Saturday, 18 August 2012

007 Games Part 6: James Bond - The Duel

Super AiG's Guide to Every (old) James Bond Game Ever, Volume 6
In case you were wondering, the actual game cart looks nothing like this.
This is the last day of Bond week, finishing up the first decade of the series. Plus the 16-bit era as well, which is convenient.

Sega's first shot at the Bond licence was a port of James Bond 007 for the SG-1000 console back in 1984, but it took until a decade later in 1993 before they finally got their own exclusive game. Two of them in fact, one for Master System and one for the Mega Drive/Genesis, each sharing the same name.

Game 14 - James Bond 007: The Duel (1993)
Formats: Mega Drive/Genesis

James Bond 007 The Duel Sega Mega Drive Genesis title screen
James Bond: The Duel, a.k.a. 007 Shitou in Japan. It apparently means 'struggle to the death', which is way more hardcore than 'The Duel'. Wait, is that... Michael Jackson playing Bond?

Actually the photograph on the game box makes it clear that these are in fact the last two games to star Timothy Dalton as 007, before Pierce Brosnan took over as the character's official video game avatar.

James Bond 007 The Duel map screen
According to this map the villains have set up a secret base on Monkey Island, complete with what looks like a space rocket hangar inside a volcano. Very 'You Only Live Twice.'

James Bond 007 The Duel Q briefcase
And according to my Q briefcase, mission 1 starts on a yacht. Very... whichever movie had a yacht in it.

Look at that thing though, so high-tech it comes with a floppy drive. Plus it's nice to see that Q branch are still in the habit of labelling everything they make, in case a foreign government finds it and needs to know who to send it back to.

Oh, and Bond arrives by jetpack. Very 'From Russia With Love'. Though this probably would have been a better time for him to pull a 'Goldfinger' and swim up with a duck on his head.

Flying down in broad daylight making as much noise as a jackhammer doesn't seem like it'd be the best tactical approach. Well, unless he was trying to make it as obvious as possible that he was coming to shoot them all, in which case good work 007!

Well this guy doesn't look like a henchmen, but he is carrying a gun. Nobody mentioned anything about civilians in my briefing... in fact I don't remember even getting a briefing, so I think I'll have to work on the assumption that everyone on this boat's evil and shoot on sight.

Well I got him, but he got me too. I thought I was pretty quick to react, but not quick enough it seems. Fortunately I've got a few hitpoints left, and he dropped some extra ammo for me... which then exploded because I didn't pick it up in time.

That woman on the right turned out to be an anonymous hostage, who jumped up and disappeared when I walked up to her. And then that counter in the top left went down by one. Shit, I'm going to have to catch them all before they let me leave aren't I?

I finally managed to shoot someone without taking a bullet myself. Damn these people are fast, I'm really struggling to react in time when they appear on screen.

Still I'm just happy that all these enemies are going down in a single hit. It's a relief after playing the NES version of James Bond Jr, where it took a minute of tapping the fire button to kill anything. That reminds me, no time limit either!

What the fuck? They just dropped a diving pod on me out of nowhere! If there was something I could have done to avoid that, they definitely didn't make it obvious.

Whenever I get Bond killed he respawns at the start of the level, with all the enemies back, but fortunately the hostages stay rescued.

Oh by the way, check out Bond's jump, it's amazing.  For whatever reason he never really got around to pulling off crazy somersaults in the movies, but he's making up for it here.

Also to save drawing a new set of animation frames for when he's walking the other way, they've got him swapping his pistol over to his other hand. I guess Bond's just showing off that he can kill a man with either hand, he doesn't care which.

Okay, that's just taking the piss now. You can't have enemies shooting the player while completely obscured behind a wall, that's almost as dumb as... I dunno, dropping a diving pod on them out of nowhere. The only reason I was even able to piece together what  happened here is because I noticed the tip of the guy's shoes sticking out after Bond's corpse hit the deck.

I like how the freed hostages look like they should be presenting a game show. Congratulations contestant number 007, you've just won a chance to compete in our bomb finding bonus round!

Wait, I've got to find a bomb now? Why couldn't it be enough just to rescue all the hostages!

Well I've found the bomb, but now I have to find the exit! In 60 seconds! And it turns out that this doorway wasn't it, though it does give me an opportunity to pose.

Turns out the time limit wasn't an issue, as Bond only lasted 7 seconds before getting a bullet in the back of the head. I've never been any good with time limits, the extra pressure totally throws me off my game.

Fortunately I reappeared back at the bomb instead of the beginning of the level. And they even reset the timer, so I didn't have to rage quit and cry about it.

WHAT? There's a boss fight? Seriously?

Jaws, listen, this really isn't the time for this shit. The ship's going to explode in roughly exactly 38 seconds, and if we're still standing on it when that happens then the only winner here will be the sharks.

Throwing me to the sharks wasn't exactly the solution I was thinking of.

I guess I should keep my distance from Jaws next time. The henchman I mean, I doubt Spielberg's fish is making a cameo here as 'shark #3'.


This time at the boss fight I ran back and shot at Jaws from half a screen away, until he eventually died. Roger Moore's Bond tried and failed to kill that guy for two movies, while Timothy Dalton's Bond managed it in less than a minute. Then he flew away with his jetpack again.

Of course Roger Moore's Bond didn't get eaten by sharks, so we'll call it a draw.


And then Bond goes to the Ewok village. This time I've got... holy shit, SEVEN hostages to rescue! What the hell, game?

I did an internet search for 'Bond rescue hostage', because I was curious if he ever had to do this in a movie, and instead I found this game sitting near the top of the results. I mean sure he's got to save the Bond girl in distress at times, but 7 hostages is pushing it.

How the hell did they even bring her up here? WHY did they even bring her up here? Were they showing off the view or something? Well, I guess is pretty nice...

