Agent 47 makes his PS4 debut this week, but the bald and barcoded assassin has a fairly long history with the PlayStation format that’s filled with some highly-memorable missions and some choice assassinations within them. So let’s celebrate the return of the master of (terrible) disguise by running through some of his finest contract kills. Of which, there are plenty.
Flatline (Blood Money)
They Tried to Make me go to Rehab, And I Said ‘Okay, Cos I Gotta Kill Some Guys’
This mission sees 47 infiltrating a classy rehab centre to off three targets. Ol’ baldy can choose to ‘check in’ and give up his arsenal of death makers or sneak in and replace a member of staff. The art of this mission is in how many ways you can take out your targets in such a regimented, enclosed area. There’s so many routines coexisting within the confines of the retreat that require your attention, and all of them can tie into a way to bump off each of your targets. While there are some darkly comic death-dealing methods you can employ, the most secretive, effective and downright awesome way of doing the deed is to dispatch with the psychologist (non-lethally) and take on his role, giving you opportunity to kill each target as they appear for their appointment.
You’d Better Watch Out (Blood Money)
Santa Claus is Coming to Murder Your Guests
You’d Better Watch Out is essentially about assassinating a Hugh Hefner analog at his fancy mansion at Christmas. Yet instead of being in a swanky L.A. pad, this mansion is built into the wall of a cliff. There’s some really interesting secrets to find in this level, including a female assassin who can attempt to seduce you to death. Killing off the grot mag empresario is as freeform as you’d expect, but the standout method comes from the mansion’s jacuzzi. You see it bafflingly overhangs a ruddy great drop, and even more dumbfounding is the hubris that made your target install a glass bottom to it. I think you can guess where this is going, but just in case you don’t…
A House of Cards (Blood Money)
The House Always Wins, and 47 Always Gets His Man
Another triple target mission in Blood Money takes 47 to a Casino/hotel in Las Vegas where he must eliminate a white supremacist, a Sheik, and his cohort, a professor. There is also some diamonds that can be retrieved as a bonus. Being a casino, it’s pretty secure and there is plenty of security to circumvent and manipulate. The assassination’s are a bit more straightforward in execution here, but the overall vibe and the way you plan out each hit is pure Hitman.
St. Petersburg Stakeout (Silent Assassin)
In Soviet Russia, Bald Sniper Kills You
After the cosier location of Anathema, the St. Petersburg Stakeout is the first time Hitman 2 really stretches its legs and introduces a proper sense of timing to pull off plans. It’s a tough ask, especially given the wonky controls, but few missions in any Hitman feel quite as satisfying as getting the timing just right in this one. The optimum route for taking out a specific target involve being in a building across the way from them with a sniper rifle, but the how, when and the why of it are a fascinating mystery to crack. Oh and the music is bloody brilliant here, some of the series’ finest.
The Meat King’s Party (Contracts)
Have a Butchers at This Meat Hook!
Contracts is a problematic entry, but it does still have some cracking missions, and The Meat King’s Party is a wonderful level that features a great tonal shift. The area is a meat warehouse that’s doubling up as a rave venue. That’s a striking setup to start with, but as you grow closer to your intended target, things take a turn for the depraved. In amongst the orgies and drug-taking is a side mission to rescue someone that goes bad, and the portly, grotesque main target isn’t even the worst person at the party, instead there lurks a far more despicable thing in the shadows of the lower areas of the warehouse. Few targets feel as deserving of death as they do here, and the very adult nature of this mission stood out in an era just getting to grips with darker themes in games.
The King of Chinatown (Absolution)
Takeaway my Life
Absolution is fun, despite the massive changes to what makes Hitman titles tick, it flows wonderfully on occasion, and in The King of Chinatown, it is probably the best balance between old and new. 47 tails a target around the bustling markets of Chinatown and the choices of murder scenario are mouthwatering. You could snipe from a window, kick the guy down an open grate or plain blow up the smarmy fool.
Anathema (Silent Assassin)
Death delivered to your door.
Anathema is a perfect introduction to what Hitman is all about, and is probably the best-paced hit in Silent Assassin. You’re tasked with eliminating a mob boss at his sleepy villa, and the first task is to get in past the security. Oh, is that a delivery man on the way up the path? Be terrible if someone happened to knock him out and nick his clothes. Once in, it’s a case of finding a tool for the job. Golfclub? A push of the balcony? A remote mine in the groceries? The thrill of escaping unseen follows the hit and with everything down to exquisite timing and terrible controls, you truly feel like a master assassin if you pull it off.
Obviously there are other great Hitman missions, so what ones are you most fond of?