Hotline Miami 2 has tons of well-known and obscure programming quirks. From time-saving exploits to amusing glitches and self-inflicted bugs, this guide will explain all of the little ways you can break the game.
This guide requires no third-party software or mods. All you need is to reach a specific Story Mode level, or have a custom level for a certain character downloaded.
Some of these tricks are as old as the game itself, but I thought they were still worth documenting. I do not claim to have discovered any of the exploits or glitches featured in this guide.
Loading Extra Bullets into Guns
Do you miss the 24-round M16s from Hotline Miami 1? Have you ever wanted to load a Double Barrel with 6, 12, or even 30 shots? This exploit allows you to load additional bullets into whatever gun you are carrying! Jacket is the only character that can do it, but it works with all of his masks.
To start, find an enemy with a gun. Bring a gun with you that has lower ammo than their gun.
Next, knock that enemy down. The best way to do this is in an empty room, so that no one interrupts the exploit. Make sure the only weapon in reach is their high-ammo gun. Once they get up and grab that gun, do a standing/throat tear execution on them.
After they die, their gun should vanish and yours should be on the ground. Pick it up, and you’ll find that it has the ammo count of the enemy’s original gun!
This exploit stacks with the Rami mask’s ammo bonus. It also works differently while wearing the Willem mask: after the execution finishes, you will be holding the enemy’s weapon. Your original weapon will be on the ground, but it will have the ammo count of the gun you are currently holding.
Pardo’s Superfast Stomp
Want to do a fast stomp execution, like Biker from Hotline Miami 1 or the Pig Butcher? Pardo can pull it off with this easy glitch. All you need is a Mendoza!
Find an enemy you can execute and empty your Mendoza of bullets. Knock that enemy down and, while holding the empty Mendoza, execute him.
Pardo’s normally-slow stomp execution is now much faster! Use this to eliminate downed enemies faster and more efficiently.
Fixing Crashes on a Custom Level’s Final Floor
Have you ever made a custom map that crashes on its last floor? Good news: there’s a simple fix for this problem!
Save and quit the level, then open the level again, go to the last floor, and save. No other changes or steps are required. This won’t guarantee no crashes otherwise, but it will fix that particular crash. Repeat this process every time you change the level.
Out of Bounds in Story Mode
If you’re ever feeling trapped in the borders of Story Mode, you’ll be happy to hear that you can leave it all behind.
All you have to do is walk backwards when you start a floor, then wander around the edges of levels until you see your character again. There are invisible walls in some areas, but you can usually go pretty far. In some cases, like Seizure or Dead Ahead, you can use this to your advantage against enemies.
Shooting Through Walls
This exploit has been around since March 2015, but it still works like a charm. If you want to play it smart as Mark or The Son using Bloodline, you can blast enemies through walls.
Press your character against the wall and angle one of the MP5s at an enemy. At roughly 30 to 45 degrees, your bullets should go through the wall and hit any enemies behind it.
Thankfully, this doesn’t work for enemies, so you can rest easy knowing they can’t hit you back. Any surviving enemies near the attack will be alerted to your position and will run to your location. Keep track of fleeing enemies while doing this trick, or you may get ambushed.
Skipping Into The Pit
If you’re looking to shave seconds off your speedrun, use this tried-and-true glitch that skips the second and third floors of Into The Pit!
Using any character other than Tony, kill all but one of the enemies on the first floor. Lure that final enemy to the spot featured on the screenshot below. You need to kill that enemy right when it steps on that point.
After this, Tony will appear and talk to you. Return to the van, and the doors will open. You can leave the level early, earning a low score but a fast completion time.
The Ghostly Face Sprite of Into The Pit
Into The Pit is generally regarded as one of Hotline Miami 2’s creepier levels, with its ominous music and unsettling design. But did you know that the opening floor is haunted by a mysterious, unnamed fat man?
To see his face sprite, kill all of the enemies on the first floor except for the fat one. Using a gun, shoot him and allow him to punch you just before he dies. When he goes down, your character’s mask sprite will be replaced with…this.
Some of you might recognize this as NPC1’s face sprite, which I covered in the Special Effects guide. Likely, it shows up because you are no longer playing as a character when the cutscene starts. It seems that, if the game is told to load a face sprite with an ID it does not recognize, it pulls up the NPC1 face sprite instead.
Skipping Midnight Animal to Down Under
Another “skip level” exploit for speed runners. If the tutorial and the subsequent cutscenes take too much time, you can skip them and move right on to Down Under’s main section!
This glitch can be activated by watching the intro (normal or hard), then pausing the game during Midnight Animal and selecting Rewind.
If done correctly, you will be taken directly to Down Under.
This does not work if you select Midnight Animal from the Continue option on the main menu.
Escaping the Tiger Boss’s Floor
When you reach the Tiger Boss in Apocalypse, you seemingly have two choices: shoot it or get crushed by it. There’s actually a third option: dodge his attack by leaving the level.
To do so, go to the bush pictured below. It is covering a gap in the wall. Lure the Tiger Boss out of the shadows, then run down the gap. It will perform its attack, complete with blood splatters, but you will remain unharmed.
