Hitman: Blood Money

Hitman: Blood Money

Hitman_BM.jpgAssassination is a risky business (or so we’re told), but as the saying goes, the bigger the risk, the sweeter the reward. And in Hitman: Blood Money, the tasks are difficult, but the rewards are oh, so delectable.

In the fourth installment of the popular Hitman series, you once again take up the garrote wire of the enigmatic Agent 47. Missions take you from the wetlands of Louisiana to the glittering lights of Sin City in pursuit of hapless perverts and politicians with the right price on their heads. And while we certainly take great pleasure in offing these scumbags, it’s only because we know they’re deserving of their fate.

The open-ended mission design that’s been a hallmark of the series is back and has been nicely refined. Each of the game’s 13 missions offers at least a dozen stylish ways of completing various goals and killing people. We injected doughnuts with poison, shot dogs with animal tranquilizer darts, and sabotaged circuit breakers to confuse guards, all in the same job!

Not only does each level boast a ton of replayability because of the multitude of ways to complete a mission, but each one is littered with memorable gaming moments, including many classics. Stalking a man in a giant red bird costume through a dense crowd at Mardi Gras and crashing a Hell-themed dance orgy are experiences you won’t soon forget.

Each mission is as hard as you want it to be. You must plan carefully to avoid killing innocents. Sneaking past guard patrols will give you a higher success rating, which translates into more money, which you can use for truly useful weapon upgrades. Reckless shooting also works, but you’ll likely get your ass handed to you by the brutally smart AI. Our only complaints are that dragging bodies around is tedious, and some kill maneuvers take awhile, leaving you vulnerable.

An overarching plot ties the game together, but you don’t have to follow it to get the gist of the story. And honestly, who cares? This game delivers the goods without a story, thanks to the vibrant levels and awesome gameplay. The icing on the cake is that it’s not plagued by the control problems that mar other console ports.

Month Reviewed: September 2006

Verdict: 9

URL: www.hitmanbloodmoney.com

ESRB Rating: M

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