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Mission Impossible Package Art

Mission Impossible

Mission: Impossible, a game three years in the making and for a time, considered vapourware, finally made it to store shelves in late July. Unfortunately for M:I, the success of RARE's Golden Eye guaranteed that gamers spoiled by the RARE hit will inevitably draw comparisons between the two games. On the surface, M:I appear to be a Golden Eye clone. The most striking similarity are the graphics, and the fact that both games feature many of the same (infiltrate and sabotage) themes. After playing the game extensively however, I can honestly say that M:I, is a completely different game than Golden Eye.

For starters, the game is based around a third person perspective, instead of Golden Eye's first person perspective. Being able to see the main character on screen allowed the developers to implement jumping/climbing as integral elements for the successful executions of your missions. While Golden Eye was more or less a shooter with added strategy/spy elements, Mission: Impossible is a spy simulation with shooter elements. Clearly, both games approached the spy genre from totally different perspectives. If you're a Golden Eye fan, or someone who feels indifferent about Golden Eye, then throw down all your pre conceived notions about Mission: Impossible (M:I) because chances are, you're going to see the game in a totally new light after reading this review.


I played this game trying to avoid the Golden Eye vs. Mission: Impossible comparisons, but the graphics simply looks too similar to Golden Eye for me to ignore. Gamers will find the same type of clean textures and lighting effects used in Golden Eye appear throughout M: I. What's interesting though is that the game has two looks. The first (in the beginning of the game) had rather blurry and ugly textures while in the rest of the game (CIA level and onwards) has incredibly nice textures. This probably has to do with the fact that two different teams worked on the game. Overall, M:I's graphics engine could need a little work. While it looks nice, the engine lacks a polished feel and on rare occasions, there are slight slowdowns and draw-ins.


The sound in the game is certainly one of the better attempts by a third party on the N64. The trademark Mission: Impossible theme is in the game. Infogrames wisely included a lot of mood setting themes that works well in the game, instead of attempting to do a CD soundtrack with MIDI. What it lacks however is the extras that can really push the game's sound department into "A" status. Most of the music seems to blend in and loose their impact immediately after you stop thinking about them. They lack the power to really provide suspense in many of the levels. But they are decent, bearable tunes that some gamers might find somewhat reminiscent of Golden Eye's tunes.

Sound FX is decent as well. M: I boast considerable voice samples. In fact, there are several full-length mission briefings before a mission that used voice samples, complete with memorable lines such as "This recording will self-destruct in five seconds" from the TV show and movie. Ethan will also have several corny in-game comments. While I don't like them, they do tell you when you've hit an enemy target. Ethan won't say something every time he hits an enemy, but his voice commentaries comes in handy especially when you're shooting an enemy fifty yards away and it becomes difficult to see whether you hit him or not. Then, there are the usual gun and explosion sound effects, as well as grunts and screams. Overall, the sound department in M: I is strong and solid. Nothing really to complain about here, and unlike other N64 games, the sound is good enough to complement the game, not sink it.


The dual item selection screen (one for primary weapons and the other for your gadgets) meant that gamers won't spend much time scrolling through a long list of weapons/gadgets in frustration. If they want to use a weapon, they simply press "B" and then "A" to confirm the choice. To scroll through the list of gadgets and specialty items, the only added step is pressing "C down" to toggle the secondary list. While the item selection screen was great, other elements just as collision detection, jumping and movement feels somewhat awkward. Making Ethan jump correctly in the game is difficult. The character feels like a ton of cement when he is jumping, and it is very difficult to make pin point jumps. I often find myself being thrown back into my starting position because part of Ethan's body didn't clear the railing entirely and the sensitivity of the analog controller meant that my jumps tend to be off a lot of times. Equally frustrating is climbing. In the CIA rooftop level, Ethan is required to climb up crates several times throughout the level. Since climbing is an automatic action performed when Ethan is near crates he can climb, and therefore share the same button as jumping, I found myself getting frustrated with Ethan jumping, instead of climbing simply because I was a few pixels off the crate. I also get annoyed when I shoot my guns from a distance and I miss even though the area I was targeting was well within the targeting ring. The developers could have added a zoom option to increase the accuracy, redo the targeting ring to make it more accurate, or make the field of collision bigger than the actual character so that it will detect hits instead of near misses. To add to the frustration is that, ammunition in the game I hopelessly sparse. The team wanted to create a realistic environment, but they ended with many elements that require too much accuracy but the controls simply isn't there to provide that kind of pin point movement for the gamers. Redoing a lot of the collision detection in the game by making them more 'forgiving' could have made a big difference. Mission: Impossible has incredible potential in gameplay, but the fact that it is rushed and was developed by two different teams meant that the game felt unfinished. The control scheme feels kind of intuitive. The use of the Z-trigger as the fire button is good, but even after more than half an hour of play, toggling between weapons and gadgets was something that took a lot of getting used to. On the other hand, the controls for the 'special' levels in the game were brilliant. The sniper level comes to mind. The controls in that level was intuitive. The targeting is accurate and switching between the two snipers is easy.




One of the saving graces for the game is the heavy leaning towards stealth. I loved the fact that I could change Ethan's identity and act out roles in levels such as the Embassy while completing a covert mission at the same time. Gamers will find themselves playing the roles of many people throughout the game, and to me, that is one of the most unique ideas to be ever attempted on a videogame. The weapons and gadgets aren't the greatest, but they add to the game in a way that Turok's devastating weapons or Golden Eye's impressive arsenal of guns added to both of the games.

Overall, Mission: Impossible is an above average attempt by a third party on the N64. While it will scream "unfinished" and "rushed" in almost every facet of the title (sound, graphics, gameplay, level design) there are enough good things in the game to keep gamers interested. If you're a Golden Eye fan looking for killer multi-player action, this is not the game for you, because there isn't any. To the rest of you, Mission: Impossible is worth at least a rental, if not a purchase.
final score 8.3/10

Staff Avatar Dexter Sy
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