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Hitman: Contracts
Score: 86%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Developer: IO Interactive
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action/ Shooter

Graphics & Sound:
Hitman: Contracts is both beautiful and ugly. While it's true that some of the environments as a whole look pretty good, certain aspects take a lot away from them. Most games try to conceal flaws, but this one seems to almost glorify them. All games on this planet will re-use textures, and that's a good thing. But Contracts makes it all too obvious (blood stains of the door, anybody?), which takes away from the realism this game could otherwise provide.

On the audio side of things, Contracts does a number of good things, starting from the vocals and ending with the gunfire. Throughout the entire time you're playing, the game will always keep you drawn in close due to the audio, both in-game, and during information screens or between-level cut scenes. The only problem that arose was the drastic change in volume from some areas to others.

Another chapter in the Hitman series takes to the streets with Eidos' Hitman: Contracts. And again, our hero plays silent assassin. It's time for Agent 47 it kick ass and chew bubblegum, but he's all out of gum (okay, okay, I stole that from the great Carpenter flick, They Live). Much like the first two games in the Hitman series, you control peoples' destinies in a hit or miss game of gunplay and using your smarts.

As a man whose mission is to assassinate, the bald Agent 47 more or less has two ways to go about his business: kill, or be killed. And since nobody enjoys being on the wrong side of death, it's your mission to use as much stealth as possible when going after your enemies. Within each level, there are many paths you can take. The obvious route is always with guns a-blazin', but the wise route would be to use cover and sneak through the security in place. As always, the Hitman's most valuable cover is by way of disguises. Use them properly, and missions are a relative breeze.

The hardest part of any mission, however, IS the disguise. There are times when you may think you'll be able to walk right past the guards, but won't be able to because the wrong disguise is being worn or your weapon may be of the wrong type (or simply not holstered). Because of this, Hitman: Contracts could almost be considered a trial-and-error type of game. The difference would only be based on the difficulty settings you choose.

Hitman: Contracts once again offers three difficulty levels. Normal allows for 7 saves per level and Expert allows you to save twice, while Professional is the most intense with no saves allotted. In addition, each step up in difficulty is a step down on the amount of damage Agent 47 can withstand. While all of these do factor into the game, it is still up to you to make life easy on yourself by using stealth instead of firepower.

Game Mechanics:
On the plus side, Contracts allows you to see things through the eyes of a Hitman at any time you like with the switchable first/third person view. This adds a ton to the game, because now aiming is much easier. And when completing a mission is dependant on as few shots as necessary, this is a big bonus. On the down side (

-Woody, GameVortex Communications
AKA Shane Wodele

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