Well, this was painful. As I mentioned last time, I’m a lifelong fan of James Bond. As such, I had seen all the movies and played all of the console games. While it was a joy to look at the games that deserve a star on the memorial board at MI6 last time, the time has come now to look at the seven games that deserve to be dropped in Stromberg’s shark tank.
Before I begin, I need to stress two points. First, I only considered console releases for these lists. I never got to play the games that only showed up on the Apple II, Commodore 64, and ZX Spectrum; thus, it wouldn’t be fair to judge them. Second, these rankings are based on my own experience playing these games, not sales charts or the reviews of others. As before, if you disagree with my picks, send me a Tweet. Well, no putting it off any longer. Let’s look at 007’s worst assignments.
7. James Bond 007 – Atari 2600, Atari 5200, ColecoVision
For those who had never heard of Bond, this would have been a terrible first impression. I am nostalgic enough to overlook how old a game is if it plays well and is fun. However, this one is a near unplayable rip-off of Moon Patrol. The environmental deformation from enemy attacks was a neat idea, but the way it was implemented here makes the game frustrating. Even though it sucked even for the time, I am giving a little slack for its age which is why it’s only at 7.
6. 007 Legends – PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U
The idea of a playable “Greatest Hits” package of Bond’s older missions was a neat idea, but 007 Legends royally screwed it up. First, whoever picked which movies were featured needed to be fired. While missions from Goldfinger and Skyfall were understandable, why were the much lamer Moonraker, License to Kill, and Die Another Day featured? Also, the minute-to-minute gameplay didn’t feel like James Bond; instead it felt like a third-rate Call of Duty with a tux. While From Russia With Love was the best way to honour 007’s past adventures, 007 Legends was the worst.
5. Tomorrow Never Dies – PlayStation
After the phenomenal success of GoldenEye, the follow-up movie was quickly green-lighted for a game adaptation. On the surface, things looked promising with skiing and driving missions to add to the third-person shoot-outs. However, this PS1 game sucked in every way that mattered. The missions were poorly designed and glitchy as hell, the mechanics were broken, and the game regularly cheated. There were plenty of times in the first mission where the enemies could hit me, even from behind the comfort of a wall while my point-blank shots didn’t hit. Eliot Carver could doom the world for all I care.
4. James Bond 007: The Duel – Sega Master System, Genesis/Megadrive, Game Gear
I didn’t put this game on the list just because it’s an old platformer; I put it on the list because it’s a terrible old platformer. Despite having his face on the package and on the title screen, The Duel has nothing to do with either of Timothy Dalton’s films, but that’s the least of the game’s problems. The level designs are terrible; I got lost nearly a dozen times on the first stage. Couple that with unforgivably slippery controls, and you have a recipe for an endless supply of cheap deaths. This one sucked in the 90s, and it sucks now.
3. The World Is Not Enough – PlayStation
While the N64 version of The World Is Not Enough skirted my best list, the PS1 version easily made the worst list. Like with Tomorrow Never Dies, I appreciated how the developers tried to put variety into the game with hacking and poker mini-games and the like. However, that didn’t excuse the main experience being broken. The graphics were awful, the framerate was unplayable, and the shooting glitched up a storm. This game would’ve been too painful even for Renard.
2. 007 Racing – PlayStation
A Twisted Metal rip-off should’ve worked for a Bond game, but 007 Racing blew it in every way conceivable. The level designs were confusing mazes, the enemies could hit you through the scenery, and the weapons for Bond’s Aston Martin all sucked. The story didn’t make going through the pain of playing the game worth it, either; it was a cliched mess that made the generic plot of Agent Under Fire seem like Goldfinger. Five minutes of this garbage would have you looking for the self-destruct button.
1. James Bond Jr. – Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo
As much of a fan of 007 as I am, I couldn’t stand the James Bond Jr. cartoon series. While 007 in the films was the epitome of cool, his nephew in the cartoon came across as a dweeb whom Jaws would’ve had for lunch were it not for IQ’s gadgets and the fact that the villains were written to be more pathetic. As terrible as the cartoon was, it was STILL better than the game based on it. The James Bond Jr. game is a compendium of everything that could suck about 8- and 16-bit platformers. Slippery controls, horrible level designs, cheap deaths, bland graphics, tons of glitches… this train wreck had the whole package. This would’ve sucked on its own, but being based on a terribly lame cartoon poured salt into the wound. SPECTRE would’ve easily taken over the world if we had to depend on this putz.
Well, those are my picks for the worst of Bond’s playable adventures. Think I missed something on this list or the last one? Have any suggestions for retro gaming countdowns you’d like me to do? Hit me up on Twitter.