The Golden Handshake is part of the Expansion pack and one of my favorite maps in HITMAN 2. There are so many possibilities of achieving your objectives! Speaking of: Your task as 47 is to eliminate Providence agent and director of the New York branch of the Milton-Fitzpatrick bank, Athena Savalas, and retrieve data crucial to identifying and tracking down the Partners, who, following the capture of The Constant and the death of the Washington twins, are on the run and covering their tracks.
There are two ways to laying hands on the data: you either break into the vault of the bank and get the hard-drive, or you get three separate files from Athena and both of her lieutenants, Mann and Perez. Those two you cannot kill without being awared penalty points, so you will need to find a way to catch them somewhere quiet e. g. by lacing their drinks with emetic rat poison.
When playing this mission, I usually just off Athena – and there are many fun ways to do that – break into the vault and make my escape. So this is what I will describe in this playthrough of the Golden Handshake.
First, disguise yourself as a banker
Once 47 enters the bank’s impressive teller hall, you will notice guards all around. There is no way you are getting into any of the other areas without a disguise. So, walk over to the right and find a bank clerk behind one of the teller windows. Ask him for a private meeting, as you are interested in opening an account. Follow him into one of two cubes whose glass walls can be turned opaque via privacy screens. Very nice indeed.
Now, finish your little talk with the clerk to gain an Achievement, then knock him out, hide his body in the conveniently placed cupboard – I love how they are always devoid of anything – and take his disguise as well as his key. Once you step outside, beware, as there is one guard patrolling the hall who will spot you.
Next, get into the safe deposit area and find an elite guard’s disguise
As the banker, head down the stairs in the back of the hall to where the safe deposit boxes are. Walk towards the closed-off section where the vault beckons behind a glass and steel door. You cannot enter there – yet.
Turn left and walk through the grate, using the key you just obtained. Then turn right and sneak into the IT office – you will be trespassing. Sneak into the server room and deactivate the vault security lock’s mechanism (the breaker box on the right behind the door). Hide in the container and wait for the elite guard to come in, knock him out, turn on the security lock’s mechanism again – because else another guard will come looking. We wouldn’t want that, now,would we? Hide the guard’s body in the container and take his disguise and key-card. Also, pick up the screwdriver lying next to the container. Now, for a way up to the CEO’s office and a way – or rather, several ways – to kill her…
Disguise yourself as the IT guy to get around anywhere
Athena Savalas’s laptop uses WiFi and you can have her assistant call up IT support if you disable said WiFi. First, though, let’s get an IT guy disguise. Inside the server room, on the same wall where you disabled the security of the lock mechanism, you will find another breaker box. Deactivate that and thus interrupt the two IT guys’ video game. One of them will come looking. Take him out, reactivate the power, then hide him in the container too and take his disguise and key. Best take out the second IT guy as well and hide him in the server room. Now, sneak out of the server room and IT office.
Once you step into the hallway outside and look to your right, you will see a guard and a woman from cleaning staff talking. On the woman’s cart you will find emetic rat poison. Pick that up and walk up the stairs to make your way towards Athena’s office.
On the first floor, make your way to the opposite side of the teller hall and down the stairs. To your right you will find a door. Use the banker’s key to open it. To the left is a rec room for the guards. In there, to the left of the door, pick up the bottle of vodka Athena is especially fond of. There is also another cleaning cart with some rat poison. Pick that up also, as you will need more of that stuff.
Make your way back up, but go back all the way you came, because the staircase with the two guards is a no-go area. Also, do not get spotted by the one guard who seems to know each and every person in the bank. You will pass a disgruntled employee on the way up. Taking his disguise and getting yourself fired – and Athena killed – would be another way to play this one out.
Go up to the second floor. As you pass the security office, which you need to pass in order to get to the third floor, notice the one guard sitting at the desk? On it you will find both a key and a key card. The key card would come in very handy later on, so, if you can find a smart way of obtaining it, do so.
In any case, continue to the third level, where Athena’s office is located. To your right, you will see her assistant’s desk and behind that a large screen. That screen hides a door that you will use to get into Athena’s office’s private section unseen. There is a WiFi router there that you now need to turn off. Athena’s assistant will call IT support, so get back into the antechamber and he will greet you. Walk into Athena’s office and wait for her to address you. Now, she will leave with one guard in tow, but that leaves two more.
Two ways of killing Athena
Now, if you have had the foresight of equipping deadly poison during planning, congrats! If not, no matter.
One of the guards will stand beside the window overlooking the teller hall which can be tampered with using a screwdriver. The other one patrols between the desk and the pillar to its right. To the right of the desk, you will see a small serving table with a glass.
A. Poison Athena
Position yourself next to the small table and put the vodka bottle on top. Wait until the guard standing next to the pillar turns away then poison the glass either with the emetic rat poison you picked up earlier, or with deadly poison you brought along for this mission.
Walk into the small private section and turn on the WiFi router to trigger Athena’s return. Wait for her to sample the vodka, which will lead to either her leaving the office to find a place to empty her stomach, or to die on the spot, if you used the deadly poison.
If you used the emetic poison, she will not walk far, just to a trash bin outside the office, which is conveniently out of sight of both the bodyguard and the assistant present in the antechamber. Which means you can hide behind the big screen behind the assistant’s desk and off Athena via head-shot with your silenced pistol. Unbelievably, that counts as unnoticed kill, but rest assured that her body will be found eventually and the alarm raised. So, maybe avoid that.
B. Let Athena fall to her death
If you choose the more spectacular approach, you will wait for the patroling guard to come to the desk and then turn around, before you throw a coin towards the bookshelves, causing the one guard by the window to go investigate.
Use that window of opportunity – hem, hem – to quickly loosen the screw holding that highlighted piece of the big window, then leave to turn on the WiFi router and wait for Athena to plunge to her death.
Now for the data core in the vault.
The Bank Heist: You need emetic rat poison or chloroforme, a briefcase and a crowbar
Find your way down to the IT office and put on the elite guard’s disguise you left in the server room. Back where the officer is chatting with the cleaning staff, find and pick up a briefcase. Use the key card to open the glass door to the vault section, then walk past the observation window and turn left into the garage. You will find a crowbar in the back of it, close to the police cars.
Also, there is a ventilation system you can use to poison the air supply inside the observation room. Use emetic rat poison to prep the pipes, then go back where you just came from and fiddle with the air conditioning to ge the poisoned air flowing. Soon, the guards will leave.
Turn off the AC and quickly head towards the server room to disable the lock mechanism again. Come back and use the crowbar on the pedestal in front of th vault door to reveal the RED BUTTON. Press that and enter. Do not forget the briefcase.
Now, if you did not get the key card from the security room, which would disable the laser grid, you will need to carefully move between the lasers without raising the alarm. Get to the data core, get the core and put it inside the briefcase. This is vital, since it would be highly suspicious for you to be walking around with the thing in your hand.
Now, all you have to do is leave the bank and you are done!
As mentioned, there are many more challenges and opportunities to be found, including a fantastically morbid job interview that will give you clearance to almost every level and a very suspicious meeting in one of the ground floor toilet cabins. Enjoy!
Keep on playing!