Hitman’s Greatest Hits

While most of the industry is withholding news until E3, an exciting new bit of game release info has managed to break through. Eurogamer.net stumbled upon an Italian retail site, 16games, that may have accidentally broke the news that Eidos’s “Hitman HD Collection” (containing “Hitman 2: Silent Assassin”, “Hitman: Contracts”, and “Hitman: Blood Money”) is coming out October 15th. The release date makes sense considering that the fifth game in the series, “Hitman: Absolution” is set for a November 20th release.

Much like other trilogy collections for “Splinter Cell“, “Metal Gear Solid“, and “Prince of Persia” this is a hell of a deal that anyone unfamiliar with the series, or looking to relieve it, should jump on. In fact, top to bottom quality wise this may be the best of the trilogy collections so far as the Hitman series got its successful formula down pat with “Hitman 2: Silent Assassin”, and has only been improving since.

Just like how the news of Max Payne 3 got me reminiscing, so does this. Here then are some of the best missions available from the installments featured on the upcoming greatest hits collection.

St. Petersburg Stakeout

“Hitman 2” may have the best overall missions in all of the series. Many of them though are like this one and are actually half brilliant, half frustrating. For most of this mission you are sneaking through the sewers and avoiding sentries behind cars. It’s not a mission that really gives you the “kill em’ all” option if you desire. It’s the actual hit that makes it memorable though, as you have to kill a very specific target at a meeting…but you don’t know what he looks like. As your contact feeds you bits of information they have on the man, you must decide who at the meeting the real target is before it ends. The situation really puts you into the moments and leaves you walking away from the level feeling that it was a job truly well done.

Jacuzzi Job

Home invasion missions are “Hitman’s” bread and butter assignments, and this is one of the best. It’s one of the few missions without a briefing preceding it, and instead just tosses you into the fray. Scale wise the level is very small, but it offers quite a few ways to go about your business. Though it’s not the preferred method, there are few options more rewarding than simply busting through the door to the targets room and putting one in his head as he sits in his jacuzzi making you feel like a true hitter. It becomes one of the games most replayable assignments as it has no slow portions, and doesn’t punish you in any real way for however you choose to play it. Just as all the missions should be.

Traditions of the Trade

It’s from “Hitman: Contracts”, but it’s actually a retread of one of the original games missions. Your assignment is to infiltrate a hotel and kill a terrorist and his brother while finding time to retrieve the chemical bomb they’ve made. The hotel’s design is perfectly made for multiple paths to the targets, and is populated with a wide array of potential disguise options. This level is simply the early blueprint for some of the series best assignments, but also has enough charm of its own to stand out.

Meat King’s Party

Maybe “Hitman: Contracts” best level. You are to infiltrate a kinky S&M party at a meatpacking warehouse and kill the truly obese host of the event. The mission itself is fairly straightforward compared to others, but what I love about it is the atmosphere of the warehouse, which lends the level a very disturbing feel. It’s just a mission that gets under your skin and really calls for you to get into the character and become cold blooded. Not to mention that it will teach you every single improper use of a meat-hook, for whatever that’s worth.

A New Life

Like I said, home invasion missions seem to be the standard of the series and this may be the best. You are put into a very odd setting for this game, as Agent 47 is dropped right into the heart of the suburbs for a hit on a mafia informant. Besides the unique environment, what really makes this level work is the overwhelming amount of clever ways to get to and eliminate your target. Even players that usually don’t like sneaking around in the game will get a kick out of some of the possibilities the job offers like sneaking your gun in a pizza box, or donning a clown disguise to inflict havoc, and even poisoning a delivery of donuts. Hitman’s greatest fans and detractors agree that the series glorifies violence more than most any other on the market. No other mission in the series exemplifies that, for better or worse, better than this one.

Curtains Down

In general “Hitman: Blood Money” introduced some of the cleverest set pieces the series has ever enjoyed. Unlike Agent 47 himself, this is where the franchise found its ability to find the joy in its work and really allow for some memorable moments. In this one, for instance, you have to eliminate an actor at a performance. While it allows you the usual liberties to reach your target, there is clearly one path that stands tall above the rest. It’s actually possible to guise yourself as one of the stage hands and switch out the prop gun with a real one, letting his fellow actor unwillingly do your job for you. It’s always fun to really explore your options in the levels to try to find the most entertaining, if not necessarily the best, path to success. The old weapon switcheroo is one of those great “light bulb” moments that puts a smile on your face when you realize its possible.


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