Licence To Kill
James Bond turns plain Jane in 007's eighteenth cinematic exploit, Licence To Kill. Gone are the days of the Sun-loving agent, three-nippled foes and global villainy; in Timothy Dalton's Bond we have a Mail on Sunday Rambo who battles South American drugs barons and a bog-standard plot alike.
The film, however, does number among the series' most spectacular stunts and it's from these that the software licence takes its cue, by linking together six action highlights into scrolly arcade sequences. And considering that they only had its storyboard to work from, programmers, Quixel and artist, Tony West, have managed to come up with a game that looks remarkably faithful to the movie.
Felix Leiter, James Bond's wrinkly chum, has had a leg bitten off by sharks, and his beautiful American bride has been shot dead on their honeymoon. Understandably, this sends our James a little bit doolally and he sets off on a mission to wipe out the man responsible: Sanchez, a villain who aims to corner the Pacific's drug trade.
Scene one has you swooping low in a helicopter in pursuit of Sanchez's Jeep. Avoid trees, buildings, machine gun emplacements and remark how similar in idea this is to the speedboat chase in Domark's last Bondsoft, Live And Let Die. It's really quite pretty but uninspiring stuff.
Things start to get a lot tougher and more interesting next, as Bond gets involved in a shoot-out with Sanchez's henchmen. It takes skill to seek cover while aligning the sights of your gun. But fail to do this and you'll come out with Beretta a-blazing and your bullets missing their mark. You're in a pretty tight spot here, and this is the one section of the game where play comes alive and strategy and brainpower's called for.
The following sequence is equally as tough, though not nearly as interesting, as you dangle from a rope and try to "hook" a getaway plane. This isn't as easy as it might at first appear. Next off, it's a dip into the briney as 007 swims underwater to intercept a drugs haul and knife a few frogmen. Harpoon a seaplane's pontoons and its up for a spot of barefoot skiing. This last touch i snice but has been lifted from the film. Domark, in fact, seem to have fought shy of adding their own creative input. Witness the final sequence, where you pilot a crop-duster plane over a convoy of trucks. The skills required are identical to those for the previous aerial stunts. Licence To Kill is a tough game but it does lack variety.
Which brings me to the final point. Licence To Kill is OK, but it's a game that rests on the laurels of its big name attraction. Pretty to look at, it has a high energy Bond-style soundtrack interspersed by acres of noisy playing time with machine gun fire. Licence To Kill is worth it if you want an average game and you like the film; otherwise I'd say that this is pretty standard fare. No Oscars for this licence, I'm afraid.
The 8-bit version of Licence To Kill comes complete with spectacular gunfire, explosions and generally a better soundtrack than its Amiga counterpart. Also features the famous "following gunsight" which opens every Bond film, and the game has an altogether "pacier" feel.