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Htiman Contracts a rambling little review

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Anonymous
April 20, 2005 3:39:16 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.action (More info?)

Just picked up (and finished) this title at Wally World for under $10.
(They also have Jedi Knight 2 and that other Starwars RTS game for under
$10).

Anyway, I really enjoyed it, especially for the cheap price. The game has
a dark slightly disturbing feel and moody well done graphics. Almost every
single outdoor enviornment is full of rain, wind or snow, mostly for mood
and to help aid in the illusion of stealth. (Side Note: Amongst the
frequently graphic violence, the game is sprinkled with sexually suggestive
senarios, so why does a game so violent (and solidly M-ature in rating), not
have nudity? It's okay to show someone chopped up, bloody, and hanging from
a meat hook, but it's not okay to show us a pair of tits? Who showers with
their clothes on? Give me a break!)

The game play is surprising good for a game played mostly in 3rd person. (I
wish GTA3 could do so well, and frankly there's no reason why it should be
as good... damn console whores at rockstar...). I usually only slipped
into 1st person view when I wanted to get serious about combat. Some
actions will always pop you out into 3rd person view if you aren't already
in it. I really enjoyed playing the game from the two different
perspectives... stealth or agression. I played on "expert" which usually
meant only two saves per level. These limited saves really helped to
increase the tension of the game. (Rather unrealistically, I was able to
take a lot of damage before going down, but considering the limited saves
and the ease at which you can get caught, it was a necessary evil that
helped balance the game).

Most my enjoyment came from two things. First of all, I just really like
what the designers did with AI. Games like this one (to which I would add
Thief and Splinter Cell) go a long way to experiment with the concept of
stealth and in turn this creates more realism which finally (for me) creates
much better immersion. The enemy NPCs act a certain way while the
"innocent" NPCs react differently. I'm hoping they will play around more
and more with this kind of AI in the future. Splinter Cell, to me, was very
similar that Hitman but much more linear. Thief 3 didn't get great reviews,
so I never picked it up, but I probably should. Oh, another title that I
enjoyed similar to these games was "Ghost Master" which on first look may
seem like apples in oranges, but the gameplay is actually similiar.

The second thing I really enjoyed about the game was it's non-linear nature.
I've been a big FPS fan since the early years and IMO, the non-linear trend
is a big evolution in the genre. Other will disagree and that's cool, but
for me, non-linearism is the way of the future for FPS. It's why, in the
end, I have no problem making a firm vote for Far Cry over HL2, but I'm not
trying to start a flame war. I realize different gamers are looking for
different fullfillments. It's really been after playing this game that I
have realized that for me non-linearism is where it's at, and there's no
turning back. Now when I play a game on rails it has a hollow feeling no
matter how good it is otherwise. Anyway, I digress. You can play Hitman
like any other bang bang agression fest, or you can try to do the stealth
thing. I was able to score Silent Assassion on all level except three (but
the week is young), and I was likewise able to murder every living thing.
The variety of ways in which you can execute your target is also refreshing.
Poison, explosion, by hand (with a variety of weapons), etc.

The game needs to have a way to turn off lights without having to shoot them
out (which is stupid). The game needs a way to kill unconsious people by
hand (sometimes you just need to do that) and there should have been a way
to knock someone out with a club-like action. Also, it would have been
nice to re-lock doors or to otherwise have more opportunities to hide bodies
in places they are sure not to be found. Although I enjoyed trying to
achieve the "Silent Assassion" status, there really isn't much of a reward
system for doing so, so the motivation for doing it really only exists in
the satisfaction of the gameplay itself. (Anyone else get SA for the last
level?) Of course as is always the case with modern games, it could have
been longer, but I totally got my $10 worth and would have gladly paid $30
or maybe more (which I will do for the Hitman 3 which, as I understand, is
supposed to be using a new engine). While playing Hitman 2, I found that
some levels were very difficult and very very long with the tiniest flaw
costing you 20 minutes of play. (I recall the tundra senario with the
tunnel and the towers at the end being an especially brutal level from HM2).
That kind of frustration was absent for HM3.

Oh, there have been complaints that "Contracts" was often just a replay of
older previous senarios from HM1 & HM2, but I didn't really recognize any.
Then again, I never played HM1, except the demo. The game was a lot more
clunky in HM1 and didn't interest me. I did play the HM1 demo and I can say
that I recognzied that level remade in "contracts" although it had a total
make over to the point that significantly different strategies were needed
to solve the level. So for all I know there was a lot more stealing from
HM1 than I realized. Didn't bother me though.

As for the story itself.. so so... I still don't get what the first asylum
level was about.

Anyway, it's a sweet little game that should have gotten more praise than it
did. If you like non-linear stealth games with a dark underbelly that make
you think a little, check this one out. I'm looking forward to HM3 which is
supposed to raise the bar even more for realism and attention to detail.
April 20, 2005 7:11:41 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.action (More info?)

> The game needs to have a way to turn off lights without having to shoot
> them
> out (which is stupid).

