Hitman: Contracts - first gameplay pics

Eidos have released the first gameplay screenshots of Hitman: Contracts, the latest title in their third-person assassin-fest, which always proves to be an interesting and violent excursion into the dark underworld of scum-sucking evil types.

Details are sketchy at present but Agent 47 will be visiting Paris, England, Romania, Hong Kong and Siberia. Romania is home to the slaughterhouse level, which brings us to the two newly revealed characters - Meat King and his imaginatively named sibling Meat King's Brother.

A slaughterhouse full of animal carcasses and blood seems a strange choice of venue for a party but then Meat King isn't a normal guy. Still he knows how to have a decadent time and we presume you'll be paying a visit to enrich the party atmosphere with your gift for death. He's obscenely rich in wealth and power and one mother of a porker. He was never convicted of a kidnapping charge but his innocence in the matter isn't assured. Has a relative of the kidnap victim given Agent 47 the mark to bleed the sucker dry?

Meat King's Brother is just as gross as his sibling but not in a rippling fat kind of way. Big, brutish, not given to wearing trousers (hello?) but choosing blood soiled pants instead, his sanity isn't in question - he's clearly one meat cleaver short of a slaughterhouse. He looks like Meat King's muscle (well, fat boy ain't doing much running around) and with his size and penchant for all things nasty and sharp, we suspect he's pretty darn good at it.

We'll bring you more news as and when Eidos cough up the info.

Hitman: Contracts will be released in the spring on PS2, Xbox and PC