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Video Game / Mission: Impossible (Konami)

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The game's box art

Mission Impossible is a 1990 video game developed by Konami and published under the Ultra Games label (Palcom Games for the PAL region) for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was based on the revival of the 1988-90 Mission Impossible television series.

The brilliant Dr. O, the genius behind the US military defense system, has been kidnapped by the terrorist group The Sinister Seven. Fortunately, his secretary was actually IMF agent Shannon Reed assigned to watch over him in the event of just such a kidnapping, and she was able to send out a coded message before being abducted as well. Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to hunt down the Sinister Seven and rescue Dr. O from their hideout.

The gameplay is a top-down Action-Adventure, where you control Max Harte, Grant Collier, and Nicolas Black, each with their own weapons, tools, and skills. You switch between them while navigating large, sprawling mazes full of enemies, traps, and barriers blocking your progress, while talking to informants for valuable (Sometimes) intel and hitting switches to disable traps. Two stages switch this up for a more action-oriented shooter style, where you dodge obstacles wile racing to the end.

Tropes pertaining to the 1990 game:

  • Anti-Frustration Features: For a game this difficult, it was nice that the game gives you infinite continues. You also regain any IMF agents that were downed after completing a level.
  • Armor Is Useless: The instruction manual says Max was ordered to wear heavy armour to explain his slow movement speed, but he takes the exact same amount of damage as every other agent.
  • Balance, Power, Skill, Gimmick: Every IMF Agent has their own balance: Max is the slowest but has the greatest reach with his assault rifle, and the most powerful attack with his explosives. Grant can only punch opponents in melee, but he is the fastest and can use sleeping gas to stun enemies. He is also the only one that can unlock certain electronic door locks. Nicholas has a boomerang, has average movement speed and can disguise himself as the enemy, allowing him to sneak past foes undetected.
  • Battle Boomerang: Nicholas' weapon of choice, a spammable boomerang with decent range that can hit enemies from a distance. It can be used to avoid attention from other enemies or hit them from behind an object to avoid return fire.
  • Bottomless Pits: Common hazards throughout the levels. Numerous traps also exist to force you into them, such as giant fans, moving walls, grabber robot arms, and conveyor belts. Most of them are of the fatal variety, except for one case in the final level.
  • Cutscene Boss: The first stage's boss is an old man in a wheelchair. Before you can even move, he ends up falling through a trap door in the floor, ending the stage without you having to do anything.
  • Damsel in Distress: Shannon Reed was kidnapped along with Dr. O. She's used as a Human Shield by the fourth level boss.
  • Denial of Diagonal Attack: Your agents can only attack along eight directions, while the enemies can shoot bullets at you at any angle. Fortunately, Max's bullets travel a lot faster than the enemy's bullets do.
  • Distressed Dude: Dr. O, the brilliant scientist who developed the US military defense system that controls their nuclear weapons. His kidnapping by The Sinister Seven is what starts the game.
  • Do Not Run with a Gun: Max's weakness is his slow speed, despite being the only character who has a long-range weapon. He also has to stop when shooting. Though everyone else stops as well when attacking.
  • Doppelgänger Spin: The third-level boss teleports around while creating transparent doubles of himself. The doubles are intangible and cannot be hurt, but still throw very real shuriken at you.
  • Down the Drain: A large portion of the first stage has the team fighting through the sewers under Moscow to find the Sinister Seven's underground base. There's pipes that discharge sewage that'll damage you if you're caught in it, moving walls that try to push you into the sewage, and wooden planks acting as bridges between floor sections.
  • Fake Longevity: There's a number of little interactive sequences that stretch out gameplay. Notably how stairs force you to manually walk your agent up or down a flight in a sidescrolling section, seemingly only to differentiate between going up and down floors or just into the next room. Electronic door locks have you decode the combination to unlock them, but the game is paused while you do so, a chime will tell you the correct number, and only Grant can access the doors anyways, so the whole exercise is pointless.
  • Fission Mailed: An autoscrolling section in the final stage has a collapsing floor. If your agent falls in, it shows them plummeting and the agent lost music plays. But instead of starting the section again with the next available agent as usual, you start on the previous floor with the same agent who fell.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Your agents are immune to their own tools. Max can stand right on top of his bombs when he detonates them with no ill effect. This is useful if you're surrounded by enemies to clear them away. Grant, likewise, isn't affected by his gas bombs.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: In the PAL version, attempting to use a bomb on the sewer duct in the alleyway in Mission 1 will cause the game to softlock.
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: The Sinister Seven's goal is to force the launching of US nuclear missiles in order to start World War 3 and destroy the world. No reason is given as to why they want to accomplish this, with the closest being the 'final boss' simply stating "This world should disappear!"
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Grant's weapon of choice is his own fists. They're surprisingly effective against enemies, and in the right circumstances, can even hit two targets at once.
  • Guns Are Useless: Well, Max's rifle is far from useless, but his bullets do exactly the same damage as Grant's fists and Nicholas' boomerangs.
