Review by: Chris Harding
Published: November 8, 1998
The video game world was forever changed last year when Rare’s gem Goldeneye invented the first ever first-person action-adventure game on a console. Lost somewhere in all this James Bond hubbub was Ethan Hunt and the much more hyped (at least at that point) Mission: Impossible. Now more than a year after Bond’s Goldeneye, Ocean America’s and Infogrames’ spy thriller finally finds its way to your Nintendo 64. Was the wait worth it? Is Mission: Impossible a leap beyond Goldeneye? Is it the definitive first-person action-adventure game? Is Ethan Hunt better than Bond?
Sorry to disappoint, but Ethan Hunt doesn’t belong to the same clubs as Bond, get the same beautiful babes, use better gadgets, or even wear as nice clothes, and he sure doesn’t have as great a game…not even close. I know, I know…these are spy thriller games, so why let the cat out of the bag so early, and spoil the suspense? Because instead of bashing this game and pointing out all of the short comings when compared to Goldeneye, as so many reviews have done, I’d rather like to focus on about what the game does do well, more about what it is, instead of what it isn’t. I think many people who have played this game wrote it off within the first few minutes of play, knocking it as a Goldeneye wannabe. Too bad for them; they missed a pretty decent game.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is a difficult one. The gameplay is very similar to Goldeneye, and takes most of its quests from the movie. If the movie was confusing to you, like it was to me, the game will, believe it or not, do a better job of explaining what is going on and why things happened the way they did. You take the role of IMF point man Ethan Hunt, the agency’s best operative. You control Ethan through a series of first-person and third-person missions, ranging from assassination to espionage, to breaking into your own government’s most secure buildings.
The plot, for those of you who haven’t seen the movie or the original television show, is convoluted at best. Your organization, IM Force, is a secretly funded government agency set up to handle the United States’ most secret and dangerous missions. Other than Hunt, IMF members are headed by Jim Phelps, and supported by eight elite members: John Cutter — professional mountain climber and cold weather man, specializing in radio communication and explosives; Andrew Dowey — weapons and security expert, ex-military officer; Sarah Davies — local intelligence, native to a communist country; Dieter Harmon — functions as an internal resource at key social events, and blends in as a bartender; Candice Parker — cryptology expert, computer expert; and Robert Barnes — high risk operative.