It will follow you around until you touch it (and die) or kill it. This can be done with the shotgun, or simply by left-clicking at it while unarmed. The boss needs to die before you can move on, though.
Sparing the SWAT Boss
With some effort, you can complete Final Cut without killing the SWAT Boss. To do so, clear out an area where you can corner him. Once he finds you, knock him down and start punching him toward the outside area of the floor. Keep at it until he’s completely out of bounds.
When he gets up, he should stand still and do nothing else. Kill the remaining enemies on the floor, and an arrow should appear on the interrogation room door. Unlike a normal playthrough, you won’t need the keys to open this door and end the level.
Avoiding Dog Takedowns as Tony / The Son
If Tony or The Son’s dog executions are too long for you, there is a way to get around them.
When using The Son’s Dirty Hands ability or playing as Tony, lure a dog towards you. When it gets close, punch at it diagonally. If you timed the punch right and hit the correct angle, you will skip the execution and kill it using a regular punch.
This isn’t always reliable, but with practice it becomes easier to do.
“Dancing” Deaths for Gangs and Colombians
An amusing little bug. When killing a regular Gang enemy or a Colombian dodger using the taser, they will rapidly cycle through different poses. This “dance” will last for 2-3 seconds before settling on a random death sprite.
Stalling Pardo’s Car
This bug won’t do much to help you beat the game, but it is an interesting quirk.
When you enter Manny Pardo’s car on certain Story Mode levels, you can keep moving around. When doing this, you will be invisible, but NPCs and the camera will still follow you. Items like Pardo’s trunk and sliding doors will still react to your presence.
Not moving drags the player back to the car, and standing still while in the car will end the level.
Different Ways to Spawn the Default Enemy
Hotline Miami 2 has a default enemy – basically, an enemy the game spawns when a nonexistent one is called up. It’s the black guy in the green jersey from Midnight Animal, which you’ve probably seen in custom campaigns or Hammer levels featuring Soldiers.
There are several ways to make him show up, both as a death sprite and as a functioning enemy. Let’s go over the ways you can do it!
Guards have the sprites for the toothbrush shiv’s unique execution, but for some reason, they don’t work. Using it as a regular weapon creates the “cut” death sprites for Guards, but executing them creates the default sprite instead.
2. Punching or using blunt weapons against a soldier.
Soldiers are a buggy faction when used with other characters. They have no blunt death sprites, they only have two executions, and they sometimes create multiple death sprites when killed by a machete.
Striking one with the baseball bat, chainlink, golf club, lead pipe, skateboard, hammer, or baton will spawn the default death sprite.
Additionally, punching one will turn him into the default enemy. This enemy will stand around or back away from you until he dies.
3. Throwing a knife at victims
Victim6, or “the guy who looks like Beard in Midnight Animal,” usually dies when hit by a weapon throw. However, the butterfly knife (which doesn’t exist in his level) will sometimes ignore that rule and turn him into the default enemy. In other cases, they will turn into a Mafia enemy and die from the knife throw. Just like Soldiers, this enemy will back away until you kill it.
4. Executing an enemy as a character they can’t fight.
I already covered this in the Fighting Restricted Enemies guide, but I might as well mention it here. Executing an enemy from a faction your character can’t normally fight – like the Pig Butcher against Mafia or Pardo against Guards – will usually create the default death sprite.
There are some exceptions to this rule. Most of Corey and Mark’s executions work against Police, and a couple work against Colombians. Also, all of Pardo’s non-gun executions work against the Mafia. Why these characters and enemies work together is still unknown.
Dying as Several Characters at Once
Some enemies can mess with the way your character’s death sprite is spawned. If you get hit by more than one enemy at the same time, the game will create multiple death sprites for you.
Dogs and Prisoner Dodgers are the most common sources of this problem. Getting hit by several Dogs at once will produce a different death sprite for each attacker, and multiple Richters can be created if you are swarmed by Prisoner Dodgers.
Keeping an Audience in Final Cut
Martin Brown loves attention, so why not bring some friends along for his talk with Richard?
Simply hold right-click during Final Cut’s intro, then let go once Richard puts his mask on. Instead of the audience and film crew vanishing, they will remain until that part of the intro ends. The interview set will also stay clean when this bug happens.
Sparing The Henchman
Want to keep The Henchman alive? Well, I have bad news and good news. You can’t spare him during Execution, but you can in the normal and hard intros.
When the intro starts, hold right-click until the screen flashes. Everyone will appear dead except for Richard and The Henchman.
It isn’t the ending he needs, but it is the ending he deserves.
Getting Inside Evan’s Closet
The small closet in Evan’s house is seemingly too small to enter. With the right moves, you can slip inside this cramped space!
Start out by playing any level featuring his home in the intro or outro (Subway, First Blood, Release). Walk into the closet pushing down and to the left until you can’t go any further. While still holding left, press up and you should get past the blockage. To get out, move up and to the right, then press down once you are pressed against the closet’s invisible wall again.