By F1000003 3 Comments
I am continuing with the rather futile task of playing all the video games.
007: Tomorrow Never Dies is the eleventh James Bond game I've played as part of this series, and the last one I'll be playing for a while. It comes as a great relief to me that my journey will now allow me to explore some new franchises, and I'm looking forward to the change!
Looking through the Giant Bomb database, slightly under half of the James Bond games begin with 007. My favourite so far has been 007: Everything or Nothing, whereas 007: Racing was the most frustrating of the lot, (although Tomorrow Never Dies came close). I've been keeping an ordered list of all the games I've played, so check it out for short summaries of my thoughts.
Game 000012: 007: Tomorrow Never Dies
With only ten missions 007: Tomorrow Never Dies is a fairly short PlayStation game. It was also the first Bond game to be published by EA. I played through the first half of the game, putting up with a few corrupt sound files on my scratched second-hand disk. After a couple of hours, the game finally packed in all together and refused to load any more levels... Watching through a "Lets play..." on Youtube suggests I didn't miss out on much.
This is a 3rd person shooter, and while I was quite impressed with EA's other attempts to move the camera behind our protagonist, this game coherently demonstrates some of the pitfalls of the genre. In particular, this could have really benefited from a user controlled camera. While the game does a reasonable job keeping 007 centre-frame, lining up your camera angles so that you can also see your targets basically requires you to approach them head on. I frequently found myself having to run back on myself just so I could approach a villain again from just the right angle.
The game also suffers from shoddy collision mapping. I frequently found myself having to walk back and forwards over some key door pass, before the game would finally decide that I had approached it with enough pinpoint precision to pick it up - and pressing buttons to activate doors required a similarly frustrating level of absolute fidelity.
Graphically speaking, it felt poor for a PlayStation game - although some clever fog and lighting effects were used on some levels to hide some horrendous low-draw distance, resulting in startling texture and object pop-ins.
To the game's credit, it did provide a nice range of weapons and gadgets to experiment with, and there were two or three memorable moments - such as skiing down a mountainside to escape at the end of the first mission... although even that had a pretty dire control scheme.
I think that this was one of the only Bond games I've played which had the concept of lives. The levels were littered with health packs, and collecting these added them to your list of gadgets - allowing you to use them when needed. Taking a full bar of damage resulted in the loss of a life, but the game would then immediately continue as if nothing had happened, giving you a full stack of health back. Lose all your lives, and you would have to restart the mission though.
I'm officially sick of Bond games for now! Next on the list - something a little different: 0 A.D.