11.16 The Cooler
This Week in Unnecessary Censorship (11/15/12)

‘Hitman’: The Five Best Levels

By 11.16.12

After six very long years, Agent 47 is coming back. And has he ever been missed.

The Hitman series is arguably finally coming back at just the right time. Video games have increasingly become about strategy and options, puzzle games where you evaluate the terrain, make a decision, and then take action. It’s easy to forget that this is a relatively recent development, and that quite a few games have at least a little of Hitman in them.

One thing that has always made the franchise stand out, however, is its clever level design. IO Interactive is brilliant when it comes to designing levels, and puzzles inside them, that fit perfectly together and happen to be both fun and brain-teasing.

So, before we go forward next week, let’s take a look back, at some of the franchise’s heights.

The Final Massacre Level Of Any of The Games

It’s a standing Hitman tradition that the last level of the game, after thinking your way past some complex puzzles, the game hands you a bunch of weapons and a bucket of ammo and tells you: “Go ape! You’ve earned it!” Whether it’s hiding a minigun for you to mow through the 48s, or waking up at your own funeral with the standing order to leave no witnesses, it’s always a hoot.

Murder Of The Crows from Hitman: Blood Money

IO Interactive can have a very dry sense of humor, no more so when you discover that one of your targets can be bumped off with a wire, a mine, a bullet… or a piano dropped on her head.

The fact that you wind up committing some truly heinous acts in mascot suits really just adds to the comedy of the proceedings. It’s one of the funniest moments in a game that can often be hilarious.

Plutonium Runs Loose from Hitman: Agent 47

Hitman works best when there’s time pressure, and this level is all about time pressure, since you need to make the guards vanish, disable the security systems on a dock, storm a ship, take down or avoid the guards and get to the engine room to disable a nuclear weapons.

Shogun Showdown from Hitman: Silent Assassin

It’s an amazing level in terms of gameplay: This is an area where, if you so choose, you can climb to the top of a tower and take on a man with a katana before pulling off a helicopter getaway.

But it’s also well-written in the small moments. First of all, it leads up to a crowning moment of demonstrating just how ruthless 47 actually is, and secondly, if you pay attention, you learn your target is heartbroken at having to bury his son.

He still needs to die, but it brings across the nature of who you’re playing very well.

Curtains Down from Hitman: Blood Money

Because, of all the kills you can pull off in the course of the game, there’s none quite so satisfyingly complex and sneaky as how you can send that actor off to his final reward with a Silent Assassin rating.

We’re looking forward to Hitman: Absolution, as from what we’ve seen level design is just as clever. But it’s got one immaculately tailored suit to fill, regardless.


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