James Bond 007: From Russia With Love GameCube
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Released on 18/11/2005
Players will create and manipulate Bond in a living world based on the timeless fiction of the classic James Bond movie. Invest in your character and customize the ultimate Bond for a whole new level of gameplay options.
Sean Connery, the original Bond, reprises his role as the dapper Mi6 agent in this innovative, retro-styled and highly anticipated console title from the infamous Bond franchise.
- Build your own Bond, based on Sean Connery, in a retro, 1960s Cold War era setting
- A breathing, vibrant, living 1960¡¦s-styled world including classic cars, architecture, fashion, and exotic locations
- Bleeding edge Hollywood production
- Innovative gameplay, wider variety, non-linear missions, introduction of new focus/zoom function
- Addictive and social multiplayer experience
- RPG elements: Invest in your character by equipping, upgrading, scoring/rewards
- Intense action, driving, jetpack and stealth missions
- Game features movie-based missions as well as original, action-intensive sequences
- Fully integrated vehicles, over a dozen weapons, and classic gadgetry with modern mechanics
Bond is back! But is he better than before? Mark investigates?
It wouldn't be unfair to call last year's Goldeneye Rogue Agent something of a disappointment. Far from the long awaited sequel to the classic N64 James Bond title, it instead featured one of the worst puns in gaming - an agent with a golden eye working for one of the many bad guys in the Bond universe. Ultimately, the association with the much-loved Rare shooter did more harm than good, and Goldeneye fans reacted against their broken hope of a new, official sequel to one of the best shooters ever made.
On the whole though, it would be harsh to label a game that didn't even feature the titular British spy a true 007 game. That leaves previous Bond game Everything Or Nothing as the nearest basis for comparison - handy, as that game is widely regarded as the best EA Bond title yet, and also seems to be the most direct inspiration for the newest in the series.
From Russia With Love follows on from Everything or Nothing by offering a third person perspective and a varied mixture of playing styles. Outside of your usual run 'n' gun action we have stealth, puzzle solving, driving and even airborne sections. The other major selling point also takes its cue from the previous instalment and enlists genuine Hollywood talent for an adventure with authentic Bond production values. Electronic Arts have dipped into the licence and once again pulled out a trump card in the form of an actual movie 007 providing the voice talent and main character likeness. And whereas Pierce Brosnan was previously good enough, EA have chosen to produce a film adaptation for which only the best will do. Step forward Sean Connery.
So, it's got the best Bond in the starring role, but is it the best Bond game yet? On first impressions it may be too hard to tell, but we can certainly say that it promises to be the best movie adaptation yet to come from the EA superspy stable.
Promises to be the best movie adaptation yet to come from the EA superspy stable.
Of all the films in the franchise, 1963's From Russia With Love may seem an odd choice for videogame selection. After all, Dr. No was the first, and Goldfinger is widely regarded as the best of the Connery spy films. But the second Bond movie is also Sean Connery's favourite, which goes a long way to explaining why it was chosen. And then there's story; Bond is lured into a trap by the crime cartel SPECTRE seeking revenge for the death of their operative, Dr. No. With a host of beautiful women, memorable scenes and a whole evil organisation of bad guys for Bond to battle, the latest 007 game all of a sudden begins to look like a natural choice.
If there's another aspect that made Russia perfect videogame fodder it's the way the story is open to interpretation. To that end, EA have also added several new levels at the beginning, middle and end of the adventure to augment the story with added action. The first level for instance takes place at the Houses of Parliament, and sees Bond fighting his way to the roof in order to rescue the Prime Minister's daughter, played in the game by Natasha Bedingfield.
This section alone gives an example of what to expect in the final release. Bond controls remarkably like Gabe Logan from the Syphon Filter games; L1 locks on to enemies and R1 fires, which allows the spy to switch targets and fire on the move. You can also zoom your view in to manually direct your gunfire, especially handy in cutting the zip cords of hanging enemies, sending them spiralling to the ground below. Bond can also crouch to take cover from enemy gunfire or use this for stealth kills, and sidle along walls and shoot around corners for a more cautious approach to infiltration. Lastly, taking its cue from Resident Evil 4, is that bond can follow on-screen prompts when up close with enemies for some pretty nifty hand to hand combat.
A distinct bonus of this new level is its introduction of a Rocketman style Jetpack. The final battle of the level has Bond pitched against a helicopter with the Prime Minister's kidnapped daughter on board - and, in typical Bond logic, the best way to rescue her seems to be to blow up the chopper. Go figure. Despite the absurdity of the scenario though, and the plentiful invisible walls surrounding the battle that keep things confined to the immediate airspace of the Big Ben clock tower, it's all quite a lot of fun. You fire unlimited machinegun bullets at the helicopter, avoid its missiles and watch as an on-screen health indicator for the boss diminishes, then the scene rounds up with a cutscene of Bond flying through the chopper to rescue the lovely lady before the 'copter cinematically explodes.
A host of beautiful women, memorable scenes and a whole evil organisation of bad guys for Bond to battle.
Added to the central combat, flying and gunplay mechanics are the new RPG elements. Basically, finding certain items in the game, along with beating certain challenges and uncovering specific 'Bond moments' will allow players to upgrade weapons, unlock extra content and even additional multiplayer maps.
Ah yes, multiplayer - a central element of any Bond title since Goldeneye first gave us frantic four-way splitscreen play all those years ago. The good news here is that From Russia With Love also features four-way play, across a variety of game modes with a multitude of Bond characters, gadgets, and environments. That may seem pretty standard fare for a Bond title nowadays, but add to that the jetpack and an impressive sense of scale, and it promises to be more than just an afterthought.
There are certain elements we'd like to see improved for the final version, however. A choppy framerate when the screen gets particularly busy doesn't help the hi-octane nature of the gameplay, and some outdoor environments are vastly prettier than monotone indoor sections. However, we can live with these sacrifices for a game boasting such an impressive amount of action and highly detailed character models. It's a trade off, but doesn't really damage the game overall.
Thankfully, our early play-testing would suggest From Russia With Love could be an improvement over Everything or Nothing. Though it may not prove to be the Goldeneye beater that hardcore gamers have been pining for, the second oldest James Bond film could still prove to be the second best Bond game ever, and certainly enough to appease the spy's eager fan base. Like Bond himself, we'll drink to that.
Preview by: Mark Scott
Version Tested: PS2
Preview Published: 02.11.05
James Bond 007:From Russia With Love … (02/11/2005)
Bond is back! But is he better than before? Mark investigates?
It wouldn't be unfair to call last year's Goldeneye Rogue Agent something of a disappointment. F…
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