- JP release: 14th July 1998
- NA release: 27th October 1998
- PAL release: 6th November 1998
- Developer: Nintendo
- Publisher: Nintendo
- N64 Magazine Score: 91%
Being a movie tie-in to an action spy film gives Mission Impossible a lot to live up to, as it was always going to be compared to GoldenEye. Like GoldenEye, Mission Impossible had origins on the SNES before being made for the Nintendo 64 instead, as well as offering objective-based gameplay, this time from a third person perspective.
The first mission impossible takes a lot of goes to get used to how the game works, form movement and the camera (in the first level, it’s a very high camera, but you can change it to behind Ethan Hunt, who is not based on Tom Cruise). You have to find a certain guard, knock him out and use the face maker to use his image as a disguise – it feels a lot like an early Hitman game.
After the “cold open” levels, you the need to rescue some fellow agents and recover a list form an embassy. The stating level is great, although very much trial and error, as you are undercover and have to lure people to the correct places. It’s a very strong start to the game. There is only one correct way to do things, but it creates the Hitman film really well for its age.
Then the game suddenly becomes a strange corridor-based shooter as you blow up crates and jump over pits of acid. It feels completely at odds with the previous levels and just comes across as padding.
Thankfully the following level is much more like the Embassy level, and I was even able to mess things up and fix them without failing the mission, which is a nice touch. If there were more levels like this in the game, it would be great, but unfortunately, this is the last proper mission in this style. There’s a few small touches of stuff like this throughout, but unfortunately no levels that fill like living areas.
Instead, the rest of the game is some linear corridors, a lot of shooting (with really terrible aiming) and some platforming sections with floating platforms. The friendly AI that follows you is also terrible and makes Natalya look like AI by comparison. On one level, Candice claimed she was fine, before walking right to a guard looking at her, saying “he snuck up on me” and getting shot.
While the rest of the levels aren’t great, there is a surprising amount of variety as missions feel quite different. There’s one where you use spray pain to block cameras, one in and then on top of a train (which look quite impressive for the N64), a sniper mission, the famous laser scene from the film and navigating a tunnel by jumping on trucks.
There are a lot of frustrating aspects. Sometimes you’ll try punching a guard, but they’ll automatically arrest you – but that only happens on some levels and even then it doesn’t happen all the time. The game is also very picky about what you do, so you’ll often try something only to fail the mission.
After a very strong start, Mission Impossible loses its footing, although even then it’s still mostly a decent game from that point onwards.
The actual ideas behind the game are fantastic. Spraying blue paint across CCTV cameras, dodging searchlights, knocking people out in the bogs and disguising yourself as them, picking up clues from conversations, working out which gadgets go with which situations, Mission, at heart, does actually feel like a spy sim. It’s just that the executions is so lacklustre, it’s hard to see the positives.Tim Weaver, N64 Magazine #19
Remake or remaster?
With some refined gameplay mechanics, a remastered version could be a lot of fun.
Official ways to get the game.
There is no official way to get Mission Impossible
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