With SPECTRE raking in more than $870m across the globe, James Bond is still alive and well.
No matter how the character continues to evolve, he’ll always hold a prestigious place in popular culture. Whether the series is rebooted again, transplanted to another time, or (as has been rumoured) the mighty Idris Elba takes on the character, James Bond is sure to hit his 30th movie (at the very least).
Thanks to his action-packed job, his impressive set of combat skills, and an endless supply of sinister enemies to butt heads with, Bond works in almost any medium: novels (still going strong today); films (of course); comic books (a new series debuted recently, published by Dynamite); and video games.
Now, when we mention games in relation to James Bond, most people will think of the same one: a certain smash-hit title on the Nintendo 64. However, there have been many games starring 007 through the years – some of them awesome; some of them less so.
Pull on your tux, buckle your laser-firing watch, and join us as we celebrate the seven best Bond games ever made …
For many of us, GoldenEye is the benchmark for all Bond games: any which came after this are (often unfairly) compared, no matter how different they may try to be.
Still to this day, GoldenEye remains an absolute blast to play: fast-paced, challenging, filled with a staggering selection of iconic weapons – remember sneaking through the facility stage with the silenced pistol, picking off guards before they can raise the alarm? It’s electrifying stuff, making you feel more like a super-spy than any Bond game before it.
Even though the graphics may have lost much of their sparkle today, they’re still functional enough to enjoy, and the music remains as stirring as ever. The recent remake is worth a look for fans, as it updates the action with modern visuals and boasts Daniel Craig’s likeness.
Countless hours of many lives were devoured by GoldenEye, across the single-player campaign (with its multiple difficulty modes and level-editor) and the unforgettable multiplayer mode. On this, only two words need be said to trigger happy memories: ‘remote mines’.
James Bond 007: Nightfire
A follow-up to the impressive Agent Under Fire, Nightfire was a smooth, immensely-re-playable Bond adventure, blending first-person shooting with vehicle-based action.
Nightfire is still gorgeous to look at today, and was the first game to boast then-current Bond Pierce Brosnan’s likeness (though another actor took on the vocal duties) – this helped to reinforce the idea that you were actually becoming Bond, leading him through another big-screen adventure.
The changing gameplay styles kept the action feeling fresh, and allowed EA to introduce traditional elements (such as piloting a submersible car); they also even implemented ‘Bond moments’, in which extra points are awarded whenever the player performs an impressive move (such as shooting an enemy vehicle’s tyres during a chase, or creeping along a ledge to avoid enemies).
Everything or Nothing
The second (and final) game to feature Brosnan’s likeness, Everything or Nothing also utilised his vocal talents. Alongside Pierce himself, other major stars appeared, including: Willem Dafoe as the villain; Shannon Elizabeth, Mya, and Heidi Kulm as leading ladies; as well as series-regulars John Cleese, Judi Dench, and Richard Kiel.
The production values on Everything or Nothing were stunning, with Visceral Games/EA going all-out to make this look, sound, and feel like a Bond movie (they even hired Mya to perform a theme song). Fortunately, the gameplay lived up to the flair surrounding it, putting players in control of 007 from a third-person perspective, on-foot and in a variety of vehicles.
Driving sequences used the same engine as EA’s Need for Speed series, and action sequences blended shooting, hand-to-hand combat, as well as rappelling down walls. It may not be as re-playable as Nightfire and GoldenEye, but it’s definitely one of the franchise’s best video games.
The World is Not Enough
After the sloppily-made third-person adaptation of Tomorrow Never Dies left so many fans sorely disappointed, EA borrowed some of GoldenEye’s delicious ingredients – and produced the PS1’s best Bond game.
Following the movie’s plot (007 is assigned to protect Elektra King, daughter of a recently-murdered magnate), The World is Not Enough was a solid first-person shooter, incorporating a great range of weapons and gadgets. One stand-out moment: a casino-set stage featured a neat mini-game, in which Bond must win a game of blackjack to progress.
From Russia With Love
EA followed Everything or Nothing with From Russia With Love, a belated adaptation of the classic Connery movie.
Using the likeness and vocal talents of an iconic actor in an iconic role is a move more developers should make – imagine all the great films just waiting to be translated into video-game form!
From Russia With Love incorporated third-person shooting, hand-to-hand brawling, stealth sections, and driving, all of which was only enhanced by the thrill of playing as a young Connery. If that weren’t enough, players also got to fly the jetpack featured in Thunderball – always a smart addition to any Bond game.
Daniel Craig lent his likeness and voice to this fun game, alongside series-regular Judi Dench. Developed by Bizarre Creations (which closed down soon after), Blood Stone again features third-person action and driving, as well as a strong multiplayer mode.
Singer Joss Stone recorded an original theme song for the game, and the story was penned by seasoned Bond-writer Bruce Feirstein, giving Blood Stone an authentic air of 007 goodness. This may not be anyone’s favourite game of all time, but it’s nicely made and action-packed.
Agent Under Fire
As EA’s first Bond game, Agent Under Fire was a strong first-person adventure, though it was much improved upon by its follow-up, Nightfire.
One unmissable oddity, though, is the lack of Pierce Brosnan’s likeness – instead, we have a generic Bond, which detracts from the game’s authenticity somewhat. Still, the gameplay is fast-paced and fun, blending kinetic shooting with stealth sections.
For fans without a Nintendo 64, Agent Under Fire was a decent substitute for GoldenEye, and is still worth a spin today.
Well, this concludes our celebration of the seven best James Bond games ever made – which is your favourite?