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Impossible: Operation Surma
Score: 6.9 / 10
We all know the catchy tune from the Ď70s
and slick stealthy action of the Mission Impossible feature films. The
team work, the danger: it was all there. The first Mission Impossible
game, which landed on the long since retired N64 was a major
disappointed to fans of the franchise. So how did Mission Impossible:
Operation Surma fair?
The game starts off with a very impressive cinematic of Ethan Hunt
scuba-diving in uncharted waters. He traverses through a wrecked
submarine to find a hidden message, which later unveils his mission. To
be honest, the video had me nearly in tears due to its genuine Mission
Impossible feel. (Well, maybe not to tears, but it was still pretty damn
good.) You are told the general outline of your mission: to track down
and recover the Ice Worm, a highly advanced computer virus used to
bypass security systems, from an
international conglomerate known as SURMA.
Operation Surma carries the genuine feel of the Mission Impossible
franchise, but the graphical and technical flaws water down most
The first flaw is the slow framerate. Moving
the camera from side to side, itís clearly sluggish. Operation Surma
isnít as graphically advanced as Project Gotham Racing 2 or Deus Ex:
Invisible War so itís a little puzzling as to why Operation Surma
doesnít look and move better.
The gameplay of Operation Surma is just as unimpressive as the graphics.
Simply put: Operation Surma is a half-assed Splinter Cell. Taking almost
all of the same moves and style that Splinter Cell showcased so
beautifully, Operation Surma features nothing we havenít seen before.
The same barrel roll, grab, wall hug, weapon system, and mission
structure have all been ďborrowedĒ from Splinter Cell in a desperate
effort to seem original. The stealth aspect of the game is prominent,
with shadows being your friend and lighted areas your enemy, but several
actions took me out of the game. For one, when initiating a hit from
behind, the camera cuts to a cinematic with quasi-Matrix slow-mo
effects. I understand that the game developers wanted the cinematic
quality, but it leads to repetitive take-out animations. The same type
of effect takes place when jumping onto the enemy from a clothesline or
sneaking from behind a wall and attacking an enemy.
The worst part of the gameplay is another Splinter Cell feature that
doesnít work here Ė the shooting system. When engaged in ranged weapon
combat, the camera shifts to a close-up 3rd person view with an aiming
cursor. With the already slow framerate in hand, the shooting mechanics
didnít work smoothly. For one, the shooting feels delayed and
unrealistic. When firing, the bullet takes what feels like hours to
reach the target. Add that to poor physics and stupid AI, you have a
weak system that makes a chore out of every shooting scenario.
Keeping the authenticity of the franchise is done exceptionally well in
one area, that being sound. With great voice acting from well-known
actors such as Ving Rhames and a comprehensive soundtrack of memorable
tunes, the Mission Impossible vibe isnít completely desecrated but most
of that will go unnoticed due to the memorable bad gameplay.
The official license is here, the song is here, and Ethan Hunt is here.
What isnít here is a solid foundation for a series. When comparing the
stealth action found in Operation Surma to Metal Gear Solid or Splinter
Cell, you might feel somewhat cheated. Itís a rental at best.