Friday, 17 August 2012

007 Games Part 5: James Bond Jr. (Again)

Super AiG's Guide to Every (old) James Bond Game Ever, Volume 5

This is the ultra-rare alternative cover that I threw together myself just now.
James Bond week continues with a pair of games cursed with the same name, both only on Nintendo.

Generally the reason I play all these games is because I'm honestly curious about them and I want to know what they're like, but the SNES version of James Bond Jr and I are already acquainted. I played this game once already last year, and it'd be fair to say I didn't really enjoy it much. Also I hate it. But this is the only Bond game the Super Nintendo ever got and it'd be a shame to skip over the system entirely, so I'm playing it again. For you.

Game 12 - James Bond Jr (1992)
Formats: SNES

James Bond Jr Nintendo SNES title screen
Well this must be the lowest James Bond has ever fallen. Lower than Roger Moore running around in clown make-up and getting double takes from pigeons. It's not even a real James Bond game, it's actually based on a 90s cartoon starring Bond's nephew.

That's incredible... how little I give a shit. The comedy music isn't helping.

The junior Q wannabe goes on to explain that the stolen statue can be used to open up a long lost temple which contains golden artifacts. So I've got to get to the temple and stop SCUM from looting the place, or else they'll use the profits to fund their evil plans.

There's one thing about all this that bothers me. This kid genius has an unsolved Rubik's Cube on his shelf. Doesn't that bother him? Isn't he compelled to use his vast intellect to solve it?

Damn, is Bond going to walk the entire way there? The helipad's on the other side of the building mate. I thought this was a long lost temple anyway, why does everyone seem to know where it is?

Meanwhile in SCUM's featureless blue lair, the villains feel the need to repeat everything I was just told. Apparently they've stolen a statue needed to unlock the lost temple, and plan to plunder the treasure to fund EVIL RESEARCH. Just in case we didn't catch that the first time around.

Well, seems that we found the lost temple without any trouble, though SCUM did beat us to it. No problem though, I'll just approach this goon and pull my arm back very slowly. Then I can eventually throw it forwards in a powerful slow-motion punch! Oh dear, it seems that the henchman's fallen asleep before it could connect.

I'm exaggerating, it only really takes about a second for him to punch, it's just everything in this game feels like it's taking longer than it actually is.

It's the guy from the intro! Hey, come back and wait for my fist to hit you!

This level exit is actually only a couple of screens distance away from the last screenshot, which was only a few jumps from the starting point. And not counting this guy who I can't hit, there's only one enemy. Just out of curiosity, I restarted and found I could beat the entire platformer level in 14 seconds.

Well now that all those long seconds of platforming are finally over, it's time for the helicopter shoot 'em up stage.

And two seconds in I've already wrecked my helicopter. I forgot that the trees are actually on the same layer as me, and will instantly tear my minicopter apart if I so much as brush against a single leaf. I have to admit I haven't had the best track record with helicopters in Bond games so far.

Damn, I'm making all the old mistakes all over again. This time I was so focused on grabbing that absolutely essential shield pick up before it disappeared off screen, that I flew right into that enemy's firing line and got one-shotted out of the sky.

My crappy spy copter is irritatingly sluggish, and apparently built out of tinfoil and dynamite, so I really do need the extra shield hit-points to stand a chance.

Are these assholes bouncing on springs at me now? I don't see a weapon on them, what are they planning to do, punch my chopper out of the air? Damn, that actually seems plausible.

Guess I should spray some of these bombs around, in the hope of hitting a couple of them, or at least taking out that truck. Fortunately I fire so many at once that aiming is optional.


Well this is a great spot for a respawn point, a few pixels left of an insta-kill tree. I do actually have just enough space to avoid the tree if I pull up immediately after appearing, but I wasn't quite ready for it this time.


Whoa, hang on, this is new. Could it be that I've actually reached the end of this level? I was honestly starting to wonder if it was an infinitely long procedurally generated endurance run with no way to win.

Nope, I've just entered a cave system, packed full of walls for me to collide with. Oh, and balloons.

