Licence to Kill

by Andrew Blazdell, John Kavanagh, Quixel, Raffaele Cecco, Tony West, Robin Behling
Domark Ltd
Crash Issue 68, Sep 1989   page(s) 46,47


This is rather topical, seeing as I only managed to see the film last night! And a jolly enjoyable flick it was too, probably the best Bond yet, I think. And this has absolutely no connection with the fact that Talisa Soto (drooool!) is in it. Oh no, we don't fancy her at all!

The plot is simple (that's not new for a Bond film!): evil drugs baron Sanchez kidnaps Bond's mate Felix on his wedding night and does him in. Bond gets all stroppy about this, and goes after Sanchez, much to the annoyance of M, who revokes his Licence to Kill. What follows is predictable enough: two fast and furious hours of Bond gunning for Sanchez.

As usual with film tie-ins, a selection of the better scenes make a multi-stage arcade game. In this case, we've got three scenes subdivided into individual parts. In part one of the first scene you must blast Sanchez's jeep from your helicopter. Then it's out of the chopper, and foot slogging, dodging your way through the scenery shooting baddies as you go.

To top off load-one, Bond is lowered by rope from the helicopter, and has to get a tow rope onto the tall of Sanchez's plane.

Scene two happens at sea, with some vertically scrolling swim-'n'-shoot-'em-up action. Like the movie, the final stage is where the tanker trucks go hurtling along the mountain road in the escape from the drug factory, Bond doing his best to stop them.

It's all jolly good clean fun (say no to the evils of drugs, kids!). The graphics are good, and there's plenty of variation, though the game is a bit tough. It's good to see someone not making a complete mess of a fairy good licence for a charge! Licence to Continue, Domark.

MIKE [79%]

This block busting James Bond game should be renamed Licence To Make The Player Jolly Mad! It's well put together, and all the graphics and sound are what we have come to expect from Domark, but it's just too hard for the likes of me. I could just about manage to get through the first bit, but was then confronted with a tiny stick man to represent me and miles of gun blasting enemies to wade through! The later levels are really good, with James swimming after speed boats (wooo!), and a dare devil truck race. There's great playability to be had in Licence To Kill, but you're going to have to be a pretty hot gamesplayer to get at it (is Nicko admitting his fallings? - Ed.).
NICK [80%]

Presentation: 82%
Graphics: 80%
Sound: 80%
Playability: 80%
Addictivity: 75%
Overall: 80%

Summary: Good adaption of the film, playable when you're used to the difficulty level.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 66, Jun 1991   page(s) 76


RICH PELLEY goes dizzy over the latest batch of Codies games and JON PILLAR has quite a bit of trouble getting a word in edgeways.

Hit Squad
Reviewer: Rich Pelley

Did you know that the 00 in 007 actually means licence to kill? Oh, you did. But it still brings us neatly onto the film tie-in of the latest Bond game, featuring 007 who, as we now all know, is in fact licenced to kill. Handy, really, because killing is what you spend most of your time doing during the game.

Once again, Domark have opted for the multi-parter (but impressively not multiloader) shoot-'em-up. Part 1 has you flying up-screen in a helicopter, blasting things on the ground and hopefully not flying into any buildings whilst you're at it. Complete this, and Part 2 is more shoot-'em-up stuff, this time at ground level on foot, involving you shooting baddies. One nice touch (but which makes things harder) is that instead of simply firing straight, you're given a gunsight which can be rotated around.

Level 3 sees you having to attach a tow-rope to the back of a moving helicopter or something - Dr B didn't make it too clear in his review (where he scored it 79°), and I haven't had a chance to, er, check out this level yet (which is followed by a few more in which James does a spot of swimming water-skiing and blowing up army trucks).

All the other Bond licences before this one have been rubbish, but not so here. Each part is a good little game in itself - totally unoriginal of course, but certainly worth the 50p which is effectively what you're paying. And as they are neatly tied together, the prospect of a completely different level once you've completed the last will keep you playing as well. Er, right. Why not buy it then?

