Monday, 13 August 2012

007 Games Part 1: James Bond, A View to a Kill, Goldfinger

Super AiG's Guide to Every (Old) James Bond Game Ever, Volume 1

This is what happens when I have Photoshop open when I'm bored.
It's another Super Adventures special event! Every day for the next week I'll be going through the first 10 years of the Bond game series, from James Bond 007 to The Duel, and hopefully everything in between. So if for whatever reason you don't like reading about James Bond, or looking at crap screenshots from ancient Atari and Commodore systems, I'll apologise now. Sorry about that.

Game 1 - James Bond (1983)
Formats: Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Atari 8-Bit, ColecoVision, Commodore 64, SG-1000.

Atari 2600
I'm honestly shocked that this is making a decent attempt at playing the James Bond theme.

James Bond came out the same year as Octopussy hit cinemas, but for whatever reason it's apparently not based on the movie. I don't blame them really, I wouldn't want to work on anything called Octopussy either.

As far as I'm aware this is the original Bond game, the first in a very long line of movie tie-in games... fuck, I didn't think this idea through at all did I? Still, there's some good movie tie-in games out there, I mean everyone liked GoldenEye right? Any one of these games could turn out to be awesome. But not this one obviously, it's on the Atari 2600.

Atari 2600
Right, it seems that 007's in a space car, and we're on a mission to the flame pits of Mars. Definitely not Octopussy.

Atari 2600
Fortunately it's a jumping car, so flame pits are no problem.

Helicopters and this robot thing keep flying past and trying to shoot me, and there's not much I can do about it as my weapons are absolutely useless against them. They on the other hand had no trouble blowing up one of my cars with a single bullet.

Yeah it seems that my guns have only one function, shooting sparkly space diamonds, or whatever they're meant to be.

Atari 2600
Scenery change! Now the robot's shots create ripples in the water, which I have to leap over. Sadly I did a shitty job of it and got my last car blown up. Q's going to be so pissed off.

I suppose I should check out the other versions too though, in case they turn out to be something entirely different. First up is the ColecoVision:

Oh, that level was supposed to be from Diamonds are Forever? Uh, I don't really remember any of that happening in the movie, though it's nice to know that Connery's Bond was actually the first video game 007 (there he is waving by his car).

Wait, don't tell me those floating diamonds I've been shooting are ACTUALLY DIAMONDS. I suppose that 'flying robot' must actually be the diamond laser satellite then. I guess that explains why it's powerful enough to blast away chunks of the ground I'm driving on. Flying a bit low though isn't it?

It seems I can't destroy the diamonds in this version, but I can continue shooting them for more points. It's not actually daytime here right now, the screen just flashes every time I shoot one.

I can definitely destroy those bloody frogmen though fortunately, as my car has a separate spiky mine launcher for underwater enemies.

One screen flash revealed an oil rig in the background. I decided to jump over it, just to be safe, and accidentally got my car stuck to it. Which is apparently how you complete the Diamonds are Forever stage.


Level two is the Spy Who Loved Me, and it's pretty similar in gameplay, though with more enemies around, and this time I'm allowed to shoot them all. So this is also the first Roger Moore Bond game.

This screenshot isn't actually from the ColecoVision though, it's from the Sega SG-1000 version which starts on the Spy Who Loved Me level and looks basically identical. I realise that you don't actually care, I just like to pack my posts with extra screenshot value.

Atari 8-Bit
The Atari 8-bit computers get a level select, so I went with Moonraker this time. I dunno, I thought maybe I'd get to fly a space shuttle and do something different.

No luck. I'm back in the car, in the water, dodging mines and shooting space rockets.

Atari 5200
The Atari 5200 version seems almost identical to the 8-bit computer one, which isn't much of a shock as their hardware is almost identical. I actually survived this situation by the way, as the car can jump onto even the smallest point of land. Though I had to wait a second for the land to scroll over, as every version of the game has an invisible wall stopping me from moving onto the right half of the screen.

Commodore 64
It's weird to see a line up of machines where the Commodore 64 might actually be the cutting edge powerhouse, but not even the C64 can save this game. It's the same thing.

Game 2 - A View to a Kill - The Computer Game (1985)
Formats: Amstrad CPC, Commdore 64, MSX, Oric, ZX Spectrum.

A View to a Kill video game title screen
Amstrad CPC
This is (probably) the first 007 game to be named after one of the movies. In this case it was made to tie-in with View to a Kill, released in cinemas the same year.

Possible first appearance of the gun barrel sequence in a Bond game too.

Commodore 64
Man, 007 needs to put on some weight. He looks like the recoil from his Walther could snap him like a twig. After shooting the camera he says something that sounds like 'James Bond, James Bond', but it's hard to make out.

Okay, the game starts with the option of watching the gun barrel opening, playing a level, or the watching the ending. Except for the versions that don't.

Commodore 64
There are three levels (except for the versions with two) and the first is a chase around Paris (except for the versions for machines which can't handle smooth scrolling... I'm looking at you MSX).

