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Hitman: Blood Money
Information about Hitman Blood MoneyHitman: Blood Money is a stealth game developed by IO Interactive, published by Eidos Interactive and directed by Rasmus Højengaard. It is the fourth entry in the Hitman game series and was released on May 26 in Europe and on May 30 in the United States, 2006for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and Xbox 360 video game consoles, as well as PC. A Mobile Phone version under the same name was also released but with drastically different gameplay, graphics and overall style.
The story follows the life of professional hitman, Agent 47, as narrated in cutscenes by a former director of the FBI to a journalist who is interviewing him at his home. The wheelchair-bound ex-director recounts how his agency tracked 47 over a two-year period. The tone of Blood Money, in complete contrast with the dark and depressing mood of the previous game, is operatic and often veers into the larger-than-life, recalling elements of the 'world-traveler' grandeur of Hitman 2: Silent Assassin. The game marks 47's arrival into the United States of America, and also differs from the original three in that several contracts are carried out in civilian areas, as opposed to the "covert ops" settings of Codename 47, Silent Assassin, and Contracts missions. A sequel has recently been confirmed that it is in the works by Eidos Interactive.
CharactersAgent 47 Aka Mr.47, is a ruthlessly brutal and efficient killer working for the secretive I.C.A. His skills are so good that people consider him an urban legend and only a selected few have knowledge of his true existence. He was created by Dr. Otto Wolfgang Ort-Meier for covert killing assignments.
The International Contract Agency Aka The I.C.A or The Agency (4 walls) is a secretive organisation that hires assassins to oblige the murderous requirements of their high paying clients. The Agency (4 walls) falls into decline after The Franchise attack it.
Diana Burnwood is 47's only contact with The Agency (4 walls) , she is 47's mission briefer and additional remote support. Mission objectives and in-game complications will be explained by her.
The Franchise was a large hitman organisation much like The I.C.A, but larger and more powerful. The Franchise assigned Mark Parchezzi III to liquidate all members of The Agency (4 walls) and very nearly succeeded, leaving 47 and Diana Burnwood still alive.
Mark Parchezzi III was a triggerman working for The Franchise and was contracted to kill the President of the United States of America but failed because 47 killed him and the Vice President three days before the President's scheduled murder.
Vice President Daniel Morris was a Franchise employee installed into the American government by Alpha Zerox, the political squad of The Franchise. It is hinted that Morris did not like his position because he had to constantly walk the First Lady's dog, Justice.
GameplayThe basics of Blood Money are similar to past entries in the series; each mission is framed around the killings of one or more individuals, which the player character (Agent 47) must accomplish. Standing between him and success are armed guards, security checkpoints and other obstacles. The player guides 47 through the game's levels with the help of a satellite map which can be accessed at any time. The map indicates the layout of each topographical area of the level, the whereabouts of 47's main targets, and other CPU-controlled characters. In order to carry out his mission, 47 may use any method at his disposal to eliminate his targets, regardless of witnesses or excessive violence done to bystanders. Beyond only rewarding stealth over bloodshed as is traditional in the series, Blood Money includes features that directly penalize the player for making too much 'noise'.
Many new features were introduced to Hitman: Blood Money. These include the capability to climb through more obstacles, improved unarmed combat, the ability to use an NPC as a human shield, improved character animations (face, eyes, etc.), a new game engine and the ability to upgrade weapons and equipment However, only five of the featured weapons in the game, as well as assorted pieces of equipment such as bombs and armor, can be upgraded Every level contains some sort of method to make the target's death look like an accident for example, tampering with someone's grill to make it explode when it is turned on, rigging a chandelier to fall on a target, or having the target 'accidentally' fall off a balcony. There are also improvised weapons, such as nailguns, a child's air rifle, kitchen knives, screwdrivers, stiletto blades, cane swords, fire extinguishers and even a pair of hedge clippers.
