[Scene: A TV studio. The assembled cast sit before a live audience, recording this week's edition of Have I Got Reviews For You? Angus Deayton, for it is he, grins smugly into Camera One and begins his introduction.]
ANGUS: Good evening and welcome to Have I Got Reviews For You?, the show that does for videogames what Ayrton Senna did for sales of Teflon driving gloves.
AUDIENCE (nervously): Ha ha ha ha.
ANGUS: But first some news. And there was an unfortunate mix-up earlier today, as the managing director of one of the new NHS trusts was accidentally taken to an underfunded geriatric ward instead of a new cancer wing...
ANGUS: ...and the relaunch of the new, more modern and hip Tufty Club went horribly wrong as the star was mown down on his way to the press party by a hit-and-run UFO.
ANGUS: And finally, we have just received some exclusive film footage from Labour Party headquarters, as a heated debate between Roy Hattersley and Robin Cook over the new deputy leadership threatens the party's new found unity.
ANGUS: On the show tonight, we have got a bit of a specialist panel for you. On Stuart's team is Agent 4025, the one-time star of old 8-bit computer game Impossible Mission, and a man of whom Conrad Hart out of Flashback once said, "He taught me everything I know today - especially the bit about Shetland ponies".
AUDIENCE: Ha ha ha ha.
AGENT 4025: Hello.
ANGUS: And on Cameron's team, fresh from a West End run of Roger Hargreaves' "Whoops, There Goes My Geometry", it is that Mr Men Icon of all things purple and egg-shaped, Mr Impossible!
MR IMPOSSIBLE: (jumping clean over the desk from a sitting position); Good evening.
AUDIENCE: [Loud cheers, as if welcoming a long-lost and much-loved family member]
ANGUS: Er, yes. And without further ado, we blow our nose on the handkerchief of Round One and examine the current affairs contents. Stuart and Agent 4025, what is happening here?
AGENT 4025: Ah, now that is an easy one. It is Impossible Mission 2025, the new, more modern and hip updating of the original 8-bit Impossible Mission, the game I starred in. There was one time when me and Elvin Atombender...
ANGUS:Really? That is terribly interesting but unfortunately it is time for Cam and Mr Impossible's question. Cam and Mr Impossible, explain, if you can, this.
STUART (interrupting cleverly): Is it an inner-city youth, shortly prior to being sent on a four-month luxury cruise of the Bahamas?
AUDIENCE (knowingly): Ha ha ha ha.
MR IMPOSSIBLE (Closing his eyes and becoming invisible): No, no, it is John MacGregor trying to remember where he left his coherent transport policy.
AUDIENCE (who conveniently, and possibly unlike several AMIGA POWER readers, know that John MacGregor is the Government's Transport Minister): Ha ha ha ha.
CAM (with mock irritation): Actually, it is a clip showing that the basic gameplay in Impossible Mission 2025 is basically the same as in the original game. You run around platforms, go up and down in lifts, and search objects for parts of a puzzle, which you have to solve in order to reach the nest level. You can also find guns, various high-tech protection devices and even a jetpack to help you on your way.
ANGUS: Absolutely, if slightly smugly, correct. The next clip is for Stuart and Agent 4025, and it looks like this.
STUART: Ah, now I know this one. It is one of the restart points scattered liberally around each level.
CAM: No, you're wrong, it is one of the computer terminals where you can log in and locate various important points around the levels, or perform certain important tasks. It is also an indication of how much more complicated the new version of the game is. Thicky.
ANGUS: Actually, you are both right. It is one of the computer terminals, but every time you log on to one, it acts as your new restart point, so I will give you one each. And lastly in this round, cam and Mr Impossible, can you tell me what unsavoury incident this is?
MR IMPOSSIBLE (suddenly turning orange): Er...
AGENT 4025: Er...
Move in a visually realistic manner
ANGUS: Well, as you are obviously not going to get it, I will tell you. It is a platform that used to have a robot on it, the robot having mysteriously disappeared when the player walked off to the side so that the robot was obscured, then walking back to find that - bizarrely - the robot simply was not there. So no points there, and at the end of that round, the teams are quite literally inseparable, both sides have a Siamese-twin like three points.
ANGUS: Well, Round One is now a distant and nostalgic memory, with certain elements of the press already claiming that it is not as funny as it used to be. The more modern and hip among us, however, are moving swiftly to Round Two, the odd-one-out round. Stuart's team, you go first. Here are four lovely computer games, which one's the Dangerous Streets?
[Screen shows pictures of Stardust, Overkill, Frontier and (natch) Impossible Mission 2025].
STUART: Is it Overkill, because no other game has baddies exploding like over-ripe melons?
CAM: Surely it is Stardust, because all the others have at least slightly sensible plots?
AGENT 4025: I think it is Impossible Mission, because all the others are better than the original versions.
ANGUS: No, you are all wrong, and Asteroids was better than Stardust anyway. The answer is, in fact, Frontier, because all the other games contain subgames of one sort or another. Stardust has got the tunnel sections and the Thrust-ish secret missions, Overkill has got Lunar-C included on the CD, and...
CAM: ...Impossible Mission 2025 contains a Simon-esque repeat-the-colour sequence thing, a shoot-'em-up and various other delights that you have to battle through on the computer terminals to get power-ups and pieces of the puzzle.
