Friday, March 30, 2012

Impossible Flashbacks

Had a bit of minor surgery so I've been sitting at home not wanting to leave the house. Fortunately I planned ahead and picked up a couple of books and games on clearance to see me through the week of sulking. One of the games I picked up is Impossible Mission a remake of a sort of platform adventure game from 1984 that I played back then on the old Commodore 64.
The new version has identical game play to the original just with nicer graphics, it also comes with a clone of the original in all its 8bit graphical glory. I'm finding I prefer to play the crunchy graphical original version. Amid all the 80's retro montage flash backs, I came to the conclusion: It's still an awesome game.

In the game you have 6 hours to find 36 puzzle pieces in an underground, non-linear, complex of interconnected rooms and lifts, while avoiding electrified robots and holes in the floor. Every time you die you lose 10 Minuets. Different robots had different behaviours. Some are stationary, others move in patterns, and others chase the player. Some shoot electricity and others just try to crash in to you. Some have to see you first before they activate, while others know where you are all the time.

The puzzle pieces are assembled in nine groups of four, have three changeable colour variants that need to match and may need to be flipped vertically and or horizontally. Interlocking combinations of four overlap, so three pieces and significant angst may be assembled before you realise you're putting the wrong ones together.

What made it so good back then and still so good now? Partly because it was practically impossible! But mostly because of it's random nature unlike most other games on the market. The arrangement of the rooms and elevators, location of puzzle pieces, and behaviours of the robots are randomised each time you play so everything changes every time you play.

Modern games could learn a lot from an old game like this one, there's a reason for it's longevity and why it's been recoded over the years through fifteen different consoles/platforms. It's not about the pretty graphics its about the play and the challenge, quite a few too many games these days overlook that. I score it a retro 10/10.

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