Improving Three-Headed Serpent

Well, it’s time for another one of ”one of those”. A thread wherein I try to list different ways I would improve a mission without significant changes to the map or entire re-toolings of the main mission.

Most recently I’ve tackled “The Finishline”. This time it’s “Three Headed Serpent” (in Santa Fortuna) and there’s a definite theme.

To a large degree, it’s about what I call ”fallbacks”, which simply means ”alternate ways to do familiar kills/Mission Stories”, preferably without needing the disguise that the Mission Story normally requires.

These will be marked ”Fallback” in the front for clarity.

Well, without further ado:

Fallback: ”The Taita” (Part 1)

It’s pretty clear the Taita doesn’t want to go to the construction site to perform the ritual, but what if a street soldier came to get him? Would he really be so unwilling then?

Add the ability to escort the Taita dressed as one of the soldiers.


Approaching the Taita as a street soldier should allow you to escort him to the construction site.

Fallback: The Taita (Part 2)

Even if the Taita is not coming, maybe Andrea can be tricked to make the trip down to the construction site without 47 needing to disguise himself as the Taita?

Remember the walkie-talkie object from “A House Built on Sand”?


The walkie-talkie object from A House Built on Sand is a genius minimalistic approach to fallbacks. Use it!

Give the foreman a walkie-talkie that he uses to inform Andrea when the Taita arrives (for instance if you go there dressed as him, or if you escort him there). If you knock him out you can grab the walkie-talkie and make the call yourself. The Taita isn’t there, but Andrea doesn’t know that.

The walkie talkie object already exists, and all that is needed is some extra dialog from 47. This wouldn’t allow you to perform the main kill in the construction site, but maybe a crate drop, and definitely some improvised stuff along the way.

The Gimmick Starting Point

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Classic loading screen from the mission Find the U’Wa Tribe, in “Hitman: Codename 47”

As an homage to the original Colombian missions in Codename 47, add in an unlockable starting point similar to the Ninja in Situs Inversus, where 47 starts in the jungle dressed as a commando, armed either with a machine gun, or a machete. Like the ninja start, I imagine this ”Commando Start” would have a few challenges connected to it.

Fallback: ”The Sub Engineer”

A guard comes to collect the sub engineer, but if you arrive dressed as a guard and try to talk to the engineer, there’s no dialog. Make it either so you can make him go to the caves after a talk or…

Alternately: Add in dialog that shows that the engineer simply refuses.

Poison of the U’Wa Tribe

As another reference to the original Codename 47 missions (or even Absolution), U’Wa tribe poison should be possible to find on the map.

My suggestion i that it’s in Rico’s museum of stuff, with a funny backstory of it’s own like the other items in there. Have it in a glass case that needs to be broken, or on a pressure plate, and you need to switch it for another item of equal weight (maybe an apricot?).

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The U’Wa tribe poison has already been seen more than once. I suggest a third time would’ve been in order.

Fallback: ”The Hippie (Part 1)”

A lot of people have complained that they can’t simply give the Hippie glue after they find it. After all, he is looking for it, right?

This might make things too easy though, so I suggest the hippie has the cocain on him (in a bag or whatever).
If you knock him out you can put the cocaine in the model bus and then repair it with glue, but he will not bring it (he’s knocked out, and if he comes to he’ll be suspicious of the fixed bus).
If you give him glue he’ll put the drugs in and fix the bus, after which he’ll deliver it. This means you cannot simply poison Franco with the cocain and get a cheap kill, but you can draw him down into the caves for other hijinks.

Alternately you could make the glue harder to get. Maybe as a buyable item, but for 5 coins or a similarly high number that requires some coin collecting.

Fallback: ”The Hippie (Part 2)”

One of the guys by the entrance clearly has a radio connection to Franco (he calls in from his hut) which is what draws Franco down into the caves.


This guy clearly has a radio, and Franco has a radio system in his hut that he actually uses.

Therefore, knocking the guard out and grabbing his walkie-talkie should allow you to tell Franco that the Hippie has arrived. He’ll head down into the caves. Hijinks ensue. This one is almost a must. It only requires a couple of extra lines from 47, and (again) the walkie talkie object from ”A House Built on Sand”.

The Meeting

All three targets meet in Rico’s office.


This scenario is teased before the mission starts. Why not use it?

Come on, you can’t show this and then not feature it. I suggest that after Franco gets his cocaine machine started, and Andrea manages to get the Taita to do his bit they both go to see Rico. If they all leave their guards outside, this could even be a spot for a cool triple sniper kill.

Fallback: The Tattoo Artist


Simple. As the bartender you can do the classic ”bartender giving life advice” part and talk P-Power into going to Rico’s for a tattoo. Once done Rico goes to the bathroom to check the tattoo (he already does this if you finish the tattoo as P-Power) where you could be waiting.

Alternately: Place P-Power so he isn’t by the main bar and doesn’t chat to the bartender. The fact that he speaks to the bartender makes it seem like it should be possible to talk him into doing it.

The Vantage Point

This is where I almost (if not entirely) break my rule about improvements within the map, but I would suggest that adding one piece of architecture in a village isn’t that big of a change.

(This is where I would have a picture of a typical Colombian village church, but I don’t want to swipe copyrighted material)

One of the most disappointing aspect of the mission, at least to me, is it’s lack of sweet sniper opportunities especially when it comes to classic sniper vantage points that are

  1. Elevated
  2. Secure
  3. Far from the target

I would suggest a town church with a church tower.
Maybe this is too remeniscent of Sapienza to some, but the design could be made to have a different flavor, and honestly… considering how religious people are in South America, this feels like a no-brainer.
I imagine from this tower you could get a shot in on Andrea Martinez as she goes out on the balcony to read the love letter.

Fallback: The Flower

I was really disappointed when I first realized there’s no other way to do the flower kill, but to fry the flower by turning the knob. If the flower is shot, Franco has specific dialog that reveals that his dream has been ruined.

Instead, I would want an alternate way of causing Franco to get a new flower. The easiest one is to allow shooting it. Then a cool sniper method opens up.


Snipe the flower from here, and Franco would go on his flower picking route.

I acknowledge that the idea is sort of silly. If there’s a bullet hole in the glass, then Franco would probably be a bit suspicious, but if not this, then use some other method. Maybe there’s a ”power regulator” that can be sniped?


There… I’m sure there’s more ideas that aren’t so fallback-centric, but to be frank this mission needed at least one or two of these.

I also want to be clear (in case it is not clear) on that I really enjoy this level (mostly for atmosphere and layout).

Anways… anyone have comments, or ideas of their own?

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Agree with all. Mumbai had so much compared to Colombia.

I expected to possibly climb the huge crane at the construction site to snipe all 3 but alas. Level could definitely use some good vantage point(s).
In the intro of the level we also see Andrea at the Village bar but I don’t think she actually ever goes there… or maybe she does after cleansing the ground? Not sure

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Uh I think the shot of them all in the office is just a stylistic thing. You know get them in a well decorated but small room with means to have diverse poses. Get the tight shot of them together.

Also I don’t think the U’wa tribe poison is necessary. I mean we have no idea if the U’wa tribe even live in the area the mission takes place, also I don’t think the U’wa use poisoned arrows. Next I just would rather tone down the references to the previous games or make them subtle. Finally from a game play perspective we already have lethal poisons that require legwork both plants and frogs.

As for the fallbacks meh. I don’t care.

For me the map’s biggest problem is all the wasted space in the jungle areas. Also the characters being somewhat flat as well.

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You are absolutely right about much stuff. Fallbacks are a really nice thing to have this mission clearly lacks.

Another thing this map is bad at and I cannot mention it often enough: It is against sniping. The map is, despite being huge, very built up so there are no real good nests for contract mode. I mean, there is a village more or less around a big mansion. And there is no was to sit up there sniping villagers? Booh!

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Of course that’s what it is. If it wasn’t it would already be in the mission. My point is that it would be a fun addition (meetings in general are one of the great parts of Hitman missions).

It seems to me that both of these points are rather irrelevant. The suggestion is for the poison to be in Rico’s museum. The accompanying audio-story (that all museum items have) would explain it.
Whether the real life U’Wa tribe used poisons of any kind doesn’t matter. In the cannon of the game series they did.

That’s fine, it’s a personal preference. But it’s not one I have, at least not when it comes to starting locations, which we already know can be pretty bonkers (and the poison seems subtle enough to me).

This is pure insanity to me, as non-flexible Mission Stories are among the most boring ones I know and to me is the number one thing that stops me from replaying.
From a replayability aspect it also seems really strange to me to suggest one doesn’t care about something that would increase options for replay.
But OK.

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All i can say for rhis thread and your ideas is bravo. Great ideas, and i would really love to see them implementwd by ioi.
What i dislike in Santa Fortuna is that Andrea and Franco are so easy targets, and Rico is well protected, but also pretty accessable.

I don’t have anything against fall backs. It is just IO most likely made the level when strapped for cash and time or they feared it would be too easy, so I understand why they aren’t included that. Going forward I hope they add them. If they don’t it is no skin off my nose, there are still tons of ways they can add replayability to the level.

And I thought of one more thing. Add place to hide Rico’s body when doing the tattoo kill.

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I’ve been waiting for one of those. Kind of crazy how much this one reads like “do it like you did it in Mumbai”.

In regards to the P-Powers story, I really feel like it needs an extra wrinkle. Hippie needs to find the glue. Hippo guy needs to feed the hippo. The musician has to do a bunch of things. But Powers just needs to show up for a free kill. An interesting addition would be an extra objective in the form of retrieving Catalina’s phone with the picture. It’s an extra complication that does not make the kill itself harder, just counts as an extra recording that messes with your rating. And with addition of the fallback scenario, it also becomes completely avoidable.

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Mumbai is not perfect either. The Mission Story involving the tailor comes to mind.

That being said, I think it contains enough fallbacks for me to feel good about it (as opposed to Three-Headed Serpent and Ark Society). The Kashmirian kills are particularly good, and probably a series high-point for me.

Oh, then I misunderstood what you meant.

To be clear, I understand that IO works on a budget and with a deadline and I don’t believe all of these things could’ve been added given the restraints they had (though I believe if this type of flexibility was part of the design philosophy they might’ve potentially had better tools to solve such problems by now).

This is more an exercise in what I believe would be an ideal version of the mission.

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I have to wonder, how much this lack of fallbacks is a resources issue, and how much of it is a design issue. The hippo guy does have a fallback.

Perhaps future missions could benefit from reducing the number of individual mission stories in favor of greater flexibility and variability. Going back to Mumbai for a second, if that Tailor was removed completely, I wouldn’t even notice. Kashmirian on the other hand…

Right now we have this weird situation where all of our targets have incredibly busy schedules with a bunch of appointments, but none of the guests are in a hurry.

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It’s an interesting question. If it’s planned beforehand it should mostly be a question of some extra lines being recorded, and some extra scripting. I’d assume if something is a problem it’s either lack of planning for this stuff or the scripting for the new scenarios.

Maybe… I would probably prefer slightly smaller maps (though not a lot smaller… I’m a fan of the big maps) if that would solve the problem though.

I recently came across an old GDC talk from 2016 where IO designers talked about the way they came up with the opportunity system. And in that talk they compared it to conventional quests in RPGs. And when you look at it that way, you can see why the initial designs may be inflexible. You have a quest giver, task and a reward. There is no reason for RPGs to make their fetch quests particularly flexible.

But Hitman is a somewhat special case. I suspect that the reason Kashmirian works so much better than most of stories in Columbia is because it creates decision tree that mirrors decision trees players use to navigate environment.

When players navigate environments in Hitman, they are constantly presented with choices and options. So it makes sense that when presented with more abstract situations, players automatically start to look for options. If I can sneak past security check in Miami, then I should be able to “sneak past disguising myself as a Hippie”.

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Don’t think they would add all this to recent maps, but Kent always knows what’s up. If they implemented all these new ideas into their new maps we would have a greater experience for sure.

New Mission Story: "RABBIT’S FOOT"

MAP CHANGES:

  1. Delgado Mansion Dungeon contains a masked hostage female NPC Ivanna Dexter. Similar to the Prisoner in “A Gilded Cage”, 47 cannot interact with the prisoner although he can kill and KO the prisoner.

  2. The room opposite the hippie inn’s staircase (Target Lockdown Area of the Revolutionary) is locked but still accessible via the window. Inside is Agent Smith whispering into a Radio continuously trying to contact Washington. Near him is a Large Duffel Bag containing a Barrett Rifle. Also nearby is a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) Launcher. Outside the inn is the Pilot from Hokkaido, but wearing different costume.

  3. New NPC: Felix Ramirez stationed at the covered area near the Helicopter Exit Point. Ramirez is the owner of the Helicopter.

  4. Tunnels Area Security Room now contains a number of body bags, as well as the freshly executed body of a CIA Director and a Shirtless Long-Haired Field Operator. The room now also contains a Large Duffel Bag, Barrett Rifle, an M60 Machine Gun, and a stash of RPG launchers.

  5. Security areas of Delgado’s Mansion, Franco’s Plantation, and Andrea’s House now contain RPG Launchers.

  6. Two Guards that roam elevated jungle area near the crashed plane and Taita’s hut now have new conversation mentioning the killed CIA Director in the tunnels and the failed CIA operation.

  7. People at the Bar have new conversation revealing they saw Cartel members dragging two prisoners into the Tunnels and conjecture that they must be American CIA.

  8. Rico Delgado’s office now contains an additional weapon: M-16 Rifle with M203 Grenade Launcher.

STARTING THE MISSION STORY:

Method 1: 47 overhears the two guards in the elevated Jungle Area talking about the CIA Director’s body in the Tunnels Security Room. They gloat about how easily the men were captured and conjecture that they were here to kill Rico Delgado over drug shipments into America. One of the guards also quips: “Did you check out the gun one of them was bringing around in that bag of his? Dios Mio! A real beauty!” - it’s not clear whether the guard was referring to the Barrett Rifle or the M60 Machine Gun.

Method 2: 47 can overhear the conversation at the bar revealing information similar to Method 1.

Method 3: 47 passes by near the window of the room where Agent Smith is and hears him asking Washington to send help as he’s lost contact with “Jack” and “John”. Agent Smith says he doesn’t know where the pair are but that he spotted Cartel thugs dragging two people into the Tunnels. 47 cannot interact with Smith at this time. If 47 climbs through the window Smith just says: “Listen buddy, I’m trying to work here.” The Door to Agent Smith’s room will have a greyed out interactable “Missing Password” if 47 hasn’t searched the CIA Director’s body. The door cannot be opened even from the inside in this state.

Method 4: 47 can simply discover the bodies of CIA Director “Jack” , and Field Operator “John” and complete Hold G - “Search CIA Director’s Body”.

MISSION STORY REQUIREMENTS

  1. Agent Carlton Smith must be alive.
  2. Ivanna Dexter must be alive.
  3. Helicopter Pilot must be alive.
  4. Felix Ramirez must be alive. (See: NOTE at end of post)

MISSION STORY INTEL
“It seems that the CIA were running an operation just recently but it appears that luck has not been on their side. I know you’re not one to give other people second chances, but perhaps a little luck falling their way can give you a unique opportunity.”

MISSION STORY SEQUENCE:

  1. After hearing any of the first 3 Starting Points, 47 should search the body of the CIA Director in the Tunnel Security Room. Optional: Pick-up weapons from this area.

  2. Either as the second step or Method 4: Hold G - “Search the CIA Director’s Body”. 47 will discover two items on the CIA Director’s body: a CIA Business Card bearing the name “Jack Lion - Director CIA”, and a small slip of paper (intel notes state it was hidden in a secret pocket) with a note saying “Main Square - Knock Knock - You have the Rabbit’s Foot”.

  3. Door to Agent Smith’s room is now Interactable and 47 will go “Knock Knock.” Smith answers: “I’m busy unless you got something for me?” 47 then answers: “I have the Rabbit’s Foot.” Smith opens the door and reacts: “You?!? Whoa…The suits at Langley kept delaying when I asked for back up but I guess they weren’t kidding about sending in the cavalry.” Smith will explain that he was sent in to provide recon for what was supposed to be an airstrike to kill Rico Delgado in retaliation for killing an American businessman who was visiting Colombia and was a friend of the US President. Smith will reveal that he discovered the Cartel had also kidnapped Ivanna Dexter, the daughter of Texas magnate Amos Dexter (see: Hokkaido/Isle of Sgail). The airstrike being no longer possible, Smith arranged for a strike team and mentions that a hands-on CIA Director named Jack Lion was supposed to come along but they never made it. Note that it doesn’t matter what disguise 47 is wearing, Smith will recognize 47. The door to Smith’s room becomes unlocked and now functions as a normal door.

