47's silliest looks
Hitman: Absolution has rekindled our interest in all things bald and murderous, as you'll have noted from our Hitman: Absolution review earlier this month. Among the game's standout features is a renewed emphasis on playing dress-up, with a stack of costumes so varied there's a whole Disguises trailer devoted to Agent 47's various looks.
We thought it was about time to take a look back through the series' long history of sartorial splendor, so as to get a feel for the changing face of murderous-sociopath fashion... but then we noticed that actually, the best costumes have always been the ones that make Agent 47 look deadly and ridiculous. So here's 20 of those...
Patient's Gown (Hitman: Codename 47/Silent Assassin/Contracts/Blood Money)
The original Hitman: Codename 47 begins with your shiny-headed stand-in clad only in a none-too-modest hospital smock-beginning a tradition that stayed with the series all the way to the fourth entry, Hitman: Blood Money. You'll note that while Agent 47 has never donned anything that could be construed as drag, his favorite getup (besides the trusty Italian suits, of course) amounts to a dress that leaves little to the imagination.
Sure, we get that it's a great way of humanizing a guy whose entire schtick is finding inventive ways to murderize people, but it's also pretty cruel to think that some poor sap's last words are going to be, hey buddy, put that away, we're going for an M rating.
Biker (Hitman: Codename 47/Contracts)
Obviously Agent 47 couldn't know that his later adventures would involve numerous controversial accusations of racial or cultural insensitivity, except inasmuch as killing people for a living is liable to get you accused of insensitivity one way or another. But if he'd realized that, would he have been quite so quick to don a jacket with a great big burning swastika on the back?
Sure he would: The Flamin' Windmills make a repeat appearance in the series' third game, Hitman: Contracts, and there's 47 tempting Godwin's Law all over again. Besides the unsavory implications, though, the Windmills' gang colors are pretty freakin' awesome, and there's a quietly subversive thrill in strutting your way through a strip-club encounter with FLAMING emblazoned across your back.
Swimming trunks (Hitman: Codename 47)
After a debut adventure that requires flashing this much skin, it's no wonder Agent 47's default get-up is such a comparatively conservative business suit. You get into the hitman business expecting international cloak-and-dagger adventures, and before you know it you're one scrap of spandex away from that one really grueling scene from Eastern Promises.
Seriously though, surely we've highlighted enough examples of battle-inappropriate female fighting gear that you'll agree we're qualified to judge when a guy is just plain not dressed for the occasion. Again, 47, killing people is bad enough: There's no need to send some poor sap to his maker thinking about how unfortunate it is to die wearing a purple banana hammock.
Triad Waiter (Hitman: Codename 47)
Well, sure, your unsuspecting enemies are saying to each other, that guy's got to be one of us. He might be a Caucasian member of the Chinese mafia that none of us have met before, but what reason would anyone have to dress up like in racist costume from a Chinatown flea-market if they weren't in deep with the world of organized crime?
On the other hand, this garb might turn some heads in the cosmopolitan world of the Hitman series, but if Agent 47 manages to drive the body-count up much higher, he could always just show up dressed like this for the next Dynasty Warriors title. Nobody would bat an eyelid until he went a minute without killing anyone--as if that's likely to happen anytime soon.
Cult Member (Hitman: Silent Assassin)
Another day, another costume for Agent 47 that's an unflattering woman's dress in all but name. Putting aside the controversies associated with this level, you're left with a mission in which Agent 47's tasked with taking down an international terrorist and nuke-hoarder--all the while dressed like an extra from The Love Guru. Remember that movie? Exactly.
It's around this point that you realize just how dedicated to his job 47 really is. Establishing an international record of brutal, unquestioning murder is one thing, but doing so while rocking open-toed sandals and capri pants really demonstrates a terrifying dedication to the cause.
Pizza Guy (Hitman: Silent Assassin)
A pizza guy is an excellent disguise for a hitman, because nobody ever expects pizza-delivery situations to devolve into anything except maybe unsatisfying pizza-eating situations. And the quips write themselves! Special delivery--of death. Would you like your pizza topped--with death? And so forth.
But more pressingly, Hitman 2: Silent Assassin firmly establishes Agent 47 as a man of wealth and taste, strutting through missions in suits so sharp they could kill all on their own. Next to this, the prospect of dressing in fluoro-toned board-shorts and sneakers must be one of the most galling aspects of the job. And indentured homicidal maniac is a pretty galling job to begin with.
