HITMAN: CODENAME 47
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on November 29, 2019
Yes, dear readers, it is that time again! Time for me, your friendly neighborhood Sadhonker, to take you on another trip through time in search of classic games that rocked the globe! Now, you may wonder why I'm so happy, seeing as how two weeks ago, I stumbled across Dennis and my brand new wife, Gretchen the Shepherdess, engaging in what is also referred to as "the horizontal tango". Now, as you can probably imagine, this shocked me to my very core and I kind of blew a fuse, causing Dennis to flee in the Big Red Timemachine. So I did what any sane person would do; I reprogrammed said Timemachine remotely and made sure it would make an unscheduled stop at the Kalahari desert on its way back from its last trip, effectively stranding Dennis a long way from here.
When I cooled off a bit, I went and had a talk with my wife who, to my surprise, I found sleeping soundly in our own bedroom, as opposed to the ballroom where I found her and Dennis in the first place. So I went back to the ballroom and there she was... wait a damn minute! You, yes you! Turn around. Hey, you're not my wife! Oh yeah, then where's the turtle shaped mole on your left buttocks? Impostor! Who are you? Gretchen's sister? Oh god, I've got a sibling rivalry on my hands! GRETCHEEEN! Could you come into the ballroom please! Oh, there you are. What's she doing here and why does she look like you? A disguise you say? Hah, she's good. She fooled me and no mistake. She made me think she was you when she and Dennis... Oh damn, what have I done?!
Oh well, no point in crying over spilled milk or, in this case, spilled scorching desert sand, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. It's time for us to take our trip for today. The clever disguise of Gretchen's sister has given me an idea! Okay, strap in people; we're blasting off towards the year 2000, in search of someone who also made clever use of disguises and misdirection. We're going to visit THE hired assassin of all times; the incomparable Agent 47, as we take a look at a game that would set the new benchmark for stealth games. It's time to take out some contracts in Hitman: Codename 47.
Ah yes, the year 2000. The year in which I was still a lad of twenty years old and was working in a bar in my hometown. Now, working in a bar you had to be a chameleon of sorts when dealing with all kinds of people. Unlike the protagonist of Hitman, I never killed any of my clientele... although I must admit I wanted to from time to time. In this glorious year, IO Interactive and Eidos Interactive joined forces and brought us Hitman: Codename 47. Now, there had been games that used some form of stealth before then, but Hitman upped the ante significantly! In the game, players were actually rewarded for using the stealthiest of approaches, and not only by getting away with their lives but a fair chunk of change as well!
But let's start at the beginning, shall we? At the start of the game, Our bald friend Agent 47 wakes up in some sort of hospital like building by a disembodied voice that talks to him through a series of speakers. This is where you get your first taste of what's to come, because you'll need to complete a series of training courses that help you familiarize yourself with the core gameplay mechanics. After that, all that's left to do is make your escape. The building is guarded by two armed guards, so you'll need to take them out first before you can make your escape. When you eventually do so, this signals the start of a long and glorious career as a hitman.
You are recruited by the International Contract Agency and become one of their operatives. As you may suspect, you will not travel around the world and sign contracts for people. No sir; you will travel around the world and fulfill contracts that are taken out on people. So basically, you'll get to see exotic places, meet interesting people and kill them... silently if possible. Apart from the aforementioned monetary reward for completing your mission without attracting attention to yourself, keeping a low profile actually had another reward: tons of fun! I mean, sure you could run into a room and start shooting with your two awesome Ballers pistols, but where's the fun in that. Apart from that, doing so usually ended with you dead on the floor within less time than it takes president Trump to tweet something mind-numbingly moronic.
So, stealth was definitely the way to go. If in a pinch, you could absolutely try to get out of the situation at hand by shooting at anything that moved, provided not a lot of people were about and you were able to hide afterwards, because gunfire usually has the nasty side-effect of alerting nearby guards. Speaking of hiding; this does not always mean skulking in the shadows unseen. Sometimes hiding in plain sight is just the way to go. How? Well, by dressing up, of course. This brings us to THE trademark and one of the most enjoyable gameplay mechanics of Hitman; changing clothes! You see, after you've dispatched an enemy, you could choose to change into the clothes of your victim and blend into the crowd, provided no one saw you kill the poor bastard. Oh yes, and please make sure to properly hide the body, because if someone finds it, your enemies will be on the lookout for someone dressed like whatever the occupation was of the guy you just killed.
Hitman's campaign followed a cool story that delved deep into a world of contract killing, trust and betrayal. From time to time during his missions, Agent 47 would be in contact with his Agency-appointed handler, Diana Burnwood. She is the one who provides Agent 47 with all the necessary details of the mission and his surroundings. In a way, Diana is the brains to his brawn and the two develop a tight-knit working relationship. He must trust her to supply him with the correct information, while she must trust in him being able to complete the job.
Now, Hitman: Codename 47 might not look like much by today's standards, but back then, it sure turned a lot of heads. The graphics looked really cool and the ragdoll effect that sprang into action when characters died made the game look like something we'd never seen before. Couple this with a cool story, the stealth and dressing-up gameplay mechanics, as well as a wide range of cool weapons, including Agent 47's awesome ballers and the much needed piece of piano wire, you can't go wrong! Although the game wasn't a huge hit straight away, it garnered a faithful following over the years and spawned a series of sequels, causing the series to become increasingly popular. I, for one, absolutely loved playing the Hitman games and, although the reboot of the series in 2016 provided us with games that looked far better, I still prefer playing the older Hitman games. But hey, that might just be me!
Well, this wraps up our trip through time and space for today, so let's head back to our Big Red HQ and see how things are back there. Oh, hi Gretchen. Why is your sister still here? She tried to drive us apart! Oh, I see; you talked it out and all of the jealousy is over and done with. That's great news. Well Gretchen's sister, I wish you all the best. Thanks for dropping by. Off you go. What? Why not?! She wants to stay? But why? She likes Dennis? What the hell is wrong with her... I mean, oh how lovely! Well, I just got back and I'm tired, so why don't you and your sister take the Tiny Red Timepod and go and search for him? Sure, here are the keys. Just remember to fill her up before you come back, alright? I don't want to have to come after you when you get stranded 200'000 miles from nowhen. No, not nowhere, dear. We're talking about time travel here, remember. Oh, no problem. Yes, I love you to, sweety. Okay then, bye bye.
Right, they're gone. Hmm, time for some some me-time. Ooh, I know, I'm going to see if there's some of that scrumptious mutton left. Hmmm, muttooooon. Hey, is that the doorbell. Oh well, let's see who's at the door. Dennis? How did you get here? You hitched a ride? Well that's what I call a stroke of luck. Am I still mad? No, it seemed to be one big misunderstanding after all. Yes, we had a big laugh about it and I just took our readers on another adventure. Then why the hell did I not pick you up? Well, you see... I wanted to, but it was so busy. And then one thing led to another and I kinda forgot. But hey, you're back, that's what counts, isn't it! Come on, let's have a beer or two hundred and you can tell me all about your adventures in the land of sand.
Where Gretchen went? Oh, she and who you thought was her but turned out to be her sister in disguise took the Tiny Red Timepod and decided to go and search for you. Why? Well, apparently, Gretchen's sister has a screw loose... I mean she has an impeccable taste in men and fancies you! Yes, they took the Timepod. What do you mean you were still working on it? No working Time-Couplings and the Ultra-diversifier is shot to hell? So we've no idea where or when they ended up? Damn... we'd better do something! I know, let's wait here until they return. I'll order some more cases of beer and a mountain of pizza!
HITMAN: CODENAME 47
IO Interactive & Eidos Interactive