Hitman: Codename 47
Developer: IO Interactive | Publisher: Square Enix | Release Date: 2000 | Genre: 3rd Person Action / Adventure | Website: N/A | Purchase: Steam
Hitman opens with your character waking up in some sort of hospital facility and being instructed to master various killing methods. Fast forward a year and our bald, bar-coded protagonist is now working for some shadowy agency as a professional hitman. At first it’s just another day in the life of a trained assassin, but soon his past catches up with him.
This game was first released in 2000 but thanks to the wonders of digital distribution can still be enjoyed. If you have played other titles in the series and are curious how it all started its worth checking out, but bear in mind that time has not been kind. The game had a few flaws back when it was first released and they appear even more glaring now that we are used to modern games.
Your missions for the agency take you all over the globe and you will be plying your trade in China, Columbia, Hungary and the Netherlands. I remember how impressed I was with the cloth movement and ragdoll physics of the game all those years ago but obviously these days it looks very primitive. After some configuration file tweaking I was able to get the game running in a higher resolution, but the textures were obviously still blurry and characters move like drunken marionettes. Most missions start you off in what was obviously a large game world back then, but these days the arenas feel pretty cramped. City areas have convenient roadblocks and roadwork’s to keep you inside the mission area and if all else fails there’s the good old invisible walls to prevent you from straying. Missions involve a lot of trial and error, so your first order of business is usually to stroll around and assess your environment. This allows you to check out guard positions and patrol routes as well as determine where you are not wanted. Once you have the lay of the land you can get to work.
Most of the environments have civilians wandering around and you obviously do not want them to witness what you are up to. You can kill them, but this is messy and earns you less money so should be avoided when possible. You can go in guns blazing but Agent 47 can only take so many hits before he succumbs, so your best course of action is to silently take out lone enemies, don their clothes and hide the bodies out of sight. I know it doesn’t make much sense that enemies believe that the giant, bald, bar-coded man is one of them simply by wearing the appropriate clothes but hey it works. If someone discovers the body you are in trouble, of course, and all hell breaks loose if you do something foolish, but the fact that there is no save spots or checkpoints should keep you on your toes. Restarting an entire mission over a small mistake is harsh, but it’s something that you will have to put up with if you want to complete the game. Those with no patience need not apply.
You play the game from a 3rd person perspective and apart from the short draw distance also have to contend with very shoddy controls. Even actions such as walking and strafing is needlessly hard to pull off and don’t even get me started on dragging bodies. You can also perform some context sensitive actions such as open doors or picking up items, but it is done via a menu you activate with the right mouse button. If you are not close enough or positioned correctly, you have to shuffle about until the grayed out option finally becomes available. Tough luck to you if the action you want to perform is calling an elevator and you have armed men shooting at you.
The audio isn’t too bad, but I would have liked to hear a few more tunes as there is way too much looping and repeating. Sound effects are good too, but the voice acting is rather cringeworthy. While this might sound like a negative review the game actually had a lot of good points upon its first release. The gameplay can feel a bit archaic now and I unfortunately experienced quite a few random crashes and glitches which, coupled with the very unforgiving nature of the game, led to a lot of frustration. The game also does not always know if it wants to be a stealth or action title as demonstrated by the terrible Columbian levels.
Carrying out the perfect assassination and then making your escape is undoubtedly thrilling and there were a few missions that I genuinely enjoyed. Overall however, I breathed a sigh of relief after completing the game and doubt if I will ever come back to it. At least it is sold for quite cheap these days, so if you think that you can handle it, give it a try. Just don’t blame us if the only thing you end up hitting is your keyboard.
*Review originally published 2010.
- IBM PC or 100% compatible
- Microsoft Windows 95/98/ME
- Pentium II 300 MHz
- 64 MB System RAM
- 100% DirectX 7.0a-compatible 3d Accelerated Card with 12MB VRAM
- 100% DirectX 7.0a-compatible Sound Card
- 400Mb free uncompressed hard drive space
- 100% Windows 95/98/ME compatible mouse and keyboard
- Pentium III equivalent or greater
- 128 MB System RAM
- 100% DirectX 7.0a-compatible 3d Accelerated Card with 32 MB VRAM
- 100% DirectX 7.0a-compatible Sound Card
- 400 MB free uncompressed hard drive space