(Really) Old Video Game Review: Mission: Impossible (Nintendo 64)

I usually buy or receive video games based on viewing multiple reviews to get a better idea on the games worth getting.  The higher-rated games are always going to be at the top of my list, but once in a while, an average or bad video game will come across my gaming history.  Mission: Impossible is one of the few games that sneaked through my “good games security checkpoint” and it wasn’t a pleasant experience.

oceanMission: Impossible wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great either.  The sound was terrible, the graphics weren’t excellent, the controls were wonky, but there was some solid gameplay. Ocean could have made the game better if they just fine-tuned the game a little bit more, but either time wasn’t on their side or they probably just wanted to release it after the movie came out.  It’s a shame they didn’t do a better job.

I recently played this on my N64 and my eyes were bleeding from how fuzzy non-HD games were, but also how bad the graphics were executed.  How the hell did I play this game back then?  The game’s graphics were pretty terrible, even to N64 standards.  The game didn’t have any consistent frame rate (maybe between a rate of 1-10 frames per second) and felt like the game was trying to constantly freeze on me.  Expecting the game to match Tom Cruise and the other cast of the movie accurately was going to be impossible, but the level of details themselves were still lacking.  Imagine someone running and looking go to the bathroom because he is in desperate need for a number two.  An idea on how the running animations look.  The death animations featured enemies performing flips as if it was the Summer Olympics.  The explosions were terrible,  the vehicle animations were just cardboard cut outs pulled by a string, and the list goes on and on.

n64BUT!  That wasn’t the worst part about the game.  Ohhhhh, nooooooo…  The sound…THE SOUND…AHHHHHH!  My precious ears have been mutilated by the terrible sounds.  One of the most annoying sounds you get to heard were the sounds enemies dying were making. Whoever did the running animation must have done the sound simultaneously.  It sounds like the guy is trying to pass a huge dump in the stall.  HHHHNNNNNGGG!  The vehicles simulated sounds that make a lawnmower sound beautiful.  I don’t know what the heck the sound designers were doing, but it was…just…terrible and that’s just an understatement.  I don’t like criticizing others work, people do work their butts off even if the product turns out to be a failure, but it seemed as if they haven’t tried at all.  Maybe they didn’t have the budget to pour more into the sound department or they just got a bunch of monkeys to create some music.  Ok…that wasn’t nice to the monkeys, because they would do a better job than the sound department.  Mission: Impossible created so much distraught and criticism from every fiber in my bones.  I’ll stop myself ranting before your heads explode from the amount of words I would produce for the criticisms of the sound alone.

The controls were horrendous as well.  Goldeneye brought gamers one of the best first-person, heck best controls for a game in a long time (so, did Super Mario 64).  However, the game designers either didn’t know about these games or they just thought they could do better than two of the most prominent game companies at the time.  Whatever crazy directions they went through, they messed up on the controls as well.  What the hell were they thinking?  The controls were the equivalent on taking control of a person with ADD and experiencing epileptic seizures.  The only times I had control was when I stopped using the controller.

playstationThe only good thing about the game was actually the gameplay.  I don’t know how they did it.  I really don’t.  It boggles my mind on how the team at Ocean messed up on everything else, yet had a gameplay strategy that was decent enough to make Mission: Impossible pretty fun at times.  Levels required gamers to be as stealthy as possible. Shooting the wrong person can penalize you and often times fail the mission for the lack of stealth used in the mission.  It also had some fun items to use such as the famous facemaker, just like the one in the movie.  Some of the gadgets were simple, but they were implemented pretty well in each of the levels.  Then again, other levels felt disastrous.  One level required you to shoot at random things with a boat turret and it also implemented the famous scene with Ethan dropping into the laser-filled room.  Levels like these felt rushed and just thrown in just because.  But most of the levels were pretty fun and consistent.  Seriously, the game had some fun missions that I enjoyed. However, the other elements of the game eventually helps destroy the game.  If Ocean just had more time to polish the game, I could have seen this game sell a lot more and be a great addition to many N64 collections.  Too bad they didn’t get to do that… and yet, it still landed in my damn game library.

The gameplay easily helps save this game from becoming one of the worst games to rank with Superman 64.  Unfortunately, the gameplay couldn’t do enough shoulder and back workouts to carry the rest of the elements.  Sooner or later, the whole game as a package falls face first and never really has the chance to get back up.  As I have said time and time again in this post, they just needed a little time to polish out some of the kinks and the game would have been decent.  After Goldeneye, maybe the developers thought they had a chance on building a game that was fun based on a movie…  They just took a lot more than they could actually chew.

Rating: 4.2/10

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