- "When you kill for money, there are no rules."
- ―Hitman: Contracts' Tagline.
Hitman: Contracts (abbreviated to "Contracts") is the third installment in the Hitman video game series. It was developed by IO Interactive and published by Eidos Interactive for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2 and Xbox on April 20, 2004 in United States of America. It is mostly a remake of the first title of the franchise, Hitman: Codename 47 and was succeeded by Hitman: Blood Money in 2006.
Although not a direct follow-up of Codename 47, it does fill in some of the gaps in the Hitman story-line following the end of Codename 47, as well as most of the said game's being remastered and incorporated into the game. As of April 2009, the game has sold around 2 million copies.
In Hitman: Contracts, 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 kitchen knives to belt-fed machine guns. 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. Contracts delivers more suspense-filled and darker, edgy missions,
Instead of attempting to implement new elements into Contracts, IO Interactive instead used the game as a refinement of the concepts introduced in the previous games, Codename 47 and Silent Assassin. The game features greater variety of ways to make the perfect kill with the increased arsenal of firearms and close-combat weapons. Many of the series' trademark options to assassinate targets — poison, sabotage, sniping and so on — are present in almost every level, with at least three definite ways in which targets can be killed. Notable options include suffocation of sleeping targets by beside pillows, spiking tea with a heavy dose of rat poison and locking one target in particular within a dangerously hot sauna.
The game attempts to focus on more of the more stealthier elements of the Hitman series by accommodating players who wish to sneak about and mostly forgo the use of disguises in order to kill their targets. There also multiple ways to navigate around every one of the missions areas, with many containing areas with wide spaces and some even hiding secret passages.
The AI has also received a revamp in Contracts. Instead of enemy AI (i.e. Guards and Police) simply trying to find, wear down and eliminate 47 if his cover is blown during a mission, will instead work together in teams to outmaneuver and outgun 47, meaning that combat situations are now far more dangerous than they were previously. The AI also communicates more with each other, meaning that suspicious actions committed by 47 will cause other guards to become alert and make it harder for 47 to escape or navigate without attracting attention.
- Moving speed in sneak mode is now increased.
- Different Fiber Wire killing animations are introduced, including one where 47 snaps the neck of the victim.
- Multiple melee weapons are introduced, though they cannot be saved or taken to other missions.
- Anesthetic is replaced by sedative syringe, which affects for a limited time.
- Circular inventory system is introduced.
- Map now clearly distinguishes between dead and alive people.
- More icons added in the map.
- Sniper Rifle case re-introduced for carrying W2000 sniper rifle.
- Balcony jump reintroduced
Note: While the general plot of Contracts follows a distinct path, many elements such as the assassination methods and character interactions are subject to the player's decisions. The game offers several events and methods to targets, along with multiple decisions based on the sandbox gameplay. This story synopsis concentrates on the main plot thread of the game the player would generally encounter on their first time playing.
On his way back to his hotel room in Paris following a hit in an Opera House (which appears in Hitman: Blood Money), 47 was intercepted by a french police officer, Inspector Albert Fournier and shot in the liver. Wounded, 47 staggered back to his apartment, where he collapsed out of shock and began to have hallucinatory flashbacks to his previous assignments.
His first flashback took him back to the events following the execution of Dr. Otto Wolfgang Ort-Meyer. After the scientist's demise, the asylum came under siege by Romanian special forces, who had set up a defensive perimeter around its exterior. Agent 47 explored the asylum, which had been overrun by the inmates, encountering one jumping from a catwalk to his death and another opening fire at SWAT officers with an SMG before being killed himself, while making his way out. He managed to sneak out to the asylum's grounds, stealing Ort-Meyer's cruiser and smashing through the facility's gates towards freedom.
Trying to stay awake, he flashed back to another contract, where he was tasked with infiltrating a slaughterhouse used as the setting of an opium-fueled bondage rave and killing "the Meat King", and his lawyer, Andrei Puscus, as well as recovering any evidence regarding the disappearance of the client's daughter, following a trial where the Meat King, represented by Puscus, was acquitted.
