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

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