James Bond 007

James Bond 007

Company: Parker Brothers
Model #:
Joe Gaucher & Paul Crowley
Year: 1984
The names Joe Gaucher & Louis Marbel are hidden in the code

Based on three then current James Bond movies (Diamonds are Forever, The Spy Who Loved Me, and Moonraker), James Bond 007 is at its heart an average side scrolling action game that plays a bit like a cross between Moon Patrol and Super Cobra.  Unfortunately the James Bond synergy isn't particularly strong and feels like it was grafted onto a completely unrelated game.  This is probably because James spends all his time in his vehicle so we never actually control the man himself.



James Bond originally started life as James Bond as Seen in Octopussy (the most current James Bond Movie).  This version of the game would have been based on the sequence from the movie where James fought off assassins on a moving train.  James would have to shoot at and dodge bullets from two armed assassins (Mischka and Grischka) as they ran around on a train cart.  James Bond in Octopussy was seen by more than one person at various game shows and was advertised in at least one PB catalog.  Why this version was ultimately dropped is unknown, but it may not have playtested well.


While the Octopussy version was still being playtested and refined, Parker Brothers decided that they wanted a parallax scrolling James Bond game as well so they tapped Joe Gaucher of On-time software to design and develop it.  This version has three different scenarios loosely based on three different James Bond movies (but not Octopussy oddly enough), but due to technical limitations they all play pretty much the same with small variations. Interestingly versions made for other systems included a fourth scenario based on For Your Eyes Only.The main goal of each scenario is to jump over dangerous terrain while shooting enemies until you either reach your ultimate target.  This is easier said than done however as the this game is brutally hard even on the lowest difficulty level. 

James has both an upward shooting bullet, and a bomb that falls down in an arc (both are lunched with the same button) which are shot in an alternating fashion.  After selecting your difficulty level (either Novice or Agent), James will start to the first scenario.  It's interesting to note that the order of the scenario's in the 2600 version is different than in all the other versions.  In the 2600 version they go: Diamonds Are Forever, Moonraker, and The Spy Who Loved Me while in other versions they go: Diamonds Are Forever, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, and For Your Eyes Only (which is missing from the 2600 version). 


In the Diamonds Are Forever scenario, James must start his adventure by travelling through a crater filled desert area.  James must jump his vehicle over these large craters while dodging both satellites and helicopters overhead.  The satellites and helicopters are indestructible, so all you can do is try and avoid them as you avoid their blasts.  You can also shoot the diamonds floating overhead for points, but it's best to ignore them as James already has his hands full.  After a while you'll move onto the ocean section of this scenario.  The ocean section is pretty similar to the desert except that the vehicle can now dive a short distance before bobbing up to the surface.  This is handy as there are now frogmen shooting bullets at you which must be defeated in addition to the satellites which are still firing on you.  Eventually you'll come upon your final destination the invisible oil rig where Tiffany Case is being held.  Did I say invisible?  Yep, that's right.  The oil rig is completely invisible except for when it's illuminated by the flash made by shooting a diamond.  James must not only shoot diamonds until he sees the rig, but must also jump up and over the derrick and land on the helicopter pad.  If you miss your shot (and you will), Then you must keep going through the level and wait for the rig to show up again.  If you do manage to land in the right spot you'll be taken to the next scenario. 


In Moonraker (a.k.a. James Bond in Space), James must shoot down the poison spewing satellites of Hugo Drax.  Apparently Hugo has developed space shuttles that launch from the ocean floor and explode once they reach the middle of the screen (they also drop a poison mine down when they do this).  When these shuttles explode (this was pre-Challenger remember), James must be under the water or he'll be wiped out.  Oh and there are also mini subs which roam the water and will fire mines at you from beyond.  Unlike all the other scenarios where you must reach a specific target, this one only ends once you shoot down all the satellites.  This scenario can either be the toughest or the easiest depending on how good you are at shooting down the satellites.


In The Spy Who Loved Me, the action starts in the ocean again but things are a bit different this time.  Instead of dodging killer satellites and frogmen, James must watch out for missiles that fire up from the ocean floor (looking like they came right out of Super Cobra).  Once these missiles reach the middle of the screen they turn into fire bombs which fall back down and float on the surface (do I even have to mention that they're deadly?).  After a few moments of dealing with this, James will come to a series of oil tankers and helicopters.  James must dive under the tanker so he doesn't crash into it (easier said than done) and avoid the helicopter's bombs.  The bombs can be avoided by diving under the water, but make sure you don't hit a missile as you're trying this.  After some more time James will come across the undersea base of Stromberg which he must bomb.  Doing this will release a capsule containing one Anya Amasova, whom you must save.  Doing so will end this scenario and the game.  After which you will be given a ranking based on how well you performed from 0 to 7.


The 2600 version is missing several elements from the versions released on other systems.  This isn't surprising given the limitations of the system and the fact that it was the first version developed.  In Diamonds Are Forever, the satellites don't make craters when they fire and the craters never fill with water.  The helicopters also have a searchlight which is supposed to be used to spot you, but they seem to fire at you regardless.  The ocean section also just appears suddenly rather than being seen approaching. In The Spy who Loved Me, the oil tankers no longer launch helicopters, instead they're just a standard enemy that's always around.  The capsule that's released at the end of the level when you destroy the base also floats to the right instead of straight up.  This can make catching it tricky if you're too far away.  Moonraker seems to be more or less the same which isn't surprising given it's the simplest scenario.  For Your Eyes Only is completely missing from the 2600 version, most likely due to memory constraints.


While James Bond 007 isn't a bad game, it's one that's too hard for it's own good.  Some times the terrain and enemies will combine to make unavoidable deaths which is never any fun.  Couple this with some brutally difficult 'jump on the invisible platform' scenarios and you've got a game that's more frustrating than fun.  The variety in the scenarios is nice, but they're all basically the same at heart (which really can't be helped with the limited ROM space of the day).  Although a bit stripped down, the 2600 version actually plays better than the other versions due to tighter controls and modified enemy placement.  If you're willing to put some time into memorizing patterns and making a few leaps of faith, James Bond 007 can be a fun, if frustrating, game.


Version Cart Text Description
?/??/83 VBOND
Appears to be earlier than the other files.  James has a different pose.
?/??/83 VBOND1
Differs from VBOND by one byte
?/??/83 BONDOINF
James has a different pose on the title screen and infinite lives
?/??/83 BONDOFIN
James has a different pose on the title screen
?/??/83 VBONDFIN
Same as BONDOFIN but has a small section of code NOP'ed out
?/??/83 VBONDINF
?/??/83 BONDNINF
Final Version with infinite lives
12/8/83 BONDNFIN
Final Version


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