Where we last departed, my HITMAN chronicles had me knocking out the last few challenges on several HITMAN 2016 levels within HITMAN 2. This has been mostly straightforward and fun, with a few frustrating exceptions. Marrakesh's House Built on Sand night mission is just so forgettable that it's barely worth mentioning, and I'd forgotten how annoying the standard map's Master Fortune Teller challenges were. The only way to take out the fortune teller without raising all kinds of hell is to throw five coins at him and wait for him to path around a large portion of the level. Complicating matters further, this pushy salesman by the lampstore will follow you around to no end if he sees you, which renders your attempts to take out the fortune teller when he gets there a no-go unless you deal with him. As an aside, I don't love challenges that require custom contracts. Often it isn't clear how someone's custom contract did some of the more complex challenges or at what point you're supposed to take the target out, so you end up tailing the target around their entire paths and it's just a waste of time. The "5 targets in 5 different accidents" one was especially a pain in the ass, but I did it and unlocked the damn crystal ball. I was happy to move on from Marrakesh the moment I did. Even the Escalations on Marrakesh are somewhere between mediocre and bad. It's just not a very good level.
Enter Bangkok. I didn't have much left to do here to get full completion on the main mission. The Somsak Equation Escalation was a decent one, and I went ahead and SA'd the final level of it just for funsies. Himmapan Horror was also a fairly interesting challenge pack, because it added the wrinkle of needing to have the bodies be found. It's not particularly easy to have bodies found without getting yourself compromised and/or creating all kinds of chaos, so I found it to be an entertaining set of challenges in which I basically chained kills. I set up scenarios where a lone NPC would discover a body and then get immediately murdered, to later be discovered by someone else for a rinse and repeat. I actually was able to SA most of the Himmapan Horror challenges, which I probably wasted more time than I needed to doing, but I had a good time here. The Source mission, which was part of the Patient Zero DLC, is a mostly good mission with the exception of one challenge called Slam Dunk that requires you to blow up Sister Yulduz and have her land on the canopy above her. The explosions in HITMAN are tough to control. It's not difficult to send a body flying in a general direction, but it's very difficult to catapult one upwards at a very specific arc and length as needed for this challenge. Also, the fire extinguishers now being a KO instead of a kill makes this extra silly, because the HITMAN 2 version of this level still has fire extinguishers there through which you cannot complete this challenge. You have to go get a propane tank for the kill, and it didn't even register the first time I actually pulled it off because Sister Yulduz half-clipped through the canopy. Ugh.
Some slight frustrations with Bangkok don't hold a candle to Colorado, though. There are some great Easter eggs in Colorado, but the bugs here are truly infuriating. Let's start with the fun stuff, though. The "Rep Tires" challenge/Easter egg is probably the funniest thing in the entire game. I won't spoil it for those of you who want to go do that one themselves, but for those who just want to see it, here's my spoiler video of my favorite exit to a level of all-time, even though it cost me my SA. It's so good. Almost as good is the Wicker Man challenge, which basically has anyone who comes close to 47 getting lit on fire. I have to admit it was a bit cathartic to just sprint around this entire level burning everyone, because getting around the level normally is such a pain in the ass. Case in point: The "Taste of Your Own Medicine" challenge, which requires that you assassinate two targets with a lethal syringe while disguised as the Scarecrow, that each assassination must be seen, that your disguise must be compromised each time, and that you return to an uncompromised state after each assassination without changing your disguise. I decided to first attempt this on the main mission with the targets instead of a contract. My strategy was to sneak to the water tower area in the Scarecrow disguise and ambush Graves as she paths near the lower level. I did this in sight of what I thought would be one or two NPCs. Somehow half of the map would sprint over each time (it was the same on several attempts) and all would learn all about me from the few that actually did see me and turn orange indicating that my disguise was compromised to them.
This left me with a situation where I had NPCs scattered all over the map I needed to take out. This would have been easy if the sniping wasn't completely broken on this map to where NPCs bum-rush exactly where you fired from anytime they see someone get sniped, so I had to stealthily snipe everyone in ways where no NPC could notice, lest I instantly create a crowd of new orange friends to have to deal with. I methodically did this and cleared out several dozen guys until I finally got my status back to uncompromised. Whew. Having murdered my way out of suspicion, I popped a save and proceeded with my Scarecrow outfit over by the basement where Ezra Berg paths. I managed to clear out an ambush area on the right side of the house, leaving one guard to spot my syringe kill of Berg. Save again. I ambushed him, which led to about eight guys who somehow knew I did. I methodically took all of them out, got myself back to an uncompromised state, and then waited for the challenge to pop. I'm still waiting. For whatever reason, this challenge decided to error out and not count five hours or so of solid effort. Fan-fucking-tastic. I decided to do a contract instead, thinking that it would be far easier to not have to take out entrenched targets. Nope. After attempting several contracts from randos where it wasn't particularly clear when they did their assassinations, it soon became clear that it's exceedingly difficult to have a lethal poison injection be "noticed" in the way it needed to be to pull off this challenge. It ultimately seemed like blind fucking luck when it actually worked, and interestingly enough, it popped on the one time I didn't bother to be otherwise not spotted by cameras. Weak. The bugginess of this map is awful.
