Impossible Mission

Atari 7800

Review by Al Backiel



Graphics: 6

Sound: 4

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 8

The title says it all. This one really is IMPOSSIBLE! The result of a programming bug that occurred when the game was ported over from a computer version. There are supposed to be 36 puzzle pieces to collect, however, only 23 exist. I covered all 32 rooms. There was one room that showed promise, but it contained an area that was totally inaccessible. Even if it were possible, there would still be a shortage of items to collect. When I first played the game I didn't think anything was wrong. Just that I missed something somehow. After I had mapped the whole game out I became suspicious. I also became so frustrated that I posed the question, "Is Impossible Mission really impossible?" in my regular column. The answer is obviously, YES. I have heard rumors that the bug was fixed in the PAL version. But, so far I have not been able to verify this.

Basically, the game is a scrolling platformer with a time limit. Your alter ego is Special Agent 4125, who must scout around for hidden items in order to unlock the code and save the world from a missile attack. The screens or rooms are reached by elevators. You have to traverse some rooms to reach the next elevator shaft. A "room" may consist of 2 or more floors, which can be reached by lifts which are operated by standing on them and moving the joystick up or down. You can also drop through the floor openings, so long as you land on a solid floor. Special Agent 4125 can also jump in the direction he faces. He does a sort of forward flip. This looks like an early attempt at a martial arts move, however, in this case you can not take out an opponent. This move is just for jumping across holes or out of harms way.

Blocking your progress are robots, which are fatal even from what looks like a safe distance, because they fire a long, death ray. There is also a bouncing ball that has to be dodged on some screens. Every object should be examined for hidden items by pressing the joystick up when in front of it. If nothing exists, you will see the "nothing here" message. An item might be a puzzle piece or it may be a power-up such as SNOOZE, which will disable the robots momentarily. You also may turn up a LIFT INIT, which resets the lifts back to their original positions. To activate a power up you have to log onto a nearby computer and select from the menu. There are some areas that are so heavily guarded by robots that they must be distracted so that you can reach the lifts. Because so many puzzle pieces are missing, I have not been able to complete any of the 9 four-piece puzzles. So, I don't know what that is like.

Aiding your progress are: a computer menu, a hint phone, and the code room. The computer menu has all the options you'll need to play the puzzle pieces or activate a power-up. The phone can provide hints, which concern the puzzle pieces. Playing Simon in the code room can gain you power-ups.

This is the type of game that I could really get into. I love games where you have to use your mind as well as your reflexes. There is a unique sense of satisfaction when at long last you reach the end. Especially, an ending that rewards you with a special animation. It is like you are seeing Mount Everest from the summit or something forbidden. Something few people will ever get to see. Unfortunately, this game is an exercise in futility and that's a shame because this is a decent game with a lot of variety. Just a little more play testing could have turned up the problems. I have given low marks for sound due the fact that it gets irritating after awhile. Because of this I usually play with the sound low.


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Last updated: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 02:26 PM