Known as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial: The 20th Anniversary in Europe, Interplanetary Mission is an isometric action adventure featuring the famous movie character, E.T. And, while the game is no classic, it is at least much better than the infamous Atari 2600 game from 1982. In fact: it’s not too bad at all.
E.T.: Interplanetary Mission is all about exploration, item-collecting, plant-rescuing, and meanie-manipulation, and of course you control the endearing little alien as he goes about his botanical chores. The first few missions introduce you to his various powers, and how to play the game.
The basic aim is to collect rare and exotic plant specimens and then find the exit in each level (indicated with a circle on the ground with E.T.‘s face on it), but the path to it is not always straightforward. Sometimes doors block the way and must be opened by placing purple plants into ready-made holes, and other simple puzzles must be solved to achieve E.T.‘s mission critical objectives.
Wilting plants can be revived with E.T.‘s glowing finger, and once they’ve been saved they can then be collected. Most small creatures can be stunned by hitting them with E.T.‘s ‘heart stun’, and can be reduced to mushrooms if hit a number of times. E.T. can then pick up the mushrooms and can carry up to 99 of them, which act as his health bar. Some small creatures that can’t be eradicated in this way can be picked up and placed on switches to trigger certain events. Larger enemies must be avoided completely, because E.T. is a lover, not a fighter, and holding down the R button will make him run away at speed (rather comically, just like in the film). E.T.‘s greatest power, though, is his telekinesis, which can be used to move things around, and even to capture and throw small enemies.
By level four things start to get trickier for the little alien when he first encounters alien wizards. These green, robed beings hurt E.T. by striking the ground with their staff, but they can be stunned momentarily with his heart beam and out-manoeuvred. The best way to deal with them is to stun them and run away from them.
There are six different planets to explore and three levels of difficulty. E.T. travels to the Botanicus the green planet, Barreine the desert Planet, an ice planet, Planet Metropolis, and eventually Earth.
E.T.: Interplanetary Mission is more challenging than you might think – especially when you read some of the lame reviews of the game online. I’ve seen reviews that say it’s an “easy” game, but the people who say that have probably never bothered to play it to the second level, which features fearsome clawed monsters that chase you around and some very tricky timed sections. I was surprised by how challenging it was at times.
E.T.: Interplanetary Mission didn’t review well when it first came out, but it’s not a bad game in my opinion. The animation of the main character is very good – especially when he runs – and some of the puzzles are satisfying to solve. If you love the film then this is a game well worth playing.
E.T.: Interplanetary Mission was developed by Santa Cruz Games and Digital Eclipse and published by NewKidCo in North America and Ubisoft in Europe in 2002.