After buying this game on a whim a number of years ago, I finally got round to finishing it. A large portion of what took me this long was I got stuck on the penultimate level and was too stubborn to look up a guide for it. Luckily I have shed such stubbornness (to a degree) and checked out a few bits online.
My Great Love
This is the sort of game I love; as evidenced by my surprising playtime on it. Given that the skilled or the chaotic could easily speedrun this whole thing in a couple of hours, it’s testament to the game’s credit that you can just as well explore, play about and cause general havoc for scores of hours and be just as happy.
It is, first and foremost, a stealth game where you get additional rewards for completing objectives in complete secrecy. Note that I say ‘additional’ rewards, because there is no real penalty for blasting your way out of a bad situation or picking off the odd innocent along the way. As long as you complete the objective, you’re golden. And that’s how this sort of thing SHOULD be. Yeah, there are some consequences on higher difficulties, but if you go for the expert modes you’re probably the type to get it done with no collateral.
The sheer variety and genius of the levels is staggering; from a vineyard to a casino to a steamboat, no two levels are similar, each requiring their own unique approaches. By use of disguises (most obtained off the corpses or unconscious bodies of their former owners), you slip into an environment undetected and proceed to get the job done. Whether you set up little accidents or prefer to look them in the eye as you headshot them, there is scope for it all.
Where it gets tricky is some areas require very specific tasks performed before you can proceed; the penultimate level is one such situation. I was unable to work out the specific task and eventually gave up trying. Admittedly almost every single secret in the game can be learned by strategic waiting and watching, but sometimes I just don’t have the patience for that; especially as on higher difficulties, death means start from scratch.
While I’m complaining, something that repeatedly bugged me on my latest playthrough was how twitchy the NPCs are. When in disguise, you can logically do anything the similarly-dressed NPCs can… This is not the case. I’ve been turned away by my fellow bouncers, shot at for being a secret serviceman with a gun and executed then fled from because I took one step too far in a public space. I’ve heard some things about bugs, but I don’t know how many of these were bugs and how many were just the mechanics.
Equally the NPCs can be brainless when it comes to hard evidence. I once walked out of a lift, leaving behind a naked dead body (after donning his clothes as a disguise), and the police outside the door ignored me to check on the dead man. If I’d been in my suit, they’d have shot me on sight. I’m not complaining too much about that sort of thing because, in truth, I’ll take any break I can get from the bloodhound AI.
My final niggle is with the control scheme. It seems to have been designed for a controller because you have movement controls and then three basic buttons for almost all interaction. This gets infuriating when you’re trying to drag a body away from a closed door and one command flits between DRAG and OPEN DOOR. That was certainly awkward for the guard on the other side… A less minimalist control system would have been nice, allowing for more precise actions.
Blood Money is frequently called the best Hitman game in the series and, after finally completing it, I see why. It’s fun, gripping, decently well-told and carries many hours of messing about. I remember once I went through each level killing literally everyone; I failed at this in one level because I ran out of bullets for all the civilians. Tragic.
I highly recommend this stealth game with shooter elements as it’s one of the best in the genre. Plus the 1st/3rd person toggle is brilliant for precision shooting. Give it a go.