In most stealth games, the game rates you as having done the best job if you get in and out without anyone being suspicious, and without killing anyone. Mark of the Ninja is no different - there's a score bonus for being undetected, and a score bonus for making it through an entire level without making a kill.
However, there are also large score bonuses for murdering people in particularly brutal fashion. For instance, consider a vent kill:
- 600 points for the kill (a "Prowling Spider")
- 250 points for hiding the body (automatic, I drag him into the vent)
If I avoid him instead, though, I just get +400 at the end of the level, plus if I manage to do the entire level perfectly I might get +3000, but with 20 or more guards per level, this works out to 150 or fewer points per guard.
Stacked on top of this, I could have gotten "Undetected" (+200) by hiding in the room with him previously, and/or "Distracted" (+150) for getting him to look the other way by breaking a light for example. These bonuses can occur either way, though, so they're not useful to this discussion.
That leaves us with 850 points for a kill (or even 650 in the worst case where I don't get "fancy" about it and just stab him through the neck while his back is turned) versus ~550 for leaving him undisturbed.
It seems to me like the best idea is to murder everyone and hide their bodies. Is this the case, or are there other bonuses/points I can get from being especially sneaky and not very stabby?