Written by  :  Dave Schenet (138)
Written on  :  Sep 07, 2006
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  3.71 Stars3.71 Stars3.71 Stars3.71 Stars3.71 Stars

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My goodness, that railing looks dangerous...

The Good

Blood Money adds a new gameplay feature to the Hitman series - accidents. In addition to using your trusty fiber wire, you can now shove people over railings, push them down stairs, poison their food, drop pianos on them, and cause all other kinds of "accidents". The coolest thing about accidents is that they don't actually count as a "kill", so if you're really big on getting that Silent Assassin rating, you can potentially take out all of your targets with your Kill counter at 0.

There are a number of other new features as well:

* Inventory - Your standard inventory is now a lot more useful. In every mission, you start out with your fiber wire, a remote mine and detonator, a deadly poison syringe, and a sedative syringe. The syringes have two uses each, and can be used on people, drinks, or food. None of these items can be picked up by a metal detector, so unless you're bringing actual firearms through a mission, you never have to worry about being searched.

* Weapons - As usual, there's a large collection of firearms available in the game, and more can be collected from various levels. Certain guns can be upgraded - as you progress through the levels, you unlock more upgrades for your guns. I've only needed to use a weapon once, so I didn't get much use out of this feature, but I've still fully upgraded my Silverballer into a FrankenGun(tm) just because I could. I never took it off the shelf in my hideout, but hey, it looks pretty cool hanging on the wall.

* Notoriety - If you're not completely stealthy during your missions, there may be witnesses, or worse, sometimes you might get caught by a CCTV camera. If you don't "deal with" these problems during the mission, your Notoriety rating will increase. After each level, you're presented with a newspaper page where the main story is about the results of your last mission. As your Notoriety increases, the police start to put together descriptions of you from witnesses and camera footage. If your Notoriety gets too high, people may start to recognize you. If you didn't take care of witnesses during a mission, you're given the chance to shell out cash to lower your notoriety - ranging from bribing witnesses to obtaining a whole new identity.

* Crowds - Some levels have *hundreds* of people wandering around. I never realised just how empty the levels were in the previous Hitman games until now. The levels feel a lot more realistic in this game.

The Bad

It was pretty short, and only took me a few days to complete. It seemed almost "too easy".

Also, the saving system was just bizarre. Your difficulty level determines how many times you can save your game during a level. However, these saved games don't persist between sessions. So if you play a mission for a while, then quit (or worse, the game or your computer crashes), your saved games vanish. You'll have to restart the mission from scratch. Seriously, who's bright idea was that?

Also, there was an overall storyline here, but I can't help but feel that I "missed something". You overhear bits and pieces of the plot from radios, TVs, and NPCs having conversations; I'm pretty certain I didn't hear all of it the first time through. But it doesn't matter too much to me; it's all about the missions.

The Bottom Line

Just as Hitman 2 was a lot more fun than the original, Blood Money is a lot more fun than Hitman 2. All the basic gameplay is the same, but all the new features add a whole lot of options.