Hitman 2: Silent Assassin

Hitman 2: Silent Assassin is a stealth game developed by IO Interactive and published by Eidos Interactive. It was released for the Xbox game console on September 30, 2002 and is the second entry in the Hitman series and the sequel to Hitman: Codename 47. Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 2 versions of the game were released on October 1, 2002, and a GameCube version was later released on June 19, 2003. The game was re-released for Windows through the Steam online distribution service. A commercial success, the game has sold more than 3.7 million copies as of April 23, 2009 and is the best selling Hitman game to date.

In the game, players assume the role of an assassin known as Agent 47. The game advances as players carry out contract killings by solving puzzles to arrange for stealthy, untraceable assassinations.

Gameplay: Hitman 2 features mission-based gameplay. On each level, the main character, known only as 47, is given a set of objectives to complete. Most levels require the assassination of one or more people. However, how missions are completed is up to the player, and there are almost always a variety of ways to complete missions. Instead of simply running and gunning through the mission, one can set traps, like poisoning a drink, to terminate the target in silence. Some missions have assassination possibilities unique to the level.

47 can find disguises or remove them from an incapacitated person to blend in with his surroundings and access restricted areas. This plays in with the “suspicion” system; a bar beside the health meter on the HUD represents how much suspicion 47 garners. There are multiple ways to blend in more effectively; for example, the player can make sure to carry an AK-47 assault rifle while disguised as a Russian soldier. Despite the usage of a uniform, being nearer to fellow guards will simply increase the suspicion as they would have an opportunity to more closely examine 47. Also, running, climbing and being in restricted places are other ways to garner concern.

47’s cover can be blown if suspicion gets too high, and the disguise will no longer be of any use. It is possible to switch between multiple disguises throughout the level.

Hitman 2 also uses the concept of a post-mission ranking system, in which the player is given a status based on how they completed the mission, rated along a stealthy-aggressive axis, between “Silent Assassin,” a stealthy player who manages to complete the level without being noticed and only killing two non targeting people excluding the intended target(s), and “Mass Murderer,” a non-stealthy player who kills everyone. The game rewards the player for critical thinking and problem solving, encouraging the player not to treat the game as a simple shooter. Achieving Silent Assassin status on multiple missions rewards the player with bonus weapons. These weapons, plus items found in previous levels, can be carried over into future ones, allowing for differing means of accomplishing the tasks. Big weapons like rifles and shotguns cannot be concealed, thus the player has to either be wearing an appropriate disguise to match the weapon, or make sure no one sees the player use it.

Plot

Agent 47 has left behind his life as an assassin and retreated to a church in Sicily to seek peace. He works as a gardener for Father Vittorio, his best friend and mentor. 47 attends a confession to admit his sins, but Vittorio understands and believes 47 is decent at heart. Father Vittorio is kidnapped and a ransom note is left for 47. 47 decides to go back to his old job as an assassin to track down Father Vittorio. He contacts his agency, who thought he was dead, and makes a deal with his handler, Diana. He will work for them if the agency can help him locate Father Vittorio. They accept the deal.

Diana informs 47 that Father Vittorio was kidnapped by a Sicilian Mafia capo named Giuseppe Giuliano. The man is holding the priest in a cell under his mansion, dubbed Villa Borghese. 47 infiltrates and kills Giuliano, but fails to find his friend. He is later told that a satellite image shows Father Vittorio being taken away by ‘Russian-looking types in uniform’.

47 works with the Agency to repay their attempt to find Vittorio. After both sides are satisfied the deal is fulfilled, 47 negotiates for a pay raise and continues to accept contracts. He travels to different countries, including Russia, Japan, Afghanistan, Malaysia and India, to carry out his missions, assassinating the assigned targets ranging from terrorists and criminal bosses to enemy agents and generals. Eventually 47 gives up his search for Vittorio, believing him to be dead.

47 eventually learns that Vittorio’s kidnapping was a ploy orchestrated by Russian mafioso Sergei Zavorotko, the brother of one of the men 47 was cloned from, to lure 47 out of retirement. Zavorotko, who has ties to the Russian government and military, had recently purchased a nuclear warhead on the black market and needed to silence everyone involved in the deal; all of 47’s targets were individuals involved in the transaction, and Zavorotko was responsible for hiring 47 on all of the jobs. 47 attempts to kill Zavorotko, but is ambushed by 17, one of the prototype clones made before 47. 47 kills 17 and pursues Zavorotko back to Sicily, where he is using Father Vittorio as a lure to draw 47 out into the open.

