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Mission Impossible: Operation Surma

Platform(s): Arcade, Game Boy Advance, GameCube, Nintendo DS, PC, PSOne, PSP, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360
Genre: Action

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PS2 Review - 'Mission Impossible: Operation Surma'

by Hank on Feb. 13, 2004 @ 1:52 a.m. PST

Genre : Action Surma
Publisher: Atari
Developer: Paradigm
Release Date: December 9, 2003

Buy 'MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: Operation Surma':
Xbox | GameCube | Game Boy Advance | PlayStation 2

Different countries have different types of policies and ideals. These differences make it hard to achieve the ideal of one united nation. Tiny quarrels and misinterpretations slowly lead to hatred between countries and, sometimes, war. In an attempt to assess the validity of these misinterpretations, several countries have implemented spy factions to ensure their nations' safety. Most people will remember this famous quote, "Your mission, should you choose to accept it ….. Should you, or any member of your I.M. force, be caught, or killed, the secretary will disavow all knowledge of your actions. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds."

Well, if you don't know this famous quote, you missed out on one of the classics - an old television show with a huge fan base. Because of its popularity, Hollywood decided to bring back the original Mission Impossible theme, creating two movies and now a video game. The devices used by the operatives in Mission Impossible were what made it so popular; the spies were equipped with the newest technological advancements, capable of everything from hacking computer security to managing simple tasks such as taking surveillance (like those binoculars that doubled as a camera). Staying true to its name, Mission Impossible: Operation Surma uses the same devices found in these Hollywood pieces.

The equipment is probably the only thing in the game that truly impresses me. Watching them in action brings back good memories. In order to finish the main objective for this "mission impossible," you will have to finish off several mini-objectives that slowly lead you to the answer. Levels are all a big puzzle in which you must figure out how to move on. Unlike Max Payne (where you would go in gunning down the enemies), Mission Impossible takes the same initiative as Splinter Cell, using the darkness to their advantage and trying their best to stay unseen by the enemy. What baffles me the most is why it takes so much time to hide in the darkness. Once you are in a shadow, you should be instantly invisible to the naked eye unless the enemy walks over to check the area.

While waiting for the enemy to come to your area, you should use the wall to your advantage and execute a one-hit knockout. Watching the animation just brings up the question where exactly do they hit? The moves look like a simple clothes-line, and I'm certain it wouldn't be enough to knock out a fully-grown man. If I remember correctly, there are certain spots on the human that can knock the person out when done properly. The ones I can remember are a spot in the back of the head and the sleep hold, which Ethan Hawk (your character) executes depending on the situation. Once you have successfully knocked out the enemy, do not leave them in plain sight. Remember that this is a covert operation and that triggering an alarm will lead to a mission failure.

Once the alarm is triggered, the enemies don't seem to immediately investigate. Instead, you have a good 20 seconds to deactivate the alarm. In a sense, this is a good thing, making the mission easier to finish, yet I feel that the realism is somewhat displaced. If you are to infiltrate a top secret building, I don't think you will be able to set off a single alarm. This is your life on the line, and any small mistake should mean only one thing: game over.

An operative must do everything to a tee, using the help of his fellow teammates to ensure completion of the mission. Everyone is essential in his or her own way, but the most important person is probably the communication man, Luther. He is the one constantly informing Ethan of the new objectives and obstacles. I mainly use his advice to ensure that I disabled the cameras within the vicinity. The other team members would be Billy, the driver and pilot, George, master of disguise (con artist), and lastly Jasmine, a new IMF recruit.

So what is IMF up to this time? Well, like all spy factions, it's dealing with a Weapons of Mass Destruction threat. The goal is to find out about the Surma Corporation and its new virus, "Ice Worm." In order to complete this objective, you use clues found from previous missions, slowly uncovering where to go next, eventually finding the true nature of this virus and destroying it if necessary. Missions are usually broken up into several parts, only moving on once a set of objectives has been completed. I truly appreciate the designers for implementing checkpoints because beating a complicated section and having to do it over is just annoying as hell. Examples of such objectives include avoiding trip lasers, and my least favorite, the ones using the micro cord to hang in mid-air so that you can grab objects.

Everything in this game lives up to the original Mission Impossible hype. The game runs like the movies, but the missions seem to just constantly repeat themselves. The only differences that may occur are a change in background, location, and enemy outfits. Most of the time, the enemies' facial features are identical. I'm pretty certain that in real life, the highest number of identical siblings is eight. Having an entire army of indistinguishable characters is just illogical. It would have been better if they didn't show the facial features of the enemy, but I can't complain about the features for the IMF team. Watching these characters in the cut scenes is great. There is, however, one slight problem with the graphics: when you lift up a body, the game seems to slow down almost to a freeze. To make up for this, they have impressive device designs, looking very technologically advanced even for simple items.

Although these "toys" are nicely designed, the sound for them doesn't always match. The one I'm probably most annoyed with is the sound of the pistol. It just doesn't sound realistic enough to please me. I know the gun isn't a DE (Desert Eagle), but it would have been nice to hear the ringing of a more powerful handgun. However, the sounds that you will hear the most are probably the voices of Luther and Ethan conversing, making fun of each other and explaining what moves to execute next. While figuring out how to use the information to your benefit, you will get to enjoy some classic Mission Impossible music as well as instrumentals that match the situation well.

Overall, I say this game needs a lot of work. It definitely doesn't touch Splinter Cell's greatness and still has a few kinks here and there. One issue I had with gameplay was how the weapons were fired. The aim seemed somewhat awkward, and you couldn't really aim yourself. All you could do was make sure the red marker marks the enemy, or else they won't go down. Another problem I noticed was that when you are behind a wall, you can't lean to the side to fire, using the wall as protection. Regardless, you have to be in first person view, and you are unable to run during this time.

Despite these problems, the one thing that stands out in this game is that it stayed true to the Mission Impossible name, making it almost seem as if we were watching the movie. It kept true to the very essence of Mission Impossible, following the briefings and the use of devices to the smallest detail. If we compared the game and movie footage, we can probably see so many similarities that it's shocking. It's a pity that the few flaws couldn't have been ironed out so that this game could have lived up to its full potential as a best seller. Mission Impossible fans may enjoy this title, but I would suggest renting it and finding out for yourself.

Score: 6.3/10


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