Over the past 18 years of Hitman games, Agent 47 has traveled the entire globe on his campaign of meticulous murder. He snuck into a Sicilian villa as a mailman and whacked a mob boss (literally) with his own golf club. He’s climbed the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur to strangle a naked guy in a jacuzzi. Remarkable mission variety is a long staple of this series. That tradition continued with Hitman in 2016 and the newly released Hitman 2.
So how did the series get to this point? What are the most influential assassinations in Hitman history? I’m glad you asked! Here are the seven greatest missions from Agent 47’s halcyon hits, in order of their appearance in the series.
Most Surprising Twist: St. Petersburg Stakeout
Plenty of Hitman missions are memorable for their sheer size, intricacy, and range of possibilities. The St. Petersburg Stakeout is not one of them. Instead, it’s the best prime of the series’ more straightforward missions—not to mention some great sniping.
Tasked with assassinating an ex-KGB officer during a secret meeting in downtown St. Petersburg, Agent 47 is left with only a rifle and no clue about his target’s identity. After making his way through snowy streets, he reaches the building adjacent to the meeting. He scopes the location with his actual scope to find a group of oddly similar-looking men. They’re basically body doubles. Each is meant to make 47 panic as his window of opportunity quickly closes.
But this mission rewards patience and accuracy more than any other: the game steadily feeds you info on the target until you can identify him yourself, and… Pow! It’s quick, dirty, and oh so satisfying.
Most Intense Battle of Wits: Invitation to a Party
Invitation to a Party plays out like a brilliant little game of spy versus spy. The glitzy, glamorous air of this mission sets the stage for a unique battle of wits between you and the game AI. Agent 47 heads to a German embassy to kill a Russian general. But it’s not all about killing. He also needs a suitcase full of sensitive info that just happens to be inside an ambassador’s safe. An active Spetsnaz operative complicates things further. He’s hunting for the suitcase as well.
Once you get inside the embassy and reach the crowded ballroom, the agent can immediately recognize you and put his plans into motion. It’s a race to kill the target and find the case before him. Thankfully, there are a number of quick and clever ways to get the job done.
Do you exploit the general’s weakness for alcohol and poison him? Maybe you should isolate him away from the party? Or do you lie in wait for the ambassador to open the safe himself? Of course, you could let the Spetsnaz agent threaten the ambassador first before striking.
No matter how you do it, the smug satisfaction of walking out of that party with suitcase in hand—and a very confused (or very dead) Spetsnaz agent behind you—is only possible with this mission.
Most Chances to Screw Up: Shogun Showdown
After trudging through some of the worst missions in Hitman history (ahem, Hidden Valley and At the Gates), Agent 47 arrives at a snow-covered fortress isolated high in the mountains of Japan. His target is a reclusive, heavily guarded yakuza leader. And this old castle is the setting for one of the series’ most varied and challenging missions: Shogun Showdown.
From the moment the mission starts, the smallest misstep will cause an alert and get you killed. Each new room or hidden passageway presents you with an interesting new stealth puzzle to solve. Sometimes that’s sword-wielding ninjas hidden in the rafters. Other times it’s creaking floorboards or a laser grid that requires just the right keycard.
Shogun Showdown is an excellent test of everything you should have learned in Hitman so far. Finally eliminating the target is equally great. You can choke him silently from behind, blast him out his window with high-power bullets, or even duel him to the death with a katana. After that, you can make a daring escape by jumping down the roof of the castle and straight into a helicopter.
Most Brazen Assassination: Curtains Down
Curtains Down may be Agent 47’s most deviously disguised kill. It’s the only mission in the earlier Hitman games that lets you shoot a man in broad daylight—in front of an audience and get away with it.
Agent 47 attends a rehearsal at the Paris Opera House in order to get close to his targets: a prominent opera singer and an American ambassador. Both are involved in child prostitution. So it feels that much more satisfying to bump them off. And it just so happens that the singer and the rest of the cast are rehearsing the final scene from Tosca—in which the singer is executed by firing squad. You can see where this is going.
As the scene plays out, you need to take your shot in perfect sync with the music. You can post up in the box seats with a sniper and hover over the singer’s head with your scope. Or you can creep around backstage and wait it out with a shorter-range gun. If you’re feeling dramatic, you can even steal the executioner’s uniform and to deliver the shot point blank. Oh, and don’t forget to casually drop a chandelier on the ambassador as he rushes to see what happened to his buddy.
Most Surprisingly Funny Murders: A New Life
This is where the self-aware humor of Hitman really came into its own. In a normally peaceful California suburb, a paranoid gangster-turned-informant is being protected by the FBI. He’s gotten so comfortable he’s even trying to throw a birthday for his kid. His wife, meanwhile, has a necklace with some incriminating microfilm concealed within. Unfortunately for the informant, Agent 47 has been contracted to kill him and acquire that microfilm—and he has plenty of absurd options to do it.
Stealing the party clown’s outfit is a classic. Grabbing gasoline from the shed and dumping it on the backyard grill is appropriate for the setting. Filling donuts with sedative and giving them to the FBI surveillance team will let you disguise yourself as one of them. Seducing the wife after dressing as a poolboy might just be the funniest, however. And that’s not even the half of it! There are so many hilarious possibilities in this mission that it’s almost hard to choose. That makes it easily one of the most replayable hits ever.
Most Complicated Hunt: The Murder of Crows
Speaking of humor in Hitman, how do you feel about jogging through the streets of New Orleans? How about during Mardi Gras while wearing a chicken suit and listening to phone sex teases? Not only is The Murder of Crows funny, it demands a level of planning and coordination that makes it extraordinary, even by Hitman standards.
Agent 47 is in pursuit of a rival group of assassins known as The Crows. The group is planning its own hit against a campaigning politician on his Mardi Gras float. You have to identify the three gang members through massive crowds, pin down their locations, and take each one out before the others notice. Oh, and don’t let the politician get got.
The whole group is disguised as birds to blend in with the festivities. They use walkie talkies to keep in constant contact with one another. Two of them are also, uh… dating. So expect to hear a lot of bird-related innuendo as you follow them. But that just makes getting a bird suit of your own, tracking down each assassin, and murdering them in quick succession even more gratifying.
Most Mandatory Variety: A Dance with the Devil
A Dance with the Devil, the penultimate mission of Blood Money, is Hitman at its very best. It features four targets in all, exceptionally cunning ways to use disguises, and a richly detailed map with tons of opportunities. Agent 47’s “last” assignment is to kill an arms dealer and his lover, both of whom are holding separate parties in the same Las Vegas building. The party on the top floor is “heaven” themed, while the party in the basement represents “hell.” Each has a corresponding dress code.
Using different attire to transition between the two parties, and figuring out the best possible way to kill each target, (he takes frequent bathroom breaks while she likes pyrotechnics) gives your decisions more weight than ever. However, you’re not alone here. Two other assassins are there to take you out. You have to outmaneuver and outgun them just to survive, adding another layer of intrigue to this level. Of all the missions from the “old games” in the series, A Dance with the Devil might be the most memorable.
Does this list line up with your own memories of Agent 47’s work? What’s your favorite Hitman mission of all time? We would love to argue the finer points of premeditated murder with you down in the comments!