Mayday has just parachuted from the Eiffel Tower (that's it over on the right), and I've apparently got to follow her shadow around until she lands. The only problem with that is that she's up in the air, and I'm stuck on the streets. Oh, plus I've only got a tiny letterbox view.

ZX Spectrum
It's even worse on the ZX Spectrum, which has about half the screen space. And once that parachute disappears off screen it's nearly impossible to find again, even with this beeping proximity sensor.

Which is a bit of a problem as I've just driven down a dead end. The car physics are weird in this though, so if I drive full speed into the wall in front of me I'll bounce backwards with equal speed, and I can just reverse around like that instead.

Commodore 64
Well I've lost Mayday, but it doesn't matter because this asshole just drove into the back of my car. I can't move, and my damage is ticking up, so I've just failed the level. In fact it's really easy to get stuck in this; I can get terminally jammed just by driving along a wall and trying to turn away.

Commodore 64
I didn't get past Paris in the end, but I've got a level select so I don't have to. Well the poor Spectrum version doesn't have one, but most of the others do.

In this scene Bond is trapped inside a burning building... damn that guy really does need to put on some weight. This is the first game where you get to actually walk around as Roger Moore's Bond by the way.

Anyway I have to get out of here before the fire reaches me, by heading through doors and using the contents of the rooms to aid my escape.

Like buckets and keys, and this giant sized yellow door pass for instance!

Unfortunately it's a pain in the ass to pick anything up. I have to press the button, select examine, select the item, and then slow scroll through my options until I reach 'pick up'. And 'return to game' is the default command, so if I accidentally hit the button twice I have to start the whole tedious procedure again from the beginning.

So where the hell did I leave that locked door? Each white square is a room I've been already, but only six of them are adjacent to a blank space, so it's got to be one of them. Damn, I should have been drawing out a map.

Though now that I think about it, even if I do eventually find this locked door I'll have to go through the damn menu again to use the key, and I don't think I can stand it anymore. Screw it, I'll check out the last level instead.

Commodore 64
Apparently on this level I'm in a mine looking for code numbers to defuse a bomb. Great, more things to pick up.

The Commodore 64 version doesn't even have text for the items though, it just has images, which actually makes things worse. It still takes as long to scroll through each time, but now I can't tell what I'm collecting.

I mean what does that item I'm standing next to look like to you?

Amstrad CPC
Did you guess 'grappling gun?' If not, you're gonna be a little stuck when you fall down your first pit and can't climb out.

There's a lot of falling in this actually, though fortunately it seems that Bond's immune to most common forms of death. He does lose a bit of time on the countdown though, so I guess he must have been knocked out for 30 seconds and we just skipped ahead.

Commodore 64
Oh look, I just knocked him out again by walking into the wall next to the grappling rope I just set up.

But I have to put the ropes as close as I can to the wall though, or else I won't be able to reach the ledge I'm climbing up to.

Sorry 007, but you're rubbish at jumping off ropes, so you're going to have to go back down and fire up another rope a bit closer to the wall. Oh did I mention you apparently have limited rope ammo in this?

Son of a bitch. I can't see a way out of this. I can't fire up a rope at the edges of the tunnel because of the plants, and if I fire a rope up the middle I won't be able to get across to the ledge when I get up there.

Commodore 64
And then C64 Bond got his legs trapped in the floor, and was left with nothing else to do but headbutt the rock 140 times to sleep through the bomb countdown. Only one more headbutt left now!

A View to a Kill Commodore 64 ending screen
Commodore 64
I don't usually do this but the option was right there in the menu, so I looked up the code to see the ending. And it's basically just this picture of 007 having sexy shower time with his tactical turtleneck still on. So there, you never have to play this now.

Game 3 - A View to a Kill (1985)
Formats: Apple II, DOS, Macintosh.

Apple II
Oh, this one's a text adventure? I'm got nothing against the interactive fiction genre, but I've found that screenfuls of text tend to lead to shitty screenshots. Still, just this once I'll give this one a shot.

Hmm, I've got three directions to try. Apparently Bond can smell the Russians, but not the direction they're coming from, and I've no idea where 003 is. I'm being shot at though, so disappearing around the corner seems like a sensible choice.


Apple II
My reputation as a total fuck up remains intact.

Game 4 - Goldfinger (1986)
Formats: Apple II, Macintosh, PC.

There was no new Bond movie for 1986, so they had to base this game on one of the classics. Unfortunately Goldfinger is another text adventure and probably a lot more interesting to play than to look at, if you're into that kind of thing. Technically this is the first 007 game to let you play as Connery's Bond (rather than just his car), not that you ever get to see him.

I managed to get myself captured in three turns, and I'm already strapped to a table in Goldfinger's lair with a laser creeping towards me. So I'm doing better than I did in View to a Kill at least.

I figured I'd try talking, as it's what he'd least expect.

And that's how you lose Goldfinger.

Come back tomorrow for more exciting tales of espionage and intrigue!

Read part two.


Semi-Random Game Box