Wickedly cunning assassinations
Bunk mission briefings
Television's Kojak, Mr. Clean
Score:7 (out of 10)
I can see how Hitman's smartly dressed assassin-for-hire grabbed our review crew alumni when he put a hit on the PS2 last fall. This hairless antihero's contract kills are ingenious. Need to knock off a Yakuza kingpin but can't find him? Poison his son's sushi and trace the corpse back to papa-san. If arsenic isn't your bag, you can just put a bullet in his back. The way you complete each mission is limited only by your sick creativity.
Unfortunately, getting close enough to deliver your sordid calling card can be more frustrating than fun. Your mission briefings are so obscure that vexing trial and error is unavoidable. Half the time, I had no idea what I was supposed to do. Flaky A.I. makes maintaining secrecy a total chore, and seemingly innocuous actions often brought the whole town of Hindustan down on my bald head. But each time I circumvented the immeasurable odds and made the crucial killing blow, Hitman 2 was briefly a blast.
Score:8 (out of 10)
While Hitman may not receive Metal Gear or Splinter Cell's hype, it certainly approaches their level of stealth-action greatness. Once you adapt to the slightly weird controls and learn to deal with the unpredictable enemy A. I., you'll find a good-looking game that does an excellent job of putting you in a hitman's shoes. Shawn is right about the difficulty, but I enjoyed the challengethe open-ended, try-anything nature sucked me in. It's good to see the Cube get a tough and satisfying experience like this.
Score:8.5 (out of 10)
Hitman 2's biggest lure: the ability to incapacitate nearly any male character and steal his clothing. This fabulous feature allows you to impersonate flower deliverymen, waiters, soldiers, etc., in order to reach your end goal undetected. It's a play mechanic that forces you to think inventively, and it helps to keep you from concentrating on the game's hiccups (like occasionally choppy visuals and awkward controls). Throw in a solid narrative and surprisingly good voice acting and you have an engaging adventure title that rewards patient players.