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Game Profile
INFO BOX
PLATFORM:
Xbox
PUBLISHER:
Atari
DEVELOPER:
Paradigm Entertainment
GENRE: Action
PLAYERS:   1
RELEASE DATE:
December 02, 2003
ESRB RATING:
Teen
IN THE SERIES
Minority Report: Everybody Runs

Minority Report: Everybody Runs

Minority Report: Everybody Runs

Minority Report: Everybody Runs

 Written by Alex Fitzgerald  on November 03, 2003

Final Glimpse: WARNING: Alex Fitzgerald will attempt many lame jokes throughout the course of this article. If you encounter one of them just keep skimming the article and have faith that wherever Alex is being locked has a competent security force.


Beware evildoers, Ethan Hunt (that as flashy as James Bond but as cool as Solid Snake lead character from the Mission Impossible movies) is back again to thwart evil in a new video game from developer Paradigm and publisher Atari going under the moniker Mission Impossible: Operation Surma. Taking a note out of 007's, Operation Surma isn't tied down to any existing movie, giving Paradigm complete creative control.

What does this mean? Well, while earlier Mission Impossible games sucked, and considering John Woo still doesn't know the meaning of the word "plot" so did the sequel, Operation Surma actually looks promising.

That's not to say that the game's going to be entirely original, as it looks like Paradigm is taking heavy cues from Splinter Cell. Like SC gameplay in Operation Surma revolves around sneaking to get your objectives done. At first it seems simple, with early levels giving you nothing but a few guards to take care of, but as soon as the security cameras, sensors, and advanced security personnel start pouring in you'll be well on your way to expelling your digital bladder.

Don't grab the paper towels just yet though, as Ethan Hawk will be equipped with all sorts of junk on his back to get him out of the messes you put him in. For one, gamers will have a gauge on their screen to tell them how well hidden they are in the shadows, giving you a good idea of when you're safe and when its time to run.

If you screw up hiding though you'll also be able to "take care" of the patrolling guards surrounding you. If you're into big boom noises you can just shoot your enemy, or you can get him in a chokehold and either snap his neck (eww) or simply bonk his skull, thus knocking him out. Shoot or snap though you'll still have a body on your hands, and believe or not people get pretty worried when they find their coworkers dead on the job. So, bite the bullet, and spend the whole minute it takes to move that dead body into an area a little more subtle than the middle of the entrance hall.

To get through all 20 of the game's levels though you'll need more than advanced bonking abilities. Enter Ethan Hunt's gadget set. Included in your artillery belt will be a grappling hook, an electronic lock pick, and a little mechanical device called a wasp. Okay, so none of these gadgets are anything original, but they do serve a purpose. The grappling hook will propel you past many of the game's obstacles, the lock pick will, uhm, pick locks, and the flying machine known as the wasp will get you a view of areas a little too well guarded to be explored through Ethan. Be careful though - the wasp only has one electronic shock in it, and after that it's as useless as a Vanilla Ice record.

At this point of the development cycle Operation Surma is looking and sounding as good as that hot French Exchange student who used to go to your high school. The graphics are fluid, as virtual Ethan moves naturally and smoothly. Audio is also up to snuff, as the game does all the little audio cues so necessary in a stealth game right. Also, the voice acting is well above average, with Ethan Hunt sounding like the gruff hero he is, and Vhing Rhames even reprising his role as the character Luther (sweet).

Final Thoughts
Years ago it was believed that 99% of licensed games totally sucked, but if the last few years have taught us anything its this...99% of licensed games do totally suck. But still, a good licensed game slips through every once in a while, and Operation Surma may very well be one of those titles. Check out Operation Surma this December to see if Ethan Hunt's new adventure is a good entry into the stealth genre, or another E.T.


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