Strategy Guide: LB's Strategy Guide
Lunabean Rating: 6.8
Platforms: Xbox, PS2, PC
Release Date: 04.20.04
ESRB Rating: M - Mature
Official Site: Hitman: Contracts
Purchase Game from Amazon.com: Buy it now!
Stuck?: Lunabean's Forums
Soundtrack Enabled: No
Online Play: No
LB Rating - 6.8
If you have God-like patience and don't have anything better to do, like lick stamps or clean the kitty-litter box, then this game is for you. By definition, "Hitman: Contracts" is a "stealth-action" game. However, neither stealth nor action really play a role in the game. Let's slow down for a second and I'll tell you about the game itself.
"Hitman: Contracts" is the third game in the "Hitman" series. You play in the third person as super-assassin, Agent 47. As you play through each of the 12 levels you are given goals which are mainly, "Assassinate this guy," or, "Find the bomb and take it out." Nothing groundbreaking or abnormal. Just good ol' video game missions.
There are two ways to play through this game: Shoot everyone dead or don't kill anyone at all (except of course the guy[s] you're supposed to assassinate). The first option is the easy way to go through the game. You are given a bevy of classic video game weapons such as an assault shotgun, dual pistols, silenced pistol, automatic rifles, etc. With these weapons you can easily shoot your way through each level in under 5 minutes.
The other way to go through the game is to not kill anyone except those who you need to assassinate. If you do make it through the level without firing a single shot and not killing any civilians you can achieve the "Silent Assassin" rating. In order to earn this ranking you have to follow a set pattern of steps in each level. This usually involves using a syringe (non-lethal) on a guard, taking his uniform, sneaking into a building, finding another disguise conveniently placed in some room, then killing your target by choking him with your fiber wire. There are a few minor twists and turns to this set pattern which include things like poisoning the whiskey or food of your target in order to kill him or putting laxative into the soup of a guard so that he leaves your target alone. Once you figure out each of these "tricks" per level, the level simply becomes an excercise in following the correct steps. And that's the problem with this game.
"Hitman: Contracts" seems so overwhelming and confusing at first when in actuality it is one of the simpler games out there. Once you figure out the pattern or series of events necessary in each level (and that's where the Strategy Guide comes in) all you have to do is go through the motions. What fun is that? There is little or no creativity available to the player. Do it the silent way and earn your "Silent Assassin" rating or run through it shooting like a mad man and achieve your goal, albeit a bloody one.
I can see how this game appeals to a certain set of video game players; namely those that like slow moving games that have a definite sense of "closure" or completion to them. For those of us who like a game to be a little more "messy" like "Deus Ex: Invisible War" or "Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow" you are going to be disappointed by this game.
In the end, I think of this game as a naive child in a world full of complex adults. Is ignorance bliss? Not in this case.