main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Kickstarter Message
TV Tropes Needs Your Help
Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
View Kickstarter Project
Video Game: Impossible Mission
Another visitor. Stay awhile. Stay FOREVER!

A video game created by Epyx for the Commodore 64 and a few other contemporary systems. The resident Mad Scientist is plotting to blow up the world, 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 rooms are also 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?

The game shows examples of the following tropes:

  • All There in the Manual: The mad scientist's name is Elvin Atombender, which is never mentioned in-game.
  • Big "NO!": If you manage to reach the Mad Scientist's lair in time (in the first game at least), he will do this:
    Elvin: No. No! NO!
  • Blackout Basement: Some rooms in the second game require a Light Bulb item to navigate.
  • Bottomless Pit: 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 Wrap Around at the top.
  • Collision Damage: The player dies whenever he touches a robot.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Downplayed. Any death will advance the doomsday clock by ten minutes and return you to the room's entrance, but at six hours, the Doomsday Device will activate—so too many deaths will, hem, kill your chances of winning. Given the game's difficulty, it's very easy to reach this limit.
  • Death Ray: Quite a few of the robots shoot these.
  • Doomsday Device: If you run out of time, this activates, causing an...
  • Evil Laugh: Elvin gives one if time runs out.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: The Atari port of the game is known to be (randomly but often) actually impossible, because some of the cards you need can be behind computer terminals, which cannot be searched.
  • Game Over Man: If time expires, Elvin's Evil Laugh will signal your failure to you.
  • Mad Scientist: Elvin Atombender to a T.
  • Magic Countdown: In the first game, the clock counts forward to 6:00:00 until Doomsday Device 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.
  • Nintendo Hard: It's called Impossible Mission for a reason.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: How else to describe a Mad Scientist threatening to blow up the world?
  • Procedural Generation: An early example.
  • Signature Sound Effect: The secret agent's scream when he falls into a Bottomless Pit.
  • Synthetic Voice Actor: An early example. "Destroy him, my robots!"
  • The Password Is Always Swordfish: 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.
  • Unexplained Recovery: After disintegrating, no less. However, the clock advances by 10 minutes with each death.
  • Unwinnable: Alongside the aforementioned bug in the Atari 7800 version of the first game, there are many ways in the second game 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.
  • Video Game Lives: 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.

EliteCreator/Micro ProseMajesty
Ikari WarriorsUsefulNotes/Apple ][Joust
Heroes of the LanceSega Master SystemKing's Quest I: Quest For The Crown
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the GalaxyUsefulNotes/Commodore 64 Jumpman

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy