Continuing the discussion from How did you get into Hitman?:
Hidden Valley was terrible execution and largely pointless, but it was at least an experimental level that tried to build up on framework set in Codename 47. It took the challenge of moving across a wide open area from Find the Uwe Tribe, and added elements such as moving vehicles and snipers on watch. Plus there was the “outsnipe the sniper” game you could play to try to get yourself a sweet silenced sniper rifle.
Compare this to Slaying the Dragon. It is literally a a complete recycle of the story, premise and characters from the very first mission in Codename 47 - but throws out everything unique about it in order to create a generic Silent Assassin level.
Kowloon Triads at war was simple, beautiful introduction to both the world and the mechanisms of Hitman. It has the obvious plan (sniper from the roof) where there was an unexpected twist (the helicopter) but also other methods available if you wanted to try them (including snipe, then snipe the helicopter gunner and grab his M60 if you wanted to go on a killing spree).
Instead of building that premise, Contracts threw it out the window. Now the relatively routine meeting which had fairly low security, indicating the relaxed feel of Hong Kong at the time - is in the most depressing park ever invented, has snipers hanging around it because… paranoia, and despite the fact that everyone and their dog know to stay away from the triads - there’s a garderner outfit.
Because now all hits should be performed through the use of obvious disguise and either fibrewire or some gimick such as poison or a car bomb - but do it with an SA and we’ll give you a gun that you won’t use because you don’t use guns.
The whole thing is a complete waste of everyone’s time.
Also, the briefing was ruined the story too. In the original briefing you’re starting a gang war because Lee Hong is entirely too powerful to confront directly, you need to create the circumstances by which his assassination becomes possible. In Contracts you’re doing it because the client wants you too and 47 is just so badass that you hire him to wipe out entire triads.
Hidden Valley very quickly becomes a waste of time, but it at least tried something interesting and didn’t try to ruin the original game.