I think you can do this in Hitman2, although not all lights have
switches of course.

rms
Anonymous
April 20, 2005 7:11:42 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.action (More info?)

"rms" <rsquires@flashREMOVE.net> wrote in message
news:Niu9e.791$fw2.706@newssvr33.news.prodigy.com...
> > The game needs to have a way to turn off lights without having to shoot
> > them
> > out (which is stupid).
>
> I think you can do this in Hitman2, although not all lights have
> switches of course.
>
> rms

True, in "contracts" there were a couple of times where you could throw the
breaker, but I'd like to see something more along the lines of Splinter
Cell. Of course then you'd have to program the AI turn the lights on again,
so like anything else it's more complicated to program than you might first
assume.

>
>
Related resources
Anonymous
April 21, 2005 1:07:27 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.action (More info?)

JoeSmooth wrote:
> The game play is surprising good for a game played mostly in 3rd person. (I
> wish GTA3 could do so well, and frankly there's no reason why it should be
> as good... damn console whores at rockstar...).

Why this GTA3 criticism? Movement in GTA is ok at least, I find it
superb compared with most 3rd person games: driv3r, the getaway, true
crimes, and a long etc.
Anonymous
April 21, 2005 9:16:08 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.action (More info?)

> Thief 3 didn't get great reviews, so I never picked it up, but I probably
> should.

Thief: DS was one of my top three games of '04. I highly recommend it,
especially since you can pick it up for under $20 (at Wally World, no less).
Playable in either TPS or FPS. True to the original first two games, imo.

My 2¢,

f_f
Anonymous
April 21, 2005 11:37:52 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.action (More info?)

"JoeSmooth" <f@ke.70053> wrote in message
news:4265c30a$0$3457$4d5ecec7@reader.city-net.com...
> Just picked up (and finished) this title at Wally World for under $10.
> (They also have Jedi Knight 2 and that other Starwars RTS game for under
> $10).
>
> Anyway, I really enjoyed it, especially for the cheap price. The game
has
> a dark slightly disturbing feel and moody well done graphics. Almost
every
> single outdoor enviornment is full of rain, wind or snow, mostly for mood
> and to help aid in the illusion of stealth. (Side Note: Amongst the
> frequently graphic violence, the game is sprinkled with sexually
suggestive
> senarios, so why does a game so violent (and solidly M-ature in rating),
not
> have nudity? It's okay to show someone chopped up, bloody, and hanging
from
> a meat hook, but it's not okay to show us a pair of tits? Who showers
with
> their clothes on? Give me a break!)

Yeah that was one of the most memorable games I've played especially since I
went for 100% silent assasin. Definitely not one for the kiddies.

Just a shame that there were only 12 or so levels with a few repeats.

I still replay the English Manor level every now and again.
Anonymous
April 21, 2005 11:37:53 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.action (More info?)

On Thu, 21 Apr 2005 19:37:52 +0700, "Ragemaster Randy"
<vivasawadee@yahoo.comski> wrote:


>Yeah that was one of the most memorable games I've played especially since I
>went for 100% silent assasin. Definitely not one for the kiddies.
>
>Just a shame that there were only 12 or so levels with a few repeats.
>
>I still replay the English Manor level every now and again.
>
>

I got Hitman2 with my retail Audigy2 and I have to say it's about the
best game I've recieved bundled with hardware. I did get NOLF with a
vid card once but I had already bought and played that. I bought
Contracts and it was pretty good but it was really just an extended
add-on to Hitman2 and not a new version. Looking forward to Hitman3
though as that will be a majorly upgraded version.
Anonymous
April 22, 2005 8:56:28 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.action (More info?)

"Matamanolos" <nomail@nomail.com> wrote in message
news:4266ee8a$1_1@x-privat.org...
> JoeSmooth wrote:
> > The game play is surprising good for a game played mostly in 3rd person.
(I
> > wish GTA3 could do so well, and frankly there's no reason why it should
be
> > as good... damn console whores at rockstar...).
>
> Why this GTA3 criticism? Movement in GTA is ok at least, I find it
> superb compared with most 3rd person games: driv3r, the getaway, true
> crimes, and a long etc.

First of all, to be clear and typo free, I meant to say "why it shouldN'T be
as good", but I think you got the meaning. Second of all, to be clear, I
love the GTA3 series. I would like a true 1st person perspective in GTA3
that felt like a real FPS, including a FPS view in the car which is possible
but severly handicapped compared to 3rd person view (not even having a rear
view mirror). All this JMO.
Anonymous
April 22, 2005 8:57:26 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.action (More info?)

> I bought
> Contracts and it was pretty good but it was really just an extended
> add-on to Hitman2 and not a new version.

Agreed.
Anonymous
April 23, 2005 12:09:49 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.action (More info?)

JoeSmooth wrote:
> Second of all, to be clear, I
> love the GTA3 series. I would like a true 1st person perspective in GTA3
> that felt like a real FPS, including a FPS view in the car which is possible
> but severly handicapped compared to 3rd person view (not even having a rear
> view mirror). All this JMO.

Ok, all valid points and I'm with you.
Greetings!
Gus.
!