  • Heal Thyself: You can find first-aid kits scattered among the levels that restore one agent to full health. Since each agent has his own health bar, it's a common strategy to swap out an agent who's heavily injured until you can find a first aid kit to replenish their health by switching back.
  • Hostage Spirit-Link: The fourth level boss uses Shannon Reed as cover, and hitting her will cause you to lose health.
  • Kill It with Fire: Turned against you. Knives and melee attacks do one damage. Bullets do two. Fire attacks do a whopping six damage, or half your life bar in one hit. And since fire attacks tend to linger, it's easy to see an agent go from full health to dead in under a second if you're not careful.
  • Logic Bomb: To stop the supercomputer from launching the missiles to start World War 3, you need to convince it there will be no winner in the war. To do so, you need to play a game of Madelinette against it, and end with no winner three times. This makes the computer go haywire trying to win the game, and shut down, aborting the launch.
  • Master of Disguise: Nicholas uses disguises to get past enemies. It's useful to limit combat in enemy-heavy screens.
  • Mighty Glacier: While Max is the only one with a powerful assault rifle and a damaging explosive, he moves the slowest to balance him out.
  • Nintendo Hard: While not as well known as other NES titles, it is still renowned for being an incredibly difficult game. Each level can take a long time to explore, and you only have your three agents to complete each level. Lose them all, and you have to restart the whole stage. Even then, losing even one agent will deprive you of their skills, making trying to complete the stage much harder with your remaining team. Enemies deal quite a bit of damage, there are limited health pickups in each level, and there's a lack of mercy invincibility. There's also the One-Hit Kill traps and obstacles in the levels too that add to the game's challenge. Passwords exist, but only to take you to the beginning of the level.
  • Non Standard Game Over: Allowing the supercomputer to launch nuclear missiles will end the game with a text scroll making it clear the world has ended thanks to your failure, and reset you back to the title screen, regardless if you had any IMF agents remaining.
  • Obstacle Ski Course: The fifth level takes place in the Swiss Alps, where you chase the enemy down the mountains in a frantic ski chase.
  • One-Hit Kill: Several hazards will kill the player outright, regardless of how much life they had. The car in the first level, crashing into solid ground in the second level, and so forth.
  • Optional Stealth:
    • Stealth is a big part of the game, though not strictly speaking is it necessary. Various enemies are on constant patrols, and will only attack once they spot your agent. Taking them out before they see you will save you considerable grief.
    • Nicholas' disguises are quite useful for this purpose. Though they only last for a few seconds, that's enough time to run past an enemy and/or take him out with your weapons.
    • Many rooms feature security cameras or spy bots that patrol the room. You don't need to avoid them, but doing so will avoid triggering an attack by the powerful Iron Claw enemies. Be aware that Nicholas' disguises won't fool any electronic sensors.
  • Password Save: Passwords can be used to continue from the start of the respective level.
  • Painfully Slow Projectile: Enemy bullets tend to be quite slow, and can be maneuvered around. The molotov cocktails thrown by some enemies travel about as fast as them. Fortunately, your bullets travel a lot faster (Though still slow enough to be visible.)
  • Pushy Mooks: Neo Knights are fast moving enemies armed with a riot shield. When they spot you, they charge at you full speed and push you back to force you into a pit. Naturally, most are placed so that your back is right up against a pit when you enter their field of vision. They're also by far the strongest non-boss enemies in the game, taking seven hits, compared to most enemies only taking one, and the tough enemies taking two.
  • Satchel Charge: Max's explosives act like this. Press the button once to plant them, and press it again to detonate. Useful in some cases to destroy walls, but also the most powerful attack you possess, capable of killing almost every enemy with one bomb, and can take out multiple enemies at once.
  • Super Drowning Skills: In the first and sixth levels, falling into the water will instantly kill the player.
  • Technicolor Ninja: The Stage 3 Boss is a ninja wearing a bright pink outfit
  • Temporary Platform:
    • You fight the third level boss on a floor made entirely of crumbling blocks. You can try to either damage him, or cause a large section of the floor to break away and fall, sending him plummeting with it. Though since he can teleport around, this is easier said than done. You have to navigate another room with a narrow path made of the same crumbling blocks in the final stage.
    • One auto-scrolling section in the final stage has your agent keeping ahead of the slowly collapsing floor, which gets closer and closer, leaving you with less space to react to the large groups of enemies that can spawn in. Fortunately, falling in the hole is one of the few points in the game where the pit isn't bottomless, and only drops you to the previous floor.
  • Timed Mission: The final segment against the supercomputer has you race against time before it launches nuclear weapons.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Don't even try killing or attacking the civilians in the first level because you will be arrested and lose that agent for the rest of the level.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: The first actual boss fight in the third mission will punish you if you don't find the right strategy to defeat him.
  • World War III: This is what the Sinister 7 wants to achieve in starting.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: You spend most of the game simply chasing the Sinister Seven as they move Dr. O and Shannon Reed to different hideouts. And even when you do finally rescue them, there's still some work to be done on infiltrating the group's last stronghold to stop the supercomputer about to activate the nuclear missiles.