, with the goal of creating a flawless human being. Ort-Meyer orchestrated 47's escape from the asylum in order to test his performance in the real world and ordered his associates' deaths because they wanted to use 47 for their own purposes.

With the help of the CIA Agent Carlton Smith, who he rescued earlier during his time in Hong Kong, 47 discovers a hidden lab beneath the hospital. In response, Ort-Meyer reveals "Subject 48", a perfect replica of 47 who is both mindless and loyal. A squad of 48s is sent to hunt down 47, who manages to kill them all using his superior training and experience.

Posing as a 48, 47 tricks Ort-Meyer into granting him access to his office and shoots him. As Ort-Meyer lies bleeding on the floor, he regrets that he was not able to recognize "his own son" and accepts his death at the hands of 47, who subsequently snaps his neck.


Hitman: Codename 47 was one of the first games to use ragdoll physics.[1] The game also features cloth simulation and foliage physics.


Aggregate score

Hitman: Codename 47 received "mixed or average" reviews, according to review aggregator Metacritic.[2]

Codename 47 received a "Silver" sales award from the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA),[3] indicating sales of at least 100,000 copies in the United Kingdom.[4] In April 2009, Square Enix revealed that Hitman had surpassed half a million sales globally.[5]


  1. ^ "Advanced Character Physics". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2017-08-15.
  2. ^ a b "Hitman: Codename 47 for PC Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
  3. ^ "ELSPA Sales Awards: Silver". Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association. Archived from the original on 21 February 2009.
  4. ^ Caoili, Eric (November 26, 2008). "ELSPA: Wii Fit, Mario Kart Reach Diamond Status In UK". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on September 18, 2017.
  5. ^ Corporate Strategy Meeting (Eidos Integration) (PDF) (Report). Square Enix. April 22, 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 24, 2010.