by William Thompson
previewed on PC
Watch out for the Hitman
Hitman: Blood Money is the fourth installment in the Hitman series of third-person action shooters. For those of you new to the series, the game revolves around the killing abilities of our arch-hero, Agent 47. His name originates from a bar code bearing the number that is tattooed on the back of his depilated head. The tattoo was given to him when he was part of a cloning experiment to create an army of assassins. And what a great use for cloning when it comes to Agent 47; he is the best in his field. Or so he thinks until members of his secretive killing agency - ICA (International Contract Agency) begin to be bumped off, in what appears to be an organized attempt to wipe them out.
It is then up to you, the gamer, to find out what is happening to the members of your agency and who is responsible for the murders. In the course of doing so, you will, of course, try to not become one of the victims. Your mission will take you to various locations around the world, from the romantic city of Paris where you can visit the lovely Opera House, to the glitzy, yet much more seedy Las Vegas, where you can meet some of the high rollers at the numerous casinos the town offers. Other known locations include the Mississippi, Rocky Mountains and New Orleans.
Mentioning Las Vegas brings me to the next important factor in the game: money, or more precisely - as the title of the game suggests - blood money. Being one of the best contract killers in the world, you will be given 'jobs', which you must complete if you want to get paid. One interesting thing about this latest incarnation in the Hitman series is the fact that the better you perform in your quest, the bigger the payoff will be. If you perform a 'clean' hit, you will receive more money than if you did a botched 'job'.
What do you do with all the blood money?
Well, once you have completed your successful mission, whether you did it really well or just barely scraped through to tell your story, your paycheck comes in and you have the option to use the funds in a number of ways. Firstly, you can use it to buy special equipment that will enable you to perform your next mission a little easier. Secondly, you can use the money to buy information. Information can be very handy, as it can lead you towards the person responsible for the agency deaths. Thirdly and most importantly for someone in Agent 47's profession, the cash can be used to purchase weapons upgrades.
Would you like fries with that...telescopic sight?
All sorts of weapons improvements can be purchased with enough money. The weapons enhancements range from an improved rate of fire, increased damage and improved reload speed through to a reduction in noise (especially important for the surprise hit), lesser recoil and improved accuracy. Also available is the improved zoom capability which can be especially helpful when you need to snipe that target from the other side of the town.