It’s a fact of life; we’ve all wanted to kill someone at one point. Actually, probably more than one person and at probably more than one point. Scratch that, deep down we’re all homicidal maniacs who would gladly go on a sporadic killing spree if the humane laws of society were to crumble and fall. But, enough about the increasingly worrying state of my mental health, let’s talk about Hitman!
But more specifically: Hitman: Blood Money.
And even more specific than that, the top 5 features that make Hitman: Blood Money worth every penny of your … blood money… Yeah, that didn’t work…
These are my top 5 features of the classic game of bald headed assassination.
#5 Non-Linear Level Design
Locate and eliminate the target may be the name of the game, but how you approach said task is entirely up to you.
From shimmying up a drainpipe and sneaking in through an upstairs window to blasting your way through the front door with your trusty silverballers – how you approach the mission objective is completely flexible.
Stalk the inhabitants of a level, learn their routines, devise a plan of action, and execute!
Each “open-world” level has its own unique geographical layout, which promotes exploration and experimentation – a great feature to help drastically enhance the replay value of what is a relatively short game.
#4 Notoriety and Performance Feedback
Yes, I know! This isn’t the most exciting feature to include in a list of “best features”, but seriously, Blood Money hits the nail on the bald head with its post-level newspaper headings and “notoriety system”.
Eliminate the target, remain undetected and take any evidence of your existence along with you and your notoriety will remain at zero. However, massacre half the population of a level with a kitchen knife while dressed as Santa (Yes, you can totally do that!) while leaving witnesses and video evidence of your presence – and that zero will shoot up.
The consequences of this? Simple, the higher your notoriety is the higher the chance you’ll be noticed in subsequent missions. But don’t worry; you can always pay off officials to reduce your notoriety back down to zero. A few dollars well spent! Or… you could just leave no survivors. But that wouldn’t be very assassin-y of you now, would it?
Where the performance feedback aspect of Blood Money excels at, though, is with its newspaper headlines. After every mission you are presented with a tailor made front page of a newspaper – describing in detail the crime scene left for the police. Everything from how many bullet casings were found to a description of what the assassin (you) may look like (depending on how many witnesses you left alive).
Both of these aspects of this otherwise cosmetic feature help to promote a sense of cause and effect. Your actions have specific consequences and you are rightfully rewarded for doing your job properly.
Many games offer a variety of weapons. But little match the choice given to you by Hitman: Blood Money.
Not only can you equip and modify a bunch of standard weapons pre-mission (Such as Shotguns and Snipers), you can also use various objects found throughout the levels, ranging from razor sharp stilettos (the knife not the shoe – although, that’s a missed opportunity right there!) to your standard fire extinguisher.
Whatever your weapon of choice, Blood Money has something for you. Whether you prefer to stay back and pick your targets off with a scoped rifle or get in close with a silenced pistol, the choice is yours.
Don’t want to shoot your enemies? That’s okay; use fiber wire to strangle the life out of them!
Don’t want to use fiber wire to strangle the life out of them? That’s okay too; use a poison syringe to quietly dispose of your foes!
Don’t want to use a poison syringe to quietly dispose of your foes? Well, you can always use a hedge cutter to take a little off the top!
Don’t want to make it look like a hit? Well guess what? The environment is at your disposal in making the assassination look like an accident.
“Oh, gosh darn! That bloody actor accidentally used a REAL WW1 pistol on the star of the show. Oh well, accidents happen!”
Many gamers are put off by a difficult challenge, some thrive on it. Blood Money offers modes to accommodate newbies and hardcore veterans alike.
“Rookie” mode offers full agency assistance, unlimited saves and, well, less than perceptive* enemy AI. However, the real beauty of Hitman: Blood Money comes from its hardcore mode, aptly named “professional” mode (Bet you didn’t see that coming.) This hardcore mode greatly reduces agency assistance, permits no saves during missions, and makes the enemy AI a lot more perceptive**.
Difficultly is a feature that more and more gamers are beginning to actively seek out. They want to be rewarded for their hard work, for their ability to overcome a challenge. But first and foremost, there has to be a challenge to actually overcome. Blood Money is certainly not lacking in this department
There’s nothing more satisfying than achieving the score of “Silent Assassin” while playing on “professional” difficulty. Especially in regards to the mission Amendment XXV – those pesky White House guards sure know how to spot a tall bald killer in a group of old women! Damn their incredibly acute perception!***
*moronic, **less moronic, ***I miss the morons :(
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. And when they’re not looking shove ‘em into an alligator infested swamp, because, well, you never really joined ‘em in the first place.
Topping the bill for the best feature in Hitman: Blood Money is of course the stealth aspect of the game. Cementing itself as one of the landmark stealth game series’ out there, Hitman rises above the competition with its focus on hiding in plain sight.
There’s just something really satisfying about blending into the environment that usual “hide in the dark” stealth games can’t compete with. Few games allow you to “blend” with more versatility than Hitman – and with Blood Money came a hell of a lot more options to choose from. From the aforementioned Santa outfit to something more covert like an FBI suit (or a giant bird costume…), there’s always a get-up on hand to help disguise your malicious intent.
I’m sure the inhabitants of the Hitman world are forever asking,
“Hey, why do you have blood on you? Wait, were you always that bald…?”
… Right before they’re tasered and disposed of into a conveniently positioned dumpster.