Lo and behold, part of the Patient Zero campaign turns Colorado into a sniper map. Oh good, I thought. Double-down on the broken part of the worst map. Shockingly, this was actually a good time. They essentially turned Colorado into a Sniper Challenge map, which makes it far more fun than the standard offering due to the fact that you don't have to be down in the crappiness of it anymore with endless sightlines and hyper-aware NPCs. The tower made it to where you were figuratively and literally above the fray. This...I welcomed. Granted, the map isn't that deep. There are only a handful of potential targets and not that many options as to when/how to take them out, but compared with the incredibly frustrating slog that was the rest of Colorado, the straightforward, simplistic gameplay of the Patient Zero mission here was refreshing as all hell. I enjoyed doming fools from afar without them magically intuiting where I'd fired from instantaneously. I'd played through this thing back in HITMAN 2016, but I'd smartly skipped out on a deep dive in Colorado back then, which made me appreciate this less then and so much more now. I'm not saying the Patient Zero mission on Colorado is particularly great or notable, but it's enjoyable enough and massively preferable to the rest of this god-forsaken map. I will never play Colorado again and I'm thrilled about that, outside of maybe if they put a new Elusive Target on it, but even that seems improbable given how buggy the map is. Moving on.
Bring on Hokkaido. I know I said this in the last thread, but having this follow Colorado is a goddamn blessing. Everything about this map is great. I had a handful of challenges left to do, most notably of which were Hon-Ruida and the final Patient Zero mission. Hon-Ruida is a real bastard, but in the fun, challenging sort of way. The challenge requires that you KO twenty (yes, 20) masked guards with a baseball bat. Masked being the operative word here, as there are many unmasked guards in the hospital, in addition to many other guards in the regular facility. Unsurprisingly, once you begin taking swings at guards with a damn bat, things get out of control quickly, as every NPC doctor in the facility runs off to find a guard to alert to your presence. This equates to you having to barricade yourself in the hospital director's office and bonking anyone who dares enter. This sounds simple enough, except you eventually stack up a giant pile of knocked out guards. Keep in mind that you need to press X to take a swing at any new arrivals, which also happens to be same button as snapping a neck of the ones who've already met the bat. With the HITMAN 2 version of 47 being far less tank-y than the late patches of HITMAN 2016, errors were often fatal here. (I suppose I could have dropped it down to Easy mode for this, but that ain't my style.) I eventually got there, but the carnage I created in the process was pretty incredible.
This brings us to the last of what I had to do in the original game, which was the final Patient Zero mission. It's a doozy. It's also very good, and if you're into HITMAN and haven't played this, stop here and go do that. Still here? Okay, well, the premise of this thing is basically a virus outbreak scenario where one "infected" patient gets out and starts infecting others, and things rapidly become more difficult to contain. Playing through this mission while on near house-arrest during the real-world COVID-19 pandemic felt oddly fitting/inappropriate at the same time, but I generally cope with awfulness through darker humor, so I decided to go all-in. I don't mean to make too much light of the real-world situation, and much love to duders out there dealing with this in your own ways. In 47's make-believe "world of assassination", though, I felt like I knew how he would handle it. There is a challenge called You Know the Number. It demands that you kill 47 or more infected patients. The "easy" way to do this would have been to just let the infection spread and then just kill 47+ NPCs. That's not an interesting enough way for me to close out my adventures, though. The way I see it, our beloved HITMAN would overkill the virus, and no one would be the wiser Therefore, my challenge became to pacify 47 NPCs without being spotted. I then let 47 do what he does best to close this out in a blaze of glory.
I've now completed everything in HITMAN 2's version of HITMAN 2016. However, it still shows most of these maps at 98/99% completion because the challenges to complete "The Classics" on all the HITMAN 2 levels on both Professional and Master also appear here. I need that 100% in my life, so that's next up on the list. To be continued....