Ninja (Hitman: Silent Assassin)
This month brought the revelation that there are still ninjas in the real world-albeit only very few of them, and only as a hobby. Maybe the world's last surviving shinobi got a look at what happens when Codename 47 gets his hands on their profession's traditional threads and figured, forget it, we'll just go into investment banking.
What's so wrong with Hitman's ninja garb? Maybe the problem is that it's too authentic: black-on-black, loose-fitting and only vaguely 47-shaped, the ninja gear transforms our guy's stark trademark figure into a scarcely visible blackened blob amid darkened corridors filled with same. The 1980s boom in flamboyantly colored ninja may have mocked the profession's serious days, but at least you could see who was killing who.
Programmer (Hitman: Silent Assassin)
Uh-oh, are we getting meta here? Having a computer program about a guy who kills people who make computer programs is dangerously close to self-reflexive postmodern cleverness, which is not what was promised in the blurb for this game about random bloodletting! Or is it implying that a cold-blooded murderer could lurk behind the most benign geek facade? Thanks guys, your target market appreciates the comparison!
It's also a dangerously bland costume even by Agent 47's standards. Though we do like the idea that someone at Io Interactive got a memo reading, we've got a level where Agent 47 brutally murders computer programmers, please program this level for us and by the way your contributions to the company continue to be valued.
Butcher (Hitman: Contracts)
By the time of Contracts, you get the sense Agent 47 is at last starting to enjoy his work. And it's not the orphaning of children and widowing of wives that makes him tick (though surely that helps); the chrome-domed assassin finally seems to have realized what a lot of fun can be had in the costuming aspect of his vocation.
How else to explain the oh-so-witty killer's donning of a butcher's outfit in order to ply his trade without having to wipe up all that blood? Or, if that's still a bit subtle for you, try using a table-ready turkey as a silencer. Though be sure to check first, so as to ensure the bird is thoroughly cooked before slipping it over your firearm. The last thing you want is for your murder-spree to be cut short by a bout of salmonella poisoning.
Bathrobe (Hitman: Contracts)
No, look, sorry, this is a bathrobe. It's well and good to say it's a gang uniform, or that this very outfit may have been worn by killers approaching 47's own level of infamy; but if you're not a badass Asian gangster then this is, for the purposes of your donning it, just a really nice bathrobe.
And sure, a good bathrobe is hard to find, so one can understand why 47 would be eager to hang onto it. After all, you don't want to go stealing from hotels--that's illegal. But when everyone else who's dressed like you is also toting a Kalashnikov-while you're not even allowed to hoist an AK off downed enemies-then you, buddy, are dressed not for homicide but for the hot-tub.
Radiation Suit (Hitman: Contracts)
A radiation suit is a very sensible thing to wear if there's the possibility of dangerous radiation in the area, with the additional benefit of disguising the wearer's identity much better than your standard-issue soldier's uniform. However, we've seen action movies--we're pretty sure radiation gear doesn't have to make you look quite so much like a pint-sized Marshmallow Man.
From still photos, the Radiation Suit just makes the usually-gaunt 47 look like he could stand to lose a few pounds. But try actually running, gunning, jumping, and scaling ladders while clad in this ridiculous puffer-suit. You'd have an easier time being taken seriously if you just waded into the fray wearing a fat-suit and brandishing a ham hock.
Stable-boy (Hitman: Contracts)
Alright, so anyone born to fill out a deadly society of assassins is probably going to be a bit of a dicey customer--but you know who's even worse? Aristocrats. Seriously, these guys will kidnap athletes and imprison them on their estate just for the fun of it. How bad are these posh twits? So bad that even their horses deserve to die horribly. Rest assured that's exactly what happens.
And all the while, here's Agent 47, clad in bright red like he was trying to blend in at a slaughterhouse, or while on fire. Because the only way to vanish into the world of the aristocracy is to dress like one of their servants, see?
Angel Mask (Hitman: Blood Money)
Finally, thinks Agent 47, an occasion where my cartoonish brand of villainy is just another costume to help me vanish into a crowd. Not so fast, answers Hitman: Blood Money, you've got an ironic angel-suit to don first.
And while the Angel costume is pretty stylin' indeed, and definitely brings a certain Eyes Wide Shut-esque perversity to acts of extreme violence, it's hard to get past the fact that it makes 47 look like a cross between Street Fighter 2's Vega and one of Super Mario Bros. 2's Shyguys. Both of whom, in fairness, also want to kill you.
