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Hitman 2 Silent Assassin Promotional Soundtrack :: Review by Steven Kennedy

Hitman 2 Silent Assassin Promotional Soundtrack Album Title: Hitman 2 Silent Assassin Promotional Soundtrack
Record Label: IO Interactive
Catalog No.: Promotional
Release Date: November 1, 2002
Purchase: Buy at eBay


The "stealth-action" genre had been neglected for many years until Konami's very successful game Metal Gear Solid made it very popular in the 1990's. Trying to participate in the rise of the genre, IO Interactive released Hitman: Codename 47 in 2000 and Hitman 2: Silent Assassin in 2002. The player takes the role of a genetically engineered contract killer and has to take out several well-guarded targets. Despite its rather violent concept, the game got good reviews because of its strong and engaging gameplay and impressive graphics.

The developers decided to hire Jesper Kyd, who had already worked on the first Hitman game, to score the sequel. Kyd takes a welcome departure from his electronic-oriented score from the first Hitman to a fully symphonic work performed by the Budapest Symphony Orchestra. He almost completely abandons synthesized effects to focus on the orchestral merits. The Hitman 2 Silent Assassin Promotional Soundtrack bundled with the first edition copies of the game features 15 of the themes from the score, though a fully fledged commercial release was also made available.


The first thing to mention about the score is its big, choral main title theme ("Hitman 2 Main Title") which is arguably the best track of the album. It's not something you'd expect from a stealth game, and is more like an epic overture. "Waiting for Action" introduces Kyd's strong stealth-scoring, which mainly consists of strings and punctuated use of brass to create a dangerous and unsettling feel. This technique is very effective and indeed suitable to the game.

Most of the soundtrack on CD is actually composed of the epic themes that were written for specific points in the game and would not loop endlessly. Every location the hitman visits over the course of the game is represented by two of these tracks on the album. They are all thematic and well orchestrated and performed. But they also disappoint because of their lack of ethnic instrumentation. While the flavour of these exotic locations, like Japan, India or Russia, is sometimes inherited in the motifs in form of melodic patterns, there are seldom instruments of those locations actually used. One thinks of exotic percussion or flutes. Instead, Kyd employs most of the time very similar orchestration, mainly brass and strings which gets repetitive quite fast, not so much in the game, but more as a stand-alone listen. There is just not enough diversity presented to keep you interested.

On the other hand, it might prove to be more thematic than you'd expect. It's definitely not an ambient stealth-score like the Hitman: Codename 47 album. Every location has its own theme and some of them sound impressive nonetheless, especially "Mission in India" with its big string arrangement.


It's good to see real orchestras used for game music and this album clearly shows what qualities come thereof. Hitman 2: Silent Assassin is a fine score and a good purchase. This promotional score lacks six tracks featured in the commercial release, though many of these are more ambient tracks that symphonic listeners may not be interested in. The commercial release is nevertheless a more complete and easy-to-find purchase.

Overall Score: 7/10