Mission Impossible
Operation Surma

Format: Xbox
Age Restrictions: 12+

Step into the world of Ethan Hunt as he traverses the globe uncovering the insidious mysteries behind the malevolent Surma Corporation and its newly developed virus, the Ice Worm, which allows Surma to break into any computer system in the world. Armed with super spy technology and weaponry inspired by the
Mission: Impossible movies, such as miniature remote-controlled devices, micro cameras, tranquillising darts and character disguises, Hunt must lead his elite team in preventing Surma from taking over the world...

Operation Surma is the latest Atari Mission Impossible game. You may be forgiven for forgetting the awful versions that were released an age ago on the Playstation - in fact, you'd be wise to forget them. This time around Atari have got themselves a well polished, sharp looking game which, although far from perfect, is well worth £40 of anyone's money.

The graphics and sound are impressive in almost every respect - although the animation is a little questionable at times. The acting talent of the voice artists is also impressive - although don't expect to hear Tom Cruise taking on the role of Ethan Hunt. In fact Ethan doesn't even look like Cruise, which is no bad thing.

The biggest crime here (and this is a personal thing for me) is that the save option is of the checkpoint variety. Oh, how I hate those. This can mean that you spend an age dying and having to replay large segments of the game until you get it just right. This wouldn't be such a bad thing if the save points were a little closer together.

The gameplay should be fairly familiar to anyone who has played Splinter Cell. You must creep around, sticking to the shadows using any combination of gadgets at your disposal including night vision, a gun that fires tranquillisers, a sonic imager that allows you to see through closed doors, and an electronic warfare gun (EWG) which allows you to disable security cameras, deliver sound decoys, and tag characters with a hidden tracking device.

If you are discovered by a guard, or decide to tackle one, Hunt's range of moves is more impressive than is the norm for this genre, and should you need to draw a firearm, the camera moves position so that it is easier to target your enemy.

This is one of those games - a bit like Metal Gear Solid I suppose - that you can spend hours perfecting your moves, sneaking around and generally exploring your surroundings.

Great fun, certainly a game worth taking a serious look at.

Pete Boomer

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