A gameplay feature new to the Hitman series was also added, the "Notoriety" system. If the player, during a mission, gets caught on CCTV or is witnessed committing murder, Agent 47's notoriety will rise Conversely, if the player executes the mission perfectly with none of the aforementioned events occurring, 47's notoriety will be minimal. The higher Agent 47's notoriety is, the easier it will be for NPCs to identify him. Players may use the bribery system to negate accumulated notoriety Noteriety gained in early missions will affect later missions, but not vice-versa. Earlier missions in which 47 has gained notoriety in can be replayed in order to attempt to reduce notoriety in later missions. The notoriety system is not enabled on "Rookie" mode, the easiest difficulty setting.
At the end of each mission, a newspaper article is displayed regarding the hit, in which the content varies depending on the investigation results and the player's notoriety. It will detail the weapon most frequently used, how accurately it was used, the number of police, security, and civilians killed or injured, and if there were any witnesses. Any injured people will be counted as witnesses, who affect your notoriety. Sketch drawings are also sometimes visible of Agent 47's face, which grow progressively more accurate as 47's notoriety grows. The newspaper itself rebukes the player for making too much noise by announcing on the headline how many people were killed in total, whereas executing your target without any problems will simply have you as 'wanted by police'. The article's title relates to the player's mission rating. "Silent Assassin", in which you assassinate the targets as cleanly and quietly as possible, and draw no unnecessary attention to yourself (blow your cover, leave no extra bodies, etc.), is the best rating possible on all missions.
Blood Money also improved the melee weapons system, allowing the player to lethally throw certain weapons at NPCs (i.e. kitchen knives, stilletos, etc.) Once thrown into anybody, however, the weapon cannot be retrieved. Also note that unlike previous games, melee weapons cannot be transferred to the players armory when they are in your possession when you complete a level, forcing the player to find melee weapons if they desire to use them.
Blood Money also introduced the concept of rival assassins to the storyline The developers created the Mark Parchezzi character as a sort of foil to the character 47, for he is "everything [Parchezzi] is not" The other "lesser" assassins were there to prove more able adversaries than "drug dealers or [similar adversaries].
PlotThe game begins with a flashback at a Baltimore amusement park, where many people are killed in an accident caused by negligent maintenance of a Ferris wheel. The father of one of the victims calls The Agency (4 walls) and orders a hit on the park owner, Joseph Clarence, who was cleared of all charges. 47, on the run from competitors from Europe, carries out the hit; following that assignment, he receives a string of contracts from American clients eager to hire the legendary hitman.
The bulk of the game takes place as flashback sequences that occur concordant to the present day, in which a journalist and the former FBI Director, "Jack" Alexander Leland Cayne, discuss 47's hits over the past two years (2004-2005) and his involvement in them. The reporter, Rick Henderson, arranged to interview Cayne concerning a recent attack on the White House. It quickly becomes clear that Cayne's real intent is to discuss 47. As the story progresses, it is implied that the Agency's employees are being systematically eliminated by an albino clone, a super-assassin dispatched by a western counterpart to The Agency (4 walls) called "The Franchise"; the situation degrades to the point where 47's controller Diana Burnwood informs him that they are the only ones left. An attempt is even made on 47's life in Paris, almost killing him (prompting the events of Hitman: Contracts (7 walls))
Shown is Agent 47 disguised as mercenary guard sneaking up on one of his targets.Diana closes down The Agency (4 walls) with a final contract to kill the assassins coming after them and splits the remaining funds between them. After the assignment, 47 is approached by an old acquaintance, a CIA agent named Smith, who 47 rescues from a rehabilitation clinic earlier in the game. He approaches 47 with a high-profile mission, paid for using several million dollars worth of diamonds, to prevent an assassination on the President of the United States Tom Stewart. The assassins are "The Franchise's" clone assassin, Mark Parchezzi III, and the Vice President, Daniel Morris, both working for Alpha Xerox, the organization dedicated to monopolizing the cloning technology that spawned 47. They intend to assassinate the President before the elections so he may not be re elected and forward his pro-cloning stance, thereby disabling their ability to monopolize it, as "The Franchise" and its controlling parent stand to lose their military edge.