  4. Smith will gather his own gear and weaponry adding: “Time’s a wasting. We’re going to need a quick way to strike the Delgado mansion hard and fast. Right. I got an idea. I have a contact we can use.” Agent Smith, The Pilot, and 47 will sneak to the Covered area near the Helicopter. If 47 is in a suitable disguise he can simply walk there.

  5. At the covered area near the Helicopter stands an old Colombian male named Felix Ramirez. The following dialogue scene plays out by default:

Smith: “Uh… Mr. Ramirez?”
Ramirez: “Ah! Mr. Smith, yes? From the cement company! They told me you might be coming.”
Smith: “I’d like to rent the helicopter.”
Ramirez: “Oh. I think there’s been a misunderstanding. We can’t rent out the chopper. But she is for sale.”
Smith: “How much?”
Ramirez: “Fifty million dollars.”
Smith: “Wasn’t it supposed to be lower?”
Ramirez: “What year do you think it is? 1994? The economy’s different now. Franco’s been renting this helicopter and you know who he works for right? You have to make it worth my risk.”
Smith: “Right. Well I’d like to test fly it before giving you that kind of money.”
Ramirez: “No problem. You just need to pay a deposit.”
Smith: “And how much is that?”
Ramirez: “Fifty million dollars.”

[Smith Awkward Pause]

Smith: “Screw it! I don’t have time for this!”
Ramirez: “Asshole! You come in here! Some big shot from big American Cement Company! And you think everything in Colombia is for free? Why I…”
Smith punches Ramirez and Helicopter Ignition Key falls off Ramirez
Smith (to Pilot): “Grab the keys! Let’s go!”

47 goes into Combat - Hold G at Helicopter when Smith and the Pilot are around it to get inside to start Helicopter Ride.

ALTERNATE DIALOGUE:
during [Smith Awkward Pause] 47 can approach Felix Ramirez and press E - “Offer CIA Director Business Card”. The dialogue will then change:

47: “Ahem… Why don’t I offer you a Company cheque?” gives CIA Director Business Card
Ramirez (surprised at seeing the CIA Business Card): “Ooooh… Of course.”

Ramirez will give Helicopter Ignition Keys

Smith: “You know I had no clearance to name drop that company.”
47: “Honesty’s the best policy.”

Hold G at Helicopter when Smith and the Pilot are around it to get inside to start Helicopter Ride.

Note that unless 47 interacts with the helicopter, the Helicopter Ride won’t start, but it is already possible to Place objects in the Helicopter’s open side doors. This means that 47 can amass a large cache of weapons and ammunition inside prior to take off.

  1. The Helicopter Ride - 47 gets on and the Helicopter is essentially a tiny flying room with doors open on either side. 47 can do everything he normally does although Smith and the Pilot are non-interactable and are separated from 47 by a panel inside the helicopter. Smith and Pilot are invulnerable during this sequence. 47 is now free to use any weapon he’s brought in through Briefcases/Duffel Bags/on his person. The Helicopter flies along a path starting from Jorge Franco’s Plantation, then to Andrea Martinez’s House, then finally to Rico Delgado’s Mansion. If already in Combat, Guards at each of the three areas will go for the RPG Launchers and try to shoot down the Helicopter. 47 can use the helicopter’s high vantage point to eliminate Franco, Martinez, or eventually Rico Delgado but firing shots from the helicopter will start Combat (unless probably using a silent rifle like the Sieger 300) which can be risky for the Helicopter although 47 should have ample time and position to take out RPG carrying Cartel soldiers. At each juncture where 47 initiates Combat using the helicopter Smith will say things like: “Hold on! We got company!” or “Goddamit! You just go all out, don’t ya buddy?”