Overall: 79%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 60, Dec 1990   page(s) 61

Coming, erm, now actually, to a cinema near you...


Knowing full well what a square-eyed bunch you are, we thought it was about time you were given the facts on film and television licenced games. Once again, JONATHAN DAVIES was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

(Cough. Deep, manly voice.)

'In the beginning there were loads and loads of Speccy games. Loads of them. They sold all right, but not exactly in enormous numbers. The trouble was, you see, that none of them seemed particularly exciting. They had nothing that caught the public eye. They were just computer games. Had no 'cred'.

Then a small cog within a long-since-extinct software house had an idea.

"Why don't we give our next game the same name as an incredibly popular film? Then everyone would buy it just because they'd seen the film and they'd foolishly think the game would be just as good. How about i, eh?"

"Er, we could do, I suppose."


"But what if the film company finds out? They might sue us or something."

"Oh yeah."


"I know - we could ask them first."

"That's a point. Go on then."

"What? Me?"

"Yeah. Give them a ring and ask if they'd mind."

"Oo-er. Cripes. Okay then." (Dials very long trans-Atlantic phone number.)

"Hullo. We'd like to name our new game after your film and we were wondering if it was okay by you. Right... yes... oh, I see." (Cups hand over receiver.) "They want us to give them lots of money."

"Erm, well in that case we'd better." (Removes hand.) "Yes, that'll be fine. We'll send you some right away. Bye."


"But. er..."


"How are we going to come up with a game that's anything like the film?"

"I don't know really."

"How about if we have a bloke walking around shooting people?"

"That sounds fine. I'll program it right away."

And so the film and telly licence was born. It... cough. Choke.

Oops. There goes the deep, manly voice.

Anyway, film and telly games, eh? Everyone's doing them these days, as they're one of the few remaining ways of making serious money with computer games. Run a grubby finger down the charts and you'll find nearly all the top-sellers are film and telly licences. (Or arcade conversions, of course.)

But why do we keep buying them? After all, just because a game's named after a really brill film doesn't mean it's going to be any good, does it? Surely we aren't buying them simply because of the flashy name on the box?

Erm, well in the old days, software houses assumed this to be the case, and chucked out a stream of absolutely appalling games with 'big name' titles. Things like Miami Vice, The Dukes Of Hazard and Highlander were all pretty dreadful, but it was hoped that they'd sell on the strength of their names. But we weren't fooled. Oh no. The games didn't sell well, and the companies were forced to think again.

Eventually they came up with... the 'bloke walking around shooting things' idea. And they've used it more or less ever since. Lucky then that they tend to be jolly good all the same, and sometimes come up with the odd original idea to spice things up (like The Untouchables did, or perhaps Back To The Future Part II).


As always seems to be the case, the trusty YS ratings system doesn't really seem adequate when it comes to film and telly games. So here's what we've put together instead...

What does it look like? Nice? Or not very nice at all? (You mean are the graphics any good? Ed) Er, yes. That's it in a nutshell. (Then why didn't you just say the first place? Ed) Erm...

How does the general atmosphere compare to the film or telly programme the game's meant to go with? Have programmers just taken a bog-standard game and stuck a flashy name on it? Or have they made an effort to incorporate a bit of the 'feel' of the original?

Does the plot follow along the same sort of lines as the film or telly programme? Is there plenty action-packedness? And is the game the same all way through, or does it follow the original's twists and turns?

Um, how does the game compare to all the licences around at the moment? Is it better? Or worse? In other words, is it a 'cut' above the rest? (is that really the best you can manage? Ed)


Domark didn't have much luck with their early Bond games. They weren't desperately bad, but the programming smacked of amateurism and they were generally considered to be wasted opportunities. What those first games had though, which Licence To Kill doesn't, is a reasonable level of originality. They were multiloaders with several very different (if slightly crap) levels, while this one is more of a vertically-scrolling shoot-'em-up with very minor differences between levels.

