The Living Daylights - The Computer Game

by David Fish, David Whittaker, Graham Stafford, Richard Naylor, Brian Bysouth
Domark Ltd
Crash Issue 43, Aug 1987   page(s) 94,95

Producer: Domark
Retail Price: £9.95
Author: Walking Circles

You've seen the film, gasped at last month's CRASH cover, read about the special effects, now let your tape recorder chew up the game cassette…

Bond is back in Domark's adaptation of the latest blockbuster - The Living Daylights. Programmed by Walking Circles, who are really Design Design in new guise, it takes 007 through eight levels of Bind action in his attempt to defeat evil international arms dealer Brad Whittaker.

At the beginning of each level (apart from the first, where a paint gun is automatically chosen) Bond is taken to Q's laboratory where one weapon from a choice of four may be selected. Only one of the four is of real help in crossing the level, and it's up to you to chose the correct one within the five-second time limit. If the object picked can't be used as a weapon Bond reverts to his trusty Walther PPK.

All game levels have horizontally-scrolling backdrops - split into three layers to give a 3-D effect through parallax, with Bond remaining centrally placed.

Bond's actions are controlled via four-directional movements and a fire button. A sight is provided on screen for aiming shots, controlled in a similar manner, but while it's visible Bond is unable to move. When the sight disappears, the doughty agent is once again licensed to run, leap, jump and roll.

The hunt for Whitaker begins in Gibraltar, where Bond is involved in an SAS training session thence the paint guns). But one of the SAS is really an infiltrated member of Whitaker's team out to kill him. The SAS appear in the background occasionally popping up over the bushes while Bond runs along to the end of the landscape; jumping over the rocks, as tripping causes the energy bar to fall.

Levels Two and Three take 007 behind the Iron Curtain, first to visit the Lenin People's Music Conservatory where he's to help Russian KGB Colonel Koscov defect. However, there's a sniper out to kill Koscov - shoot the sniper and make a mercy dash for it and onto the Trans-Siberian Pipeline. This escape route presents Bond with an assault course of pipes at different heights, all of which he has to avoid to progress to the fourth level.

Back in Britain, where Koskov is being debriefed, the safe house has been infiltrated by Necros, another of Whitakers henchmen. He's armed with exploding milk bottles and doesn't hesitate to lob them Bond's way. Shooting deters him from attacking for a while, but he'll be back.

On Level Five, Bond meets Necros again in a fairground. This time the assassin's armed with explosive balloons which float threateningly toward you. Shoot the balloons one at time - but don't shoot Necros, or all the balloons are released, leading to certain death.

Level Six takes us to Whitaker's HQ in Tangier. Bond makes his way across the rooftops, avoiding more henchmen before reaching the penultimate level - a Russian airbase deep within occupied Afghanistan.

Once again there's a load of massacring to do before he can reach the exit which leads to the eighth and final level inside Whitaker's Tangier house. In his mansion, surrounded by his military equipment, Whitaker makes his appearance and… well that's up to you. But where, in all of this, are the Bond girls?


Control keys: definable, four directions plus FIRE and jump required
Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Use of colour: black-and-white line drawings on varied colours
Graphics: large, nicely defined and well-animated, but scrolling tends to mess things up at times
Sound: excellent tune, otherwise rather thin
Skill levels: one
Screens: eight scrolling levels

After trying hard to like this I failed miserably. The jerky parallax scrolling messes up the otherwise great graphics, so you can't see where you're going when running, to the huge detriment of the game's playability. Shooting the snipers that line the top of the screen is a thankless task, and while doing so you'll more than likely end up dead - the best bet on later levels is to leg it, ignoring the snipers altogether. The games only redeeming feature is the wonderful title-screen music. It's a shame such sonic quality isn't continued throughout the game.

