Mission: Impossible: Operation Surma Impressions

Ethan Hunt returns with his gadgets in an all-new adventure.

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The latest game based on the Mission: Impossible movie license was on display at a recent Atari's press event. In Mission: Impossible: Operation Surma, you take control of Ethan Hunt in a third-person action game that closely resembles Ubi Soft's Splinter Cell. In fact, many of the gameplay mechanics are almost exactly the same as in Ubi Soft's stealth game, especially the stealth and general enemy interaction elements.

The plot in the game revolves around a virus that’s capable of corrupting any computer in the world. Ethan and his team are initially sent into a New Mexico facility to investigate the area and look for traces of the virus. Since the area is patrolled by numerous guards, you'll have to use some of Ethan's special items to move through without being detected.

One of the first gadgets shown was the digital binoculars, which are not only capable of zooming in on objects off in the distance, but they can also pick up any sound in the area they're focused on, as well as take pictures. This becomes valuable later in the game, where you have to take pictures of specific individuals--their appearance in the picture can be used to construct masks that Ethan can wear to move around environments without raising any suspicion.

After that brief demonstration, the stealth mechanics were shown. Essentially, the stealth functions the same way as it does in Splinter Cell. When attempting to use stealth, a small icon will appear in the top portion of the screen, indicating how well hidden Ethan is. If the silhouette isn't completely empty, then there will be a slight chance that a guard will detect you. Of course, you can also use objects in the environment to hide from guards.

If you should happen to encounter a guard that's getting a little too close for comfort, then there are a number of things you can do. You can end the confrontation quickly by simply shooting him, or you can sneak up on him, put him in a choke hold and either snap his neck or simply hit him over the head. Like in Splinter Cell, you can hide the body by picking it up on Ethan's shoulders and moving it to a more secluded area. If you happen to encounter a camera, then the only option is to really shoot--unless you're sure you can avoid it. Ethan has a special set of darts that are designed to reloop the footage when the dart makes contact with the camera--or something along those lines.

Other items in the game include a grappling hook, an electronic lock pick, and a wasp. The grappling hook is probably the most-used gadget, since Ethan will often have to use it in order to avoid certain obstacles or even avoid detection while gently hanging above the floor. The electronic lock pick is pretty straightforward--it can open most locked doors. The wasp is like a mini-helicopter that Ethan can pilot into heavily guarded or monitored areas. However, the wasp can shoot only one taser blast before it becomes completely useless.

A lot of the items come into play for specific situations or puzzles. One puzzle requires Ethan to use his grappling hook in conjunction with his pipe-crawling ability to navigate through a series of laser grids. Another puzzle requires a special device that deactivates a large machine for a brief period of time so Ethan can climb in and complete his objective.

Mission: Impossible: Operation Surma is currently scheduled for release on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox in December. We'll have more on the game soon.

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