Hitman: Contracts is the third game of the Hitman video game series, released April 20, 2004. The game is essentially a recreation of some of Hitman: Codename 47's missions. The storyline intertwines between two missions in its sequel, Hitman: Blood Money.
Contracts sold over three million copies by the end of 2004.
Gameplay centers around the exploits of a hitman, Agent 47 as he is sent to various locations to assassinate targets. An array of weapons can be used, from shotguns to katanas
. While stealth and subterfuge is encouraged, the game allows the player to take a more violent approach and gunfight their way to their mission goals. Players are rated on their performance in a system that records statistics such as shots fired, NPCs
killed, and the amount of aggression and stealth applied in the mission; regarding the aggression and stealth statistics specifically, players will be rated a wide array of titles that range from "mass murderer," the most aggressive title, and "silent assassin," which in contrast is the highest stealth rating.
As players progress through the game, they can collect the various armaments found in the levels, allowing them to be used in future missions. Aside from the more straightforward ways of killing targets such as gunplay and strangulation, several missions allow the player more subtle ways to eliminate hits, such as food and drink poisoning or "accidents" involving the environment, e.g. falling from a balcony or dying from an heat-induced heart attack in a sauna.
Contracts continues the trend of "context sensitive" actions, which means that one button is used in multiple situations for multiple uses. For example, when the player is near a door, the context sensitive button will allow the player to perform door-relevant actions such as keyhole peeking, lockpicking, and simply opening it, but when the player is near an unconscious individual, the same button will allow the ability to either acquire the person's outfit or drag the body to an area where it can be hidden from guards.
Along with the context sensitive button, the suspicion meter returns as well; this meter informs players of how close they are to blowing their respective cover. Such actions like excess running indoors, brandishing weapons openly, residing in restricted areas, or sneaking can raise suspicion. As previously stated, if the suspicion meter fills, guards will open fire on sight of the player and the current cover becomes useless.
Disguises can be either found in the environment or taken from indisposed bodies and can be used to access areas restricted to most individuals in a level. These disguises can be seen through by guards, as stated above; e.g. if guards in a level are all wielding shotguns, then if the player assumes the guise of a guard and is not armed with a shotgun, he will draw suspicion and potentially blow his cover. Though a plethora of disguises exist throughout the game, the most unique is the SWAT uniform, which remained absent from previous titles. Naturally, the SWAT uniform is unavailable unless a SWAT team are present in the level, and the uniform is unique because it allows a percentage bullet protection and a provides a radio that reveals the actions of the SWAT team in the area.
The game begins with a cutscene showing a wounded Agent 47 wandering through a dark hotel corridor and arriving at his room. Upon entering, he collapses and begins to have flashbacks regarding previous assassinations he committed, beginning with the aftermath of killing Dr. Ort-Meyer
at the end of the original game
. The missions are primarily focused on replays of previous missions in the series, though the graphics, maps and artificial intelligence have been improved and modified. In the game, 47 visits several locations, including Romania
, the United Kingdom
, Hong Kong
and finally Paris
While 47 suffers, a doctor sent by the Agency arrives unexpectedly and treats 47, then flees when he discovers GIGN officers surrounding the hotel. At the end of the game, 47 regains consciousness in the hotel room with an expired mission briefing. It is revealed that 47 was hired to kill a US ambassador, Richard Delahunt, and a famous tenor at an opera house in Paris (an event later seen in Hitman: Blood Money), but was also tasked to kill their mutual friend, Inspector Albert Fournier who has sent a team of police to capture 47 after discovering his identity.
47 discovers the situation he is in and moves on to kill the inspector and escape the area. He then makes his way to the airport, where he boards a plane and escapes the country. His contact, Diana, reaches him on the plane and suggests that his target may have been tipped off.
- "Asylum Aftermath" - (Romania, immediately after the events of the level "Meet Your Brother" from Hitman: Codename 47)
- "The Meat King's Party" - (Romania)
- "The Bjarkhov Bomb" - (Russia)
- "Beldingford Manor" - (England)
- "Rendezvous in Rotterdam" - (Rotterdam, presumably before the events of "Gunrunner's Paradise" from Hitman: Codename 47)
- "A Deadly Cargo" - (Rotterdam, mainly the level "Plutonium Runs Loose", with elements of "Gunrunner's Paradise")
- "Traditions of the Trade" - (Budapest, the level of the same name in Hitman: Codename 47)
- "Slaying A Dragon" - (Hong-Kong, the level "Kowloon Triads in Gang Wars" from Hitman: Codename 47)
- "The Wang-Fou Incident" - (Hong-Kong, the level "The Ambush at the Wang-Fou Restaurant" from Hitman: Codename 47)
- "The Seafood Massacre" - (Hong-Kong, the level "The Massacre at the Cheung Chau Fish Restaurant" from Hitman: Codename 47)
- "The Lee Hong Assassination" - (Hong-Kong, the level of the same name in Hitman: Codename 47)
- "Hunter and Hunted" - (Paris, mainly the level "Curtins Down" in Hitman: Blood Money, though there are some continuity errors, as mentioned below)
Continuity with Hitman: Blood Money
The events of Hitman: Contracts
intertwine the events of Hitman: Blood Money
, however there are several continuity errors in this overlap. Contracts
appears to be set between the second and third missions in Blood Money
. In the latter, a mission sees 47 killing his pre-eliminated targets in Contracts
: US Ambassador Richard Delahunt
and tenor Philippe Berceuse
who is renamed Alvaro D'Alvade. At the end of the mission, a French
police officer spies 47 leaving the crime scene and cocks his gun, presumably later shooting 47, leading to the events of Contracts
. However there are further continuity errors. In the ending of Contracts
, Diana is aware that the Agency is being targeted and it is implied that 47 will track down the attackers immediately. However, in Blood Money
, Diana does not inform 47 that the agency and himself are being targeted until near the end of the game. The appearances of Delahunt and Berceuse/D'Alvade differ drastically between the games. Also, the expired mission briefing suggests that the Paris opera
would feature a full production and explicitly states that Inspector Fournier would be attending the theatre. However the objectives of the mission featured in Blood Money
do not include assassinating Fournier and he is not mentioned and does not appear at all during the mission, which also features the opera undergoing rehearsals and renovation and not a finalised production.
The soundtrack of the game, composed by Jesper Kyd
, is darker than that of previous entries. While Silent Assassin
featured a grand orchestral score, the score of Contracts
was that of dark electronica.
- In the level with the hotel, 47 can encounter a ghost of a murdered man near a murder scene. Even though it is a ghost, 47 can shoot it and it bleeds like a regular NPC.
- The game code can be sometimes very unrealistic, such as a witness who sees 47 with a weapon will flee outside to safety, then sillily run back into the premises where 47 is.