To celebrate Agent 47's long-awaited return, here is a look at the best contracts from the previous four titles in the series.
Hunter and the Hunted | Contracts
"There's a bullet for everyone," Agent 47 mulls to himself at the beginning of the final mission of Hitman: Contracts, the third game of the series.
He faces a very different situation than one he is used to, with his hideout being surrounded by police. Joining Agent 47 halfway through a series of hits, itself a rarity in the games, players must, for once, become the hunted and evade capture rather than sneak their way to a kill.
Even with escape being the priority, there is still a target for the highly-trained assassin to take down. This leads to a tense mission, with a route to the target difficult due to the high-alert police wandering around the level. It isn't the longest mission Hitman has to offer, especially for those who have perfected a method. But it's unique experience makes it worthy of a spot on this list.
St. Petersburg Stakeout | Silent Assassin
Russia is a location that features prominently in Silent Assassin but it is 47's first trip to the snowy city of St. Petersburg that is the most memorable.
A meeting has been set up so Agent 47 can take out a Russian Army General - but no other officers in the meeting can be harmed. The meeting only lasts five minutes, so it is a race against the clock to arm yourself with a sniper rifle and climb to the adjacent building to get a clear shot.
Whilst most of the level is pretty standard Hitman-esque sneaking, the mission's highlight comes when you are about the complete the kill. Realising that the generals are all alike and not a clue which is the target, Agent 47 is slowly fed info about the General that will help identify him. With the correct general targeted and killed, it's a quick escape back to the train to finish the mission.
Deadly Cargo | Contracts
Although this mission can be completed with the traditional sneak and fibre-wire methods, one route through Deadly Cargo is completely unique from any other is the series.
The target is Boris Ivanovich Deruzhka, who is looking to buy a nuclear weapon at a Rotterdam harbour. Unfortunately for the arms dealer, the Rotterdam police are on to him and this is what provides the opportunity for tackling a mission like no other.
Equip yourself with a police uniform and Agent 47 can join with the SWAT team's assault on Boris' ship. The police want Boris alive, but you can slip away from the firefight that ensues and take him out as he threatens to blow up the nuke.
Curtains Down | Blood Money
Blood Money, the fourth game in the Hitman series, is the first to really focus on making each hit look like an accident. Whilst most targets from previous games were taken out by stealthily getting close to them and using fibre wire or poison for the silent kill, Blood Money encourages players to turn Agent 47 from a ruthless killer to an innocent bystander.
Curtains Down is the best and most dramatic example of making the kill look like an accident. Agent 47 has to take down opera singer Alvaro D'alvade and the American Ambassador to the Vatican Richard Delahunt. Set in a Parisian opera house, Delahunt is watching D'alvade practise an opera in which he gets shot in the climactic scene.
The player has a few options as to pulling off the 'accident'. The prop pistol used by the actor playing the executioner can be swapped for a real one, meaning that when the gun is fired D'alvade doesn't have to pretend to be dead. For a more intimate approach, 47 can assume the role himself and carry out the shooting. The level even offers two accidents for the price of one, as Delahunt can be squashed by a falling chandelier when he rushes down to check on his friend. It's a highly rewarding system that was a great addition to the series.
Traditions of the Trade | Agent 47/Contracts
A classic level from the original game that was also remade for Contracts, Traditions of the Trade is one for the Hitman purists. Set in a Hungarian Hotel, Agent 47 must take out a terrorist called Frantz Fuchs, as well as retrieving a bomb he was planning to take out the hotel with.
The vast hotel layout means that the hit requires thought, planning and hefty doses of patience to achieve the much sought after Silent Assassin rating. As with every good Hitman mission there are many ways to achieve the assassination, with most players likely having to go through the mission a few times before perfecting a run-through. The steady trial-and-error approach to perfecting a mission is what the Hitman series is all about.
A New Life | Blood Money
Set in the suburbs of San Diego, A New Life's bright and quaint rural setting offers one of the most fun experiences of Agent 47's contracts.
The target, Vinnie Sinistra, is under the witness protection programme and is preparing a party for his youngest child. Agent 47 must break the happy family life to stop Sinistra reaching the witness box, whilst also stealing any incriminating evidence (which so happens to be in the form of a micro-film in his wife's necklace).
It is a relatively small-scale level and simple in its layout but the wide array of methods to complete it makes A New Life so fun and re-playable. From poisoning FBI agents' doughnuts to squashing a garbage man in his own disposal van and tranquilising dogs from a tree house, A New Life has many hidden gameplay gems dotted around the level for players to try out. Five different people could give the level a go and all have different stories of how they went about the killing.
Challenging but not frustrating, A New Life was Blood Money's best level and one that is as fun playing the tenth time as it was the first.
Anathema | Silent Assassin
Not only is Anathema the best mission on this list, it's also a contender for best opening level ever. What makes it so perfect is that it completely embodies the Hitman spirit; giving players massive freedom about how they want to pull off the hit. Anathema was the level available to play on the game's demo and is clearly intended to show off what Hitman is all about.
Agent 47 is sent to Sicily to rescue his friend Father Emelio Vittorio and is also tasked with taking care of the Mafia Don Guiseppe Guillani, who resides in the villa Vittorio.
Approaching from the hills Agent 47 has many ways to his target; the easiest way is to wait for a guard to relieve himself in the bushes outside and take his clothing. Guards, however, know each other well and will be more suspicious to new-comers. Alternatively you could take out the delivery boy and stash your weapons in his delivery box. For the most confident of players the postman offers a route right through the front door - but a security frisk means that weapons cannot be taken with you. Although the second two options won't raise suspicions from guards, they make some areas of the mansion off-limits.
Even the kill itself is open ended, as the player can either choose to go for the by-the-books sneak up and strangle approach, or take a sniper rifle from the garage, retreat back to the hills and take out Don Guillani as he practises his golf swing on a balcony. Unlike most missions there are even different ways of exiting the level, as the player can either retreat to the hills or escape via the car stored in the garage. The perfect Hitman level and one any stealth game fanatic should play.