Licence to Kill

by Andrew Blazdell, John Kavanagh, Quixel, Raffaele Cecco, Tony West, Robin Behling
Domark Ltd
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

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