Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hitman (Game)

Hitman is a stealth game series developed by the Danish company IO Interactive. The series is available on PC as well as several video game consoles, including the Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Xbox 360. The game series has since expanded into a novel, Hitman: Enemy Within written by William C. Dietz, and a Hitman film adaptation which is loosely based on the storyline of the games.
The series revolves around Agent 47 (usually simply referred to as "47" or "Mr. 47"), an assassin-for-hire, whose flawless record places him in high demand among the wealthy and elite. The games feature a mix of orchestral and electronica musical scores, composed by Jesper Kyd. A fifth installment of the series is in the works; according to the IO Interactive team and it was due for release late in the fourth quarter of 2010. It has since been confirmed that Hitman 5 has now been delayed until Christmas 2011 "at the earliest". Certain websites are advising that the game will be released for sale in late November 2011.

To date, four games have been released with a fifth title in development by IO Interactive for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows. The fifth title has been officially announced by Square Enix, though no further information has been released. The games contain violence and blood and are rated Mature (17+) by the Entertainment Software Rating Board. All games are third-person stealth-based, although it is possible to switch between third-person and first-person perspective in all versions except in the first, which offers an optional camera angle comparable to one used in fixed-camera adventure games.

Hitman Triple Pack
A Hitman compilation was released for the PC and PlayStation 2 containing the last three games of the series; Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, Hitman: Contracts, and Hitman: Blood Money. The compilation is called Hitman The Triple Hit Pack in Europe and Hitman Trilogy in North America. It was released for the North American market on June 20, 2007 and for the European market on June 22, 2007.
The purpose for this new release of the three latest Hitman-games is to introduce new players to the series as well as giving old players one Hitman-package. The compilation also includes a Kane & Lynch: Dead Men bonus disc with some special features.
Included games are:
Hitman 2: Silent Assassin
Hitman: Contracts
Hitman: Blood Money
Note that Hitman: Codename 47 is the first game of the series and follows a slightly different game mechanic from its sequels. It has been omitted most likely due to the fact that it was only released for PC, as the trilogy pack was released for the PlayStation 2 as well. Furthermore, Hitman: Contracts includes some levels remade from Hitman: Codename 47. Hitman: Ultimate Contract, a PC-only compilation of all four games, was released on 17 Jul 2009.

Games by Year
Hitman: Codename 47 released in 2000
Hitman 2: Silent Assassin released in 2002
Hitman: Contracts released in 2004
Hitman: Blood Money released in 2006
Hitman 5 due for release in 2011

The core objective in each level is to kill assigned targets (usually multiple and sometimes additional targets as an optional bonus). In most cases, 'Hitman' allows the player different options to accomplish this task. Players can perform precise assassinations or slaughter indiscriminately in order to achieve the mission goals; however, the games reward a subtle approach by awarding special weapons or cash bonuses if players earn a favourable rank (usually achievable by eliminating only the assigned target, and without raising the alarm doing so). 47 can also wear a variety of disguises (such as repairmen, police officers and waiters) to fool enemies and gain access to restricted areas. The focus of 'Hitman' is not hiding in the shadows from the enemy, but rather blending in amongst them. It is up to the player to initiate the violence, since guards do not usually open fire unless provoked.
In every game, the player character, 'Agent 47', has limited maneuverability; he cannot jump, scale walls, or mantle up ledges (there are a few pre-scripted places where he can jump from one balcony to another, but these are very rare). This generally limits the player to a single plane of movement, although he is often presented the opportunity to move to higher or lower areas through the use of ladders, stairs, elevators, or hills.
47 is given the ability to hop over minor obstructions in Blood Money, and can also climb up certain edifices (such as fencing, vines, loose bricks, crates etc.). There is also the option of climbing onto the top of elevators through the hatch, allowing the player to strangle a victim from above. This is thought to be a homage to the Luc Besson hitman film Léon, in which the title character kills in this way in an early scene.
A major feature in the game is the 'tension' meter, detailing how much attention the player is receiving from the public or guards and is dependent on many things. For example, walking around in a guard's uniform with the correct corresponding gun won't gather much notice, whereas running around in a waiter's uniform in a restricted area while carrying a visible weapon instead of an appetizer tray will result in an unwanted confrontation with the guards.
In most cases, 47 is required to hide any dead bodies, to prevent alarm. As introduced in Hitman Blood Money, 47 can hide a body in a place such as a garbage dump/rubbish bin. Many targets in the Hitman games can be assassinated without firing a single shot; this style of gameplay became more prevalent in 'Blood Money', where the focus was to make 47's hits look like accidents. Accidents can be caused remotely with RU-AP mines acting on some (usually heavy and suspended) object, directly by pushing someone over a railing, and by other, more elaborate methods such as:
Replacing a World War II Replica Gun to be used in the opera 'Tosca' with a real World War II era pistol (Hitman Blood Money, the fourth game of the series).
Crushing a man's neck using weights during his morning workout (Hitman Blood Money, the fourth game of the series).
Rigging a grill to set a victim on fire (Hitman Blood Money, the fourth game of the series).
The second game of the series, 'Silent Assassin', enforced the concept of kills without firing more than a single shot. As per the number of gun shots fired and stealth used, ratings were given after every mission. The best of these was Silent Assassin indicating no more than 1 gunshot per target (and a guard) with no alerts raised.