After the slaughterhouse hallucination, Agent 47 relived a contract in Siberia, his objective being to assassinate the terrorist Fabian Fuchs (one of his genetic uncles), his Red Army link and Chechen sympathizer Sergei Bjarkhov, and to destroy the latter's nuclear weapon manufacture capabilities by sinking the abandoned nuclear submarine which had the weapons lab inside it, with C4 charges.
By this point, 47 had almost succumbed to the pain and was about to fall unconscious when he was saved by a doctor sent by the Agency. The doctor brought 47 to a table in the hotel room, where he prepared to carry out the surgery, but not before taking a sip from a flask and dowsing 47's wound with apparently alcoholic contents. The sound and smell of the splashing alcohol brought back memories of another contract, in which 47 was assigned to kill the members of an infamous English family, Winston Beldingford and his son Alistair Beldingford, as well as find and rescue Giles Northcott, the son of the client, from captivity at the Beldingford estate, saving him from being the prey in the Beldingford's hunt.
He then relived two more contracts: the first involving a biker gang in Rotterdam, and the second involving Arkadij Jegorov, one of Agent 47's genetic fathers, who had taken refuge in a transport ship and, surrounded by local police and SWAT teams, threatening to detonate a nuclear warhead unless his demands were met.
Meanwhile, as the agency's doctor was finishing up the surgery, police alarms outside the hotel alerted him and he left the scene after injecting 47 with a serum. Starting to come back to life as a result of the serum 47 relived contracts involving a mission in Budapest with the objective of killing Franz Fuchs and recovering a briefcase with an X-ray explosive, and some of his first hits, triad leader Lee Hong, who he first weakened by provoking a war between Hong's Red Dragon triad and the rivaling Blue Lotus triad by killing several Blue Lotus members and the corrupt chief of police before finally targeting Hong himself.
Following the Hong flashback, 47 finally came round, and founded the hotel surrounded by French Police. Sitting in a chair, he checked his Silverballers, at which point the SWAT outside fired smoke grenades into his room. He evaded his resident and police officers while making his way out, finding Inspector Fournier and killing him. After silencing the Inspector who had discovered his identity, he entered an ambulance and moved towards DeGaulle Airport, ready to escape France.
On board an airliner, Diana Burnwood told 47 that she was aware that the Agency was being targeted by an unknown group and 47 asked if she "has enough money for the upcoming hit", leading to the events of Hitman: Blood Money.
Due to licensing issues with a song featured in the game ("Immortal" by Clutch), Hitman: Contracts did not get a release on the online distribution service Steam, until 2014, despite all other Hitman games being released on the platform.
Contracts features twelve missions, least of all hitman titles (except the episodic HITMAN). Half of the missions are a remake of the missions from Codename 47, while the rest are either related to the said missions, taking place before or after them or are completely new.
All twelve of the game's missions take place at night time, including the remake ones, unlike the original missions from Codename 47.
- Deadly Cargo (Remake of the missions Gunrunner's Paradise and Plutonium Runs Loose from Hitman: Codename 47, combining two missions into one).
- Traditions of the Trade (Remake of a mission from Hitman: Codename 47 of the same name).
- Slaying a Dragon (Remake of the mission Kowloon Triads in Gang War from Hitman: Codename 47).
- The Wang Fou Incident (Remake of the mission Ambush at the Wang Fou Restaurant from Hitman: Codename 47).
- The Seafood Massacre (Remake of the Massacre at Cheung Chau Fish Restaurant from Hitman: Codename 47).
- The Lee Hong Assassination (Remake of the mission of Hitman: Codename 47 with the same name).
- Red Dragon Negotiator
- Blue Lotus Emissary
- 6 Unnamed Blue Lotus Triad members
- Hong Kong Chief of Police
- Red Dragon Negotiator
- Blue Lotus Negotiator
- Lee Hong
- Philippe Berceuse (accomplished at mission start)
- Richard Delahunt (accomplished at mission start)
- Albert Fournier
Hitman: Contracts features highest amount of weapons than any other hitman title.
