maanantai 17. joulukuuta 2012

REVIEW - James Bond 007 | GB | 1998

GENRE(S): Action / Adventure
RELEASED: December 15, 1998
PUBLISHER(S): Nintendo

After striking a good nerve with the Rare-developed megahit GoldenEye 007, Nintendo grabbed Saffire Corporation's offer of a 007 game for the original Game Boy. One of the final games to be released on Nintendo's legendary handheld, this game, simply entitled James Bond 007, was a Legend of Zelda clone with puzzles mildly influenced by old school graphic adventure games. More surprising than the Saffire Corporation's choice of gameplay style, is that the game ain't half bad.

The name's Link... just Link

James Bond travels the eastern hemisphere in an effort to expose a weapons smuggling ring, which some of his arch enemies are involved with.

The first boss, and probably
the most difficult one in the
whole game!
I had absolutely no idea what type of a game I was going to be dealing with here, I was just pretty sure it would suck balls. The twilight years of the original Game Boy were filled with half-baked ports or alternative versions of major titles, and sucky games with big brand names that had no place in the world and were only out to disgrace the franchises they spawned from - Castlevania Legends. Castlevania Legends, I tell you. Well, James Bond 007 turned out a big, nice surprise - a clone, definitely, but a clone of a good game, that being The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. I think the worst thing the game did to me was remind me how I still haven't finished up the Link's Awakening review. It's not nearly as good, of course. It's sometimes enfuriating, even more often its annoyingly cryptic, and most often it's boring as hell, but it's a decent game, full of corny, generic punchlines that should make any fan of old school Bond with Connery or Moore inexplicably happy.

The game looks decent enough, disregarding the fact it was made as late as 1998. We can all guess how interested developers were in making a Game Boy game look half decent at that time, especially a licensed game that was expected to sell by its name alone, and moreover, a game licensed from the same franchise as one of the last year's best-selling and most critically acclaimed games. A horrible remix of the Bond theme song plays in the title screen, just begging you to start the game as soon as you can, but the rest of the bunch of low-fi jingles ain't that bad.

I need a drink.
James Bond 007 basically plays exactly like The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. By default, the B button is used for blocking attacks, and the A button is for punching. You can - and must - manually assign functions and items for the A and B buttons, without necessarily having to assign an attack or block button. In time, you'll gain access to different weapons, and items that'll prove valuable enough for you to sacrifice the blocking ability altogether for long periods of time. You'll spend most of your time looking for key items in the vein of a vintage adventure game, trading them for other key items until you get to your main objective, which is usually completed through a boss. There are some minor side quests for the most eager to complete in each level, as well. Yep, there are levels. Ten of them, to be exact. Estimated time? About two hours. Three, tops. It's not a hard one.

Only James Bond can walk
casually into a women's
Might seem hard, at first, though, as it turns out to be a very cryptic game from the very start. You're off to find a key item from a small map full of dead ends and no visible anomalies anywhere, not in interior or exterior areas. The small size of the map turns out an advantage - what do you do if you go face to face with a cryptic game? Why, you punch the shit out of every empty corner, of course. In a case like Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, the cryptic nature of the game is lethal because the area to explore is so damn vast, and Simon's movement is not nearly as limited as James', who can only punch and block in the beginning of the game. So, just punch, punch, punch every background item and empty corner you see, and eventually you'll get the key item and be able to proceed. This tactic works pretty much throughout the game, but luckily there are a lot of "puzzles" - most of which are just item errands - which can be solved with logical thought.

Unlike its greatest influence, James Bond 007 isn't good, consistent or interesting enough to be played at home, but a two-three-hour trip might go a lot faster with this game along for the ride. Definitely not the worst game I've played during the marathon, although it counters GoldenEye 007's awesome rendition of the theme song with the worst one I've ever heard, and it pesters the player with cryptic fetchquests.

+ Obviously cloned from one of the original Game Boy's best games
+ Surprisingly close to the actual style of James Bond movies with its balanced mix of action and social adventuring

- The inventory system disallows automatic use of such items as the body armor
- An awful remix of the theme song
- Some extremely cryptic and/or repetitive and boring errands
- Key items are rarely visible
- Quarter of a pixel is quite enough to separate you from your objective - for example, you might not get the item you're looking for before your fourth or fifth try of what seems to be the exact same spot

< 7.0 >

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