It’s fair to assume that 2016 was an impressive year for the Hitman reboot’s experimental episodic structure. What was at first considered by many to be a slight misstep for IO Interactive’s popular Hitman stealth franchise eventually turned out to be a rallying return to form which let players crack each piece of content wide open rather than immediately move on to the next.
We at IGCritic felt it necessary to highlight some of the very best assassination contracts in all of Hitman history, specifically the targets and locations that stayed within our minds as being prime examples of how to perfectly garrotte someone without them having an inkling. Spoiler alert, things are about to get messy – but memorable!
10. A New Life (Blood Money)
The first Hitman contract on this list tasked Agent 47 to kill Cuban crime lord Vinnie “Slugger” Sinistra within the confines of his own home, during his youngest child’s birthday party no less – Now that’s dark! A New Life is notable for being one of the few missions in Blood Money to take place on an everyday suburban street rather than the underground bunkers or high-class institutes veteran players have come to expect, presenting you with a disguised FBI van to mess with, clown costume to try on, and even a garbage truck in which to dispose of the bodies. Let your inner children’s entertainer run free!
9. Anathema (Silent Assassin)
The very first interaction with the Hitman series proper for many, being the first mission to feature in Silent Assassin (the first game to come to consoles), Anathema was a masterclass in relaying to players the “playground” concept these games have become known for. You start by being dropped off in front of a heavily guarded mansion that’s just begging to be broken into, but it’s also possible to sneak in once taking out Giuseppe Guillani’s original flower delivery man. See where we’re going? Anathema is chock full of ways to get the job done, expertly setting up the freedom of choice to come with later levels.
8. World of Tomorrow (Hitman 2016 Episode 2)
Taking place in Hitman 2016’s small coastal setting of Sapienza, World of Tomorrow made a big impression in 2016, having all the merits that a classic Hitman assassination contract should. Featuring over 25 individual disguises to play around in, multiple challenges to accomplish, and three separate targets to takeout, World of Tomorrow represents the series’ more open-endedness when compared to the assassination missions of old but the truth is no matter which location you start at, the mission is full of roles to take on, assassination methods to perform, all against the gorgeous backdrop of an Italian rural town.
7. The Bjarkhav bomb (Contracts)
“Cold” in every sense of the word, The Bjarkhov bomb is one of the few assassination contracts featured in Hitman Contracts to not be a remake of one of the franchise’s original missions (thank you flashback sequences). Whilst attempting to take out no less than two elusive targets within the remote base in wintery Siberia, Agent 47 isn’t short of approaches to take. Whether it’s by offering your hit a sketchy drink or going it old school with your trusty syringe, The Bjarkhov bomb’s final moments that sees you sink a submarine ultimately proves that cool guys don’t look at explosions.
6. Shaving Lenny (Absolution)
One of the most conventional assassination contracts to feature in the slightly more narrative-driven but underappreciated Hitman Absolution, Shaving Lenny (as the name suggests) provides Agent 47 with many opportunities in which to place target Lenny Dexter ‘close to the edge’. What makes this mission so great is the very confined, but very detailed street/shop setting that you can explore as you strive to take down not only Lenny, but his entire gang as well. It goes without saying that donning the barber get up is the swiftest method of reaching your target in time, but not before exploding a few BBQs electrocuting a few gates, or swapping out some hot sauces along the way.
5. St Petersburg Stakeout (Silent Assassin)
An undeniable classic of the Hitman series, so much so that it got remade in turn-based mobile form with Hitman Go, St Petersburg Stakeout was one of Silent Assassin’s most sprawling levels that tasked Agent 47 to eliminate an unidentified Russian army general. You can choose to assassinate the target either from afar thanks to the convenient placement of an opposite tower block, or sneak in to the classified meeting ninja style in the guise of an FSB agent or solider. This can often prove more challenging than expected however, as getting behind an unaware bystander out in the open requires skill. If all goes well the mission will go from stakeout to takeout, well done 47.
4. A Murder of Crows (Blood Money)
Perhaps one of the most recognisable assassination contracts present in a Hitman game, and not only because it had a brief cameo in the original film-adaptation that nobody saw. A Murder of Crows instantly impressed with its crowd physics which saw hundreds of NPCs flood the screen (a feature expanded upon in Hitman Absolution’s Terminal mission), challenging Agent 47 to carry out his hit without alerting any one of the many potential witnesses. Of course all sense of logic and tension can immediately be thrown out of the window by dressing up as a chicken, but who cares providing you take out the three required targets.
3. The King of Chinatown (Absolution)
One of Hitman Absolution’s most open locations that veered away from the more linear approach, The King of Chinatown sees Agent 47 return to business as usual following a short tutorial level, this time amongst the midst of a jam-packed Chinatown district. The contract starts by you needing to locate the target, before eventually ending his life through any one of a dozen methods. Be it through poisoned food, an unsuspecting explosion in the back of an alley, or even dropping some conveniently suspended cargo atop his head, The King of Chinatown was our first taste of a truly open Hitman level in glorious HD.
2. Flatline (Blood Money)
You sometimes forget just how much of a cultural impact Blood Money initially had back in 2006, delivering hit after hit in terms of memorable assassination contracts and yet another example of this is Flatline. Requiring Agent 47 to successfully infiltrate a rehab centre to gain an audience with his target, you’re able to do this either by posing as a member of staff or genuinely checking in as a patient but at the risk of losing your classic baller pistols. However you choose to take it on, it’s safe to say the doctor won’t be seeing his patients any time soon
1. Curtains Down (Silent Assassin)
It was always inevitable for Agent 47 to pay a visit to a theatre when on assignment, he is dressed for the occasion after all. Curtains down is a series highlight mainly because it presented players with the ability to explore a fully traversable open house theatre, offering plentiful choice in terms of gaining the perfect vantage point. Rather aptly, your target is most vulnerable when rehearsing an execution scene, letting you get very creative in how you take them out with dramatic effect. Whether it’s by replacing a fake gun with the genuine article or elaborately dropping the chandelier on his head, the show will most definitely not go on this time around.