My Hitman Contracts narrated playthrough is now (almost) complete. Originally only going to be a "no bullet" run, it quickly turned into a fabled "all zero" run which provided enough of a challenge for me to run through the game again. All twelve missions contained in the game were completed without: assassinating anyone unnecessary, alerting any guards, almost getting discovered or shooting any bullets; on the Professional difficulty level getting Silent Assassin rating on all missions.
Below are thumbnailed links to all of the missions and I've also provided a retrospective on this project at the end.
- Mission 1: Asylum Aftermath
- Mission 2: The Meat King's Party
- Mission 3: The Bjarkhov Bomb
- Mission 4: Beldingford Manor
- Mission 5: Rendezvous in Rotterdam
- Mission 6: Deadly Cargo
- Mission 7: Traditions of the Trade
- Mission 8: Slaying a Dragon
- Mission 9: The Wang Fou Incident
- Mission 10: The Seafood Massacre
- Mission 11: Lee Hong Assassination
- Mission 12: Hunter and Hunted
My runthrough is recorded on the last version of Hitman Contractions, version 1.74 UK edition. Videos are recorded at 800x600 resolution and then downsized to 512x384 for the Flash video and 640x480 for the high quality version; Contracts does have a 640x480 choice however I found the quality of the Flash video suffered when shrinking. The high-quality version also has a sharpen filter applied to it to keep the sharpness of the original.
Subtitles are provided where possible and are enabled with the Flash media player; they are downloadable in ASS and are exported to SRT for the online version. If you are downloading the high-quality version and wish for subtitles, you can follow a tutorial or if you use Media Player Classic then it may be as simple as placing the .ass file in the same directory as the .avi file.
After putting what I write in perspective I guess my website could now be on all sorts of government watch-lists for some of the topics I'm covering. It should go without saying that I unequivocally do not endorse or condone killing, professional or otherwise, of any sort and everything written is done so within the context of the game. Those who know me will know I have a strong separation between reality and fiction (apart from with squirrels who are omnipotent!) so this writing and narration should not be used as a character reference.
When I was wrapping up my Blood Money runthrough, one of my friends had started an unnarrated runthrough of Contracts attempting to do a Professional/Silent Assassin challenge; that unfortunately fell by the wayside and it wasn't until a couple of months later that I started on my Contracts runthrough with his blessing. I decided to "store up" videos rather than doing one each night so the sequence wasn't broken by me taking a night off or going and doing something else for a spell; however this meant once I got into the game, I lacked impetus to continue and feel out of the practice/record/commentate routine I had built up. A few weeks later I continued where I left off and started posting the results, this meant I had entires queued up for a week ahead of where I actually was in the game.
My decision to subtitle the runthrough was a late decision but definitely one I'm pleased with. I'm a big proponent of web accessibility and any alternate method I can provide for people is good with me, plus it gave me experience with the superb Aegisub which I had been itching to use on a proper project. The subtitles aren't perfect and it was a learning curve of best practices and exploring the application, the narration style isn't ideally suited to subtitles as I tend not to package my sentences neatly which is what subtitles like. As such there are times when a "sentence" in subtitle terms can last for over a minute of monologue.
One of the main reasons I wanted to continue my runthrough included the release of the Hitman movie which, without launching into a full blown review, was mediocre to pants and I needed to remind myself why I played and loved the games in the first place.
This runthrough represents just about the top level of play for Contracts, the only way forward would be to do all-zero speed runs which are, in one respect, awesome and in another, game breakers. A lot of the speed-runs use glitches in the game to speed things up which is obviously just part and parcel of speed-running, however I like to settle within the game rather than to try and break it. This is why when / if I do a Hitman 2 runthrough, it will be the familiar Silent Assassin approach rather than an all-zero run. The AZ run in Hitman 2 requires some byzantine methods to achieve (such as swinging a sword through a car, or getting a counter-assassin hit by a bus).
It has been confirmed that a fifth Hitman game is on the way so whether IO Interactive are going to change the formula or stick with what the fans (myself included) love is the big question. The lure of more high-quality Hitman fun is far too much to pass up on.