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The game loosely borrowed it's plot from the 1996 film Mission: Impossible, starring Tom Cruise. Major strokes from the film play as centerpieces for the game, such as the iconic CIA computer room heist. The game was unable to secure the likeness of Tom Cruise, and subsequently features a generic character model for the main character, Ethan Hunt.
Plot: Similarities & Differences from the Film
The story arc of the IMF (Impossible Missions Force) agent Ethan Hunt remains mostly intact in this adaptation. The NOC (Non-Official Cover-agents) list has been stolen, revealing the true identities of many CIA operatives. Hunt has been tasked to recover the list, and in the process is pinned as the CIA "mole," working secretly for the enemy. It is revealed to the player that Hunt has been framed, and must now clear his name while being chased by the CIA.
Major key plot points which are unchanged in the game:
- Jim Phelps, leader of Hunt's IMF team, is revealed to be the actual mole
- Hunt, incognito, must attend a foreign state dinner party; a hidden passage leads to the basement and supposed location of the missing NOC list
- Hunt stealthily descends into a heavily secured CIA computer room, to retrieve the actual NOC list
- Phelps and Hunt face off on top of a speeding train; Hunt is successful in fouling Phelps' plan to escape via helicopter
Major plot differences:
- Jim's wife, Claire, is nonexistent in the game; Candice is now the leading female love interest for Hunt
- Candice also features a unique backstory from the film; She is one of Hunt's fellow secret agents who has been captured by the enemy, and player helps her escape early in the game
- Two "ice levels" bookend the game, exploring Hunt's additional IMF missions
Mission: Impossible's gameplay relies on stealth and disguise. Players have the ability to use the "Facemaker" to create identical masks of certain character targets, such as an enemy General. While disguised, the player will not be detected by enemies or surveillance cameras; however drawing a weapon, or delivering a kick will immediately expose Hunt. The CIA computer room level features a wire hanging mechanic, similar to the film, in that the player cannot touch the ground, or be seen by any CIA operatives entering of leaving the sealed computer room. The third person action is sometimes replaced by rail shooter sequences, as well as a sniper level.
Upon completing the game, the player is free to roam the state party level, where members of the Infogrames development team appear as character models. The player can trigger unique dialogue from each member of the team. (For example: The male with long hair states "I need a haircut," and the bald programmer states "I don't need a haircut."