IMPOSSIBLE MISSION 2-on ST, PC and C-64
Antic's first multi-computer game review
Impossible Mission 2 is definitely not for beginners or the computer gamers with low patience levels.
As Field Agent Bravo 29, your target on this mission is Professor Elvin Atombender, one of the world's foremost experts on robotics, computers and codes-who has gone slightly bonkers. Elvin made a vast fortune from computer raids on the funds of major financial institutions. Now he is trying to break into military computer installations around the world and steal the launch codes of nuclear missiles. His goal is to either dominate Earth or blow it up.
Elvin carries out his nefarious plots from an impregnable eight-tower complex that's heavily guarded by his killer robots. In order to neutralize Elvin's central computer, you must first assemble a three-number code for each tower. Next you need to locate a safe in each tower and collect the musical sequences inside. Then you must tie together all the pieces of music into a melody that opens the express elevator doors to Elvin's central tower control room. Once inside that room, you just need to disarm the missile launch control codes before they are launched and destroy the world-within an eight-hour countdown.
Each room you must explore is like a mini-maze filled with clues and moving platforms, and populated by six kinds of robots. The Sentrybot is the most common-and the most deadly, It has a plasma gun that is quite lethal. Since you have no such weapon, you'll need speed, cunning and guile-not to mention well-timed somersault or two-to get around this formidable foe.
There are also Minebots, which lay mines at random on the floor; Pestbots, which do nothing more than ride around on each room's moving platforms and mess up your search strategy; Squatbots, which simply stand in one place and go up and down at regular intervals, providing a good springboard for you; Bashbots, which try to push you off the nearest edge, most often to your death; and Suicidebots, which are similar to the Bashbots except that they will go off the edge with you.
There are six terminal commands that can be used in each room. The commands must be collected by examming objects in the room, but you can use them only from one of the computer terminals, usually found near the entrances to each room. They range from bombs and mines to an electric plug that temporarily deactivates the robots in the room.
The only thing you carry from room to room and tower to tower is a pocket computer that helps you use the pass-codes you collect. But be sure to finish your work in each tower and get that music sequence. Once you leave a tower, you can never return.
The documentation for the game is sparse but fairly well presented. You have several lives to work with. You get points for entering towers, exploring rooms, finding numbers and collecting musical codes. You can save a game almost any time. Early in your game experience, you'll still run out before the clock does. Later, the passage of time will become more of an enemy.
ST. PC, C-64 COMPARISON
I played versions of Impossible Mission 2 on the Atari ST, Commodore 64 and an IBM PC compatible. Coming soon from Epyx are additional versions for the Amiga and Apple II.
The mechanics of the game are virtually the same on all three computers I tried. Each version can use joystick or keyboard (also the ST and PC can use their keypads).
But both in terms of graphics and sound, the ST did the best job. It was quite easy to distinguish between robots and the joining together of the musical passages sounded much more pleasing. Both the IBM and the Commodore had chunkier graphics, although even the cheaper Commodore was graphically far superior to the IBM.
I ran the IBM version on a Tandy 1000 and the colors were of high quality, which might not be the case on every IBM PC compatible. The sound was also better on the Commodore than on the PC. Speed in loading was the main advantage of the PC over the Commodore 64.
In all, I believe Impossible Mission 2 will satisfy a wide variety of gamers. It has some hand-eye coordination elements to satisfy the arcade fanatic, but it also has problem-solving to please the great thinker in each of us. Plus, it won't be solved in a couple of sessions by even the best adventurer.
$39.95, color. Epyx, P.O. Box 8020, 600 Galveston Drive, Redwood City, CA 94063. (415) 366-0606.