Game Review: Impossible Mission (PSP Mini)

It has always felt to me that a large proportion of the Minis range can be categorised as either taking inspiration from existing arcade games, puzzle games, or relatively simple affairs with many games in the range being similar to each other. Out of those that don’t for the most part they tend to be based on or are conversions of existing PC or online casual games, or are officially licensed conversions or updates of classic 80s and 90s arcade and computer games. That’s not to say that I feel that the Minis range should be avoided, but that there can be a lot of games that can be rather samey or can be lacking in originality.

Originality was certainly left at the door in the case of Impossible Mission. Here long-standing developer / publisher System 3 went back to the back catalogue of an even earlier established company in the games industry, Epyx and brought back one of their all-time classics from the Commodore 64 to breathe new life back into it…

The plot puts you in the role of an agent who has been sent on a mission… an impossible one at that to stop the evil Professor Elvin Atombender. He has been infiltrating the National Security Computers and it’s your task to penetrate Atombender’s headquarters, retrieve the password for his computer system (which has been spread throughout his base) and shut down his computer before it’s too late.

The game starts off with a warning from Atombender and then you’re thrown into the platform game action. You have to explore the complex, searching furniture within different rooms while avoiding robots that are patrolling the base. Some parts of each room need to use lifts to reach them and precision jumping is essential. Once you’ve searched every object, it’s onto the next room through the use of connecting tunnels and elevator shafts. To help you along the way, you can use computer terminals found in most of the rooms to reset the in-room lifts if you mis-time any jumps or to temporarily disable the patrol robots should you have a “snooze pass” but apart from that you’re on your own… And if that wasn’t enough, it’s a race against time as you only have six hours to complete the game and you lose 10 minutes every time you are caught by a robot or fall to your doom from a platform…

To find the final password for the game, you need to find various puzzle pieces in each room and then assemble them into small puzzle blocks in the corridors between rooms. Once you find Atombender’s main control room you can put all these completed puzzles together, enter the room and complete the game but it’s a lot tougher than it sounds.

There are three versions of the game here – the original Commodore 64 version complete with all the graphics and sound from the 1984 original (which was notable for being the first ever game to feature speech), the Merged version featuring a combination of original C64 gameplay elements and updated graphics and the New which is a brand new incarnation of the game featuring all new graphics, animation, speech, sound effects and features a choice of three different characters. All three play identically although personally as a fan of the original that’s the one I prefer to play more although in terms of gameplay there’s no real difference between any of them.

Ignoring the Commodore 64 version for a moment, visually it’s one of the best looking Minis around and the gameplay itself has managed to stand the test of time remarkably well. The near pixel perfect positioning that you need to negotiate some of the platforms may be off-putting for some and will prove infuriating for others – it’s certainly not a platform game that you can play quickly and move through levels and rooms rapidly. You need to stop and think about where you are going to move and jump and study the movement of all of the robots and position of everything in each room before you take a single step so if that way of approach for a platform game is too cerebral for you and you would rather get stuck into running and jumping straight away then this won’t be for you.

However, if you’re looking for something to challenge you mentally as well as your platforming skills then this could be right up your street… and if you ever owned the Commodore 64 original or if you were ever a Commodore 64 fan then you don’t really need to think twice about adding this to your collection.

Simon Plumbe

At A Glance

  • Title: Impossible Mission
  • Publisher: System 3
  • System: PSP Mini
  • Format: PSN Download
  • Cross Buy: No
  • Online Multiplayer: No
  • Local Multiplayer: No
  • Memory Card Space Needed: 34Mb

 

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