If you've seen the film this tie-in makes sense, but if you haven't it may all appear a bit confusing - jetting around the world shooting balloons, ducking milk bottles and diving around a pipeline. The eight levels are remarkably similar, all based around running forward while shooting Whitakers henchmen. Some sections are unreasonably difficult, mainly because of the poor collision detection. This is particularly apparent in the fairground scene, where you have to shoot the balloons so precisely it's unplayable. The Living Daylights is good, with some super animation of the main character - but the scrolling scenery is jerky. I would have liked to have seen a game with more depth, and there's plenty of opportunity with the Bond licence.

Comparisons with the film are bound to crop up, and to be fair to the programmers they seem to have fitted in all the locations comfortably, with enough room for some good little features. But while the film has engrossing action scenes, the game is just the same old idea over and over again with lots of different backgrounds to give a false impression of variation. However, there are some very smart touches; parallax scrolling, superb animation and a decent title tune. It complements the film well, but as a game by itself The Living Daylights lacks variation.

Presentation: 71%
Graphics: 72%
Playability: 65%
Addictive Qualities: 59%
Overall: 63%

Summary: General Rating: By no means a disaster, but the lack of real variation means lasting appeal is on the short side.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 21, Sep 1987   page(s) 25


The name's Berkmann, Marcus Berkmann, 007, licensed to review. You must be Ernst Stavro Blofeld, or possibly not, 'cos not even that cat-wielding charmer would be dumb enough to buy this load of old bondage. Yes, the curse of Bond has struck again!

First, let's not compare this to A View To A Kill, which was, think we'll all agree, one of the very gruesomest big-name games ever to appear on the Speccy. This is not quite the same standard as that famous disaster. But it is, by any standards, a major disappointment.

As Bond, you must shoot your way through eight levels before coming face to face with Brad Whittaker, the evil arms dealer (played in the fillum by Joe Don Baker). The plot of the game follows the screen version surprisingly closely, although it turns out that every level is essentially the same. You start at the left of the screen and then must run across from left to right shooting everything that moves. You can't actually do both at the same time - you shoot while standing still, and while running you're open to attack. Being Bond (Bond is good - too good) you need to be shot about 600,000 times before dying, but even this may not be enough to take you to the next level.

In every scene you move Bond through a three-speed scrolling landscape (Very technical, Q) trying desperately to toggle between running mode and shooting mode. Between levels you have five seconds to choose which weapon (oo-er) to use on your next attempt - some are virtually useless while others zap almost everything (trial and error will tell which). Each of the eight levels needs a slightly different technique, and usually a different weapon as well.

All very nice, but I'm afraid that for me it just doesn't work at all. I can see that Domark has moved mountains to avoid repeating its last Bond film fiasco, but this effort falls between about 68 stools in trying to produce a decent game. Colour clash - what everyone always complains about in Speccy games - is particularly vicious here, so that the moving cursor, which you need in order to fire at snipers and other assailants, is often all but invisible. And the rest of the graphics just aren't clear or well defined enough to let you work out what's going on. Add to this the lack of variety between levels and you end up with something which is not worth £10 of anyone's money. It's a pity, 'cos the Amstrad version was pretty slick. My impression is that the conversion from more sophisticated computers was a little more rushed than it might have been, or perhaps it's a game that's fundamentally unsuited to the Speccy. As Bond villains always say, "Very clever, Mr Bond, but not quite clever enough."

Graphics: 6/10
Playability: 5/10
Value For Money: 5/10
Addictiveness: 6/10
Overall: 6/10

Summary: You're unlikely to be shaken or stirred by this piece of Bondage - even Roger Moore would raise an eyebrow!

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 65, Aug 1987   page(s) 68,69

Label: Domark
Author: Design Design
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Graham Taylor

Bond-wise Domark didn't have much to live up to with The Living Daylights.

A View to a Kill was commonly regarded as, if not an unmitigated disaster, at least a mitigated one.

On the other hand, after Trivial Pursuit, Domark suddenly won itself a reputation for putting out good games. Would Daylights be any good? Read on...


Plot follows the film pretty closely in that you can more or less relate sections of one with bits of the other. This is partly because like View to a Kill, Living Daylights is split into a number of distinct sections each based around a scene from the movie.

