Mission Impossible: Operation Surma Impressions

We take a look at Atari's upcoming movie-inspired stealth action game for the PlayStation 2.

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Over at the Atari booth this morning, we got to take a behind-closed-doors look at Mission Impossible: Operation Surma--a third-person stealth-based action game inspired by the Mission: Impossible movies. In the game, you'll assume the role of Ethan Hunt, who, despite looking very different from Tom Cruise, really looks the part in his finely detailed stealth outfit. Your main objective in the game is to infiltrate the Surma Conglomerate, which is conducting dangerous research into high-tech weapons, including a computer virus known as Ice Worm.

The demonstration kicked off with one of the developers taking us through the first level in the game--an almost entirely stealth-based affair in which you're required to infiltrate a research facility without being noticed by the numerous guards who patrol the surrounding area. The Ethan character moves really well in the game, and his range of moves seems to be matched only by the number of gadgets and weapons in his formidable arsenal. The first gadget we got to see in action was an auto-winch, which Hunt used to reach a good vantage point to observe the enemy guards' movements. Next up were darts designed to take out security cameras, and although shooting the cameras was all that was required from a gameplay point of view, doing so triggered a radio message from fellow IMF agent Luther to let Hunt know that he'd successfully substituted the camera's live feed with a looped recording.

As Hunt proceeded through a parking lot toward the target building, another gadget was used to good effect, as he fired a distraction round at a parked car and set its alarm off. One of the nearby guards made his way toward the car to investigate, and consequently cleared a path for us to proceed to the building. This was only one possible solution to the problem of getting past the guards, of course, but it was certainly an effective one, and it was a lot less time-consuming than attempting to incapacitate guards or slip from shadow to shadow without interrupting their regular patrol patterns. Before entering the facility, Hunt had one last job to do: use his digital binoculars (which, by the way, are capable of picking up audio) to take a photograph of a nearby scientist so the information could be used to construct a disguise for use later on.

Once inside the facility, the demo skipped to what will actually be the fourth level of the game, in which Hunt has to reach a computer core guarded by, among other things, a series of laser grids that are visible only when using infrared goggles. As in other areas of the game, there were a number of possible solutions to getting past the grids, one of which was to have Luther disable individual lasers periodically so Hunt could skip through the holes in the grid as they appeared. A much less obvious way to pass the grids involved incapacitating one of the patrolling guards with one of Hunt's many stealth moves--in this instance swinging his arm into the enemy's face from around a corner--and then carrying the prone body, along with the laser-deactivating proximity detector worn by all guards, in a straight line toward the core.

Mission Impossible: Operation Surma will feature a total of around 25 levels set in six different environments. No release date has been announced for the game at this time, but we'll bring you more information as soon as it becomes available.

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