Bond… James Bond
For decades that name has been a staple of worldwide entertainment, immersing us in a world of espionage controlled by the British Secret Service. And we’ve loved every second of it. Bond is a beloved character who can do pretty much everything all at once, play his preferred card game, confront the villain and attract the femme fatale, all in under 5 minutes. However, this even goes beyond the scope of the movie. When we say everything; we mean everything. That even includes appearing in his own video game series.
Not very often does a movie franchise get its own spinoff video game universe, and usually when it does, the game doesn’t live up to expectations. But as always seems to be the case, James Bond is the exception that proves the rule. Let’s take a look at some famous video game entries from the Bond universe.
James Bond 007
This was the first-ever officially licensed Bond video game, released to video game players in 1983. It was a horizontally scrolling shooter game available on a number of gaming platforms, such as the Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Atari 8-bit family, Commodore 64, and ColecoVision. James Bond 007 had four levels based on four movies in the Bond franchise; Diamonds are Forever (1971), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), Moonraker (1979), and For Your Eyes Only (1981).
While a number of other titles were released, none gained as much traction in the gaming community as Rare’s GoldenEye developed for Nintendo 64. The game’s release saw a massive interest spike in the James Bond games, and GoldenEye went on to sell more than eight million copies worldwide. It was gameplay unlike any other; addictive till the very end.
007: The World is Not Enough
Released on N64 and PlayStation in 2000, this video game was based on the film of the same name, which was a hit at the box office but a flop in the eyes of critics. However, thanks to great visual representation and surprisingly engaging gameplay, it turned out to be an impressive entry.
James Bond 007: Agent Under Fire
This 2001-02 entry was Playstation’s first major attempt to cash in on the 007 parade, and Agent Under Fire didn’t disappoint, swapping the usual film-based tradition for an original storyline mixed with a bit of familiarity for nostalgia purposes. It excelled thanks to its visual prowess, all the way from Switzerland to Romania, keeping gamer eyes glued to their screens. It was compatible with Xbox, PS2, and GameCube.
James Bond 007: Nightfire
2002’s Nightfire, also not based on any of the franchise’s movies and released for Xbox, PS2, and GameCube combined good old-fashioned shooting with stealth-driven missions. In the end, you get the best of both worlds when it comes to the secret service.
James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing
Released in 2004 on the Xbox, PS2, and GameCube platforms, Everything or Nothing was a thanksgiving buffet table of awesome gaming elements. It combined a variety of shooting, driving, and stealth, with an extensive array of gadgets, fast cars, and of course beautiful women. It had no tie-ins to any movies but was sure as hell interactive. Maybe that’s due to the excellent voice contributions from Pierce Brosnan, Willem Dafoe, and Judi Dench.
From Russia With Love
This will forever remain the best of the litter, thanks to its faithfulness to source materials, and its obvious hat-tip to Bond enthusiasts. Released for Xbox, PS2, and GameCube in 2005, From Russia With Love was a perfect adaptation of the 1963 film and features the likeness of Sir Sean Connery, widely considered to be the best Bond of all time. There were no new innovations in this installment, but who needs that when you have good old Sean Connery as James Bond?
In 2010, Nintendo revisited the GoldenEye video game with Goldeneye 007, made for the Wii console. This was a remake in every form, with Nintendo even opting to remove Pierce Brosnan’s iconic Bond and replace him with Daniel Craig. The visuals and multiplayer modes were also significantly beefed up for this version.
But it’s not the only revisit to the gaming franchise we’ve seen in recent years. In 2020 there were reports that a fan-upgraded edition of the classic GoldenEye was going to be released, but there were major letdowns on that front. Now, things may be shaping up for the better.
In February 2021, YouTube user Graslu00 shared what appeared to be clips from the 2007 version that was indiscriminately canceled. His video upload contained a complete run-through of the game, as well as about half an hour of multiplayer footage all at 4K/60FPS.
At the beginning of the game, we see the original N64 characters in comparison to their remastered versions, completely reworked and with upgraded high-definition textures. Graslu00 also indicated that he was informed of the remaster’s release this year, and so it just might be good news for Bond faithful. He was able to access footage of the remaster from PartnerNet, which is an Xbox version available to users with the dev kit. Fingers crossed!