Top 100 Games of All-Time: #87

Hitman: Blood Money

Release Date: May 26, 2006

Platform Played On: PS2

2018 Placement: #65 (-22)


What It Is:

Hitman has had a lot of different evolutions, but the premise has always remained the same: you’re Agent 47 and you go on missions to assassinate targets in many, many, many different ways. They range from the classic headshot bullet to dropping chandeliers on people to throwing them into a garbage truck to be mushed up into little cubes. You can rig a barbecue to explode or snipe someone from across an entire level or throw them off a rooftop. The world is your oyster in Hitman, as long as your oyster involves murdering people.

Hitman: Blood Money is the apex of the first wave of the game series, coming out on the cusp of the fifth and sixth generation for PS2 and XBox 360. It takes everything from the first three games of the series and refines it, along with making the levels more sandbox in nature which allowed for a lot more planning and stylish kills. It’s also the first game of the series to properly introduce staged accidents, allowing you to get away with some creative and unique kills that can be hilarious in their deviousness.

Why It’s Important To Me:

At some point in late college/early post-college I picked up a Hitman collection on PS2 that had Hitman 2, Hitman Contracts, and Hitman Blood Money on it. Me and a friend sat in my basement and played through all three games together (not in one sitting) and that’s how I fell in love with the series as a whole. It was an absolute blast just swapping the controller back and forth every time we failed at stealth and got murdered by trigger happy guards, or laughing as we maniacally stacked bodies and one by one murdered every single NPC in a level just to say we could.

Blood Money was the best of the series because it gave us true sandboxes to play in and allowed for so much obnoxious fun. It added the coin, which can be used as a distraction, and is one of the main items associated with Agent 47 now (along with his Silverballers). It was the tightest execution of Hitman gameplay (until the most recent revival trilogy on the PS4) and holds a special place in my heart as the game that represents the franchise for me and the fun I had with the semi-co-op.

My Strongest Memory:

Like many people, it’s the suburbs level where you’re tasked with eliminating someone in witness protection. Called “A New Life,” you infiltrate a kid’s birthday party to kill the man in witness protection and retrieve some microfilm. But the plot of the mission isn’t as important as how open the level is and what hilarity you can get up to within it.

The aforementioned garbage truck did a lot of heavy lifting during my playthrough of this: at one point me and my friend attempted to put every NPC in the level into the garbage truck for shits and giggles. (It’s one of the few body storage places that can hold infinite bodies.) You can disguise yourself as a clown, you can blow up the target’s barbecue grill, or you can just go ham and shoot everyone. It’s probably not as impressive now, especially compared to the gigantic levels that the new Hitman trilogy has introduced, but back when the PS2 was the cutting edge of technology the freedom and fun this particular level gave made the game an undeniable classic to me.

Why It’s #87:

I love Hitman as a series – aside from the very first one, I’ve owned and played every single entry (including Hitman Go). As much as I love the wild sandbox playthroughs, what I love more is the getting to play it with other people and encouraging my friends to find cool ways to complete an assassination. I haven’t gotten to enjoy this particular brand of Hitman togetherness in a long while and I miss it. I’m also not sure if this one holds up in comparison to the new entries – I haven’t had a chance to play this one in a while – but I still fondly remember the missions from this game as cementing my love of the franchise.