Sunday, April 12, 2009

Impossible Mission: my favourite '80s videogame

Dates back to 1984. Always different, easy to play but not facile, non-violent, exciting plot, search and puzzle based. You impersonate an athletic secret agent with a futurable pocket computer. It even teaches you to read music! IMHO one the best computer games ever made. It was followed by Impossible Mission II which I bought for the PC IBM. Now I play Impossible Mission using the VICE Commodore 64 emulator. You can download a diskette image from Gamebase64 or from the Almighty C 64. The first includes a cheater and the documentation, which I reproduce here. Use Joystick port 2 and symbolic keyboard mapping. Happy playing! Help with the puzzles and a game solution.

Game starts in an elevator
Game starts in an elevator

A security terminal
A security terminal

(C) 1984 Epyx Inc.


To succeed at IMPOSSIBLE MISSION you must penetrate the rooms and tunnels of Elvin's underground stronghold, avoid his robot defenders and put together his secret password. Then you can enter Elvin's control room and put a stop to his plans.
You score points by finding puzzle pieces and putting them together, and by reaching Elvin's control room before time runs out. As your skill at the game increases, you can achieve higher scores by completing the password and reaching the control room with more time left on the clock. But each time you play, the rooms and robots will be rearranged, and the puzzles will be different.


You begin play with your agent in an elevator. The display at the bottom of the screen is your pocket computer.


As you explore Elvin's stronghold, your pocket computer will display a map of the rooms and tunnels you have entered. In every room you should conduct a search.


Search every object or piece of furniture in the rooms for codes and password puzzle pieces (if you can avoid the robots). You can do this by standing directly in front of an object (sofa, desk, fireplace or whatever) and pushing the joystick forward.
The word "Searching" will appear in a box on the screen. You will also see a horizontal bar indicating the lenght of time it will take to search the object.

You must continue holding the joystick forward until the bar disappears.
If your search is interrupted for any reason or you commence searching another object, you can go back to the object and resume searching where you left off.
But if you leave the room you'll have to start the search from the beginning.

When you have finished searching the object, one of four things will appear in the box.
  1. The words "Nothing here".
  2. A picture of a sleeping robot. This represents a SNOOZE password which allows you to temporarily deactivate the robots in a room.
  3. A picture of a striped lifting platform with an arrow above it. This represents a LIFT INIT password which allows you to reset all of the lifting platforms in a room to their original positions.
  4. A puzzle piece. This is part of the password which allows entry to the control room. It will be entered into the memory of your pocket computer automatically.


You can use the SNOOZES and LIFT INITS at any security terminal. These terminals are usually located near the entrance to each room. They look like television sets with darkened screens facing toward you.

To use a security terminal, move directly in front of it and push the joystick FORWARD.
The screen of the security terminal will enlarge to fill your display. You can select one of three functions with the joystick (press the FIRE BUTTON when the arrow points to the function you want):
    To use this option, you must have a LIFT INIT password in your possession.
    To use this option, you must have a SNOOZE password in your possession.
  3. LOG OFF:
    Continue playing.
To 1. and 2.: The amount of LIFT INITS and SNOOZES you have found displays in your pocket computer.


Elvin's stronghold contains two code rooms where you can earn additional passwords. Walk up to the console and push the joystick forward as if you were searching it. A sequence of squares will flash on the wall, each with a musical note, and a white glove will appear.
Use the glove to touch each square in sequence so that the notes are sorted in ascending order (from low to high).

If you produce the proper sequence of notes the checkerboard will flash and you'll get a SNOOZE or a LIFT INIT password. You can do this as many times as you like, but the sequence gets longer each time. You can quit at any time by touching the purple bar.


Your pocket computer is an amazing device. It allows you to play with the puzzle pieces right on the screen, twisting them around to figure out how they go together.

To activate your pocket computer, you must be standing in one of the elevators or corridors. Press the FIRE BUTTON to turn on the pocket computer.

NOTE: You can't use the pocket computer in any of the rooms. Pressing the FIRE BUTTON in a room will cause you to do a somersault.

When the computer is activated, the map of Elvin's stronghold will vanish and a glove will appear. Use the glove to put the puzzle pieces together, forming the password that will let you enter Elvin's control room.


  • TO MOVE THE GLOVE: Move the joystick in the desired direction.
  • TO ACTIVATE A FUNCTION KEY: 'Point' to it with the glove and press the joystick button.
  • TO PICK UP A PUZZLE PIECE in the memory window, 'point' to it with the glove and press the joystick button. Then you can move it by moving the joystick.
  • TO DROP A PUZZLE PIECE: Press the joystick button.
  • TO MAKE A COPY of the selected puzzle piece, 'point' to it with the glove and press the joystick button.
  • TO PUT BACK A COPY of the selected piece, 'point' to the desired window and press the joystick button.
  • TO SELECT A PUZZLE PIECE that isn't selected, 'point' to it with the glove and press the joystick button.
  • TO FIND OUT IF TWO PIECES MATCH, 'point' to the desired window and press the joystick button.


  • Some pieces are upside down or backwards (or both) when you find them, so if a piece doesn't seem to match anything, try flipping it with the function keys.
  • Pieces must be the SAME colour, or they won't match. If two pieces with different colour look like they should match, then use the colour keys to change them.
  • A completed puzzle looks like a computer punch card: a solid rectangle with several little holes in it.
  • A completed puzzle may be upside down or backwards (or both) when you finish putting it together (you may have to flip it around before it is recognised as a solution).
  • There are 4 pieces in each complete puzzle, and 9 puzzles in the game. Each time you complete a puzzle, one letter of Elvin's password will appear at the bottom of the pocket computer screen. You need exactly 36 pieces to complete the puzzle.
  • When you have all 9 of the letters in the password, you can open the door to the Elvin's control room and save the world.


The doors to Elvin's control room is in one of the green rooms. When you have completed the password, position your agent directly in front of the door and push the joystick FORWARD. The door will open, and you'll have the last laugh.


When you touch the phone key on your pocket computer, it dials up the Agency's main computer (to get some help with the puzzles). But there is a charge for using it. Each use of the phone costs two minutes on the game clock.

The Agency's computer will give you three choices. Select the one you want with the glove, then press the fire BUTTON.

CORRECT ORIENTATIONS OF LEFTMOST PIECES: The computer will flip the two puzzle pieces in the memory window to orient them correctly (right side up and forwards, instead of upside down and backwards). A red mark will appear to the left of each piece that has been flipped.

HAVE WE ENOUGH PIECES TO SOLVE THE UPPER LEFT PUZZLE ?: The computer will look at the upper puzzle piece in the memory window and tell you whether you've found all three of the pieces that go with it to make a puzzle.

HANG UP: Hangs up the phone.


The game clock (on the pocket computer display) starts at 12:00. The game ends when the clock reaches 06:00. Each time you fall off the bottom of the screen, touching or get zapped by a robot or by touching a floating orb, you are penalized two minutes. When the game ends, you are awarded points as follows:

1 point for each second remaining on the clock.
100 points for each puzzle piece found.
100 points for each SNOOZE or LIFT INIT found.
500 points for each puzzle solved.
1000 points for completing the mission.


[RESTORE] (at any time) to start a new game.
[RUN/STOP] (in the rooms) to make suicide.

No comments: