The James Bond 007 Dossier

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12. August 2013 16:01
by m
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Licence To Play - The History of James Bond 007 Video Games

12. August 2013 16:01 by m | 0 Comments

Kicking off a week of James Bond 007 Video Game related posts is this feature-length documentary by James Bond fan Benjamin Lind, who takes us on a journey that spans 30 years - from the humble Atari James Bond Games of the early 1980s to the remake of Goldeneye. Lind takes us inside each game, allowing us to see what it is like to play each one, describing the good and bad parts of each game and when possible takes us behind the scenes using promotional materials including videos and TV spots. With each passing year, the graphics and game engines improve, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the games get better.

After the opening montage, the first part delves into the first official James Bond game for the Atari in 1983 and ends with 1990's The Spy Who Loved MeThe Spy Who Loved Me. Along the way, we play A View to a Kill: The Computer Game (1985), GoldfingerGoldfinger (1986), The Living Daylights: The Computer Game (1987), Live and Let Die (1988), and Licence to Kill (1989).

In the 1980s I had a ZX Spectrum 48k and bought both A View To A KillA View To A Kill: The Computer Game and The Living DaylightsThe Living Daylights: The Computer Game. I don't remember anything about playing The Living DaylightsThe Living Daylights computer game - even watching the gameplay in this video didn't jog any memories, but I can still recall the frustration of playing A View To A KillA View To A Kill. If I remember correctly, it took me forever to get past the car chase in the blue Renault and I was never able to finish the entire game. The last level I remember involved trying to escape the fire in City Hall.

From there Lind walks us through Operation Stealth/007 the Stealth Affair (1990), Tomorrow Never Dies for the Sony Playstation (1999) and James Bond 007: The Duel for the Sega Mega Drive (1993), the ground breaking Goldeneye for Nintendo 64 (1997), and James Bond 007 for the Nintendo Gameboy (1997). The original Nintendo 64 Goldeneye set the standard by which all subsequent James Bond Video Games would be judged and still makes a lot of top ten "best ever" lists today. Sadly, I've never played it. I did have Tomorrow Never Dies for the Playstation and I wasn't all that impressed. Tomb Raider was much more fun.

The action continues with Tomorrow Never Dies (1999), The World is Not Enough (Nintendo 64/Playstation, 2000), 007 Racing (Sony Playstation, 2000 - A game I enjoyed initially, but which I found would very quickly become quite tedious), and 007 Agent Under Fire (Game-cube, Playstation 2 and Xbox, 2001)

Then he moves on to 007 Nightfire (2002, Playstation 2, Nintendo Gamecube, XBox, and later Windows PC & Mac - though the PC versions differed considerably from their console cousins - and for Gameboy Advance in 2003), and Everything or Nothing (2004, Playstation 2, Nintendo Gamecube, XBox, Gameboy Advance). I still have Everything or Nothing for the original XBox, and GoldenEye:Rogue Agent (2004).

Another game I remember fondly is From Russia With Love (2005), the last game from EA Games. In 2006 Daniel Craig re-energized the Bond movie franchise and in 2008 new Bond game publisher Activision launched Quantum of Solace (2008, Playstation 2, Playstation 3, XBox 360, Windows PC, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS) which was based on the movies Casino RoyaleCasino Royale (2006) and Quantum of SolaceQuantum of Solace (2008). I have Quantum of Solace for the PC, though I confess I have never played it. However, I do not have the two games that followed: BloodStone (2010, Playstation 3, XBox 360, Windows PC, Nintendo DS).

The documentary concludes with a look at the 2010 remake of Goldeneye (which I do have for the X-box 360).

So here we are, 30 years and 24 official James Bond 007 Games later. (Since this documentary was made, we have also seen Goldeneye Reloaded (2011) and  007 Legends (2012)). With SkyfallSkyfall breaking box office records and Bond 24 due in theaters in November 2014, we can be sure that James Bond will return in a new video game adventure soon.

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