"Another visitor. Stay awhile.... Staaaay forever". Reading that will send a tingle down the spine of anyone who played the original Impossible Mission on the Commodore 64. For those who have never had the pleasure, veteran software house System 3 have resurrected the title for the Nintendo DS.
But wait... there's more. In an act of unfathomable generosity, System 3 have given us not one, not even two, but THREE versions of the game - New, Original and Hybrid. This surely makes it the bargain of the century? Or does it? Read on to find out...
But first a small plot interlude. The Evil Elvin Atombender has started a countdown that will launch a nuclear missile strike to destroy the world. As the James Bond-alike Agent 4125, you must infiltrate Atombender's lair and search his furniture for the 36 pieces of a password he has carelessly left lying around. Collect them all and you can stop the launch. Of course, it's not going to be easy. Atombender's lair is patrolled by deadly robots and you have just 6 hours to complete your mission. Every time you die (and you will - a lot) 10 minutes is deducted from your mission time.
In essence, all three versions are pretty much identical in gameplay terms with the aesthetics being the main difference. New mode has completely new graphics and sound, Original is a straight port of the C64 game, whilst Hybrid mode gives you the original gameplay with the updated graphics. Given this, I think it's only fair to pit the versions against each other in a head-to-head fight to the death.
Sadly, Hybrid mode is instantly beaten to death by the other two (and thus disqualified) on the grounds that it is pointless and just combines the worst elements of the other two versions.
So, let's introduce our survivors: In the Red Corner, weighing in at 27 years old, it's Original Mission And in the Blue Corner, weighing in at just five years old is New Mission.
Let's get ready to RUUUUUMMMMMBBBLE!
When it comes to the graphics it's pretty much a no contest - and the result might surprise you. The original C64 graphics might look sparse and simplistic these days, but that minimal look actually works in the game's favour, underlining the rather bleak storyline. Items of furniture are easy to spot and the robots exude character.
New Mission might look prettier, with colourful backgrounds and more detailed robots, but this actually gets in the way of the game. It's harder to distinguish between items that are purely background decoration and things that need to be searched and the screen looks a lot more cluttered. This can be very frustrating as you waste lots of time trying to reach an item which turns out is not searchable.
Result: First blood to Original
Both versions get points for including sampled speech ("Another visitor...", "Destroy him my robots"), but Original scores more heavily as the speech is so much more atmospheric.
As with graphics, sound on the original version is pretty sparse, but it works better. There is no background music and sound effects are limited. The buzz of the robot's lasers is genuinely scary, and the lonely footsteps of Agent 4125 as he pounds his way along corridors adds to the air of desperation.
New mode, on the other hand, adds some dreadful music which drowns out the sound effects. This can be turned off or down, but the underlying sound effects (though technically better) are not a patch on the original.
Verdict: A series of hefty blows from Original has New Mission on the ropes
Both titles essentially share the same gameplay, which is both a plus and a minus. The random generation of rooms and layouts means that the game plays differently every single time, which is a big plus. On the other hand, the underlying gameplay (go into a room, search objects, move to next room and repeat) becomes repetitive quite quickly. This was a weakness of the original game and it's not been rectified in this remake
Verdict: A drawn round gives New Mission hope
The original was TOUGH. I only ever completed it with the aid of cheats. Oddly, whilst this should have been frustrating, it wasn't (and still isn't). There's something strangely compelling that makes you want to keep trying even when you die for the 20th time at the same point. When you FINALLY manage to search that bookcase you've been struggling with, you feel a ridiculous sense of achievement.
New version is a bit kinder to you. Robots are easier to avoid and the searching of objects is quicker (so you are not as vulnerable position for as long). It's still pretty tough and offers plenty of challenge but it feels a little fairer now, like a game that mere mortals have at least a chance of completing.
Verdict: Another drawn round: If you're a gaming god, you'll prefer Original; if you're like me New is fairer.
This has to be a draw, since both versions use identical controls. This is not a bad thing, since they are logical, responsive and easy to pick up. I'd have preferred the B button for jump rather than the A button because my finger seems to fall more naturally onto this and in panicked moments I find myself pressing it B frantically (and dying as a result).
The Judges' Verdict
So, there you go. It might be nearly 30 years old, but Original Mission beats New Mission to a bloody pulp. Despite System 3's apparent generosity in providing three versions of the game, I'd go as far as to say that the C64 port is the only one worth playing. You might think that renders this game pointless - you can download the original C64 game off the internet for free - but being able to play it on my DS legally is a big bonus.
I only paid £2 (second hand). If you can find it for a similar price and have fond memories of the C64 original, then you should snap it up. The £6 you'll pay for a new copy is a bit much - second hand is definitely the way to go.
© Copyright SWSt 2014
This review is for the Nintendo DS game, Impossible Mission, developed by System 3 and published by Warner Bros. This platform game is a modernisation of the Commodore 64 release of nearly 25 years.