Hitman Insignia
The 'Hitman' insignia appears in 'Hitman: Codename 47' on the gates of Prof. Dr. Otto Wolfgang Ort-Meyer's asylum, throughout his laboratory and is formed by Prof. Dr. Otto Wolfgang Ort-Meyer's pool of blood when 47 kills him at the end of the game. It also appears in 'Hitman: Contracts' on the floor of the cloning lab, this time as though it is the actual floor design, as well as on Ort-Meyer's belt buckle.
The symbol is engraved on the handles of his custom 'AMT Hardballer' (called: 'Silverballer' in 'Hitman: Contracts', the third game and 'Hitman: Blood Money', the fourth game of the 'Hitman' series), pistols. After 'Hitman: Contracts', the symbol is on the slides as well. It is also found on 47's equipment such as his laptop, his briefcase and cell phone. In the film, 47 wears a pair of silver cufflinks with his insignia enamelled in red.

Methods of Assassination
The Hitman series permits the player to kill targets (or non-targets) in a variety of ways, using firearms, melee weapons, or even conventional objects that 47 picks up (such as shovels, fireplace pokers, pool cues, etc.). In Hitman: 'Contracts', melee weapons such as knives can be used to kill in more than one method, including forward stabs, horizontal throat slitting, frontal slashes, repeated stabs under the ribcage, or thrusting the blade into the carotid artery.
47 also has a 'Garrote wire', or 'Fiber strangulation wire'. Unlike conventional piano wire, the fiber wire is specially made for strangulation, with reinforced handles so 47 can use his maximum grip to choke and break the windpipe of his target. He carries it with him on every mission, even those in which he is stripped of all other weaponry. It is also one of the few weapons (along with the syringe, .22 SD and plastic explosives) which can bypass metal detectors.
To achieve the ideal 'Silent Assassin' rank, it is recommended that 47 only kill his assigned targets, and no one else. The sedative syringes, or chloroform in 'Hitman 2: Silent Assassin' (which only has a temporary, dose-dependent effect, unlike syringes), exist for this purpose, so that 47 may incapacitate an innocent person to take items or clothing from their body without harming them at all (so it does not count against the player in the final ranking). In 'Hitman: Blood Money', the ability to add sedative to food and drink was added, to avoid direct confrontation. Hitman: Blood Money also introduced the option to hold any player hostage using smaller arms and use them as a human shield, and allows the player to knock the hostage unconscious with the gun, saving the player much needed sedatives for food items or any impeding characters that are seated in chairs. In some missions, if a murder can be made to look like accidental death (using the accident system first introduced in Blood Money), some kills will not be counted as hits, but as accidents. Any civilians or armed personnel who witness a kill (even from afar) will count as witnesses, and will harm the player's rank if they remain alive or alert nearby guards. If however, someone (target or civilian) dies because of an accident, it will not matter if there are witnesses. 47 has the option of killing witnesses before they reach a guard, but the unnecessary murder will still count against his rank (unless he kills them with an accident). Witnesses also include anybody who sees 47 changing disguises or holding a weapon. In the games prior to 'Blood Money', the only consequence of having witnesses to a crime is that they will seek out police/guards and trigger an alert.
There are mission-specific options for killing a target in certain levels. Notable examples include locking a target in a sauna to stimulate a heart condition and cause cardiac arrest, poisoning a target's meal (this becomes more widespread in Blood Money, with meals or drinks that can be poisoned in almost every level), disguising 47 as a doctor and sabotaging a surgical operation, replacing a prop Mauser C96 handgun with a real one at an opera rehearsal, causing an actor to unwillingly kill the target, and causing stage pyrotechnics to explode and set the target on fire.
In most cases, it is required that 47 also hide the body of killed or unconscious victims, in order to avoid any unwanted alarm or if this is the desired effect 47 can leave the victims body in a wide open space for all to see.