Okay so how many hostages have I rescued so far? Hmm, I think it's probably... one. Right, back to work then.


Any hostages in this secret base perhaps? No? I suppose I'll just go look somewhere else then.

Hey you, the guy in the pit. Where the fuck are you hiding all the hostages? Also, how come you get to walk on spikes, yet if I go down there it's instant death?

Oh by the way I figured out how to attack enemies without getting shot. All I have to do is duck the second I see one appear. The poor bastards can't attack me when I'm crouched, they just run back and forth firing their gun off, their bullets flying harmlessly over my head. Plus it means I skip the reload animation too.

Nope, no hostage over here either. You know I have to wonder if anyone actually likes searching every corner of a level for mandatory objectives, or whether developers just put these goals in video games purely to drag out the play time.

This is all the same forest level by the way. They've packed a lot of variety into this place.

Okay, what the fuck is that and what's it doing in a James Bond game? Whatever it is, it burned through all my hit-points in seconds and I don't have the first clue how to deal with it.

It doesn't matter much now anyway, I'm out of continues. And I never did get to duel with anyone, well unless you count that time I took on Jaws from a screen away.

Game 15 - James Bond 007: The Duel (1993)
Formats: Master System, Game Gear.

James Bond 007 The Duel Master System Title Screen
Like with the James Bond Jrs, the 16 bit and 8 bit versions of The Duel are actually different games. So it's a shame really they couldn't be bothered to think up a different name for it.

So this is what Bond's been reduced to now, shooting fish. Anyway, after killing this piranha-thing and collecting my 200 points I took a few steps forwards and got flattened by a falling crate. Then another fish jumped up and bit me. Nobody does it better.

Just in case you were wondering... okay you weren't wondering but whatever, the two games actually have a different sprite for Bond. They just look and move nearly identically.

Q branch sure likes leaving their stuff lying around in enemy territory. I can tell its them because of course they've decided to stick their logo all over it again. And probably a few '007's as well knowing them.

 Fortunately I don't have to collect them to complete the level. I hope.

Agh, the damn laser turret shot Bond mid-jump, knocking him to his death. Oh, wait, they're actually just henchmen hanging out of portholes. Well I still hate them.

I just noticed how similar this is to the last screenshot. It's not actually the same place, the designers just liked to reuse sections of level. It makes it a little hard to know where exactly I am.

Nice to see these guys from the 16 bit game are still around. Mostly because they're slower now and I can pick them off effortlessly. Fish, crates, and gravity may repeatedly kick my ass, but it's good to know I can put my licence to kill to some use.

Well that was a fucking dumb thing for me to try. Fortunately it worked, and he grabbed hold of the ladder. In the 16 bit game he'd have been a stain on the deck a second after this.

They've give me some choice on which route I take to the exit, but that means there's a risk of entirely missing checkpoint computers and Q briefcases.

Oh, and guess what jumped out of the water and bit me when I hit the ground.

LEVEL 1-2.

Son of a bitch, that wasn't even my fault! I was firing at him, but my bullets weren't reaching him somehow. Maybe that means this blue thing is something that can be destroyed. By only by my bullets.

Oh no. No no no. Guess who was behind blue thing #1. Yes, congratulations contestant number 007, you've just won a mission objective to search the level for hostages again! (Yes I know this is actually the next door along, I'm giving you screenshot variety here.)

I'm really hoping this is optional. I'd would have probably rated this higher than the 16 bit game up 'til now just because I hadn't needed to search for anything yet.

LEVEL 1-3.

I'm onto you, you little fishy bastards. I'm not going another step until this place is cleared of all sea creatures with ambitions about escaping your watery prison and biting mankind. Fortunately it actually seems possible to kill them all off, so I can make the place relatively safe. Can't do anything about the guys in portholes, but they're going to have a hard time shooting me now I've left the ship.

It's trailing behind the Mega Drive/Genesis game though. Third stage and I still haven't reached the trees.


007 locate and terminate enemy of the free world Jaws
Oh shit, I was hoping they'd forgotten to put the boss fights in this time.

Jaws is actually a lot like he was in the 16 bit game; a bullet sponge who throws me to the sharks if he gets close enough. This soon turned into a ridiculous round of Smash Bros, with the two of us constantly bouncing between platforms trying to get a hit in.

Of course I eventually defeated him. Because I'm awesome. Plus he's only the first boss.

Top secret extra bonus time. Yes, I got the best prize! Three extra lives. Or perhaps hit-points, I can't tell.

I don't care that you don't care, I actually did something right in the game for once and I feel like showing off. Though for all I know I actually just earned myself three extra hostages to rescue.

LEVEL 2-1.

Finally I reach the forest level. This is a straightforward climb up the trees, with the porthole henchmen replaced by fire breathing snakes. Though at least this time I can shoot the things.

I was actually doing pretty well here, except for how I constantly missed jumps, threw all my lives away, and ran out of continues. Mission: Terminated.

You know if I was forced at gun point to list the Bond games so far in order of quality, these two would be up at near top with James Bond Jr on the NES. The two games look and play very similarly, and I think the main difference between them (so far) is that in the 16 bit version the enemies are the main threat, but in this one it's the level that's out to kill you. Every other jump is over a lethal drop, and on the other side a crate is waiting to fall on your head. But I actually prefer that over having to hunt down hostages, deal with time limits, and fight mid-bosses.

And that's the end of the 16-bit era, the first decade of 007 games, and Bond week #1. But James Bond will return in GoldenEye 007.

Read part seven.
Back to part five.


  1. I like the bad editing of Dalton's face on the cartridge. Looks like he's very confused.

    1. If you had all that going on behind you wouldn't you be confused?

      Wait... BAD? That's a work of art mate!


Semi-Random Game Box