Hitman: Codename 47 is a stealth game developed by IO Interactive and published by Eidos Interactive. It is the first entry in the Hitman series, followed by Hitman 2: Silent Assassin.
The story centers around Agent 47, a bald test subject branded with a barcode tattooed on the back of his head, who is rigorously trained in methods of murder. Upon escaping from a test facility, 47 is hired by the Agency, a European contract killing organization. His mission takes him to several locations in Asia and Europe to assassinate wealthy and decadent criminals.
Hitman: Codename 47 takes place from a third-person perspective, but the control setup is similar to a first-person shooter as 47’s movements are restricted to turning, strafing and moving forward. Each level takes place in an open environment which is populated with non-player civilians and armed guards. Although mission criteria may vary, the goal is generally to find 47’s assigned target and kill them by any means possible. Though the path may appear linear, it is possible through various ways to accomplish the mission and approach a target directly without eliciting a violent reprisal. The game essentially emphasises stealth and silent kills without raising alerts, giving the player a higher financial reward for doing so. Penalties in the form of financial deductments are given, for example if the player kills civilians, but none if guards are slain. As the money is used to purchase weapons and ammo during the course of the game, this pressures the player to utilise stealth, disguise and melee based mechanics for the most cost effective method to take out targets.
The player can peek around corners by using the lean function, which prompts 47 to tilt slightly to one side. 47 is able to climb ladders, but cannot defend himself with a weapon while doing so. In addition, he is only able to jump from one balcony to another. There is an on-screen cursor to indicate in which direction 47 will attack. The heads-up display includes a life bar which measures 47’s health, ammo capacity, kevlar durability, and the current item selected. Alert messages sometimes appear next to the health readout. These occur whenever enemies discover a body on the map, or if 47 falls under suspicion. 47’s weaponry consists of various short and long-range firearms, a garrote wire, and a knife. Pistols generally have excellent range, while automatic rifles and machine guns decrease in accuracy the farther away 47 is from his target. 47 can also equip himself with a sniper rifle, concealed in a special suitcase, which must be reassembled before he may use it. Once he is finished with the rifle, 47 can take it apart and place it the suitcase once more.
Disguise plays a large role in gameplay. Any time a non-player character is killed, 47 may take their clothes and impersonate them. This is necessary to access restricted areas where only guards may enter. At the start of each level, 47 begins in a default costume. This costume is his trademark suit and red tie which is folded and left on the ground whenever 47 changes clothes. The player may replace 47’s outfit with a previous one by simply approaching them and selecting the option to change. In the event that 47 adopted the clothes of someone he has slain, his disguise will be compromised as soon as the body is discovered. 47 creates sound while walking which will alert any hostile characters in the facility. To move without being detected, the player can use the sneak function, which causes 47 to crouch and move in a stalking manner. Sneaking also allows 47 to retrieve a weapon from his inventory without anyone hearing it; if 47 is standing upright when the player pulls out a weapon, it will alert nearby characters. Characters who are dead may be dragged at any time. If anyone on the map spots a body lying on the ground, it will create unwanted attention for 47. When dragging, 47 lifts up the closest available leg or arm and begins to hoist it away as movement is directed by the player.
In an undisclosed location, Subject 47 awakens in his sanatorium to a loudspeaker instructing him to train in various tasks such as scaling obstacles and using firearms, culminating in killing a guard and escaping. The loudspeaker man watches the surveillance, with a satisfied laugh.
A year later, 47 is a professional assassin of the International Contract Agency (ICA). He is briefed by his controller, Diana Burnwood, and sent around the globe to eliminate four criminal masterminds. In Hong Kong, 47 eliminates Red Dragon triad leader Lee Hong, by first weakening him through orchestrating a gang war between his and a rival triad. 47 is then sent to Colombia where he tracks down and kills drug lord Pablo Belisario Ochoa. In Budapest, 47 assassinates Franz Fuchs, an Austrian terrorist. 47 then infiltrates Rotterdam to kill notorious weapons smuggler Arkadij “Boris” Jegorov and his affiliates. Throughout his missions 47 collects letters written to his targets by the other targets, suggesting that these four are well connected. All four were once part of the French Foreign Legion at about the same time and seem to contact each other regarding an experimental human. The letters also mention a mutual friend among the men, Professor Ort-Meyer.
47 is then alerted by Diana that the same client ordered all of the assassinations, and that the client has ordered one final assassination. 47 is to kill Odon Kovacs, a doctor at a sanatorium in Satu Mare, Romania, revealed to be the one from which 47 escaped. When 47 checks in, Ort-Meyer calls the police and is revealed to be the client, as well as the original person which instructed 47 in his escape. Romanian special forces raid the building while 47 kills Kovacs, who is revealed to be a doctor that administered injections to 47.
47 then learns the truth behind his existence. He is the result of a cloning experiment which combined the genetic material of each of his four previous targets, with the addition of Ort-Meyer. The experiments were in the pursuit of creating a flawless human being. Ort-Meyer engineered 47’s escape from the asylum in order to test his performance in the outside world and ordered his associates’s deaths because they wanted to use the clones for their own purposes. With the help of fellow ICA Agent Smith, who is being held captive and drugged in the building, 47 uncovers a sophisticated lab beneath the hospital. In response Ort-Meyer unleashes a squad of Mr. 48s, an improved and mindlessly loyal series of clones. 47 defeats the clones and confronts Ort-Meyer, who at first mistakes him for another 48. Before Ort-Meyer is able to attack, 47 shoots him. As Ort-Meyer lays dying, mentioning how he could not even recognize his own son, 47 kneels down and forcefully breaks his