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Hitman: Blood Money

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Impact: Average

The 4th game in the series crated by Eidos, Hitman Blood Money provides new opportunities to take someone’s life for money. This time, however, a few new features cause for extra fun, although in essence the game stays the same.


Hitman Blood Money’s story picks off from where the last game in series had ended. Agent 47, a nameless clone and assassin, has moved to the US while “The Agency” he works for continues to experience an increased loss of its agents. The story is told through cut-scenes in which an invalid gives an interview to a reporter by telling the 47’s story, trying to convince him of the dangers of legalizing cloning. The gameplay itself is actually part of the story and quite simply involves assassinating a certain target or targets.

Hitman might cause a moral dilemma with a few people. While I know it’s not an issue with the majority of our violent and sadistic youth, it can be an issue with the more mature public like me. You are, after all, murdering different people who haven’t done you anything wrong. However, the funny thing about the missions is that they usually involve killing scum not better than yourself. Just to recall a few targets: drug dealers, people in child trafficking, assassins, rapists and killers. Some missions even come across as rather heroic.

The range of manners to finish a job is huge in all Hitman games, and this one is not an exception. To name a few examples of murder methods, there is strangulation, crushing, shooting and poisoning with a syringe.

It is natural that with such freedom, the weaponry must be quite varied. It is. From large scissors to a silenced sniper rifle, Blood Money involves special, so-called “custom”, weapons as well as weaponry that is commonly found in places you will be working at. Some weapons might only be useful only once or twice in the whole game, and yet they are all well modeled and have their own sounds. The standard weapons are found at the mission location while the custom weapons are available at start and can be upgrades with different mods.

Since he is operational in so many hostile places, Agent 47 needs to rely heavily on stealth. Thus he is able to change his outfit to gain access to area’s normally restricted for unauthorized personnel. He can hide items in different containers to elude metal detectors, and he’s also quite an acrobat when it comes to climbing around. The tension meter tells you at what alert level the people around you are. If you’re discovered somewhere you’re not supposed to be at or if you stand for too long in front of a suspecting enemy the meter rises to yellow. If your cover is blown, the color changes to red and all hell breaks loose. The available map each level takes a lot of the tension out of the game as all the characters are shown on the map in real time.

While the assassin’s job is plenty of fun by itself, this time around you can actually see what you’re earning with your jobs. Moreover, you can spend that money on weapon modifications and bribes. Your performance during the missions can affect the final amount you will receive at their end. In Hitman Blood Money it literally pays to be patient, as too much damage or carelessly leftover equipment will cause extra expenses, while things like staged accidents will result in a cash bonus.

Unnecessary victims and other untidy behavior will also affect the rating received at the end of each mission. This also encourages the player to be stealthy, although not very effectively since the rating does not contribute to the unlocking of new weapons as it did in the previous game.

While the player has full freedom to go into the mission area guns blazing, the value of the game will be seriously reduced for that person. That’s so because you’re skipping all the formalities that normally take most of the play-time, like stalking victims to steal their outfit or making deaths look like accidents. Such a time loss will result in a feeling that the two action-packed hours were not worth the money you paid for the game. The value of the game is not endless to begin with due to the predictable lack of a multi-player mode.

Another problem that faces restless Rambo-type players is the lackluster AI that was created for the sneaky players and not for Rambo’s. When alerted, enemies from all over the level will all be gathering in the spot where the alert went off. If you’re a little careful, you can depopulate the area in seconds, leaving a clean place to operate in.

The other aspects of the AI are quite intricate, though. AI will react differently to the player’s behavior. Trespassing will result in a character following the main character to warn him of his fault, and if that doesn’t help, going to further action. When alerted, civilians will run away, alert guards and sometimes pick up a gun to defend themselves. Characters walk around, doing their business. The heavily scripted AI behavior, however, allows for its abuse. You can time to the second when a certain character will do something, so stealth stops being a game of chances.

Such a heavily scripted game is not without flaws. At times, a seemingly genius idea will come into player’s mind on how to accomplish a mission efficiently, but he will find out that the idea doesn’t work because of one or another bug that’s not been foreseen by developers. Some of these bugs are very direct and harmful. For example, in one of the missions the game kept crashing to the desktop if an item was dropped by the character. That made completing the level with a high rating almost impossible.


Hitman Blood Money will not win an Oscar for the visuals, at least not for a particular aspect of it. Too many textures are too blurry and there are no particularly breathtaking effects. Effects like light bloom are present (light bloom gives a certain shine to all objects), but effects like these have become mandatory in the next generation games and are therefore not really worth mentioning. Nevertheless, Hitman Blood Money deserves a high grade for its graphics because, on average, all of its aspects are done quite well. The shadowing in particular deserves attention. Shadows are soft, plentiful and believable, contrary to the high contrast shadowing in games like Doom 3 where the detailed shadows are over exaggerated. Reflections on weaponry and water are exceptionally clear. The characters in Hitman are well modeled, as they should be, since they take up much of the player’s attention. The scenes of operations are diverse. From swamps to the chic Las Vegas to a hospital, there will always be something to keep your eyes busy. Each environment is full of generic objects like trashcans and computers. The characters’ breath is even visible when in a cold environment. In short, there is a clear sense of the developer’s attention to details.

Eidos had a lot of experience with cut-scenes. Much similarity can be seen between cut-scenes in Hitman and its other, much anticipated game series: Tomb Raider. The professionalism in respect to these scenes makes the player feel like he’s watching an actual movie. Present at the beginning and the end of each mission, these cut-scenes give a solid structure to the game. There are also several mini in-game cut-scenes like the assembly of the sniper rifle, which give an extra sense of realism.


The tense background music differs according to the situation the player is in. However, it is typical background music, so it doesn’t steal the player’s attention from the gameplay. Ave Maria played at the main menu is the only real music track in the whole game.

Voicing is one of the most memorable things about the sound in Blood Money. The voices correspond well with the characters’ looks. The main character sounds calm and low, like a professional hitman ought to sound. When on a job in the south of the US, NPC’s are heard speaking with a true Southern accent. All of this again refers to the attention to details.


Blood Money is made in true Hitman style. The assassination theme is brought to life professionally with a high attention to particulars. As in the previous games, there is a lot of place for improvisation. All of it is wrapped in a decent visual and audio package. This is definitely a must-have for the fans of the series, but those new to the game might want to rent the game first. If only not for the few very annoying bugs, Hitman Blood Money would be a real show stealer.

Subjective thoughts

This is the part where I let loose and tell why I personally loved or hated this game in relation to my own perception. Hitman has been one of the best trips for me for many reasons. One of the main reasons is that it stays loyal to its theme. Yes, the hitman does kill criminals, but not all of them are confirmed criminals and that’s twice as true for the other NPCs that stand between 47 and his mission in one or another way. There’s no sentimental moral c*ap. If you need to wipe out the whole building, do so.

Moreover, I love the freedom given to the player. I love the ability to stalk the enemy until he’s alone, then quickly taking him out with a single silent shot to the back of the head and then disposing of his body. Perhaps, instead, I will push him over the railing or cut his throat. Blood Money has something for each style.

Finally, Eidos found a way to make the story very intriguing, especially at the end, and that causes me to think about the game for several days to come. A game that makes me think of its storyline days after I finished it is worth a lot in my opinion.