Review by Ofisil

Reviewed: 08/19/09

Bad execution (no pun intended)

Hitman: Codename 47 is an Action\Adventure developed by Io Interactive. Tired of running around like crazy, killing countless aliens and demons with your super weapons and the almost infinite amounts of ammo provided? Tired of games with too much brainless action? Need something more sophisticated and in need of actual thinking? Welcome to the first game of the Hitman series, a game where you must use stealth tactics, do a lot of planning beforehand, change clothing in order to go in unnoticed and kill your targets swiftly and silently…

Story: 7/10
Presentation: 4/10

The plot on its own is very good but the way it is presented too you has some minor flaws. You are a trained Hitman, quite possibly one of the best around and surely the coldest of all. You don’t even have a name, instead you have a codename and this along with the intro of the game, (where you get your training in a strange facility), create quite a mystery around you. From then on you are hired by a secret organization dealing with assassination of very important people. On each chapter you must venture through various key areas, killing specific people in order to move on and kill your final, main target. The problem here is the fact that while you do these missions nothing really happens in terms of the story. Only after each chapter you get to see a small cutscene that doesn’t actually add something and only in the last part of the game you will find out what is really happening. All in all I can’t say that I have a problem with the plot of the game, in fact it was good, but the execution could be a bit better.

Gameplay: 6/10
Replay Value: 4/10

Let me give you a synopsis of the playthrough of a single level in Hitman. You are given a small amount of details like where your target will be and in what building, (let’s say a hotel). You must approach enter the building but the guards in the front won’t let you in. You say to yourself, “I’ll kill them from afar with my sniper rifle”, you do so, people start looking for you and you die! You start again and say, “Hmm, let me exhange some clothes with another civilian and THEN shoot the guard!”, you do so again, the guards start searching around while you pass near them without a problem, but a guard finds the corpse of the civilian so they, track you down and kill you! You must think, think, think!!! Hmm, they seem to let these people in the business suit enter, lets change our clothes with them. You get behind an alley, shoot one in the head, guards hear the gunshot they, hunt you down, so what you need to do is to silently, for example by silently walking behind him and slit his throat, but even when you do that he might scream for a second, so it is much preferable to use a wire, it takes more time but is more effective and doesn’t let the man make a sound. You get his clothes enter the building and start searching for your victim while you make an escape plan, you escape, get paid, get more weapons. That pretty much sums up the gameplay of Hitman and yes people, it is really awesome. You’ve gotta think your moves a lot, before entering an area and before taking the life of some pour fella.

Something that some people may find annoying is the awkward change of gameplay from chapter to chapter. The first chapter rocks since it depends 100% in stealth tactics, observation and careful planning, talking with people, acquiring key items, entering buildings from other routes, kill people as silently as a spider, escape, etc, etc. So, you like the game so far, you’ve got the hang of it and then you’re thrown into a jungle and the gameplay changes a lot. You now rely too much in your binoculars to see through the mist, but it is very hard and boring to move through the veeeeeery large jungle, since you gotta stop after every 5 steps you make, in order to check your surroundings. Of course someone may say that, hey, a game’s gotta change from time to time and I agree, but the way this one changes isn’t so good.

There are also some parts of the game when some bad things will happen to you, no matter how much you plan your actions beforehand and that’s bad because it makes the game rely too much in trial and error. For example, (MINOR SPOILER AHEAD), in the very bad jungle chapter and in the last level, which is actually very good, you finally get passed through all the defenses and you are ready to open the door where a bad imitator of Tony Montana is. You have a chaingun with you, a weapon that doesn’t really belong in this game since with it you can wipeout an entire battalion. So, you push the trigger in that monster and open fire straight to his head, CUTSCENE!!! He says, “Is that all you got?”, so you give him more, (like 50 more bullets), another cutscene, another stupid phrase, more, bullets, more cutscenes, yada, yada… what I’m trying to say is that not only that is the most unrealistic moment in the whole game, but it destroys your game since what you need to do is either kill him with a sniper, (he can see you, another unrealistic moment), or just use your simple pistol and just lean behind the door and shoot him carefully.

Too all this problems, bad controls can be added! Our Hitman is a bit too slow, stucks in walls and corners and in order to use an item you gotta carefully selected and choose a command from a drop list… no fun at all. Another bad thing… no save during the missions! While this makes the game more realistic and challenging it can also be quite frustrating at times, especially in some levels, (most of them), since they are quite large. Finally most missions have only 1-2 ways of finishing the level, something very disappointing in a game like this.

Graphics: 7.8/10
Design: 7.2/10

Hitman has quite good graphic quality, with good level and character design. You’ll have the chance to help people push daisies in dark alleys, 5 star Chinese restaurants and large hotels, dense jungles where a strange green mist blocking your view and even more. All these look good, have good textures and create a nice atmosphere. All areas are a bit empty of people walking around but I guess that’s something that has to do with hardware limitations. Another minor flaw is the similarity of your enemies, with most of them being just a bunch of clones and only specific key characters looking somewhat different.

Sound: 6.8/10
Music: 6.5/10

The sound effects are very good although most of the time all you hear is silence, after all this is a game where you don’t run around shooting stuff. Some more ambient sounds could make the game sound a bit better, (people talking and stuff like that), but that’s nitpicking. The music is good too and helps the atmosphere of the game with slow, moody ambience tracks.

-Enemies react to corpses, sound and your appearance
-Nice atmosphere with nice graphics
-You camouflage, go in and kill silently like a true pro

-Some levels are badly designed
-Too much trial and error situations
-A bit linear, only 1-2 ways of completing a mission
-Can’t save
-The plot although good lacks in overall presentation

Also Play:
Hitman (Series)(PC)
I.G.I. (PC)
Splinter Cell (Series)(PC)
Thief (Series)(PC)

Overall: 6.2/10

Despite its flaws and the frustration they create, Hitman is ok, but, take my advice and buy the sequels straight ahead and only buy this if you find it very, very cheap.

Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Product Release: Hitman: Codename 47 (US, 11/19/00)

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