[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/38bc1d27f54549389c30d9e1411d7bd1.gif]]
[[caption-width-right:350:They didn't stamp this IMPOSSIBLE for nothing!]]

->''Another visitor. Stay awhile. Stay FOREVER!''

A video game created by Creator/{{Epyx}} for the UsefulNotes/{{Commodore 64}} and a few other contemporary systems. Dr. Elvin Atombender, the resident MadScientist, is plotting to blow up the world in six hours, and you play a secret agent who has to stop him. You do this by running and jumping through a large number of rooms to search the furniture in each. Hidden in the furniture are thirty-six punch cards; combining four of these will give you a letter of the nine-letter password you require to enter the mad scientist's lair.

Of course, the 32 rooms and 8 elevators are in different positions, the puzzle pieces you need to find are in different locations, the puzzles you need to solve to retrieve the password consist of different pieces, and the rooms are filled with laser-shooting robots that disintegrate you at a touch. You didn't think a game by this name was going to be ''easy'', did you?

''Impossible Mission'' became one of the classic titles of TheEighties, and is considered one of the best games ever for the UsefulNotes/{{Commodore 64}}, UsefulNotes/ZXSpectrum, and other home computers of the era. A sequel, ''Impossible Mission II,'' was released in 1988, adding new traps, new items, several towers to traverse, and an audio password to be recovered.

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!!The game shows examples of the following tropes:

* AllThereInTheManual: The mad scientist's name is Elvin Atombender, which is never mentioned in-game.
* BigNo: If you manage to reach the MadScientist's lair in time (in the first game at least), he will do this:
-->'''Elvin:''' No. No! ''NO!''
* BlackoutBasement: Some rooms in the second game require a Light Bulb item to navigate.
* BottomlessPit: Many of the rooms feature these, even if there is a room directly below. Of course, forcing one enemy through the pit causes it to WrapAround at the top.
* CollisionDamage: The player dies whenever he touches a robot.
* DeathIsASlapOnTheWrist: Downplayed. Any death will advance the doomsday clock by ten minutes and return you to the room's entrance, but at six hours, the DoomsdayDevice will activate--so too many deaths will, hem, ''[[{{Pun}} kill]]'' your chances of winning. Given [[NintendoHard the game's difficulty]], it's ''very'' easy to reach this limit.
* DeathRay: Quite a few of the robots shoot these.
* DoomsdayDevice: If you run out of time, this activates, causing an...
** EarthShatteringKaboom
* EvilLaugh: Elvin gives one if time runs out.
* GameBreakingBug: The NTSC UsefulNotes/{{Atari 7800}} port of the game is known to be (randomly but often) actually impossible, because some of the cards you need can be placed behind computer terminals, which cannot be searched (the game interprets this as accessing the terminal instead). This was fixed in the PAL version of the game.
* GameOverMan: If time expires, Elvin's EvilLaugh will signal your failure to you.
* MadScientist: Elvin Atombender to a T.
* MagicCountdown: In the first game, the clock counts forward to 6:00:00 until the DoomsdayDevice activates, as well as advancing 10 minutes with each player death. In the sequel, the clock counts down, but there's a per-section countdown and a global countdown.
* NintendoHard: It's called '''''Impossible''' Mission'' for a reason.
* OmnicidalManiac: How else to describe a MadScientist threatening to [[EarthShatteringKaboom blow up the world]]?
* ProceduralGeneration: An early example.
* SignatureSoundEffect: The secret agent's scream when he falls into a BottomlessPit.
* SyntheticVoiceActor: An early example. ''"Destroy him, my robots!"''
* ThePasswordIsAlwaysSwordfish: The punch-cards always form a coherent nine-letter password such as "albatross" or "cormorant". Unfortunately, you need the punch cards themselves to enter the lair, so you can't really take advantage of this fact.
* UnexplainedRecovery: After ''disintegrating'', no less. However, the clock advances by 10 minutes with each death.
* {{Unwinnable}}:
** As noted above, a GameBreakingBug in the NTSC version of the UsefulNotes/{{Atari 7800}} port can make it truly impossible to win.
** There are many ways in ''Impossible Mission II'' to get stuck, such as running out of robot-disabling or platform-moving items in a tower, preventing access to a passcode number needed to access the next tower, or accidentally blowing up a safe with a landmine, preventing you from completing the musical sequence to unlock the control room elevator.
* VideoGameLives: You ''seem'' to have infinite lives, but you really have six hours before the bomb goes off, and each death moves the clock ten minutes closer to doomsday. (By the math, you can have no more than thirty-six lives in one game, but unless you can complete the game in less than ten minutes ''total'', if you're ''on'' life #36 you've already lost the game.) When time is up, Elvin's maniacal laughter sounds and the screen fades to white.
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