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: 21 November 2000[1]
  • EU: 1 December 2000

Hitman: Codename 47 is a 2000 stealth 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, Europe, and South America 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.


The game begins when a bald man is awakened in the basement of a sanatorium by an unidentified man over a loudspeaker. Given the monicker of "Subject 47" by the man, 47 undergoes a training course in athletics, firearms and assassination, before using these skills to escape from the sanatorium using the uniform of a guard they kill. Unknown to 47, the man amuses themselves in witnessing his escape. A year later, 47 joins with the International Contract Agency (ICA) - a global organisation that specialises in performing assassinations for various clients - where he is assigned the identity of "Agent 47" and receives briefings on contracts from his handler, Diana Burnwood.

Over the course of the year, 47 is assigned contracts to take out four different men in various ways - Triad crime boss, Lee Hong in Hong Kong, through weakening his position by provoking a gang war; cocaine trafficker Pablo Belisario Ochoa in Colombia, through a staged drug raid; Austrian mercenary Frantz Fuchs in Budapest, along with his brother, who are planning to detonate a bomb during an international conference; and gunrunner Arkadij Jegorov in Rotterdam, who is attempting to sell a nuclear warhead to an extremist group. After each assassinations is completed, 47 finds letters on each target discussing about himself, a project about an "experimental human" and a fifth man named Professor Ort-Meyer.

Diana soon contacts 47 with news that all four targets served in the same French Foreign Legion unit that served in Vietnam. The client for each assassination was found to be the same in each case, which was against ICA's rules, leading 47 to be assigned an additional mission - to assassinate a doctor in a sanatorium in Romania, the very same facility he escaped from. When 47 arrives and eliminates the doctor, just as Romanian special forces raid the building, he recognizes the target as Ort-Meyer's assistant, and soon discovers the truth of his existence - 47 was the product of a cloning experiment that combined the DNA of Ort-Meyer with those of Hong, Ochoa, Fuchs, and Jegorov, to create a flawless human, with Ort-Meyer orchestrating his escape to test his performance in the real world.

With help from a CIA agent, 47 locates Ort-Meyer in a hidden lab under the sanitorium, and learns that the professor wanted the other men dead because they sought to use the project for their own purposes. Seeing 47 as a threat, Ort-Meyer sends in a squad of clones dubbed "Subject 48" - a perfect replica of 47 that is mindless and loyal - and has them attack him. 47 overcomes all with his superior training and experiences, whereupon he poses as a 48 to kill Ort-Meyer. As he lies bleeding on the floor, Ort-Meyer 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.[2] The game also features cloth simulation and foliage physics.


Aggregate score
Review score
Next Generation3/5 stars[3]

Jim Preston reviewed the PC version of the game for Next Generation, rating it three stars out of five, and stated that "A deeply flawed masterpiece that will, nonetheless, reward forgiving gamers."[3]

Hitman: Codename 47 received "mixed or average" reviews, according to review aggregator Metacritic.[4]

Codename 47 received a "Silver" sales award from the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA),[5] indicating sales of at least 100,000 copies in the United Kingdom.[6] In April 2009, Square Enix revealed that Hitman had surpassed half a million sales globally.[7]


  1. ^ "News Briefs". IGN. 21 November 2000. Archived from the original on 17 April 2001. Retrieved 25 October 2019.
    Hitman in Stores Today: "You might want to steer clear of the retail software outlets because Eidos' Hitman: Codename 47...landed in stores today."
  2. ^ "Advanced Character Physics". Gamasutra. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  3. ^ a b Preston, Jim (March 2001). "Finals". Next Generation. Vol. 4 no. 3. Imagine Media. p. 91.
  4. ^ a b "Hitman: Codename 47 for PC Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
  5. ^ "ELSPA Sales Awards: Silver". Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association. Archived from the original on 21 February 2009.
  6. ^ Caoili, Eric (26 November 2008). "ELSPA: Wii Fit, Mario Kart Reach Diamond Status In UK". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on 18 September 2017.
  7. ^ Corporate Strategy Meeting (Eidos Integration) (PDF) (Report). Square Enix. 22 April 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 December 2010.