Hitman: Contracts

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Hitman: Contracts
Hitman 3 artwork.jpg
Developer(s) IO Interactive
Publisher(s) Eidos Interactive
Producer(s) Neil Donnell
Writer(s) Greg Nagan
Composer(s) Jesper Kyd
Series Hitman
Engine Glacier
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox
Release date(s)
  • NA: 20 April 2004
  • EU: 30 April 2004
Genre(s) Stealth
Mode(s) Single-player

Hitman: Contracts is a stealth video game developed by IO Interactive and published by Eidos Interactive for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2 and Xbox. It is the third installment in the Hitman video game series. As of April 2009, the game has sold around 2 million copies.[1]

The game was later released as a DRM-free version in GOG.com.

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.

Gameplay[edit]

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.

Plot[edit]

While in Paris on a contract, Agent 47 is shot by an unknown assassin, but manages to return to his hotel room before collapsing. Believing that he might die, 47 reflects on his past assignments, starting with his escape from the lab of his creator, Dr. Ort-Meyer, following his death at the end of the first Hitman game. He then recalls other previous jobs, including the killing of two wealthy sociopaths in Romania, a black marketeer selling weapons to terrorists in Kamchatka, a corrupt nobleman and his son in the United Kingdom, a pair of arms dealers trading nuclear weapons in Rotterdam, and even the murders of Franz Fuchs in Budapest and Lee Hong in Hong Kong.

Before he can bleed out, a doctor sent by the Agency arrives and performs emergency surgery. Groupe d'Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale (GIGN) officers reach the hotel before the operation is complete, forcing the doctor to flee without dressing the wound. After recovering his strength, 47 washes up and checks his mission briefing. He learns that his original targets were U.S. ambassador Richard Delahunt and a Portuguese tenor performing at a local opera house (an event later seen in Hitman: Blood Money); both men were involved in a child slavery ring. He was also ordered to assassinate a third target, Inspector Albert Fournier. Having been tipped off to 47's presence, Fournier surrounds his hideout with heavily armed police.

Escaping through a back window, 47 eliminates Fournier. He then makes his way to the airport, where he boards a plane and escapes the country. His contact, Diana, who happens to be sitting behind him, confirms his suspicions. She also warns 47 that someone is targeting him, before slipping him a file and a case filled with cash.

Soundtrack[edit]

Hitman: Contracts
Soundtrack album by Jesper Kyd
Released June, 2004
Genre
Length 60:31
Label
Jesper Kyd chronology
Freedom Fighters (2003) Hitman: Contracts
(2004)
Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory (2005)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
SoundtrackNet 2/5 stars[2]

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."[3] The score was awarded the title of "Best Original Music" at the 2005 BAFTA Games Awards.[4]

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".

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PS2) 79.92%[5]
(Xbox) 77.57%[6]
(PC) 75.14%[7]
Metacritic (PS2) 80/100[8]
(Xbox) 78/100[9]
(PC) 74/100[10]
Review scores
Publication Score
Eurogamer 7/10[11]
GameSpot 7.6/10[12]
IGN 8.4/10[13]

Hitman: Contracts received generally positive reviews. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the PlayStation 2 version 79.92% and 80/100,[5][8] the Xbox version 77.57% and 78/100[6][9] and the PC version 75.14% and 74/100.[7][10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Corporate Strategy Meeting" (PDF). Square Enix. 22 April 2009. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  2. ^ SoundtrackNet review
  3. ^ IGN: Jesper Kyd Speaks on Hitman: Contracts
  4. ^ MonstersandCritics.com - Hitman: Contracts Soundtrack Wins at 2005 BAFTA Games Awards
  5. ^ a b "Hitman: Contracts for PlayStation 2". GameRankings. Retrieved 13 April 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Hitman: Contracts for Xbox". GameRankings. Retrieved 13 April 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "Hitman: Contracts for PC". GameRankings. Retrieved 13 April 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "Hitman: Contracts for PlayStation 2 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 13 April 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "Hitman: Contracts for Xbox Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 13 April 2013. 
  10. ^ a b "Hitman: Contracts for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 13 April 2013. 
  11. ^ Reed, Kristan (April 15, 2004). "Hitman: Contracts Review". Eurogamer. Retrieved April 23, 2015. 
  12. ^ Kasavin, Greg (April 20, 2004). "Hitman: Contracts Review". GameSpot. Retrieved April 23, 2015. 
  13. ^ Perry, Douglass C. (April 16, 2004). "Hitman: Contracts Review". IGN. Retrieved April 23, 2015.