At a glance...

Reviewer Platform Publisher Developer Players Screenshots
Matt Bailey PlayStation 2 Atari Paradigm Entertainment 1 Here
Requirements Also on... Buy from Amazon.co.uk
Memory Card Space: 73Kb Xbox, GC Click here to buy Mission Impossible: Operation Surma.

Mission Impossible: Operation Surma review

When you think "Mission Impossible", you probably think of Tom Cruise, and for that reason you might be surprised to learn that the former husband of Nicole Kidman isn't actually featured in Mission Impossible: Operation Surma; not his voice nor his image. The lead character is still Ethan Hunt, however, and although he features dark hair, it's not Cruise, which is odd considering the actor is currently filming Mission Impossible 3 (apparently, it's down to his reluctance - see Minority Report). However, two other IMF characters from MI:2 do feature in the game; Luther Stickel and Billy Baird (voiced by the film's actors Ving Rhames and John Polson respectively).

MI: Operation Surma features a unique story, not tied in to any of the three films, or indeed the original TV series, and see Ethan Hunt travel across the world to order to uncover what's being going on at the Surma Corporation and its newly developed virus, the Ice Worm, which allows the company to break into any computer system in the world. So, nothing unusual for the Impossible Mission Force, then?

As you might have worked out from the screenshots, the game takes a third person view, and like Metal Gear Solid and most particularly, Splinter Cell, it emphasises the use of stealth in order to achieve you objective. However, unlike those titles, things are a bit simpler and less challenging here; the gameplay certainly feels linear, with the game guiding you quite clearly from objective to objective. Another thing which makes the game easy is that fact that it's not as harsh about being spotted. Although like Splinter Cell if you let the person who spots you get away they will trigger an alarm, in MI: Operation Surma you actually have the ability to turn off the alarm - assuming you have enough time to reach it and hold down triangle (use). The innovative control system also makes MI: Operation Surma easier to pick up and play than it's rivals, particularly with weaponry; some items are auto-equipped when needed, such as the laser cutter, and taps left and right on the d-pad make for easy flicking between various items in your inventory. In fact, there are quite a few gadgets on offer which are well used in the game, and add variety to the gameplay. Although limited in the freedom of their use, they certainly complete a game in which stealth and tactics, as well as action, primarily features.

Things are a bit mixed in terms of the game's graphics; while Ethan Hunt is surprisingly well detailed - with great textures, and the gadgets feature some great effects and animations, you can't help but feel the look is somewhat dated and lacking in comparison to Splinter Cell and it's amazing lighting effects. Although it doesn't look bad, and character animations are well done, you can't help but feel that a game that comes out a few months after should at least get close to matching a game it is so similar to, and seems to have been released on the back of the success of. Another niggle is the camera - yes, it's a plague to many 3D games - as it can often become frustrating as you try and adjust it obtain the best view. It's difficulties impact the gameplay - not being able to clear see tripwires is a problem, or being able to determine who's around you when trying to remain unseen.

Although I often save this for the summing up, the sound is worth mentioning in MI: Operation Surma. Of course, Tom Cruise's voice isn't present - as explain in the intro - but the voice acting of the guy who replaces him as the voice of Ethan Hunt, Steven Blum, is commendable. Ving Rhames also puts in a particularly noteworthy effort, and I immediately knew it was him without referring to the press release. The game's music doesn't feature Limp Bizkit (who did the title song for MI:2), but instead provides us with a great remix of the classic Mission Impossible theme which pops up in various parts. Sound effects are better than the graphical effects, doing justice to gadgets, and even providing some good sound in surround at times.

Ratings

Graphics The character models and animations are good, and the gadgets are done very well, but overall the game still looks a bit dated. 7/10
Gameplay Not as in-depth as Splinter Cell, but should be fun for casual gamers. 7/10
Value Not for Splinter Cell veterans, but for people new to the genre, it's worth picking up. 7/10
Lifespan With only the solo mission, things are going to keep going, but the mission itself should keep you going for a while. 7/10
Audio Voice acting and music is great - no Tom Cruise, but a definite thumbs up on Ving Rhames 7/10
Overall Mission Impossible: Operation Surma is stealh for newcomers, so it won't keep the veterans happy, but it should get some people into the increasingly popular genre. With Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow just a matter of days away, it's hard to particuarly recommend this, however. 7/10

Click here to buy Mission Impossible: Operation Surma from Amazon.co.uk.

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