A Complete History Of James Bond Video Games: The 21st Century - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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A Complete History Of James Bond Video Games: The 21st Century

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So far our journey through the history of James Bond video games has taken in the early days of the 1980s, the highs and lows of the 1990s, and now we finish the round-up with the releases from the 21st Century (to date). Strap yourself in, it's a bumpy ride...

It's no GoldenEye 007, but Electronic Arts had clearly learnt a lesson from the dismal Tomorrow Never Dies and attempted to recreate both the style and the fun factor of Rare's N64 title with their 2000 release of The World Is Not Enough. Available for both the Nintendo 64 and the PlayStation, although the N64 version is superior, it's a decent enough effort and one that is very true to the film. It's also one of the best of the bunch from the 21st Century for multiplayer fun as, sadly, EA didn't keep the quality up for long.

Not long at all, as also in 2000 EA released this on the PlayStation...

007 Racing features a variety of vehicles seen in the James Bond films, alongside some of the clunkiest gameplay you'll ever find in a racing style game. Couple with poorly designed levels this is one mission Commander Bond should not accept.

One final version of The World Is Not Enough arrived in 2001 for the Game Boy Colour.

A top-down action/adventure game with 8 different levels, it's nowhere near as intricate as it's N64 big brother, but that's to be expected from the little hand-held device. The controls are rather clumsy too, suffering mainly from an inability to walk and shoot at the same time.

2001 also saw the first James Bond game released for the new wave of 64bit consoles...

A return to quality gaming fun came with the release of James Bond 007: Agent Under Fire for the Playstation 2, GameCube, Xbox, and the Gameboy Advance. Agent Under Fire originally started as the PlayStation 2 and PC versions of The World Is Not Enough,before morphing into an entirely new storyline, one that is continued in the following year's sequel, James Bond 007: Nightfire...

With Nightfire EA managed to deliver two for two, and in fact improved on Agent Under Fire by adding a lot more Bond-ness to the original story. We even get treated to the gun-barrel opening sequence, a pre-titles game level and a very 007 title sequence complete with dancing girls and an original theme tune. Could EA make it three for three...

Yes, they bloody well did!

Another original storyline (from the scriptwriter of GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies, Bruce Feirstein), with a plot connected to the Roger Moore Bond film A View to a Kill, and the introduction of a two-player cooperative mode makes James Bond 007: Everything Or Nothing the top choice in the 21st Century selection. The PlayStation 2, GameCube and Xbox versions are, naturally, superior to the handheld GameBoy Advance one, but that latter title offered some unique bonus content when linked with the GameCube release, which is a very nice touch.

Everything Or Nothing is a third-person shooter with an impressive voice cast. Released two years after his final time playing 007 onscreen, Pierce Brosnan provides the voice of James Bond. Judi Dench voices M and John Cleese as Q. The rest of the cast is as impressive too, with Willem Dafoe as Nikolai Diavolo (the game's primary antagonist and an ex-KGB agent, mentored by Max Zorin),  Heidi Klum as Katya Nadanova, Ph.D. (an Oxford nano-technology scientist who is later revealed to have affiliations with Diavolo), Shannon Elizabeth as Serena St. Germaine (an American geologist and helicopter pilot whose expertise allows her to help Bond in Peru) and even Richard Kiel as Jaws.

If you have a chance to track a copy of this game down, do so. You will not be disappointed. But whatever you do avoid this next release at all cost...

GoldenEye: Rogue Agent is awful! Released for the same consoles (and for the newly released Nintendo DS) in the same year as Everything Or Nothing by the same publisher, EA, I'm bewildered by its existence. Despite its name, the game has no relation to the 1995 film or the 1997 video game of the same name. It doesn't even feature James Bond. Instead, the player takes the role of an ex-MI6 agent, who is recruited by Auric Goldfinger to assassinate his rival Dr. No. The player is given the name 'GoldenEye' after he loses his eye and receives a gold-colored cybernetic replacement.

Terrible idea, terrible controls and terrible gameplay. Just terrible.

Fortunately, EA's final Bond effort was a return to form...

2005s, James Bond 007: From Russia with Love is is a third-person shooter in the same style as Everything Or Nothing, with expansions in the story and certain details changed (such as trading SPECTRE for OCTOPUS, due to legal problems). It's notable in that it is the first video game to use Sean Connery's younger likeness as James Bond and the first to include all new voice work by the actor after twenty-two years away from the role. That in itself makes this an essential purchase.

In 2006, Electronic Arts announced a game based on then-upcoming Casino Royale, but it ended up being cancelled, because it would not be ready by the film's release in November. This fact, which would lead MGM to lose millions in licensing fees, along with EA's commitment to move away from movie franchise games and focus more on internal intellectual properties, led the company to abandon the Bond franchise in May 2006. It was subsequently snapped up by Activision, who came out of the gate fairly strong...

007: Quantum Of Solace features a new Bond for a new generation of consoles. Released in 2008 on the Wii, Xbox 360, Playstation 2, Playstation 3, and Nintendo DS, the storyline is based on both Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, and features Daniel Craig's voice and likeness, as well as those of Eva Green, Judi Dench, Mads Mikkelsen, Olga Kurylenko and Mathieu Amalric.

The shooting element is excellent, but the game is let down by a lack of driving levels. It's no Everything Or Nothing but will provide some high quality, fun entertainment for a day or two. It's sequel, which arrived in 2010, is far better though...

James Bond 007: Blood Stone is another release with an all original storyline, and features British soul singer Joss Stone (credit to whoever decided to cast her in a game called Blood Stone) as both the character Nicole Hunter and the voice behind the theme tune, "I'll Take It All". The boat and car driving missions are the highlight, but all round it's a top quality release.

Sadly, James Bond 007: Blood Stone is the last great original Bond game, although the 2010 "remake" of GoldenEye 007 is a great way to pass the time.

Whilst never matching the highs of the 1997 original, this version for the Wii and Nintendo DS (and later on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles), bizarrely replaces Pierce Brosnan's Bond with Daniel Craig's likeness and voice. Although it is billed as a remake it's pretty much a total rebuild. I'd still take Rare's original though.

And finally, in our long journey through the history of James Bond video games, we reach the game which lost Activision the James Bond licence. A game that was released on the Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii Uto coincide with the 50th anniversary of the James Bond film series and meant to be a "greatest hits compilation". I give you, 007 Legends...

Oh dear! In theory this should have been a great release - the premise is that Daniel Craig's Bond has flashbacks to missions from five Bond films; Goldfinger, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Moonraker, Licence to Kill and Die Another Day, but it's just repetitive and boring. Iconic Bond moments are shoehorned into a bog-standard Call Of Duty clone. Not even the additional downloadable content based on Skyfall helped.

Bond retired from active gaming service in 2012. Will he return? If he does we will update our complete history of James Bond video games.

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