|Maybe it's just me, but I
think the time for a Mission: Impossible game on the PlayStation has already come and
gone. It's not that the 1996 blockbuster movie remake of the 1960's TV show didn't warrant
a video game; in fact there was a more timely one on the N64. But why would we want one
now? There are the little differences; in a years time they've managed to add dialogue and
rearrange the missions a bit. Definitely not worth the time if you ask me. I thought the
N64 version was a lot of fun when I first played it. Its graphics are on par with
GoldenEye and because I had just rented the movie, those scenes were still fresh in my
mind. Really the movie tie in is the only thing that separates Mission: Impossible from
"newer" games like Syphon Filter, Metal Gear Solid, or even Medal of Honor.
Really these game aren't newer than Mission: Impossible (PSX), but they sure feel like it.
Like GoldenEye and Syphon Filter, Mission: Impossible is a mission-based game. Each level consists of a list of chores: get the something, save somebody, and make your escape. There is a great variety of mission types, ranging from shoot-em-up, to hide and seek, and puzzles. I am quite the fan of solving problems without killing anyone, and more than any other "mission game" Mission Impossible gives me those nonviolent alternatives. But shooter fans do not despair; gunplay is also an integral part of Mission: Impossible. It is the gadgets, not the guns, that make Mission: Impossible possible to play. There are, as always, keys, ID cards and the like, and the more exotic equipment like blowguns and gas masks. The ultimate gadget has to be the face maker. With the face maker you, as Ethan, can impersonate the top brass and sneak into just about anywhere.
When the N64 version of Mission: Impossible first came out I was very impressed with the missions. I was hiding and sneaking, talking and sabotaging, changing costumes and shooting Russians, even solving puzzles. But a few years ago I was more easily entertained, and a year is a long time in game years. When it was first debuted Mission Impossible was on the cutting edge of the "mission game" genre, and now, because of their popularity, great improvements have been made in the genre. Mission: Impossible manages to remain interesting but dated.
Missions missions are pretty innovative even though they still conform to the movies plot. You would think that this would make them easy- wrong. The missions are not one bit intuitive. Most of the time I was reduced to hunting around for some object not quite knowing why or where to look. I mean some parts are really cool, but most of the game is subpar. I really enjoyed the missions heavy on spying and intrigue. In one level Ethan has to plant smoke bombs during a fancy party, rendezvous with a spy, lure a dignitary, evade an enemy, and get out alive.
While the game play is a bit of a let down, the control is downright crappy. The whole thing is a little too loose for me. Ethan runs just fine, but just try to do some precision jumping. I also have bones to pick with their 1st and 3rd person view combo. Really, it is third person, until Ethan is engaged in a gunfight (yes, that means you have to take fire first). Then you get the option to use the target. A clunky beast of a first person targeting system, Ethan becomes semi-transparent and through him and the target you can try to make out and then shot the enemy. This function bugged me so much I refused to use it and preferred to shoot from the hip. I was also disappointed in the lack of a strafe or sidestep button. Come on, how archaic. To compound problems the X button is jump, talk, use, and just about everything else. I was always hopping around- Id try to talk but jump instead, try to open the door and hop instead, try to jump and Id start talking to someone. The control problems are perhaps the weakest part of Mission: Impossible.
The graphics also date Mission: Impossible. The in game graphics are passable, but, whoa Nellie, are those cutscenes bad. These people really look like blockheads. If the cut scenes werent so long I dont think it would be such a big issue for me, but they seem to go on and on forever and I died enough that I had to see them over and over again. At least the sound was ok. I mean the Mission: Impossible theme song cant be ruined. But the plot sure can be.
Really, this game is a least a year too late. Who is still thinking about Mission Impossible now? Its out of the theaters, out on video, and already out of the new release section. I say spend your money on the newer "mission game" titles (Metal Gear Solid, Syphon Filter, or Medal of Honor) and if you a real fan of the genre rent Mission: Impossible over the weekend. And if youre a big fan of the Mission: Impossible franchise, Im sorry for you -- this video game doesnt do it justice.