Remaking an old game is always a dangerous thing to do, some remember the original as it is and rather it wasn't modernised, but without modernisation the game can be just too old fashioned despite the happy memories that players might have of it. Many do have fond memories of this game, partly remembered for being the first game to have speech as one of the effects.
For those that haven't played, the game plot is quite simple. You have to go round numerous rooms avoiding enemies who can electrify you, including a ball which hovers near you and can cause damage unless you can "snooze" it. You have to explore the rooms to find 36 different puzzle pieces, the locations of which change every time that you start a new game.
In terms of controlling the game, there has been modernisation, with the stylus being used to be able to drag items about. The controls generally are easy to use and logical, and it is a reminder at least of how far things have moved on in gaming that this facility is now available on touch screen technology!
The difficulty level is set about right, it can be quite challenging and it takes some practice to get through without dying or suffering from time penalties. However the game isn't so difficult that you become bored of playing before progressing through the game. You are also now able to save the game wherever you want, which does make the game rather easier.
The graphics have been made much smoother since the original, although they do maintain the familiar feel. The original game may have been known for its impressive speech effects, but there are limited music in that version. This however has changed and the background soundtracks in this game do add somewhat to the atmosphere, and some thought has been put into these.
The game's full recommended price is 19.99 pounds, but is available currently for 7.99 pounds on Amazon. If you're happy with a second hand copy, these are available for around five pounds at the time of writing on sites such as eBay and Amazon. The game is rated 3+, so is suitable for children of nearly all ages.
In summary, it's great to be able to relive a childhood and see an old game updated in this way. The implementation isn't too bad, but the underlying game is a bit repetitive, and the additions don't really add much to the game. You are, for example, able to choose between man, woman and robots characters at the beginning of the game, but since the game plays the same way regardless, this seems a little redundant. However, this is fun for a while, and if you remember and enjoyed the first game, it's not a bad way to spend a few pounds!
I originally played this on the commodore 64 and it was a really good game, easy to play and addictive. So when I spotted it was available for the DS I had to give it a try.
The DS version has 3 games in one, however they are all the same game just different graphics, they include the original C64 version, and a new modern updated version and then you can have a combination of the two. All three play exactly the same way. You are not going to be blown away by the game play or graphics although the game does have good detail for the small screen of the DS.
This basic platform game consists of a random set up of 32 rooms, each time you play the game they are in a different set up; the rooms are connected by lifts. Controls are simple you can run or jump (somersault).
In each room are a series of platforms and lifts with robots scattered around, some of the robots stay put and just fire repetitive lasers, others move about. You avoid the robots by timing your jumps and planning the route through the room. In the room are a number of items of furniture and its your job as an agent to search the item to locate puzzle pieces. Not all have puzzle pieces so you have to search everything even the bin. Searching is easy you just push forward on the item and depending on the item size depends on the time it take to search, and sometimes you have to do this before the robots approach you.
Touching the robots kills you but you don't have a set number of lives, the game has a time limit of 6hrs and everytime you get killed your time drops 10minutes. You have to cover all 32 rooms and find 36 puzzle pieces within the time in order to stop the bomb. But finding the puzzle pieces is not enough you also have to arrange them in order this is easy as you use the stylus on the DS. All in all this makes addictive gameplay.
The rooms themselves do have computers and often you will find lift re-sets or codes for deactivating the robots - although this only lasts a few seconds. But both come in useful. The game itself I find is easier on the DS purely because you can save the game at any time meaning you can go back to previous save points if you die to many times in a room and loose loads of time.
The main game is in the top screen and the bottom touch screen shows a map of the rooms and lifts so you can see what rooms you've visited. The touch screen is also used to access the menu options, and move the puzzle pieces to match them up - which is a lot easier than using a joystick!
Is it any good? - Well it wouldn't win any awards on the graphics front, and doesn't push any boundaries with the DS but its quite addictive. Do I recommend it? Yes if you liked the original commodore version or want an addictive platform game. It's not a game that will take days of playing, if you can pick it up cheap like I did £6 on eBay then you can't go wrong. I believe it is available at around £8 at other online stores.
Once again you can become Special Agent 4125, and undertake the desparate mission of saving the world from Elvin Atombenders evil plot to destroy it! IMPOSSIBLE MISSION, originally released in 1984 by EPYX, could arguably be one of the greatest games ever produced. Its appeal, then as now, is the simple plot, challenging gameplay, totally fluid animation and spine-tingling sound FX who will ever forget Elvins immortal words, Destroy him, my robots.You have 6 hours, of real time, in which to thoroughly search 32 rooms, locate 36 puzzle pieces and then crack the code to defeat Elvin. To navigating the rooms you must time your runs and jumps, leap around platforms and use moving lifts, all this while avoiding deathly and devious human-seeking robots and black orbs.