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Hitman 2: Silent Assassin Package Art
††Io Interactive
††Eidos Interactive

Hitman 2: Silent Assassin

Clunky, buggy, and disoriented; something a hitman is not supposed to be. Sadly, this particular Hitman features all of those unfortunate traits. After reading my review of Splinter Cell from Ubi Soft, one of our faithful readers replied that he felt Splinter Cell was only a stealthier version of Hitman 2. At the time I let the comment pass but now, after playing this game quite extensively I have to say thatís an insult to UBI Softís incredible game. Eidosí Hitman 2 really doesnít even come close to the level of excellence that Splinter Cell has reached. Not even close.

For mature gamers looking for an average PS2 port with heaps of violence, this may be the game to check out. For gamers who demand incredible games, go and buy Splinter Cell.


While Hitman 2 is innovative in the idea that you can switch to third and first person view it manages to accomplish neither in a convincing fashion. The third person view seems jittery in its motion. In particular, when youíre trying to spin the camera view around with the C Stick you canít seem to train your view on the enemy that you want so you end up strafing from left to right. The first person view seems to be devoid of the feeling of ďbeing thereĒ that a game like Metroid Prime provides.

As for motion, this game looks like a PS2 or PC game. The characters move choppily and as if they were floating above the ground. When compared to the absolutely gorgeous Splinter Cell this game pales in comparison. I will say that the environments in most of the levels are rather gorgeous but the motion and viewpoints seem rough and unpolished. One good example is the blood. Youíll have a corpse on the floor and then a second later a puddle of blood will be under it. Instead of growing, it suddenly appears. Rough.

If I hadnít have played Splinter Cell before this Iím sure that I wouldnít be so hard on Hitman 2 but all things being equal, the visuals are unimpressive.


The soundtrack is impressive. Some of it is performed by a live symphony and right from the title track you can hear the quality in the music. To accompany this soundtrack is a diverse voice score with a ton of audio from guards, civilians, etc. All of the voices are in their mother tongues too. Iím not sure if I prefer hearing the languages or the Splinter Cell method of accenting English. One thing of which I'm sure, Iím beginning to like the fact that more and more developers from Metal Gear, Splinter Cell, Hitman 2, and the Medal of Honor Series etc. are creating living, breathing audio environments. Itís excellent to see that companies are recognizing the immersion of the visuals canít be accomplished without proper audio.

While Iíve chastised the video for being as rough as it is, I have to say that the audio is quite well done, especially sound effects like the AK fire, silenced pistol, guard screams, and bullet ricochets.


Hereís where Hitman 2 really falls down and goes poop. The game attempts to provide a framework of initiatives that arenít tied down by rigid courses of action or environments. This is always a gamble, because when you leave things so open ended without direction to the player, two things can happen:

  1. The player gets frustrated and lost and has to accomplish the missions via trial and error.
  2. Confusion over whatís supposed to be going on and what youíre supposed to be doing takes over and the game just becomes an unwanted puzzle.

Ways to defeat this issue are to have active and dynamic hint support like in Splinter Cell to keep the action flowing in a linear direction. Now I know that some of you prefer the open ended ďplatformĒ style of gameplay but I think that this style of game lends itself more to focused objectives. Hitman 2 is an example of what happens when open ended becomes lost in the woods.

The gameplay for me consisted of trying different missions over and over again to find out exactly what my timing was supposed to be and where I was supposed to go. I donít call this ďchallengingĒ I call it frustrating. To top this off, I found that the gameís controls felt like trying to parallel park a MECH in downtown Toronto. The X, Z, and B buttons felt completely mis-assigned. Let me put it this way, learning and enjoying the Splinter Cell set up felt natural and a pleasure but this set up (when the individual commands are combined) felt incoherent and clunky. I remain unimpressed.

Being a Hitman game, your objectives as agent 47 are to kill people in an effort to save your mentor Sicilian priest. In the end, who cares when the bottom line is that I didnít enjoy Hitman 2's level design, control, or gameplay style nearly as much as Splinter Cell.




Overall, I found this game to be difficult to get into from a control perspective and then once I became familiar with the controls, the game was an exercise in frustration rather than a pleasure to play.

Itís a good thing that Eidos is trying to help the older gamers on the GameCube from drowning in a sea of Finding-Nemo-toddler-shit. I definitely donít want to discourage them from trying to venture out on the GameCube because the system definitely needs third parties like them. However, I think that after being exposed to a game as excellent as Splinter Cell, Eidos will have to improve on their polish in order to compete in todayís ďstealth killerĒ market.

Now I know that most other reviewers have been giving this one flying colors but after playing the game I just canít follow suit with that idea. Sorry Eidos, try again.

final score 7.0/10

Staff Avatar Eric Mattei
Staff Profile | Email
"Lost like tears in rain"

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