Clown (Hitman: Blood Money)
Why Hitman: Blood Money, you shouldn't have. Here we were buying an innocent game about a man who can't stop killing people, and you've gone and dressed him up like John Wayne Gacy and given everyone nightmares. Seriously, did you ever see a clown quite so transparently evil? Dude makes Twisted Metal's Sweet Tooth look like Ronald McDonald. Seriously, you shouldn't have.
Then again, 47's infiltrating the home of a former gangster for the purposes of stealing vital evidence and silencing said gangster, before he can make good on his Witness Protection placement. Why not dress up as a clown and gun the guy down in front of his youngest child? The game's not called Polite Man: Agreement Money, after all.
Devil Mask (Hitman: Blood Money)
Well, this is a bit more like it. If you want to go unnoticed as an amoral dealer of death, what better costume than a mask that makes you look like a nightmarish cartoon monster? Anyone who tried to pick you out of a lineup wearing this thing would have to assume that nobody looking this awful would be fool enough to kill anyone.
Also, if you're at a gathering where people are wearing this sort of thing and you know some violence has to go down, directly behind that mask is probably going to be the least terrifying place in the room. Planning and executing an assassination is stressful enough without worrying about it getting scary.
Santa (Hitman: Blood Money)
We'd be surprised if most Santas (Santae?) in video games weren't secretly terrifying murderers. Why would you don a Santa costume, other than to make it doubly ironic when you shoot some poor sucker's face off?
Donning the red suit midway through Blood Money will turn Agent 47 into a veritable King of Christmas, which would be lovely except that this just empowers him to deliver the gift of death to more and more unwitting unfortunates. All the good sleigh/slay puns have been done to death already, but don't let that stop you.
Chipmunk (Hitman: Absolution)
Sure, dressing up as a giant chicken (as you can do here) is impressively weird--but it's also a callback to earlier in the series and thus not authentically ridiculous at all. The Chipmunk costume, on the other hand, looks bonkers crazy, and delivers no benefits besides looking bonkers crazy.
Best of all, Agent 47 dons this garb to infiltrate another strip club, which is a far cry from those early days of dressing down whenever the opportunity presented itself. There's always the danger of being hilariously mistaken for a beaver, but then that's what semi-automatic weapons are for, we suppose.
High Roller (Hitman: Absolution)
The High Roller costume was available as a pre-order bonus if you put down a few bucks on Absolution at Wal-Mart, an irony on which we'll not dwell. However suffice it to say that if Agent 47 were trying to look unlike Agent 47, this would be a pretty rubbish costume, as it's virtually identical to his regular threads but with a bow-tie and a slightly fancier cut than usual.
Whereas if Agent 47 were trying to look like James Bond... it would still be a dodgy costume, because he still has the bald dome and unmistakable face of a cold-blooded psychopath. Looks cool as hell, though.
Judge (Hitman: Absolution)
Having gotten this far, you may've been surprised to note just how few wigs, toupees, or miscellaneous hairpieces 47 dons in his undercover exploits. After all, surely the whole point of being a bald, bar-coded cipher is that it makes it really easy to look like anyone--and cover up your one discerning mark--for disguise purposes?
But if 47's going to finally put on a wig, does it have to be one of these inherently hilarious arrangements? Yes, we get that it's because he's judge, jury, and executioner, all in one; but why not just put that on a t-shirt and retain some dignity about it, man?
Scarecrow (Hitman: Absolution)
This surely has to constitute some sort of jumping-the-shark on Agent 47's part. After all, he's dressed up in some ridiculous roles over the years, but all of those roles have actually been impersonations of human beings. This marks the first time the guy's just straight-up masqueraded as a piece of farming equipment.
On the one hand, we do dig the utterly impractical thrill of running down a quarry dressed like if only you had a brain. On the other hand, though, where do you go from here? Will the next Hitman game see our guy dress as a tractor? A combine harvester? The humble sheepdog?
Okay, yeah, can't wait.
How do you dress to impress?
Which of Agent 47's costumes have we left off the list? Let's hear how you like to suit up when it's time to have a murderin' good time.
Or, for more on our morally unencumbered friend, check out our guide to Becoming a better assassin: lessons we've learned from Agent 47 and his ilk, or see how the series stacks up in our list of the best stealth games.