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Back Catalogue: Hitman: Codename 47

What is it about?

Hitman: Codename 47 marks the inception of the illustrious third person stealth shooter franchise. Agent 47, the protagonist is a professional assassin who works for the International Contract Agency (ICA) and is briefed about his missions by his ICA contact, Diana Burnwood. Even though Hitman: Codename 47 starts very vaguely and progresses with one assassination mission after another, everything starts to make sense in the later part of the game in what turns out to be the story of Agent 47’s birth and existence. Developed by Denmark based IO interactive and published by Eidos Interactive, Hitman: Codename 47 was released on Windows in 2000.

Why should I play it now?

Codename 47 may not be the most realistic stealth shooter in the world, but it emphasizes stealth in a very fun-to-play manner. Almost all of the missions feature linear turn of events, but the game offers a fairly open approach to these missions. You’ll have several options to work with, in which you take your target out covertly and escape to your rendezvous point unnoticed. The game seldom entertains all out action in the missions, while it rewards you with extra cash if you implement stealth well. Codename 47 also features good attention to detail as far as weapons and environments are concerned. You’ll be travelling around the globe as you progress and equipping yourself with suitable weaponry for each environment goes hand in hand with your mission difficulty. With Hitman: Absolution having just been released, if you’re into or looking to get into stealth games, then the Hitman series is a fine choice and this is where it all begins.

How does it hold up today?

It has been more than a decade since the game released, and age has taken its toll on Codename 47. The visuals look dated as the Hitman’s bald head appears more like a polygon now. However, the visuals still retain that conceptual stealth design panache and a befitting soundtrack complements the visuals well. Voice acting is certainly not a selling point for the game. Apparently, not just Agent 47, but most of the non-playable characters (NPC) have been cloned as well, so expect a lot of duplicate NPCs. Where the game stands out remarkably well is with the difficulty level it offers. The game is quite challenging even in ‘Easy’ mode, especially by today’s standards. It takes about twelve hours to beat the game on average and with the variety that it offers in locales and weapons, it certainly is a value for money game.

Is it similar to anything else out there?

Although Hitman: Codename 47 is not the first ever third person stealth shooter and takes several cues from Hollywood flicks, it certainly offers a unique experience. The control system is one aspect that makes the game different. Even though Codename 47 features a third person view, Agent 47 moves in a very constrained, professional manner which also translates into the input movements such as walk, run, strafe, etc. Another aspect that makes the game unique is the way it poses to be a stealth sim while in reality, there is a very fun game hidden underneath. The later Hitman games are the only ones to share the similarity with Codename 47. Oh, and not many protagonists are bar-coded on the back of their heads.

What do I need to play this?

Any Windows based PC that packs a Pentium II class processor, 64 MB of RAM, 400 MB of Hard Disk space and 12 MB of video memory should play the game fine. Looking at these requirements, I wish the game had been ported to mobile phone operating systems as well. I played the game on my Windows 7 based PC and did not face any compatibility issues.

‘When I played through…’

I initially tried hard to go all Rambo on my targets, but then Codename 47 put me in my place. It was a difficult phase and I had to redo missions several times to get my act right. Wherever I could smell some slack, I tried to cheat the game and unleash my trigger-happy finger. I used to be lousy with stealth based games in my childhood. But with hindsight being a luxury now, I turned out to be a pretty neat stealth assassin in the end thanks to Codename 47.

Is there anything else I should be aware of (ie mods, crazy glitches, contribution to pop culture, Internet meme, etc)?

Codename: 47 had a ton of bugs when it released. Patches have ironed out most of them, but still the game is very bug-ridden. Thankfully, there’s nothing game-breaking though. And one more thing that you should be aware of is that Codename 47 is not a realistic game, even though it poses like one. Don’t expect your foes to go down with one pistol round. On the flip side, you can look forward to a lot of funny AI reactions throughout the game.

Where do I get it?

Steam offers Hitman: Codename 47 for 9.99$ but GOG.com offers a much better deal with the DRM free downloadable copy sold at 5.99 $. You’re good even if you are looking to buy a physical copy of the game as local retailers have the Hitman Collection in stock. The collection includes all four games released prior to Absolution on the PC for Rs.679 – a pretty sweet price for an excellent series. However, please note that the physical copies are not Steam-compatible.

Feeling lucky?

If you’re feeling lucky, then we’ve got codes for Hitman: Codename 47 to give away courtesy GOG. Simply post your views on this Back Catalogue feature in the comments section below, or just let us know that you’d like a code (we’re nice like that). Also, don’t forget to mention your IVG forum ID in the comment so that we can PM you the giveaway code.

Let us know what you think of our Back Catalogue retrospective feature, or tell us which classic games you’d like to see featured in the future in the comments section below or in the corresponding discussion thread at the IVG community forums.

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