Oh of course there's a boss fight at the end of the level. How stupid of me to hope for a second that after ten minutes straight of shooting they might just let me land and do a platformer level or something. Nope, I must now prove my skill.

The boss fires out shurikens and bullets that spin around my copter until their orbit decays and they hit. Unfortunately my shield wore out a long time ago so I'm back to one-hit vulnerable. I threw every life I had against the thing, but really this fight was over before it began. And so I never saw level 3, and SCUM took over the Earth, or whatever it is they wanted to do. The end.

Actually you know what, I can't just end this at the shoot 'em up stage like last time. So I'm going to break one of my rules and put in the next password to get a sneak peak at what this game actually turns into.

(Oh, by the way, the level code was '0007'. It's like they wanted people to guess it.)

The next platforming stage.. isn't actually that bad. I mean relatively speaking. Sure most of the enemies are snakes, and you can't attack them while crouched (or even jump on the little bastards), but it's playable and not overly frustrating. Plus I'm awarding it 10 extra points because the sound it makes when I punch out the poor temple guards mades me smile.

I gotta be honest and say that from what I've played of it, this actually doesn't seem to be the worst of the Bond games so far. That honour would probably go to something like the action game version of View to a Kill, or those ZX Spectrum mini-games. Don't take that as a recommendation though.

Game 13 - James Bond Jr (1992)
Formats: NES

James Bond Jr. NES title screen
Yep, there's another one on the NES. Let's just get this over with.

These scientists didn't happen to be working on an invisibility ray perhaps? Just making sure.

Thankfully I've been spared from having to listen to more comedy briefing music this time. In fact so far this is looking way darker than the SNES game (literally), and none of the characters from the other game have shown up to say anything. It's almost like the NES game was already in development before they got hold of the James Bond Jr licence.

James Bond Jr NES transport plane
I've never seen the cartoon so I have no idea how these missions usually work out, but it seems strange to send a student alone to do such a dangerous op. Then again he basically does the same thing in the SNES game and it seemed perfectly normal there. It's funny how much difference a change in art style can make.

This actually looks a lot better than the SNES game, and the control feels better too. There's no melee moves this time, but they've given me a gun so I'm not complaining.

I'm not sure about his little lives counter icon though. He looks like he's just wandered onto the HUD by mistake and doesn't quite know what he's going to do about it. The poor bloke hasn't even got his shoes on yet.

Well this place is blocked off either side and there's nothing out here but a hole in the ground and these little mysterious pink buttons all over the grass. I don't really feel like testing my 'they're obviously land mines' theory, so I'll leave them be and go jump down the hole instead, see where that leads me.

Oh fuck, this is starting to seem like a bad idea.

It's okay, I landed safely on a conveniently located spring... conveniently located right next to a boss. That's the second biggest 90s punk terrorist I've ever seen! Seriously though, Bond (Jr) would fit inside one of his shoes. Though probably not by choice.

Anyway after a like a minute straight taking turns waiting for him to fire his, uh, exploding balls at me, then jumping out of cover for a second to shoot him back, the guy finally went down. 37 shots it took in the end, according to the ammo counter.

But it's over now, I can move on, though I'm not exactly sure where I'm meant to be going. There's two exits to this area, left and up, and I don't see any signs saying 'Missing scientist holding cells, this way'.

Whatever, I'll go up the ladder.

Damn, his buddies can soak up a fair number of hits as well. I'm actually starting to wonder if I'm doing something wrong by stopping to shoot at them, because they take forever to kill, and I can't think why the developers would make them so tough if it's not actually, in fact, a cunning scheme to make me waste my precious time.

There's a picture of a missile next to the timer, so I'm guessing that bad things will happen if I take too long.  


Oh great, I finally manage to bounce on these springs all the way to the top, and it turns out to be a dead end. On the plus side, I have found a cheeseburger! A healthy way to refill my life gauge.

It seems that I'm able to explore this place freely, going between different areas Metroid style. For instance I just fell off those damn springs for the third time in a row and landed on the boss fight screen again. So much for all that full health I just got.

