sunnuntai 16. joulukuuta 2012

REVIEW - James Bond 007: The Duel | GEN | 1993

GENRE(S): Action
RELEASED: May 14, 1993
DEVELOPER(S): The Kremlin
PUBLISHER(S): Domark Software, Tengen

While the 17th Bond movie - which was to be 1995's super-successful GoldenEye - was stuck in development hell and Timothy Dalton was this close to leaving the movie, which he ultimately did leaving the spot for Pierce Brosnan to vacate, an odd game called James Bond 007: The Duel was released on all of Sega's three systems. It was an arcade-style run 'n' gun game, pretty much a clone of the 1986 cult classic Rolling Thunder. It's often noted as the first 007 game with an original plot and for Timothy Dalton's final "appearance" as James Bond... sadly, not for much else.

Suicide agent

A mad scientist has taken over an island, and hired a few of 007's deadliest enemies to counter any resistance from MI6 as he is putting his grand scheme of world domination in motion.

I'm seriously having trouble seeing the difference
between the water and parts of the sub.
Let's start with the first and last positive note(s) I have to make about this game. First off, James Bond 007: The Duel is the seventh game I've reviewed as a part of this marathon, and strangely the first one to feature the James Bond theme song. Secondly, it's got Jaws in it. There are a few other villains from the actual movie franchise, but Jaws... Jaws is the man. I'm not too fond of how confrontations with the giant play out, but it's good to see 'im. Well, that's about it.

The graphics are flat, and the level design is confusing beyond measure. The music's all right, but the sound effects and voice samples - grunts and screams - are absolutely horrid. As you go around saving damsels in distress, they sound more horrified than relieved.

Saving damsels is one of the main points of the game, and what you'll start with in each of the four levels. What's a relief, is that when you die - which will be VERY OFTEN - each lady you've managed to save is checked off the list. So, even if (and when) you die and have to start the level over, you won't have to go through the trouble of besting the awkward level design to find them again. Once you've saved all the ladies in one level, you need to find a bomb to blow the level sky high. Once you've done that, you need to square off with a boss - or manage to evade him long enough to find the exit. It's as simple as that, and the game only has four levels. Unfortunately, surviving or merely figuring out just one level in this butthole of a game isn't as simple.

Fear not, my lady. Bond, James Bond. Sworn
nemesis of the Predator.
Confrontations with enemies are usually all about doing or dying - the moment they see you, they'll put a bullet or two in your flesh, and you won't have anything to do about that. James ducks if he feels like it - most of the time he's just pointing his gun downwards when you press down - and evading to the background is a rare opportunity, which usually comes at moments there are no enemies in sight. With a little trial and error, you'll figure out that you can actually kill enemies while they're off-screen. It's just too bad that they usually spawn from both directions, making it near-impossible for you to survive one screen unscathed. James jumps backwards with each hit, and in a game that's all about hazards below, that's one damn annoying mannerism. Also, you cannot adjust his jumps at all. In a game in which you can die by falling from heights, and which forces you to jump into the blue all the time, it's a lethal flaw.

James Bond 007: The Duel is not a fun game to play, but it's a credible enough effort as a piece of 007 merchandise, which makes it a curiosity for true fans. The levels which go up, down, sideways and across, spotty controls and James' suicidal tendencies make this heap impossible to truly enjoy.

+ The theme song, classic villains and Dalton's likeness make it feel authentic
+ Decent music throughout
+ A better checkpoint system than in most games of the era

- Horrible sound effects
- Control issues and suicidal mannerisms
- Flat, bland and confusing level design
- Falling from heights kills you, and ironically, you're forced to jump into the complete unknown a little too often

< 4.9 >

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