The Micro User1st December 1989
Published in The Micro User 7.10
Bond is back
As Timothy Dalton hangs up his Beretta for another year and Batman replaces Licence To Kill as the film to see, the Domark programming machine finally gives a cough and a splutter and deposits yet another game of the film onto the market.
Domark has excelled with the packaging - a video-sized plastic box is adorned with photos of hunky Mr. Dalton and some cracking screenshots from the game.
Unfortunately the company omit to state that the very impressive full-colour pictures are taken from the 16-bit version and not the measly two-colour BBC Micro program - a minor oversight, I'm sure.
Divided into three scenes, each having several sub-sections, the game follows Bond's epic battle with evil drugs baron Sanchez. Bond's success or failure lies in your hands. Personally I'd let Sanchez go about his business and take up crochet work instead... it's more exciting.
The action takes place in a diminutive portion of a two-colour display and, apart from the sound ofyour own gun, several sections of the game are played in complete silence.
Part one of scene one sees Bond and Leiter in a high speed helicopter chase with the fleeing Sanchez and his girlfriend.
By peppering Sanchez's car with bullets, you can force him to stop. Just watch out for the tall buildings and gun emplacements as you zip through Cray Cay.
Having blocked Sanchez's escape you continue the chase on foot. Reminiscent of the arcade game Commando, you control Bond from above as he guns down the henchmen while running through a built-up area.
One annoying aspect is the way the enemy's bullets bend towards you as you step out of their original flight path - this appears to be linked to the screen scrolling.
You are advised to conserve your ammunition since you set out with a finite number of clips for your pistol. Additional ones may be dropped by deceased bad guys, but unless you are very careful you will still find yourself sprinting the last few hundred metres with an empty pistol in your hand.
In the final part of scene one Mr. Bond and partner are following Sanchez's plane using a helicopter. With Bond swinging from a rope you must manoeuvre him into position above the tail ofthe plane and, using split second timing, press Fire and attach a tow rope tothe decidedly uncooperative aircraft.
Moving onto scene number two we find Mr. Bond in up to his neck in drug smugglers. James interrupts a drugs drop in Miami Bay and finds himself the target of the irate smugglers' anger. Swimming for his life he is pursued - and often run down - by rubber dinghies.
Apparently James isarmed with a knife with which to puncture the enemy divers and destroy the packets ofdrugs that fall from Sanchez's boat.
I couldn't seem to get him to do very much apart from die, but still I'm sure it will be all right on the night.
Due to my inability to complete the swimming event I failed to reach the second part of scene two where Bond tries his hand at water skiing behind a seaplane. Not to be outdone, I used a Hac man-type trick to reach the third and final scene.
With his drugs factory in ruins, Sanchez makes a dash for the border, his stock of drugs stashed in a fleet of 18-wheel tankers.
In a high-speed chase sequence you must destroy the tankers without falling foul of the Sanchez's Stinger missiles. Upon destroying the last - the one with Sanchez aboard - the game repeats itself, but with an increased level of difficulty.
I don't know whether it was because my copy was a pre-production version or not, but the absence of a pause button was a real nuisance.
There is no delay between the various sections, so unless you have thoroughly read and remembered the instructions you can find yourself being launched into the next scene without a clue as to what you are supposed to be doing.
I was most disappointed with Licence To Kill. This is a prime example of a glossy film title being used to market a second rate game.
I may have been more charitable had the game been priced at around the £2.99 mark, but at £14.99 for the disc version it is daylight robbery!
I've never been too happy about games of films and this one was completely new to me as I haven't seen the film either.
However I was quite pleasantly surprised. It's true that the play area is very small and only two colour, but the graphics are drawn to a high standard and the size of the overall game is huge.
I really enjoyed swooping down in the helicopter and blowing the ground defences to bits. The swerving bullets were a bit unnerving but I found the overall gameplay very acceptable and I've enjoyed playing this again and again.