perjantai 30. marraskuuta 2012

REVIEW - James Bond 007: Goldfinger | PC | 1986

There's no title screen, so here's the
box art for the Apple II version. Not
subliminal at all.
GENRE(S): Adventure
DEVELOPER(S): Angelsoft
PUBLISHER(S): Mindscape

Goldfinger was the third Bond film, and also the third to star who many like to think as the one and only James Bond - Sean Connery. After all, he did play James Bond in seven movies, made between 1962 and 1983 (what an arc), returning to the role after an absence on two separate occasions. As much as I'd like to blab on about Sean Connery and how great he is, this is mainly a forum for computer and video games. Sean Connery's films have rarely been licensed, and not a bit too rarely. Just look at 1986's Goldfinger - another text adventure in the vein of 1985's A View to a Kill. Extremely amusing in some ways which I'll point out very soon, but in the end, just another boring tribute to a long-dead interface.

Pull my goldfinger (you saw it coming)

"Blah, blah, blah-blah-blah, blah,
BLAHHHH, blah, she should have
stayed in England."
James Bond squares off with one of his most resourceful adversaries, a gold smuggler named Auric Goldfinger, who is planning an attack on Fort Knox.

After getting my nerves and veins torn by A View to a Kill, I was going to skip Goldfinger without giving the game a second thought ever again. Then, I came up with the conclusion that here we have a game based on what I think is a quintessential Bond film, my long-standing favourite in the series right up 'til Skyfall. Back at the time of its release, it introduced many elements that immediately became staple for the series (and turned boring as years went by), it had Sean Connery and if that wasn't enough, he already had two movies' worth of experience under his belt - his performance could only go downhill from here, and it did. Auric Goldfinger, played by Gert Fröbe, was a classic Bond villain, a standard who is still pretty much unbeaten - although Sean Bean's Alec Trevelyan in GoldenEye comes quite close, as well as Javier Bardem's Silva in Skyfall. I dug the idea that both of them were mental and physical matches to Bond as they were both former MI6 agents, but still very different from each other. I'm babbling, I know - so let's just say Goldfinger's a badass with badass henchmen (ODDJOB!!!) and leave it at that.

"examine plans carefully", something I
picked up in "the Navy".

It's amazing how much stuff I came up with in under a minute after I started up. There's no title screen whatsoever - I could come up with lots of insults and questions aimed at Mindscape, but I won't bother. If the game cuts right to the chase, so will I. "Cutting right to the chase" is quite literal, as the game begins from a car chase. Although many scenes in the game are inspired by the movie Goldfinger, the game is not as close to the movie's script as the previous Bond adventure, so you'll have to think for yourself quite a bit - and do it good. After fumbling with different commands for a time, I typed the always effective "shit". The game asked me if I was venting out my frustrations. I cracked up, I truly did. I found it hilarious, and it brought me one step closer to enjoying this game. After the same situation repeated, I tried "fuck", and the game asked me if that was something I learned in the Navy. I cracked up again. This game just garnered in a few points, by simply responding sarcastically and intelligently to less intelligent, less formal commands.

Seriously, though, Goldfinger is a drag to even try to play. There are some improvements over the text parser. For example, "look closely" ALWAYS works just as good as "examine carefully" - in the previous game, it depended on the specifics of the situation. When it comes to complying to a variety of verbs in general, Goldfinger feels like a masterpiece in comparison to A View to a Kill. But then some truths come around to smack you in the face. In this game, one mistake won't get you killed - directly, that is. Instead, if you make one mistake, the game goes into some sort of a "mistake mode" - there's a whole string of mistakes waiting in that mode. You can't escape, there's nothing you can do, but the game just keeps juicing the situation up and from the looks of it, it's expecting you to find the one command that would get you out of the situation. Well, there is one: "load".

The bit about Tilly Masterson's figure
makes this game sound like a dirty novel.
The box art doesn't help.
An example of this sort of situation can take place after the very first move in the game. If you miss one command, one of the Goldfinger thugs chasing you will knock you out, take you to some torture chamber, and make you watch as Goldfinger does quick work on your female companion and then proceeds to cut your balls off with a laser. The text description explains this all in a LOT of detail (I mean BLAH-BLAH-BLAH), and stops to stand by for a totally useless command on several occasions before informing you that the game is over, something it could've done about a dozen paragraphs back. This is kind of like an overtly stretched death animation in any modern game - the main differences being that there's no animation in this game, and secondly, watching someone die was never this boring.

If you're desperate to get the hang of Goldfinger, it's going to be hard. It's a very hard, delicate game, that requires ultimate precision. The text is so long, detailed and boring to read, that at least I find ultimate precision impossible to spot. Well, at least Bond responds to navigational commands a little better, there's little need to drop items, and inquiries in full sentences are rare. Considering the theme on top of these semi-positives, I'm with Goldfinger over A View to a Kill. It's bad, yes, obsolete, absolutely, but better. And funnier - it's good that they taught the game to actually answer to some of the most usual commands people tried playing the previous game with.

+ It won't take your bullshit sitting down, it responds with wit; I approve!
+ The text parser is a little less limited than in A View to a Kill
+ Based on one of the best Bond movies ever made, and the golden text is a good touch - a minor and predictable one, but good

- It's still a game that was dead on arrival - actually even moreso than its predecessor; last time, I asked about the sense of releasing a text adventure licensed off a movie in 1985. Now, I'm asking about the sense of releasing a text adventure in 1986, licensed off a movie that was made over 20 years before.
- No title screen, or theme song or anything, just text all the way...
- ...Text which is long, too detailed and impossible to enjoy
- The smallest mistakes lead to whole alternative three-page scenarios which are boring as hell, and inescapable

< 2.2 >

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