Infiltrating Vittorio’s church, 47 discovers it being patrolled by several of Zavorotko’s henchmen. 47 kills them all and eventually corners and kills Zavorotko as he holds Father Vittorio hostage in the church’s confessional. Vittorio gives 47 his rosary and begs him to follow a good path. 47, having decided he is incapable of finding inner peace, leaves the rosary on the church door and resumes his life as a hitman.

MIA: S.T.A.L.K.E.R. (preview)

game previewPUBLISHER: THQ DEVELOPER: GSC Game World GENRE: First-Person Shooter RELEASE DATE: Spring 2007

BACK IN 2003, WE DISCOVERED
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl and hoped some American publisher would snap up the promising shooter. THQ became that company. The only problem is, three years later, we’re still waiting. Meanwhile, rumors circulate about major changes and the possibility that the project is on the chopping block. We had a candid conversation with Dean Sharpe, the producer
hired to help Ukrainian developer GSC Game World fi nish its forever-delayed morning-afterthe- mushroom-cloud thriller.

CGW: And so those rumors regarding S.T.A.L.K.E.R.’s fate…? Dean Sharpe: The fact that THQ was willing to ship me to Kiev for a year shows the company’s commitment to the title.

CGW: So what happened? Were the original plans for S.T.A.L.K.E.R. too ambitious or too time-consuming? DS: I think that S.T.A.L.K.E.R. suffered from wanting to be too many things to too many people. Everyone on the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. team wants it to be perfect. It’s just that, at some point, you have to tie up the loose ends and make it as good as it can be with the time you
have available. The guys at GSC Game World could probably work on this game for another number of years and still not be satisfi ed that they did all they could.

CGW: So what exactly happened? What needed to be changed?
DS: When I fi rst came on board, I asked the team where we should focus our energy for the
time we had left in development. The tough part comes from asking what things to remove.
They came back with things they felt were not as fun or applicable to the game as they initially thought, but every feature that makes S.T.A.L.K.E.R. what it is has remained. Sleeping and eating, for example, we removed because they didn’t add to the overall experience, not because of time constraints. Then there are the vehicles. We’re making calls in the coming weeks to see if they add to the experience or [if they’re] just an excuse for us to say, “Hey, we have vehicles in the game.” Ultimately, I think you always shoot for the sky and then pull back as needed.

CGW: Early in development, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. was a showcase for DirectX 9’s capabilities. Now that DirectX 10 is just around the corner, are you concerned that it may not hold up? DS: We will ship with DX8 and DX9. With that said, I believe that the DX9 renderer holds up very well with other titles releasing with DX10. I didn’t see anything at E3 this year any more graphically impressive than S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

CGW: Seriously? Not even Crysis? What about S.T.A.L.K.E.R.—aside from its appearance— stands out so much?
DS: No question, the feel of the game. When I first played S.T.A.L.K.E.R., it took me to a place that I had never been before. If you can make someone feel like they are actually there, then I think you’ve really accomplished something.

CGW: Here’s the most important question: Vodka serves as a medkit in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Is it really the cure-all for a postmeltdown Chernobyl?
DS: Are you kidding? They think that right now! People here believe that vodka can truly heal just about any ailment. I have a really bad head cold right now, and my team swears a shot of peppered vodka would cure me. If I don’t get better in a few days, then it’s bottoms up.

High Stakes Pool (2006)

Cool is the rule with High Stakes Pool, the 8-ball, 9-ball or pocket billiard online pool game!

Turn up the pressure with High Stakes Pool! This free online arcade game from Pogo.com is a single, two or three-player table game that lets you play against friends, the computer or just knock around a few practice balls to improve your online pool game. Play the angles. Fine tune your shots. Sink the “Bonus Ball.” Score points and win tokens from your friends. We call it High Stakes Pool for good reason. It’s online pool at its best.

