Thursday, 16 August 2012

007 Games Part 4: The Stealth Affair

Super AiG's Guide to Every (old) James Bond Game Ever, Volume 4

The actual box art looks a lot better.
James Bond week continues with just a single game today. Well, mostly.

The Stealth Affair was the last Bond game released on home computers for over ten years, as the consoles finally captured the franchise for themselves. Then presumably the franchise was offered dinner and then locked into some kind of easily escapable death trap while the consoles explained all their sinister plans to it.

Game 9 - James Bond 007: The Stealth Affair (1990)
Formats: Amiga, Atari ST, DOS.

James Bond the Stealth Affair DOS title screen PC
A.k.a. Operation Stealth in Europe. This is the first Bond game not to be based on one (or more) of the movies. In fact the European version of the game isn't a Bond game at all, the licence was added later for the US release.

This is this DOS version I'm playing by the way.

No gun barrel sequence in this game. Instead I get... this.

I'm pressing every button on the keyboard, nothing's skipping it!

Oh I see, he's murdered the other pilot and took his place.

Wow look at this guy, driving up to his stealth fighter in a sports car. He won't be looking so smug when a passenger jet comes down later and crushes the thing.

Actually now that I think about it, it's not even his car so he probably doesn't give a fuck. Especially considering he just traded it in for a shiny stealth bomber with the same paint job.

Later, at C.I.A. H.Q...

How the hell do those windows open like that? Are they sliding through the floor up into the room above? They don't look like they tilt inwards.

James Bond Stealth Affair CIA director shows the wrong slide
I think that's probably not the slide you were looking for mate.

This important looking gentleman informs 007 that he's been assigned by MI5 to help the C.I.A. deal with a sensitive situation involving the stolen stealth fighter. I don't know how MI5 got involved in this seeing as Bond works for MI6, but whatever, it wouldn't be the worst slip up this guy's made so far.

The stealth jet was sighted in a Latin-American country called Santa Paragua, so we've been sent there to investigate. Apparently an agent will contact me shortly after I arrive.

Hey, the game's a LucasArts style point and click adventure. And pointing and clicking outside this door won't do me any good until I figure out how to get my passport out.


Okay this is fucking ridiculous. I can't believe I can't figure out how to open a briefcase and take my passport out. I've tried using it on a desk, I've tried ducking into the bathroom and opening it on the sink, I've tried using everything I have on everything I've found in both rooms, and it's gotten me absolutely nowhere.


Oh. I had to right click on the menu to 'operate' items in my inventory. Well now I know that.

And I'm finally able to pick up the damn passport! I tried grabbing the clothes and the magazine as well, but he wasn't interested. I'll have that huge calculator though. If I ever get into trouble I can use it like a brick and lob it at my assailants.

James Bond Stealth Affair Operation Stealth suitcase calculator bomb
Uh... perhaps I'll leave the calculator where it is for now.

Through perseverance and intuition I've finally managed to solve the first puzzle in the game, and given a person the item he was looking for! At this rate it'll take the rest of the night just to leave the airport.

Uh... what?

The customs official is holding me hostage for ransom. I honestly can't say I saw this coming.

Holy shit, I can't even give a guy a passport right in this game!

Wow that really is game over, I lost on the first puzzle. So it's more like a Sierra adventure game than a LucasArts one then I suppose.


I reloaded my save, and this time I decided to risk blowing a chunk out of the bathroom by using the explosive calculator. It opened up a secret compartment in my briefcase revealing an automatic passport forgery device! Now I can pretend to be from a less interesting country, and no one will even bother trying to hold me for ransom.

James Bond Operation Stealth Affair game over
Son of a bitch.

Maybe I'll try a French passport next time...


That's a cool silhouette effect when I'm walking behind the glass. The game's got pretty nice art in general in fact, for a game that came out in 1990.

Well I've found my way out of the airport, but there's nowhere to go. Bond just stops at the edge of the screen and won't walk down the street. I guess there's something else I need to do here first.

Well I suppose picking up my baggage would be a smart idea. I played around a bit with the razor, and found an electric cable hidden inside. Hey, I remember where to find a plug socket. Examining every object in every room finally pays off.

The razor turned out to have an audio message recorded on it, telling me where to meet my contact. Good job I didn't leave the airport before doing this or else I'd be totally screwed. Also a good job I took a screenshot because I'll probably forget this info by the time I've gotten out of here.

Oh by the way, the Amiga version of the game has fully voiced dialogue enabled automatically if you have 1mb of ram installed. And I don't mean they hired a group of talented voice actors and a Timothy Dalton impersonator to go through the script. Nope, they just ran every line through a text to speech synthesiser. Seriously, listen to the conversation at CIA HQ yourself with this youtube clip of the intro. It's... amazing, and Amiga owners can't turn it off without opening up their machine and pulling out ram chips.


Well I solved the first half of these taxi puzzle. Turns out I really do have to wait at the taxi sign for one to arrive. Next though I have to solve the puzzle of getting into the thing. One time I did managed to tell the driver "My name is BOND... JAMES BOND", but he wasn't impressed and just drove away.


Well the razor said I'll need a red carnation to meet with my contact, but the shopkeeper won't sell me one until I get exact change. The exciting life of a spy.

Oh come on, just give me the bloody change. I can't believe I'm arguing with a bank clerk to get some coins to buy a flower in a James Bond game.

Well to be fair it wasn't designed to be a James Bond game. This was originally the adventures of John Glames, international fuck-up. Until someone realised that he was such a 007 clone that they could get the licence, stick in an excuse at the start for why he's working for the C.I.A, and they'd barely have to change the rest of the script at all. That's why there's no gun-barrel scene, or Bond theme, or anything relating to the movies.


Well I got my money, and I got my flower, but I just can't find my contact anywhere. I was told to meet him in a park, and this is the closest I can find, but... nothing.

Well that was unexpected, they just did a drive-by on my contact before I could even chat to him. I've no clue how we managed to screw this one up so badly. Only the two of us and the razor even knew about the meeting, and the razor only talks when he's plugged in.

I... uh... what?

Congratulations, you've just failed
CONGRATULATIONS! You done fucked up. I guess the moral of the story is to save often, and always in a different slot, because absolutely anything could lead to an instant lose in this game.

I think how much you'd get out of this game depends on whether you're more of a LucasArts fan or a Sierra fan when it comes to classic adventure games, because it definitely leans more towards the 'every puzzle is a new chance to die' style of gameplay. Still, you can save any time you want so it's not like it's a massively game-wrecking design choice.

At least I can say with certainty that it is by far the most enjoyable James Bond point and click adventure game ever made, because it's also the only one.

Game 10 - Lord Bromley's Estate / Game 11 - Q's Armoury (1990)
Formats: ZX Spectrum.

These two are lightgun minigames that were bundled with the ZX Spectrum +2 James Bond Action Pack, along with The Living Daylights.

Lord Bromley's Estate  Q's Armoury
Targets pop up, and you shoot them to score points. Or miss them and lose, if you're me. There's really not much else to say about them.

Lord Bromley's Estate really is an actual Bond game by the way. It starts off with the message:
You, secret agent James Bond, have been invited to Lord Bromley's country estate to do some clay pigeon shooting.
Unfortunately, SPECTRE have other ideas...
So for all I know it turns into an exciting plot driven action adventure game after I've hit five targets in a row enough times, but I guess I'll never find out.

Next time, James Bond Jr again. Twice.

Read part five.
Back to part three.

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