47 successfully eliminates Morris, then kills Parchezzi in a shootout on the roof of the White House. A newspaper article at the end of the level shows that Parchezzi is believed to be Morris' assassin. Hunted by both enemy operatives and the police, 47 flees to his hideout. Without warning, he is visited by Diana, immediately arousing his suspicion. Diana proposes a plan to 47 to help them both escape danger from "The Franchise". As 47 mulls over the briefing she hands him, expressing his misgivings as to the likelihood of its success, Diana injects him with a syringe, putting him into a comatose state (her apparent betrayal causes 47 to shout "Bitch!", inciting his only line of verbal aggression in the series). 47's body is surrounded by SWAT members, and Diana, announcing that killing 47 was "surprisingly pleasant", is formally inducted into "The Franchise" by Alexander Leland Cayne, its founder. The story at this point shifts to the present day; 47 is scheduled for cremation so his bone marrow cannot be harnessed by cloning rivals, forever destroying anyone else's chance of producing a non-defective clone. Diana drapes 47's custom Silverballers over his chest during his hasty funeral and kisses him after applying lipstick. It becomes apparent that the "poison" she injected was actually a fake-death serum 47 uses in an earlier assignment to smuggle Agent Smith out of the rehabilitation clinic that induces a death-like hibernative state. Diana's lipstick contains the antidote in it, implying she was actually 'killing' 47 for their survival.
The funeral begins and the story then concludes in one of two different ways. In the first, it is presumed the antidote fails to work, and 47 descends into the crematorium. In the second, canonical ending the antidote is successful and 47 awakens , slaughtering everyone in the church (excluding Diana, who has already left - apparently locking the gates behind her to prevent witnesses from escaping) including Cayne's personal guard, the priest, Rick Henderson, the journalist and Cayne himself, leaving no witnesses and ultimately securing 47's identity from the public.
Sometime after the funeral bloodbath, Diana reopens the International Contract Agency, which overlooks the Copenhagen harbor. She receives a call from a client referred to as "Your Majesty", pushing the fact that The Agency (4 walls) is linked in to most of the worldwide governments and powers. The voice cannot be heard, but Diana replies that The Agency (4 walls) has lost track of 47. Meanwhile, 47 is seen at a seedy-looking brothel engaging in conversation with a traditionally-dressed Chinese man.
ReceptionBlood Money received generally favorable reviews upon release, with an average critic score of 83% for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 2 versions and 82% for the Xbox and PC at Game Rankings.
Many critics felt the game was an improvement over the previous Hitman titles, with Official PlayStation Magazine UK calling it “without question the best Hitman yet”. Other critics shared this thought, despite feeling that the basic gameplay elements were similar, if not unchanged from the previous installments, with GameSpot stating the “the underlying stealth action is mostly unchanged” while “a diverse sequence of imaginative scenarios gives Blood Money its own fair share of violent thrills.” GameSpy praised the expanded scope and options in each level, such as making kills appear as accidents, that “the game features enough choices and entertaining kills to have you playing some missions more than once, striving for that elusive Silent Assassin rating.”
The soundtrack was also considered one of the game’s strong points, with IGN noted the “impressive orchestral compositions”, while Game Trailers felt it “drives your emotions throughout each evolving mission” and was even nominated for Best Original Music in GameSpot’s Best and Worst Awards 2006 (11 years ago).
While new features and additions to the series were praised, some critics felt the Notoriety system was “underutilized” and “half-baked” while others pointed issues from the previous Hitman games still being present, notably with the AI. Game Trailers found that “some enemies behave erratically in specific situations taking you out of the experience”. TeamXbox said they couldn’t “really see any more alertness or cleverness on the part of the CPU than in Hitman Contracts”. The Xbox 360 version was singled out by some reviewers given the high price compared the other versions considering the graphical enhancements not fully utilizing the system’s capabilities.
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