Version tested: Retro
From moment Impossible Mission begins you know it's something special. Possessing one of the most memorable introductions in videogaming history (Professor Atombender's ominous verbal greeting), it subsequently delivers a devilish duel experience of platform-leaping and puzzling. As noted by programmer Dennis Caswell, players would sometimes breeze through one of these facets only to struggle with the other.
Only through dedication and understanding can the game's title be revealed as a misnomer. To begin with it seems overly hard, unfair and, frankly, just out to destroy you. Yet with time, observation and practice the impossible can be achieved. This is one of the game’s most prominent strengths - that the player who can correctly react to every nuance and attribute will quickly start to reap the rewards.
Each individual aspect contributes to the satisfying whole; the superb rotoscope-like agent animation, the lonely sound of footsteps in the corridors, the whirring hum and blazing charges of security robots (not to mention their fiendishly tricky behaviour), and, of course, more of that unbelievable speech. All in all, the game's flash pants are hiding quite a package. Err, so to speak.
Even when the necessary level of skill to beat the game into the ground has been met and surpassed, it's still as enjoyable to play through as when the AI was doing all the beating. This is partly because room and elevator arrangements, puzzle piece locations and even the various flavours of robots are randomly distributed upon each restart, providing immense replay value.
Further to this though, there's a timeless quality to the password-assembling, droid-dodging antics; one tinged with perfect controls and an absence of unfairness which amazingly, save for the odd sequel or remake, haven’t been copied since. Quite simply, it's a game everyone should play at least once.
10 / 10