In every Bond movie there's an evil megalomaniac who attempts to take over the world - here it's Karl Stromberg, a bit of a fruit cake, who, from his underwater base Atlantis, has hatched a cunning plan! He steals two nuclear submarines, one British, the other Russian, and with them plans to destroy New York and Moscow. It's up to Bond and beautiful Russian spy Major Anya Amasova to save the world (again).
The game is split into six parts, each a scene from the movie. The first has Bond and Anya driving along the open road to meet Q. Bond's white Lotus is viewed from above (in true Spy Hunter style), and the idea is to collect as many of the Q tokens as you can whilst avoiding the obstacles. The Lotus is armoured but repeated knocks and crashes result in a loss of a life.
By visiting a dock halfway through this scene the Lotus transforms into a speedboat and you race it up the river avoiding jettys, mooring posts and trigger-happy Stromberg goons.
In scene two various vehicles hinder progress but Q's van is at hand. Board it and you can buy additional weapons with your collected Q tokens. Make sure you get the jobbie to convert the Lotus into a submarine because you're underwater in level three where Bond and Anya are attacked by a variety of underwater vehicles as they head for Atlantis.
The final three levels see Bond blowing the doors to the control room where the nuclear subs are being directed. Bond is perched atop a surveillance camera whilst you, as Anya, must shoot the soldiers trying to stop Bond. Scene five sees Bond and his jetski heading for Atlantis to save Anya who has been kidnapped by Stromberg, whilst the sixth and final scene has Bond shooting it out with Stromberg and his sinister henchman Jaws.
The movie is one of my favourite Bond romps, and so I had high hopes for the game. The verdict... well it does have its good points, the attention to detail is one. Both the moving and static sprites are nicely detailed, though scrolling is a little on the juddery side.
The gameplay is tough which may put some people off. Also the sound is a bit of a letdown, the decent tune at the start makes way for a few bog standard blasting effects during play. It's a good Bond adaption, but doesn't top Licence To Kill for action!
The Spy Who Loved Me follows in the tradition of other James Bond games: it has slick presentation, neat graphics but is incredibly short on gameplay. The first sections are very similar in look to the age old Spy Hunter but, sadly, not as playable. The most annoying thing about the game is that changing direction as you are driving along makes the car slide the opposite way, almost always into the ditch or off a bridge! Another feature that lets it down is the way you have to memorize the layout of each level before you can complete it. Learning by your mistakes is the only way to succeed. The Spy Who Loved Me wont keep me playing for long.
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