Hitman: Codename 47 is the first canonical entry in the Hitman series of video games. Developed by the Danish IO Interactive in Denmark and released by Eidos Interactive, in 2000 for Microsoft Windows, it remains the only PC-exclusive Hitman game. Hitman 2: Silent Assassin is its sequel.
The story centers around Agent 47, a bald test subject branded with a barcode tattooed on the back of his head, who is rigorously trained in methods of murder. Upon escaping from a test facility, 47 is hired by the Agency, a European contract killing organization. His mission takes him to several locations—Hong Kong, Colombia, Hungary, and the Netherlands—to assassinate wealthy and decadent criminals.
Though the game takes place from a third-person perspective Hitman's control setup is akin to first-person shooter: 47's movements are restricted to turning, strafing and moving forward. The player can peek around corners by using the lean function, which prompts 47 to tilt slightly to one side. 47 is able to climb ladders, but cannot defend himself with a weapon while doing so. In addition, he is only be able to jump from one balcony to another. 47 creates 'sound' while walking which will alert any hostile characters in the facility. To move without being detected, the player can use the "sneak" function, which causes 47 to crouch and move in a stalking manner. Sneaking also allows 47 to retrieve a weapon from his inventory without anyone hearing it; if 47 is standing upright when the player pulls out a weapon, it will alert nearby characters.
There is an on-screen cursor to indicate in which direction 47 will attack. The heads-up display includes a life bar (which measures 47's health), ammo capacity, kevlar durability, and the current item selected. Alert messages sometimes appear next to the health readout. These occur whenever enemies discover a body on the map, or if 47 falls under suspicion.
Disguise plays a large role in Hitman's gameplay. Any time a non-player character is killed, 47 may take their clothes and impersonate them. This is necessary to access restricted areas where only guards may enter. At the start of each level, 47 begins in a default costume. This costume is folded and left on the ground whenever 47 changes clothes. The player may replace 47's outfit with a previous one by simply approaching them and selecting the "Change clothes" option.
47's weaponry consists of various short and long-range firearms, a garrote wire, and a knife. Pistols generally have excellent range, while automatic rifles and machine guns decrease in accuracy the farther away 47 is from his target. 47 can also equip himself with a sniper rifle, concealed in a special suitcase, which must be reassembled before he may use it. Once he is finished with the rifle, 47 can take it apart and place it the suitcase once more.
Characters who are dead may be dragged at any time. If anyone on the map spots a body lying on the ground, it will create unwanted attention for 47. In the event that 47 adopted the clothes of someone he has slain, his disguise will be compromised as soon as the body is discovered. When dragging, 47 lifts up the closest available leg or arm and begins to hoist it away.
Each level of Hitman takes place in an open environment which is teeming with non-player civilians and armed guards. Although mission criteria may vary, the goal is generally to find 47's assigned target and kill them by any means possible. Though the path may appear linear, it is rarely possible to approach a target directly without eliciting a violent reprisal.
On a technological note, Hitman: Codename 47 was one of the first games to use the now popular ragdoll physics.
The game begins with Agent 47 waking up and being ordered, by a voice from a loudspeaker, to perform various tasks, such as scaling obstacles, changing clothes and using weaponry. This serves as the training level of the game. When 47 reaches the end, he kills a guard and takes his clothes in order to escape. The man using the loudspeaker sees this on a surveillance camera, sits back, and laughs, as he has deliberately set up 47's escape.
One year later, 47 is a professional assassin in the employ of the International Contract Agency (ICA), briefed by his controller Diana Burnwood. 47 is sent around the globe on a series of missions to eliminate four global criminal masterminds: Lee Hong, leader of the Red Dragon Triad in Hong Kong; Pablo Belisario Ochoa, a Colombian drug lord heavily based on Tony Montana from Scarface; Franz Fuchs, an Austrian terrorist; and Arkadij Jegorov (aka Boris), a notorious weapons smuggler and gunrunner.
Throughout his assassination missions 47 collects letters written to his targets by the other targets, suggesting that these four people somehow know each other. Furthermore, all four of his targets were once part of the French Foreign Legion at about the same time and seem to contact each other regarding an experimental human. The letters also mention a mutual friend among the men, 'Professor' Ort-Meyer.
47 is then alerted by Diana that the clients who ordered the assassinations are the same person, and that this person has ordered one final assassination in which he is to kill Odon Kovacs, a doctor at a sanatorium in Satu Mare, Romania. When 47 checks in, 'Professor' Ort-Meyer is revealed to be the man behind the voice and calls the police. A heavily-armed SWAT unit storms in and sweeps the building for 47. After slaying his target, 47 infiltrates deeper and learns the truth behind his existence: 47 is the result of a cloning experiment which combined the genetic material of each of his four previous targets (Lee Hong, Pablo Ochoa, Franz Fuchs, and Arkadij Jegorov), plus Dr. Ort-Meyer's own. The experiments were in the pursuit of creating a flawless human being. Ort-Meyer engineered 47's escape from the asylum in order to test his performance in the outside world. It is implied that Ort-Meyer ordered the assassinations on his associates because they wanted to use the clones for their own purposes, which Ort-Meyer was unwilling to allow.
With the help of Agent Smith, who is being held in the sanitarium, 47 uncovers a sophisticated lab beneath the hospital. In response, Ort-Meyer unleashes a squad of "Mr. 48s", an improved, mindlessly loyal series of clones. 47 defeats the clones and confronts Ort-Meyer. The player has the option of killing Ort-Meyer right away or hesitating, a choice which will determine the game ending. When 47 bursts into the Doctor's lab, Ort-Meyer first mistakes him for another 48. If the player fails to subdue Ort-Meyer in time, he will attack 47 with a stungun and place him back under confinement. If the player shoots Ort-Meyer, the Doctor will stumble to the floor and mutter, "I didn't even recognize my own son." 47 kneels down to Ort-Meyer, then forcefully breaks his neck.
The soundtrack is composed by Jesper Kyd but was never released until it came in a dual disk pack in 2005 detailed in the above article.
- ↑ Ort-Meyer: Man was made at the end of the week's work, when God was tired. I quickly improved on all of the built-in flaws. I'll show the whole world who's right - and decide who will be left! Eidos Interactive Hitman: Codename 47 (US) 2000-12-25.
- ↑ Ort-Meyer: You little ingrate! I should have known you would rebel against your old man - not at all like No. 48. Now there's a loyal and trusting clone. Eidos Interactive Hitman: Codename 47 (US) 2000-12-25.