  2. The Helicopter Ride ends in a rappel drop down the Main Garden of Rico Delgado’s Mansion (near the garage) where Combat will always be initiated. Smith tells 47: “I’ll get Ivanna. You go after Rico!”
    Smith will go to rescue Ivanna Dexter while 47 will be left to his own devices. Rico Delgado emerges from his office carrying the M16+M203 yelling: "I’ll feed you all to my hippo! In the meantime, Say Hello to My Little Friend!" and he will try to fight 47 with the M16+M203. Smith will always succeed in rescuing Ivanna and taking her back to the Helicopter that is still waiting in the Garden. If the Helicopter makes it to this point, the helicopter is invulnerable. Smith will place Ivanna into the Helicopter and go through a loop killing Cartel thugs and holding station until 47 can come back. 47 can then Hold G to get back in the Helicopter once Rico Delgado is killed and Ivanna is safe in the Helicopter.

  3. If all Targets have been killed. The Helicopter can be an Exit Point. If not, 47 is dropped off on the bridge between the Town and the Jungle area.

CHALLENGES:
“Murdock!!!” (Redacted) - Empty a full belt of M60 ammunition while aiming at the sky.

“Company Cheque” - Successfully purchase the Helicopter from Felix Ramirez without going into Combat.

“Double Impact” - Assassinate Andrea Martinez and Jorge Franco with headshots from the Helicopter.

“Scarred Face” - Enter the Mansion Grounds via Helicopter and defeat Rico Delgado in Combat in his Mansion.

“Clear and Present” - Complete the above 4 Challenges.
REWARD: M60 Machine Gun

NOTE:

  1. Once Smith has started the conversation with Ramirez, the requirement to keep Ramirez alive expires and 47 can Kill/KO Ramirez to get the Ignition Key which makes Smith skip to his “Grab the keys!” line.

  2. Getting the Helicopter Ignition Key object from Felix Ramirez is now required to use the Helicopter as a regular exit point outside this Mission Story.

  3. 47 can take the clothes of the dead Field operator. This renders 47 shirtless, wearing combat fatigue pants and a rabbit’s foot necklace. This disguise is suspicious everywhere.

  4. Because of Amos Dexter’s possible connections to Providence linked groups, it is possible that the Delgado Cartel, who at the time were working with Lucas Grey, had kidnapped Ivanna Dexter as part of their work with Lucas Grey.

  5. If for whatever reason Ivanna Dexter, the Pilot, or Agent Carlton Smith are killed after the “Knock Knock” sequence the rest of the Mission Story will be aborted. If it happens before the Helicopter can be acquired then any survivors able to move just go back to their starting points. If the Helicopter Ride was already in Progress then 47 will be dropped off on the Bridge as if the Mission Story ended without further dialogue. If the Helicopter was at the Delgado Mansion it will fly away without waiting for 47.

  6. Technically the Mission Story will continue to function even if Rico Delgado is already eliminated, however, the climax of the Mansion Duel will not occur, though it leaves 47 free to assist Smith in rescuing Ivanna Dexter. Be warned that if Ivanna or Smith die somehow (which is only possible if 47 kills them or blows them up) the helicopter will just leave. Particularly if only Smith dies, Ivanna will be recaptured and the helicopter will just leave. All of these outcomes leave 47 at a disadvantaged position for escaping.

  7. To gain the achievement of completing the Mission Story. Smith must successfully rescue Ivanna, Rico Delgado must die in Combat in the Mansion, and 47 must successfully ride the Helicopter to escape the Mansion.

4 Likes

Love it. I was also very upset that the game had no references to the Colombian missions from Codename 47. U’Wa Poison would be a great way. Starting in a hostile commando disguise too. Moreover, in the second season there are just one hostile disguise. Another one would definitely be good.

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I strongly agree, this is what separates Hitman from games such as GTA V and RDR2. It doesn’t force you to be handheld by scripted events and doesn’t punish you with failure for taking most minor deviations. I think the more flexible the mission stories are, the better.

That sounds really awesome and all but possibly the least hitman thing I have heard. I think for mission stories it is almost always possible to get Silent Assassin using them except for a few which involves non-target deaths like Lights Out and Down the Rabbit hole however ALL mission stories can allow you to get 4 stars as your rating (I think). This huge action sequence seems like it won’t even get you 1. This isn’t GTA V but I do like the concept.

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I find my SA Rating goes down the toilet everytime I use The Showstopper Light Rig kill. Besides, it’s not everyday we get a Mission Story that asks you to take a break from always gunning for SA. :slight_smile:

Yeah, I think that Colombia is the level that going full combat mode is okay, at least for a mission story

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