There are flying levels, driving levels, walking levels and even swimming levels. They're all vertically-scrolling. And they're all quite good. Yes, although it's not brilliant, this Bond game has at least been properly put together. The graphics are fine, it plays quite well and ties in with the film pretty convincingly. But it's still only 'quite' a good film game. It proves Domark can program properly if they really try, but it doesn't really further the cause of licences by extracting much inspiration from the film.

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Lights: 79%
Camera: 71%
Action: 76%
Cut: 69%
Overall: 77%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 45, Sep 1989   page(s) 86,87

£9.99 cass/£14.99 disk
Reviewer: Marcus Berkmann

The names Berkmann, Dr Berkmann. Enormous weapon and licence to review. Hey, did you know that this film was originally going to be called Licence Revoked, but had to be changed to its present title because not enough Americans knew what revoked means? HAHAHAHAHA. It's true.

I've always felt a bit sorry for those Domark boys with their Bond games. I mean every time a new Bond movie comes out, you know sure as knees are knobbly that it'll be about a femtosecond before the Speccy version is out, with loads of posters, amazing packaging and a completely crap game inside. Trouble is, now everyone thinks that every Bond game is going to be a pile of jobbies, so it doesn't matter how brillsvile it turns out to be - no-ones going to want to know.

They deserve it, of course. A View To A Kill was dreadful, Living Daylights wasn't much better, and the other one was so bad I can't even remember its name.

Still, its a bit of a pity, because, this time, they've been and gorn and done it. Against all expectations, Licence To Kill is a pretty nifty game.

Now, it ain't original. Countless vertically scrolling shoot 'em ups from Commando on are the clear inspiration, with the multi-mode sophistication of Vindicator an obvious recent model. But Licence To kill obviously has to link in with with the plot of the film, and that Domark has done very well. All sorts of action sequences have been plucked from the movie and transferred. So for instance there's the exciting helicopter chase, as Bond and Felix "Is that a face lift or what?" Leiter chase Sanchez and his extremely fruity girlfriend (slaver drool slurp) in their jeep. There's the bit when Bond hangs from the 'copter trying to clamber onto Sanchez's plane, and then there's the... what? Haven't you seen the fillum? Clot. Go and see it right now.

Anyway, it all adds up to some action-packed nonsense which whiles away the time quite nicely - and that applies to both film and game. There are six sections, all slightly different, but all in the same vertically scrolling mould. First up is the helicopter bit. There you are, chasing Sanchez and trying to avoid being shot down by the various gun emplacements along the way. Well, anyone who's played Vindicator or a trillion other games will know what to do - shoot up those gun emplacements. But be careful too not to crash into any buildings along the way. If you feel like just whizzing past and trying to dodge the bullets, you can accelerate and take your chances.

This, though, is one of those gamelets which depends on knowing your terrain. At first it's pretty tricky but with practice becomes easier - and any damage you sustain is not carried over into the next section (although lost lives are).

Next up, Bondy's on foot. Shaken (but thankfully not stirred) by a number of explosions going on around him, he dodges bullets and tries to knockk off his many assailants. Unfortunately those oil drums he keeps standing behind have a tendency to blow up, which makes this section a good deal trickier than it may first appear. You can shoot only in one direction, although by holding down the fire button you can change that direction. As most of the baddies come from above, you'll soon find that shooting straight ahead is your best option for staying alive. This is definitely the best section of the game - getting through it is a genuine challenge.

And the next one please. In Part Three, Bond finds himself lowered by rope from the helicopter as his enemy Sanchez tries to zip off to Cuba in his aircraft to stock up on cigars. You're guiding the chopper (oo-er) and the idea is to get as close to the back of the aircraft as poss so that Bondy can, attach the towrope to it (yo ho ho). Difficult. Especially as you lose control through the clouds.

