"Ethan Hunt reduced to being Joe Average. Shameful."

The impossible is often just the improbable. For instance, making a good game based on a franchise of movies and T.V. shows isn't impossible, but it is highly improbable. More often than not this daunting task self destructs well after its five seconds of fame, and the mission is indeed impossible. In the case of Mission: Impossible, the improbable, and what some deem the impossible, almost became reality. Notice how I said ''almost''.

Story 7/10
You are Ethan Hawke, a pretty fair facsimile of smarmy movie star Tom Cruise, (though not a complete caricature since his likeness is apparently copyrighted) and as Ethan you frequently make the impossible possible. Being the world's premier secret agent isn't easy, of course, but you have the support of a crack team of technicians and fellow spies who's sole purpose in life is to make you look good. As you begin yet another mission of utmost urgency, you infiltrate embassies, poison ambassadors, and you get to blow stuff up. Pretty good considering the game's key weapons and tools are, for the most part, more cerebral than the sniper rifle and automatic machine guns of most first person shooters. The story is pretty gripping, oftentimes even I was somewhat aghast over the various plot twists, and more times than not, I reveled in Ethan's ability to have well planned escapes made possible by high tech tools. However, Ethan seemed to have a problem using those tools. Why?

Gameplay 5/10
Many of the tools in this game are snatched straight from the movie and the television show, just like the plot actually. Unfortunately, the use of the tools takes some getting used to. All weapons and tools are accessed through a handy menu which allows you to scroll through them. This, however, sucks when you want a gun and you have to work your way through to it so as to equip and use it. Many times in my attempts to place smoke bombs, or change faces, I picked, um, unsecure locations to act in. As an effect, I ended up having to fight for my life after being discovered by the various security guards that I was supposed to be avoiding. Needless to say I took a few shots to the gut before I could pull out my trust worthy dart gun and send the guards into Never Never land. This became wearisome, though the instances were few and far in between. Another gripe I developed with this game is the lack of a intuitive aiming system. In the third person camera view, hitting a target is pretty much pull the trigger till someone's body drops to the ground. Unfortunately, this game emphasizes ammunitions conservation, which means bullets and sleeping darts are scarce commodities. Switching to the more traditional first person view doesn't limit your movement, which is good, but is tricky to control and becomes even harder of course during the intense firefights. Don't get me wrong, intense firefights can be avoided, but often times that's more work than its worth. Overall the gameplay's nothing to be impressed with, its rather mediocre.

Graphics/Sounds 3/10
I'm sorry, I like the Mission: Impossible theme song. There's nothing cooler than that opening trilling flute, and nothing makes you want to go out and do some covert operations than that. The song however, is the highlight of this section. That's right, the only bright spot that the game offers by the way of sound and graphics isn't even an original score that's moving and uplifting. Its a score that's ripped straight from the franchise. The rest of the sounds are overly generic, right down to Ethan's monosyllabic grunts and phrases, as well as the prerequisite explosions here and there. The graphics are well over par, and in the official golf terms, that's bad. After seeing some games with beautifully rendered graphics on the Nintendo 64 (well beautiful for their time) this game looks like the backwoods Alabama cousin that's had years of genetic inbreeding. Characters were extremely blocky, even the main character who normally looks the best was little less than large rectangular prisms stacked together with cubes into a somewhat primitive human form, with a decided hunch. Ethan has terrible posture for a international super spy. Either way, the graphics look (my cliché term for the day) uninspired. That's right, I said it. They look dull, drab, and dreary.

Replayibility 4/10
There's more than one setting fortunately, there's improbably and impossible. If you're feeling particularly brave or even insanely bored, you can crank up the difficulty on the missions, and discover that the only thing more difficult than improbable is having more things to do. The enemies aim will switch from Hollywood to Oakland in a heartbeat, and you will learn what the true meaning of senselessness is. After a few go rounds, you'll realize that there's much better things to be done, like mowing the yard, splitting wood for kindling, or even reorganizing your sock drawer. In other words, the chores that your mom and dad made you do as a child will provide more continuous entertainment than this game will. Trust me, I know, I've not played it in over two years, and counting, and I've still not had the urge to plug in and play it.

Overall 5/10
This game is mediocre and average in all terms of the word. Nothing will catch your eye or your attention and you'll soon wonder what possessed you to buy the game in the first play. Give it a rental if you are an extremely large fan of the first Mission: Impossible movie, or if you just want something to do other than the aforementioned chores. In any event, you'll find this game to be as satisfying as a one piece chicken dinner, with ice cubes as a side dish.

Reviewer's Rating:   2.5 - Playable

Originally Posted: 02/09/04

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