James Bond 007

Name:
James Bond 007
Company: Parker Brothers
Model #:
1380
Programmer:
Joe Hellesen
Year: 1984
Released?
Yes
Notes:
A completely different version was planned but unreleased

Based on four then current James Bond movies (Diamonds are Forever, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, and For Your Eyes Only), 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 on the 2600 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 (Joe only did the programming for the Atari 2600 version).  This version has four different levels loosely based on four different James Bond movies (but not Octopussy oddly enough), but due to technical limitations they all play pretty much the same with small variations.  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 get in his hybrid car/sub vehicle and drive off to the first scenario with a really nice rendition of the James Bond theme playing.  It's interesting to note that the order of the scenario's in the final version is different than in all the prototype versions.  In the released version they seem to go in order of increasing difficulty, but in the prototypes the order makes the difficulty very uneven.  I have no explanation for this as the difficulty level of each scenario seems to have been determined far in advance and wasn't a last minute tweak.  Speaking of scenarios, let's take a look at first stop in James itinerary: Diamonds Are Forever.

 

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 which are being created by satellites overhead.  These satellites are indestructible, so all you can do is try and avoid them as you avoid their blasts.  Later in the level the craters will all fill with water which means that James can jump into them safely, as long as he jumps out before hitting the edge.  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 (although they don't make craters now).  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 The Spy Who Loved Me, the action starts in the ocean again but things are a bit different.  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 'mushroom mines' 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 oil tanker which will launch helicopters at him.  James must dive under the tanker so he doesn't crash into it (easier said than done) and avoid the helicopter's bombs until it gives up and goes away.  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.

 

In Moonraker (a.k.a. James Bond in Space), James must shoot down the poison spewing satellites of Hugo Drax.  This scenario is similar to The Spy Who Loved Me, but features deadly space shuttles instead of helicopters.  Apparently Hugo has developed space shuttles that launch from the ocean floor and explode once they reach the middle of the screen (much like the mushroom mine missiles).  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 but they're not much of a threat.  Beyond the space shuttles the biggest obstacles are the mushroom mine missiles and the shallow rocky terrain (no bottomless oceans here).  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.

 

The final scenario is For Your Eyes Only (only for you...).  Being the last scenario, For Your Eyes Only is naturally the toughest and combines all the elements of the previous scenarios.  Not only must James deal with jumping treacherous terrain, but must also avoid mushroom mine missiles, frogmen, helicopters, and mini subs.  Oh and did I mention that they're all invisible except for when a bomb explodes?  If James is able to survive this onslaught he'll eventually come to the sunken fishing trawler which contains the radio equipment that must be retrieved.  To do this James must carefully maneuver his vehicle onto the center of the trawler and not hit any of the side or it's certain death.  Once you've retrieved the radio equipment James can finally take a well deserved rest and you'll receive a ranking depending on how well you've done (from 000 to 007).

 

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).  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
?/??/84 400/800 Bond WIP 6
Late WIP with level select

 

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