At least the boss didn't respawn. Actually all the enemies seem to stay dead forever in this, which probably wasn't that easy to pull off on a NES, considering its hardware limitations. You couldn't even walk backwards in games like Super Mario Bros. because they didn't have the RAM needed to store the changes made to the level.

I decided I might as well head left this time seeing as I was back in the boss fight room, and I came so close to making it all the way across this acid pit. I just missed the last moving platform.

Fortunately it's not instant death; Jimmy just loses a little health and bounces back out. +250,000 points to James Bond Jr for not having insta-kill death pits.  


Well at least some of these guys drop ammo when they die. My gun regenerates bullets when I dip below 20 rounds, but that's barely enough to kill anything in this game. Assuming I'm not doing it wrong.

Oh hey, a missile, almost didn't see that there. Looks like something out of a Tintin story. You know, I'm sure the briefing said I was supposed to do something about these things.

Oh good, a block sliding puzzle bomb defusal mini-game. It's like a 2d Rubik's Cube, except with more awkward controls. I have to cycle through the rows and columns by pressing the B or A buttons, then shift the blocks with the d-pad.

Puzzles aren't exactly my strong point, but I think I can figure this one out.  


Here dog, have some bombs. Go, fetch!

I picked these up from an enemy I killed along the way, though it took me a while to figure out I had to hold select, then press up or down to equip them.

The enemies are pretty generous in this actually, dropping ammo, bombs, flashbangs, cheeseburgers, double cheeseburgers... One even dropped a diamond, though he dropped it in the room with the springs, and I wasn't going to go back down to the boss room to get it.

James Bond Jr bouncing Moai statues
What the f...

Actually, you know what, I'm not even going to wonder about it. I'm just going to ignore them and keep on walking by.
FUN FACT: Though some video games such as James Bond Jr feature maoi heads as enemies, real Easter Island moai statues actually have a complete body. The famous ones were just found buried up to the neck. Real moai also can't bounce around or shoot balls of supercharged plasma.

Hah, I knew these pink things were land mines, and now I've got these bombs I can sort them out with a controlled detonation.

Wow, I need bombs to get through this brick? What if I'd ran out before I got here? I can't exactly go back and kill an enemy to get more if they're all dead. Some potentially BAD GAME DESIGN there.

I  love the coloured lighting effect in the background here. The game really does have surprisingly decent graphics. Well maybe not that surprising for 1992.

Oh shit, these platforms are disappearing under me! Fuck fuck, keep jumping you bastard!

I actually made it up to the top, but then jetpack guy knocked me right back down again into an acid pit, and I had to leave the room to reset the bricks and try again.

New plan: kill the jetpack guy.

You know, with these mazelike levels, yellow artwork, weird out of place music, and guys with jetpacks... this kinda feels like a ZX Spectrum game. Only with the slickness and polish of a NES game.

Another boss fight? Well, I call them bosses, they're more like giant enemies that take slightly more bullets to kill. I'm not doing anything different to kill them, it just takes longer.

Wow, all I got for killing the boss was a dead end and a laser in the wall aimed at my head. And I was actually worried that this was going to be sending me off towards the exit before I'd found all the missiles.

Man I wish I had a map right now. With little blinky arrows leading me to the other missiles.


Right, I'm pretty sure this is the only way left for me to go. Almost sure. And after killing this last boss with my standard 'stand it front of him and tap the fire button' tactics, it was just a short walk to the level exit.

Oh come on, I disarmed like three of your bloody missiles. Can't you just give me a bronze ranking and let me play level two? Well I can't be arsed wandering back through the entire complex without a map so I'll just have to quit here.

You know, this might actually be the best James Bond game I've played up to this point. How weird is that? The biggest problems the game has is that there's no map and it takes forever to kill anything, but beyond that it seems fairly decent. Or maybe those problems are just so incredibly annoying that they've blinded me to all the other serious flaws, who knows?

Next time, the shocking conclusion of James Bond week as Sega returns to bring about the end of the first decade of 007 games.

Read part six.
Back to part four.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I like the music for the NES version, done by Neil Baldwin. In fact, it's one of my favorite soundtracks one the system.


Semi-Random Game Box