That's as nothing, though, to the next sequence, which finds Bond going for a quiet swim and accidentally on purpose running into some drug smugglers. They start chasing him, but not terribly efficiently it seems, because he's perfectly capable of evading them if he's clever. Dive below the surface, and mere are divers chasing you (and of course you can only hold you're breath for so long...). Glub along on the surface again and you could be shot by the baddies on the boats. Needs good judgement!

And so it goes on. In fact there are two more sections to play, one in which you try your hand at a bit at water ski-ing, and the last in which you've got to blow up an army of trucks in an attempt to rid Sanchez of his drugs stash. But try as I might, I haven't managed to get that far yet! I will, I will...

Yeah, it's good. Not as good as Sean Connery but better than George Lazenby. And it's streets ahead - towns, even - of Domark's previous Bond releases. As Q would say, "Now pay attention, 007..." - (Eh? Ed)

Life Expectancy: 77%
Graphics: 78%
Instant Appeal: 80%
Addictiveness: 84%
Overall: 79%

Summary: Surprisingly playable and addictive Bond tie-in with six separate gamelets, all in a Vindicatorish shoot 'em up mould. Hopelessly unoriginal, of course, but neatly put together.

Transcript by Chris Bourne, Mat Gubbins

Sinclair User Issue 90, Sep 1989   page(s) 20

Label: Domark
Author: In House
Price: £8.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Jim Douglas

He's big. He's back. He's pretty bad too. Well, maybe I'm being a little harsh, but for me, the latest 007 outing just doesn't hold together.

It's a three stage package, with subsections in each, largely similar games we've all seen before.

Part one, stage 1 is a vertically scrolling shoot out, similar to Slap Fight and others. You've got to fly your helicopter over hostile enemy terrain, chasing arch baddie the smuggler Sanchez (and his beautiful girlfriend, as if it mattered) in his jeep. Watch out for the Machine-gun installations of Predictableness, firing out at all directions and blowing you to bits. Being blown to bits is an extremely bad thing, and is best avoided. In the style of the Man Himself, you dart about, zooping and swooping like nobody's business. Well, like James Bond's business in fact.

While many of the problems associated with those games have been avoided; you can pretty much see where the bullets are coming from etc., it simply isn't very exciting. You can blow up the baddie's car extremely easily, and you end up losing more lives by bashing yourself into unpredictably high buildings than falling foul of the bullets.

The 2nd stage of Part One involves a lot of running around and shooting, Bondy is on foot, and picking off the bad guys with his famous Beretta. Actually, this bit is pretty good. Although the graphics are completely liny, the sighting of the gun is excellent, a little circle indicating the approximate position of the fall of your bullets. You can take cover behind packing cases and debris and pick up spare ammunition.

Make sure that you don't leave yourself short on bullets at any stage; this is a sure-fire route to doom as Sanchez' henchmen will polish you off double-quick.

The next stage is thankfully closer to Bond's traditional exploits. You've got to prevent the evil Sanchez from fleering to Cuba by hooking a tow-rope onto the back of his plane. Not as easy as it sounds. Nigh on impossible in fact. If you're not absolutely spot-on target, you're done for.

Later stages in the game involve more high-risk antics like waterskiing behind seaplanes and chasing drug-laden lorries through treacherous terrain.

While there's a lot of variety in the package, and you are able to re-enact most of the memorable moment from the film, the problem with L.T.K. is that it just doesn't hold together. I found I was getting myself killed with questionable regularity, more often from an inanimate piece of scenery than an active bad guy.

If you're a fan of Mr Smooth, you'll probably find your needs suitably catered for. Otherwise, a re-run of five games from the back of your software cupboard provide as much excitement.

Graphics: 72%
Sound: 70%
Playability: 55%
Lastability: 57%
Overall: 60%

Summary: Better than previous efforts, but hardly a premium Bond. (Arf).