MR IMPOSSIBLE (walking vertically up the studio wall): That is a bit boring, isn't it?
AGENT 4025: Not as boring as Impossible Mission 2025.
CAM: But aren't you in Impossible Mission 2025 The animation certainly looks exactly the same as yours did in the original game.
AGENT 4025: No, that is er, my young nephew, Agent, er, 2025. Hence the, er, family resemblance. But anyway, it is not all his fault - and besides, you can choose from no less than three characters to represent. There is a man, a woman and a robot, who all run and jump at different speeds, although they all share a pointlessly long and inflexible jump that frequently makes you miss many of the smaller platforms.
ANGUS (to camera): And next week on Going On And On And On For Ever About Not Very Good Computer Games, Cryril Fletcher (father of Dexter). But meanwhile, on with the odd-one-out round. Cam and Mr Impossible, you get four Richard Nixons - which one is the Dick?
[Audience laugh uproariously as screen shows pictures of Wayne Hussey from out of top goth deadbeats The Mission, Robert De Niro from out of top Amazonian duelling movie, er, The Mission, Agent 4025, and Michael Palin from out of top Victorian-prostitute-redeeming movie The Missionary]
CAM: This is a trick question, surely?
MR IMPOSSIBLE (doing press-ups with only his little finger): No, it must be Agent 4025, because all the others have made a comeback at least once.
AUDIENCE: Ha ha ha ha.
AGENT 4025: Aha, that is just where you are wrong, clever c-clogs, because I do make a comeback. In fact, my entire game, right down to the original crackly Commodore 64 speech, is included as a bonus with Impossible Mission 2025 which you can select to play from the start menu instead of the new game. In fact, many people think that it is actually bet...
STUART: I reckon it is Robert De Niro, because all the others move in a visually realistic manner.
ANGUS: ...is the right answer, which takes us thankfully and unusually quickly to the end of the round, where we find that Stuart and Agent 4025 have a Cannon Fodderishly large five points, while Cam and Mr Impossible have a Dennisly poor three.
ANGUS: Now, as the sun sets in the west, the grass grows in the rushes-o and some paint dries somewhere in Cornwall, we move on to our final missing words round. Our teams get a headline with one ore more words blacked out and they have to fill in the gaps. This week's guest publication, which some of the headlines may come from, is the July issue from AMIGA POWER.
STUART: What, the world's best-selling Amiga games magazine?
CAM: And, indeed, the world's finest Amiga games magazine?
ANGUS: Yes. And the first headline is "Impossible Mission 2025's levels...", what?
CAM: "All Look The Same"?
MR IMPOSSIBLE (turning his head through 360 degrees): "Are A Bit Sprawling And Empty"?
AGENT 4025: "Are Not Nearly As Tightly Focussed As In The Original"?
STUART: "Are Centred More Around Platform-Leaping Than The First Game's Intriguing Puzzle-Solving Emphasis"?
CAM: "Are Largely Grey"?
ANGUS: Two points. Next up, "Impossible Mission 2025's Gameplay Is..." what?
CAM: "Slow And Unengaging"?
AGENT 4025: "Not Nearly As Tightly Focussed As In The Original"?
STUART: "A Bit Annoying"?
MR IMPOSSIBLE (sneezing with his eyes open): "Not As Good As Asteroids"?
CAM: "Largely Dull"?
ANGUS: Correct, for another two points. "Impossible Mission 2025: Decade Of Gaming Enhancements Produce" what?
STUART: "Slightly Better Graphics And Not Much Else"?
AGENT 4025: "Something That Is Not Nearly As Tightly Focussed As The Original"?
CAM: "A Worse Game"?
STUART: Is it "Largely nothing"?
ANGUS: ...Is right for two points, and finally, "The Best Thing About Impossible Mission 2025 is...", what?
MR IMPOSSIBLE (landing safely on a small platform suspended in mid-air, while using the game's inflexible one-distance-only jumping system): Is it "Largely Nothing" again?
CAM: "The Fact That I Do Not Have To Play It Any More"?
AGENT 4025: "The Original Impossible Mission"?
ANGUS: ...Is the correct answer.
ANGUS: Which needless meandering brings us stuttering mechanically to the end of another show, and looking at the scores we find that this week's international playboys are Stuart and Agent 4025 with nine points, and this week's International Rugby Challenges are Cam and Mr Impossible with seven points.
CAM: That is impossible!
ANGUS (pointing to MR IMPOSSIBLE): No, that's impossible.
AUDIENCE: Ha ha ha ha.
CAM: Take that, you smug git (punches ANGUS in face).
ANGUS: Ha ha. (Winces). So, a top-of-the-range stereo system to our winners, a tape-recorder that self-destructs in five seconds to our losers, and we leave you tonight with memories of a week in which British Rail unveiled their new failsafe back-up system for transporting passengers in the event of 'the wrong kind of snow'...
ANGUS: ...Michael Barrymore allegedly suffered an unfortunate relapse in his battle against the bottle...
CAM: Hang on a minute, there is smoke coming out of this th...
ANGUS: ...and Jurgen Klinsmann was reprimanded by FIFA during the World Cup for not going before the match started.
[AUDIENCE in uproar, wild applause, lights dim, everyone lives happily ever after, catchy theme tune, fade to credits]
Game actually played by:
SAL MEDDINGS, SARAH SHERLEY-PRICE