Mission Impossible on the N64
Launching in July 1998 six months after Rare’s landmark FPS, French developer Infogrames was trying ambitious things with this title.
But it struggled long and hard with the production. It was initially planned for the PC, but the shifted to the Nintendo 64.
It began production in 1995 and was actually promoted as one of the first launch titles for Nintendo’s new console.
However, lingering production problems held the project back. Infogrames overestimated what they could do with the game, leading to Mission Impossible becoming a strange hodgepodge of ideas.
Loosely based on the 1996 film with Tom Cruise, it’s a stealth action-adventure game.
You star as Ethan Hunt, although the game follows a different plot development to the film. And you get to do stuff like this.
Mission Impossible style missions, basically. Lots of technical wizardry and all that, with face swapping, shooting, stealth, and creeping about the place.
Infiltration, spying, classified documents, creeping, crawling, shooty shoot, stealth etc.
The game actually reminds us of Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire (1997). In that some bits of it are very good. But for the main part, Mission Impossible is pretty mediocre. If not stunningly poor at times.
You can tell Infogrames was trying to be radical with some of the mission ideas. But on the whole, the game just doesn’t flow well.
The controls are very poor and the graphics weird—blocky and with lots of fog to hide the pop up (Turok Dinosaur Hunter style).
Although the game was a commercial success, in part we can’t help but think this was a Goldeneye effect. N64 gamers were pumped after Rare’s classic and wanted some more.
Seeing as Perfect Dark (2000) wasn’t out yet, why not get a bit of Mission Impossible? The box art looks great and the film sure was super.
Yet the end result comes across like an unfinished video game. As if Infogrames released it aware it hadn’t met any of their expectations.
But, you know, they spent a whole heaping chunk of money on the production. So released it anyway to break even.
Renting it from Blockbuster in 1998, we could enjoy the game despite its obvious flaws. But the frustrating controls, trial and error nature of the levels, and lack of panache hinder it enormously.
Now it’s just one of those Nintendo 64 games that didn’t live up to the hype. A title that aimed high and crumbled under impossible standards.
But back in 1998, it was at least passably enjoyable.