- SG220 .S
- Gold Desert Eagle
- Magnum 500
- Micro Uzi
- MP5 Sub-Machine Gun
- AUG Sub-Machine Gun
- MP9 Sub-Machine Gun
- M4 Carbine Assault Rifle
- Enforcer Sniper Rifle
- R93 Sniper Rifle
- PGM Sniper Rifle
- Dragunov Sniper Rifle
- W2000 Sniper Rifle
- SPAS 12 Shotgun
- Sawn Off Shotgun
- Double-Barreled Shotgun
- M60 Light Machine Gun
- Mini Gun
- Fiber Wire
- Fire Poker
- Pool Cue
- Stun Gun
- Kitchen Knife
- Meat Cleaver
- Bolt Gun
- Chinese Sword
- Meat Hook
Hitman: Contracts Original Soundtrack was composed by Jesper Kyd, composer of previous titles' soundtracks and was released in 2004. The score features the same Latin choral arrangements as in all the other scores; however, they are heavily sampled and mixed into the dark electronic soundscape. The score was awarded the title of "Best Original Music" at the 2005 BAFTA Games Awards.
The game did fairly well, but did not get as good ratings as its predecessor. IGN gave the game an 8.4, calling it a "Moody, Dark and brilliant stealthy, Contracts doesn't raise the bar, it holds it steady". GameRankings gave it 79.92% on PS2, 77.57% on Xbox and 75.14% on PC. Metacritic gave the game 80 on PS2, 78 on Xbox, and 74 on PC, and reviewed saying "Elaborate levels and multiple paths you can take to solve the mission take you a long way in making you forget about the lack of narrative element. Hitman Contracts is an amazing, dark game, but feels a bit undercooked in storyline, however beats Hitman 2 in 'accidental kills' and more approaches.". IMDb gave the game a 7.4 out of 10. Gamespot gave the game a 7.4, commenting "Hitman contracts delivers some time-tested and sometimes highly entertaining stealth action, which any fan of the genre might as well check out". Eurogamer gave the game an 8.
The user score of Hitman Contracts went up till 84. As of 2009, the game has sold 2 million copies.
- The doctor who is operating on the Agent 47 is a reference to a movie Payback With Mel Gibson, where is Mel Gibson's character Porter is shot in the back, like Agent 47 (shot in the liver) and the doctor is using whiskey to sterilize the operating instruments, but not before he takes a sip of whiskey from a flask. The scenes are all most indentical.
- The "AK-74" in-game is actually modeled on the AK-101
- This game is a part of the Hitman HD Trilogy.
- The mission name "Hunter and Hunted" appeared again in Hitman: Absolution.
- This game features more weapons than any Hitman game.
- This game features 10 dual weapons making a unique feature in any Hitman game.
- This game is unique in the case that when a victim gets injured by a hit, they will drop on the floor in pain and will not die depending upon the situation or weapon.
- On the Xbox 360 Hitman HD Trilogy, the saved games in Contracts could glitch resulting in every game to be dated 11/22 resulting in saved games getting severely disorganized; even the time of day is off.
- It's the only Hitman game to include Spanish or other available languages after getting to Steam with the version 1.75 and Square Enix support, Hitman 2 and Blood Money with Spanish language is only available on PS3 and is not on PC on retail or Steam, the 1.74 version only comes in English language in retail or GOG.
- Only the Steam version which comes with 1.75 update comes with widescreen support and up to 1920 x 1080 resolution on PC, retail or GOG version with 1.74 update does not come with widescreen resolution support making 1600 x 1200 the maximum resolution available.
- The European release of the Hitman Collection on PC is DRM-free and already patched to the latest version 1.74.
- All of this game's missions take place at night, most of them with rainy weather unlike their original versions.
- Loading saved game in HD Trilogy on Xbox 360 triggers a sound glitch where it sounds like you're outside in the rain despite being indoors.
- Once cover is blown, any change of disguise will not fool the guards for even a second.