Refer to this page if you're curious about scoring or if you're really having trouble getting the points in a level. Otherwise, skip it. It's a lot of detail that you probably won't need.
As mentioned, in each level you'll be trying to get a predetermined score in order to get the three stars for that level. In most levels, simply staying undetected while working your way through the level should get you what you need. It's easy, however, to get through the game with a misperception of the way the points work, which might make it difficult for you on the one or two levels where you actually need to work at it to hit the point total required.
First, the easy stuff. Points you get during the game show up directly on the screen when you perform certain tasks. A standard stealth kill is 400 points; killing a guard that's fully aware of you and is trying to fight you off is 200. Some other types of kills are 600 ("tool kills," for killing with one of the items you carry; "prowling spider," for killing from within a vent, and so on). Other activities can get you points without killing the guards: distracting a guard gets you 150 points, for instance. Hiding in the environment and letting a totally unaware guard walk by you gets you 200. Hiding a guard's body gets you 250 points, and doing it somewhere where another guard walks right by it (in a doorway, from a "Brief Shadow" kill once you've unlocked that skill, or in a dumpster, and so on) gets you another 400.
There are also points awarded for picking up items. The three scrolls in every level are 1,000 points each. There are also hidden artifacts scattered around for 500 each. And some activities get you points - picking locks (250), disabling power (250), saving ninja (500), terrorizing guards (300).
A (possibly comprehensive) list is below. These are fairly straightforward, although there are some points worth noting. For instance, the bonus you get for distracting a guard with an environmental object is separate from the one you get for distracting him with a ninja tool - you can get 300 total distraction points from one single guard.
The end-of-level bonuses can be a little more confusing, however. The 5,000 point bonus for not killing anybody is obvious, as is the 3,000 point bonus for not alerting anybody. But the other two?
You receive the 400 point bonus for "undetected" at the end screen for any guard that was never even looking for you and is still alive at the end of the level. Same for the 400 point bonus on any "distracted" guards - it's 400 points per guard who became distracted and looked for you but never found you, and is still alive. I assume the reason for this is to make the pure stealth option even remotely attractive from a score standpoint.
Look at it this way. Whether you kill the guards or not, you can always maximize your score by getting "undetected" (200) and then "distracted" (150) bonuses from every guard. If you give up the "no kill" bonus and kill one guard, you get 400 points for the kill. Hide the body and get another 250. Kill ten guards and hide their bodies and you've already accumulated 6,500 points from the kills that you couldn't have gotten without killing someone, which more than makes up for losing the 5,000 point no-kill bonus. However, you have sacrificed the 400 point end-of-level bonuses for those guards. In reality, you've only gotten 250 more for each guard, while sacrificing the 5,000 point bonus. So these two paths tend to be closer than you'd think.
That being said, as you progress you get more options that allow you to really stack up some in-game bonuses (as opposed to end-of-level bonuses) that make it more attractive to kill rather than leave alive. Even in the very first level, you can terrorize a guard by throwing a corpse at him (300 points). Plus, on your first run of the first level, you don't have advanced equipment, and you're forced to kill at least one guard to make it through - so the 5,000 points isn't happening anyway. Every guard you kill with a standard stealth kill is a wash (400 points now for the kill, or 400 points at the end for leaving them alive), but you can use their body to terrorize another guard (300), then hide the body (250), and in some cases perform special kills that net you 600 rather than 400 in the first place. In later levels, you can use your tools to get kills and terrorize multiple enemies, getting them to shoot each other, and wind up putting together quite a few points that more than make up for losing the no-kill bonus at the end.
Theoretically it should be possible to top 2,000 points for a single guard. Distract him once with an environmental object (150), and again with a noisemaker (150). Have him pass by you undetected (200). Disable him with caltrops (300), then use Bloody Whisper to kill him after being disabled (800). Hide his body in a dumpster (250), and if you can get another guard to walk by the body oblivious, you'll get another 400 for a 2250 total. This doesn't count using a previous guard to terrify him before disabling him, which would add another 300.
In every level you should try for the 3,000 point bonus by not alerting anyone.
Here's a list of some of the ways to get points. You also lose 800 every time an alarm is sounded:
|Peasant's Death||200||Successful face-to-face combat with an enemy|
|Imperfect Kill||200||Stealth kill missing the given button combination|
|Hound's Slumber||200||Kill a dog that detects you|
|Silent Assassin||400||Standard successful stealth kill|
|Emperor's Abyss||400||(Requires unlock) Stealth kill from a vent underneath a guard|
|Leap of Faith||400||Stealth kill from a ledge next to a guard|
|Hound's Slumber||400||Kill a dog that does not detect you|
|Brief Shadow||600||(Requires unlock) Kill while hidden behind an environmental object (or the upgraded cardboard box)|
|Traitor's Coffin||600||(Requires same unlock) Kill wihle hidden behind a door. Automatically gets a 250 "hidden body" bonus and removes you from hiding|
|Prowling Spider||600||Stealth kill from inside a vent next to a guard at his feet|
|Bat's Prey||600||(Requires unlock) Kill from above an unsuspecting guard (not dangling)|
|Hangman's Hymn||600||(Requires unlock) Stealth kill while dangling from a grapple point above a guard|
|Friendly Fire||600||A terrorized enemy shoots another enemy|
|Slippery Slope||600||A terrorized enemy falls to their death|
|Object Kill||600||An environmental object such as a chandelier or a trap kills an enemy|
|Bloody Whisper||800||(Requires unlock) Kill a disabled guard (see below for disabling guards)|
|Distracted||150||Use an environmental item to distract a guard (gong, lamp, etc.).|
|Distracted||150||Use a ninja item to distract a guard (e.g., noisemaker). These two can be stacked for 300 total.|
|Undetected||200||A guard (undistracted or terrorized) passes your hiding place without detecting you. The Serentiy technique also gets this when you pass by an unsuspecting or terrorized guard.|
|Power Disabled||200||Disabling a power box.|
|Body Hidden||250||Hiding a body in a vent or dumpster, or use Traitor's Coffin, or the Ravenous Insects.|
|Lock Picked||250||Pick a lock.|
|Guard Disabled||250||Diable a guard with caltrops, the upgraded smoke bomb, or sometimes an environmental object such as an electrical trap. Guards with night-vision can be disabled with flashbangs.|
|Guard Terrorized||300||Guard sees a body thrown at them, discovers one hanging, sees the Ravenous Insects in action, or is hit by a terror dart.|
|Oblivious||400||Guard walks by a hidden body.|
|Artifact Recovered||500||Find any of the hidden artifacts in a level (500 per artifact).|
|Scroll Recovered||1000||Find any of the three scrolls hidden in a level (1,000 per scroll).|
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