Lego Star Wars 2 The Original Trilogy

game Features:
~~~~~~~~~
* Expands upon all of the fun and creativity that made the original LEGO
Star Wars such a hit, this time set during the original three Star Wars
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speeder bikes and more) and mount creatures (from the banthas of desert
Tatooine to the tauntauns of frigid Hoth) through on-foot levels.
* Now, all non-droid characters – not just those with the Force – have the
power to build.
* Unlock more than 50 playable characters, from cultural icons like Luke,
Leia and Darth Vader to fan favorites such as Greedo, Jawas and Gamorrean
guards.
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Blair Witch Volume 3: The Elly Kedward Tale

game info: The Blair Witch Mythos are much larger than what the movie might have left to intend. So much that they’ve been easily crossed with Nocturne’s own timeline to produce a trilogy of games based on the Nocturne engine! In episode 3, you play witch hunter Jonathan Pyre. Set 200 years before Episode 1, you’ll have to investigate the abduction of several children by – apparently – the banished witch Elly Kedward.

Publisher: Gathering of Developers
Developer: Ritual Entertainment
Platform: PC · Genre: Action
Release Date: 11/20/00 · Origin: U.S.

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Boxing Manager

game info: The Boxing Manager sees players take control of their own stable of boxers. The aim: taking your prize fighters all the way to the top and win world championship belts of all three federations. Starting out with a small team and three unknown, talented fighters, managers will train the boxers, sign on new up-and-comers and expert staff from around the world, set up bouts and determine tactics and techniques before and during the events. As the game progresses, players will be able to train manage up to 30 fighters at the same time – only if they are successful and form talented amateurs into hardened professionals will they be able to earn coveted titles in all the well-known weight classes.

Publisher: Anaconda
Developer: Proline Software
Platform: PC · Genre: Sports
Release Date: 11/30/06 · Origin: Europe

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Utopia City

game info: In 2091, the people of the small town of Postville became the center of an immense, unprecedented experiment. Utopia, a parallel virtual environment of the real world, was created for them. It was designed to grow and exist independently of the real world, and become a true “Utopia”. But as its virtual world became bigger than the exterior world, Utopia became a “purgatory” for its people… In the game, players have a choice: they may conform to the ways of Utopia and abide by its laws; or, if they figure out how to free themselves, they can attempt to destroy the Mastermind and rescue the other hostages trapped in the great virtual dream. During gameplay the player will be involved in massive combat scenes, meet a lot of powerful opponents, and fight for the future of the real world. The player will be the last hope and the last chance for the mankind.

Publisher: Reef Entertainment
Developer: Parallax Arts Studio
Platform: PC · Genre: First-Person Shooter
Release Date: 12/31/06 · Origin: Russia

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Grand Prix 4

game review: Have you ever dreamt of being one of the most famous Formula One pilots and race the most prestigious tracks of the world? Geoff Crammond’s Grand Prix 4 is made for you: a thrilling and unique experience you won’t forget! Defy the greatest pilots with this accurate and life-like F1 simulation. Experience the new 3D engine with improved physics, graphics and sounds. Enjoy the photorealistic render of the most famous circuits with GPS precision! Live all the excitement of a Formula One race, including the crucial pitstops, with exact mechs & engineers, all with motion-captured animations. After that, you will understand what we mean by “Nothing Gets Closer” than Geoff Crammond’s Grand Prix 4.

Publisher: Infogrames
Developer: Symergy
Platform: PC · Genre: Racing
Release Date: 09/10/02 · Origin: U.K.

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Ground Zero

game info: Ground Zero is an innovative real time strategy game with a number of original and detailed RPG elements. In world ravaged by war a few struggle to survive in their post apocalyptic landscape. The player takes the role of a leader who must survive and dominate the world either by guile or by force. Recruiting new and willing participants in his cause the player must
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The Sims 2: Glamour Life Stuff


about a game: Your Sims can now indulge in a glamorous life with this collection of luxurious furniture, fashionable clothing, and extravagant dΘcor items*. Create lavish homes furnished with the finest modern bedroom, living room, and dining room sets. Turn heads in the neighborhood as your Sims show off elegant gowns, red carpet formalwear, and cool casual styles at their next big soirΘe. Your Sims will live the high life with 60 new items including pop-art paintings, sectional sofas, a high-end stereo, fur coats, and more!

Platform: PC · Genre: Simulation
Release Date: 08/29/06 · Origin: U.S.

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