Game Review: Impossible Mission (C64, Ricochet)

Impossible Mission
Impossible Mission, Commodore 64, Ricochet - RC030
  • 8.5/10
    Score - 8.5/10
8.5/10

Summary

Impossible mission is a fun and challenging platformer, and one that certainly lives up to its name. Superb visuals and stunning speech that was years ahead of its time, but frustratingly tough at times means that this classic isn’t for everyone.

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The Commodore 64 was still in its formative years in 1984. Developers were still getting to grips with the hardware, both in terms of its graphics and sound capabilities. We had some great games and true classics released at that time, but nothing that would be remembered for its technical excellence… until Impossible Mission arrived on the scene.

Impossible Mission C64
Impossible Mission C64

The Story

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.

Impossible Mission C64
Impossible Mission C64

Getting Started

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. But if the robots and platformers weren’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…

Cracking The Code

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.

Impossible Mission C64

A Technical Marvel

I said at the start that this was an incredibly advanced for its time. There some stunning animation on the main character and highly detailed background visuals that really bring the game to life. The only other games to have achieved this at the time were Epyx’s own Games series. But what was really remarkable was the sound. The speech, both at the start of the game, at random intervals throughout, and the ending was crystal clear and chilling at the same time. Add to that the great sound effects and it made for a flawless audio-visual delight.

A Truly Impossible Mission

What does let the game down for some is its difficulty. There’s no denying that it’s a superb platform game. It’s more cerebral than your typical platformer, requiring a more thoughtful, planned approach rather than diving straight into each room. But the precise timing and positioning needed, as well as the puzzle element isn’t for everyone.

Impossible Mission C64
Impossible Mission C64

That aside, Impossible Mission is still one of the greatest games to grace the C64 and is worth at least giving it a try to see if it’s one for you. It’s understandable why Mastertronic chose to add this to the Ricochet range to give this stunning title another lease of life.

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