On the other hand it so happens that each of these sections can be reduced to dodging and firing just like every other completely animated-to-James-Bond run-of -the-mill computer game you ever saw.

Actually looking at the game, it is some of the bizarre setting and odd characters that really suggest that this is a game based on something else, ie, the movie.

Who is that sprite that runs along with Bond in Level 2? Actually he is Koskov the Russian defector as it happens but it doesn't make the slightest difference to the game. Why does one of the bad guys look like a milkman? Same reason, same irrelevance.

The most distinctive thing you first discover about the game is its structure. Like A View to a Kill, the Living Daylights is really a compendium of smaller games, eight in fact. Each one reflecting a different section of the film's plot.

Each of the levels is preceded by a section in which you must choose a weapon from a selection of four, which you think will best help you on that level. This is a matter of intelligent guesswork mostly. Could the Bazooka be used against the Helicopter? This bit does, I suppose, introduce some strategy into the game but only until you make the right guess - then you know forever.


1 Gibraltar: it must be Gibraltar because it says so but anyway it's a leafy, rocky, foresty kind of place where you, as Bond, run along jumping boulders and trying to hit SAS men with shots from your paint gun (this is a training exercise).

However, it turns out one of the SAS is a grade 1 baddy and to deal with him you'll have to exchange your paint gun for some more serious ballistics. Get past the SAS bullets and kill the bad guy. Jump rocks. IMPORTANT CLUE: the baddy will be singularly unimpressed if you try to get rid of him using your paint gun.

2 The Music Conservatory: A change of back-drop and Bond runs along shortly joined by another sprite. Snipers try to blow you away and you can either fire back at them using a target cursor or (a far better ploy I found) run away as fast as possible. If you do fire back be careful not to hit the innocent music goers (who are probably already having a hard enough time with wheel clampers.)

3 The Pipeline: A large number of pipes in this one. Don't let metal fall on your head and leap over and under various pipe-like obstacles in your path. Who's that man with you? It's Koskov of course. Does he do anything? No.

4 The Mansion House: Watch out for the frenzied milkman who is chucking.things at you (dodge) and there's a helicopter dropping enormous bombs in your path. Run very fast wherever you can, kill the various milkmen as quickly as possible (good playing tips, huh?)

5 The Fairground: Set in a fairground surprisingly. Shoot the balloons. Yep, that's it.

6 Tangiers: Runny jumpy over the exotic rooftops which are also well supplied with armed guards longing to kill you. Kill them first.

7 The Military Complex: Helicopters and bikes! And people throwing things at you!! And more shooting... you get the idea.

8 The Base: Last screen, Whittaker is the ultra baddy dodge everything that gets chucked your way and kill him thereby saving the world yet again.


Not bad actually At least Bond doesn't look so much like a ballet dancer this time. On the other hand he doesn't look much like James Bond either just some ordinary bloke...

Animation is goodish - some nice leaps and tumbles and a realistic running motion. Backgrounds are pretty detailed though some levels look better than others - Level 1 is impressive, Level 6 a bit of a dodo.

For 48K the sound is astonishingly good, astonishingly astonishing even. But naturally you don't get the nifty 'one channel pretending to be the London Philharmonic Orchestra' stuff.


The big one. It turns out the game is surprisingly good fun to play. The first level is very difficult - the next two easier and after that it gets harder and harder.

Although really The Living Daylights is eight little games in one the way energy levels are carried over from section to section makes for at least some sense of continuity. I spent many hours with an irritable attack of the just-one-more-goes.


The Living Daylights is not earth shattering - but it's quite good. In no respect is it a dodo and in a sound and the all-important gameplay it is really quite impressive. For those peculiar people who might actually buy a game because of the film it is linked with - well at least they aren't ripped off.

For those who couldn't care less about the film tie-in aspect, Living Daylights rates a look. Domark's reputation looks like surviving to fight another day (skin of teeth though, lads).

Overall: 7/10

Summary: Much better than A View to a Kill, The Living Daylights is a compendium of eight goodish short games in one package.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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