As a budding 80’s teenager addicted to James Bond movies, Impossible Mission offered a chance to prove my true skills as a secret agent. I can remember playing and replaying this game for weeks. A nice blend of action, adventure, and puzzle solving, with a satisfying conclusion, made for one of the greatest games ever on the C-64.
Impossible Mission grabbed me from the start with the first synthesized speech I’d ever heard on a computer since I got the “speak and spell” to say dirty words in elementary school.
“Stay awhile… Stay forever!” The death scream of your agent as he falls and dies was something, that if done in rapid sequence, over and over, could get my little brother and I laughing so hard we’d just about pee our 501’s.
Your mission is to search a sinister underground fortress operated by some mad scientist, and uncover clues/codes to access his inner sanctum. The room layout changes with every new game, so while rooms will look the same in some respects, they will appear in different configurations every time (good for replay-ability.) I can remember specifically, the puzzle pieces that you could uncover (throughout various items of furniture in each room), and then trying to sort through them to get the exact fits needed to open specific
doors. The combinations, while not endless, were challenging because you could fit the wrong pieces together easily. Once you played the game a few times through, it got easier to recognize which combination of pieces fits together, but initially it vexed me. Once you get the right combination of pieces to fit together you receive one piece of the code to access the inner sanctum of the evil scientist.
I don’t know how well the game will play if your only controller is the keyboard. Back in the day I used my C-64 joystick, and, I believe, only a few keyboard strokes to make the game play. Some rooms guarded by fast, death-ray shooting robots were extremely challenging to clear even with the joystick. I would imagine that unless you want to dedicate some real time to mastering your jumps using the keyboard that you save up your “snoozes” (robot disabling passwords that you can use at computer terminals.) Other enemies include these floating balls that will pursue you in rooms, but I think if they run into one of the robots they disappear. There are also “lift reset” passwords that can be uncovered that, well, reset the lifts that you use in each of the rooms to access different levels.
Impossible Mission is best played on the C-64 platform, as I recall one of my friends had it on an Atari and the graphics and voice modulation were just not the same. I recommend the game to anyone who owned a computer in the 80’s, or for anyone looking for a surprisingly complex and clever game from a long time ago. As I mentioned at the start the finale is well worth it. At least it was well worth it when I was a kid. Nowadays when you win a game you rarely get the satisfaction of seeing your nemesis squirm. Guess you’ll have to play the game to find out what I’m talking about. Happy gaming.