We can already imagine the soundtrack--dum-duh-duh-duh-dum-dum-dum-dum-dum-duh-duh-duh-dum-dum-dum-dum...in this head-cocking entry from EA Games, you get behind the wheel of some of the most legendary cars driven by Secret Agent 007. This mission-based driving game (dubbed a "combat racer" by EA) places you in the driver's seat of an Aston Martin, Lotus and BMW--completely tricked-out with all the gadgets made famous in the James Bond films. In each mission, your assignment is to take advantage of each vehicle's unique characteristics and top-secret features, while racing to complete objectives and beat the clock. Bond fans will surely appreciate the inclusion of some of the series most infamous archrivals including Jaws and Oddjob. Look for it this fall.
Download 007 Racing
The Bond formula has been an overwhelming movie biz success going into its fifth decade. Bond is not only a players club member, he's also the president. 007 always gets his choice of high-tech gadgets, fast cars, and fast women. Those cars and the missions involving them are focus of this game. This is a good idea, but the gameplay, graphics, and controls make this game come up short.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
As in any racing game, cars obviously play an important role and as a James Bond game one would expect all sorts of wonderful gadgets and add-ons. In this respect, 007 Racing does not disappoint. The game features the Aston Martin DB5, Lotus Esprit, BMW 750iL, Z8, and Z3. These babies are modified with the additions of oil slicks, smoke screens, machine guns, bullet shields, rocket launchers, and remote control.
When it comes to the gameplay, there are high speed levels that live up to the "Racing" part of the title. These levels let you open the car up and throw it through twists and turns. This is the strong point of the game, but even these levels can't escape the muddy graphics, and bad controls that plague this game.
The other levels require you to go through a list of tasks which weren't challenging in a puzzle sort of way, but felt more like chores. These levels also suffered from the lack of good weapon control. Most of the weapons fire straight ahead and I found it difficult to maneuver the cars so that the target was right in front of me. The rockets alternated firing from either the right or left sides of the car without any way to choose which would fire. This meant that even when I was lined up in front of a target, the rocket would still miss to one side.
On some levels I found myself asking whether the mission objectives were the best way to get the job done. One level requires you to drive alongside a transport long enough (too long, if you ask me) for a laser to take out one tire at a time. How about whipping some steel and popping four caps? It would have made more sense.
Graphics & Audio
The music tracks and sound effects are good. The engine noises were nice and throaty, and the sounds varied based on which car is being driven. John Cleese lent his voice talents to this game and the other voices sounded close enough to the real actors in the Bond franchise. Their dialogue during missions, however, kinda sucked. The characters would drive me nuts with their constant nagging about how I was beating up the car and harping on every mistake I made. This doesn't happen in the movies. Bond might get chided or scolded upon returning from a mission, but not while in the heat of battle. Don't these guys have some new gadget to work on? Or do they sit around drinking tea, watching satellite broadcasts of Bond?
The graphics were too blocky. The high speed missions really suffered from the lack of clarity. It was hard to pick out what the upcoming objects in the road were; whether they were items worth picking up, such as weapons or health, or some obstacle to avoid?
This game had a good sales pitch. Drive the greatest Bond cars on missions inspired by the movies. Sure, driving these cars sounds like fun, but the fun only materializes on the high speed missions. The other levels were too tedious and frustrating. If you are into objective driving games, try renting this (or maybe even another) game before buying.