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 113, Jul 1991   page(s) 42,43

Label: The Hit Squad
Memory: 48K/128K
Price: £2.99 Tape, N/A Disk
Reviewer: Steve Keen

To say that the Bond games have got a bad reputation would be an understatement, they are truly terrible. So anyone taking on one of these films' licences is really up against it. "The best Bond game yet" decries the box, which is a bit like saying Bananarama are the most successful all girl British band in history - true, but like Bond computer games, there's not been too much in the way of competition...

Split into six scenes the game follows a cinematographic style. Everything scene has you chasing the Machiavellian Sanchez as he attempts to escape the retribution that Bond is determined to administer. From the first Helicopter shoot-'em-up scene, pursuing the bad guy in his jeep, to the last show down of the 18 wheel trucks playing bumper cars!

Real care has gone into this release with some of the best sound I've heard on the Spectrum (gun shots, whirring helicopter blades and explosions) interesting detailed and colourful graphics and a variety of different game styles all hint towards a monumental game. So what throws the Beretta 9mm or Walter PK45 in the works? That old nemesis of computer games - CONTROL. Honestly I've had more luck juggling snow flakes in the Sahara.

Poor control is nowhere more apparent than in the second scene. Bond is pinned down behind some barrels by Sanchez's henchmen with only 15 bullets in his Beretta. I was surrounded, did my best to take aim and... killed three oil drums, shot 11 bullets over a shed and, if the program had allowed, could've put one slug in my own foot! I got so fed up I decided to cut my losses and the rest of my lives and run! That's right - Bond secret agent ran away. I must have got 64 pixels before I was cut down in the dust.

If anyone out there can complete this without a cheat you're a better agent than me mister. Pity, because this one could have gone against the grain.

Some nice graphics have been spoilt here by the unthoughtful use of colour. Luckily it's still a good blast!

Graphics: 79%
Sound: 85%
Playability: 60%
Lastability: 64%
Overall: 69%

Summary: James Bond himself would have had a job completing this mission. It's just as well Timothy Dalton managed it in two hours and 13 mins. Shakes, but definitely doesn't stir!

Transcript by Chris Bourne

C&VG (Computer & Video Games) Issue 118, Sep 1991   page(s) 85

Hit Squad
Spectrum £3.99

Join James Bond in his second Timothy Dalton 007 extravaganzas. Chase drug smuggler Sanchez across six levels of flying, shooting and car chasing, then, in the great Bond tradition, go back and do it all again. Licence to Kill is still the best of the Bond games in my opinion, with good use of graphics and differing styles of gameplay, making this a tough, variety-packed and graphically pleasing jaunt with the man himself.

Overall: 86%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

C&VG (Computer & Video Games) Issue 116, Jul 1991   page(s) 85

Hit Squad
Spectrum £2.99

One of the better 007 Domark excursions, Licence to KO offers would-be members of the Secret Service the chance to take out a drug baron across several levels of vertically scrolling annihilation. Licence to Kill is quite an addictive little number, but the monochromatic graphics cause the baddies' bullets to become almost invisible on some levels. If you're a Bond fan, you'll doubtlessly love this. Others may be put off by the frustrating gameplay.

Overall: 73%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

The Games Machine Issue 23, Oct 1989   page(s) 81

Spectrum 48/128 Cassette: £9.99, Diskette: £14.99
Amstrad CPC Cassette: £9.99, Diskette: £14.99
PC £24.99

Mr 'shaken but not stirred' is out to find the man who turned his ex-CIA chum Felix into shark food. On the PC two disks are provided, one CGA the other EGA. In EGA mode the game's very colourful, and sound - for the PC - is rather good, especially the 'alternative' (as it has been dubbed) Bond theme tune on the title page. Its a pity that it falters when the computer flicks between the high score table and title screen. The Spectrum game - unsurprisingly monochromatic - has well defined sprites, but on the CPC the scrolling's a little on the jerky side, and the porky sprites aren't quite so well defined as on other versions, All in all Licence to Kill is full of the action Bond fans have come to expect over the last 37 years of his active service.

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Overall: 80%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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