From Russia With Love Review / Preview for the GameCube (GC)

From Russia With Love Review / Preview for the GameCube (GC)

Bond fans will delight when they play From Russia With Love, while hardcore gamers will claim it’s too light. I can sympathize with both groups since I love all things Bond and have played more games than I care to remember. To be able to combine my passion for Bond and my love for gaming is a dream come true. Or is it in reality, a nightmare? Read on my pretties and find out for yourselves.

From Russia With Love is a revisiting of the original 60s classic Bond movie of the same name. It follows the plot almost exactly although some new missions and features have been added to make it longer than an hour-and-a-half. Like the original movie, this game also features the talents of Sean Connery who provides his voice exclusively for this game; the voiceovers are not taken from the movie.

In an effort to appeal to a wide range of gamers the gameplay is less than difficult. It’s a lot less than difficult but it’s not so much challenging as it is meant to be entertaining. Do I have to bring up the phrase “interactive movie” again?

Inspired by events of the Cold War, the gameplay features various cloak and dagger activities such as stealth, spying, puzzle solving, gadgets, vehicle racing and shooting. There are also some RPG elements that allow you to level-up weapons and gadgets. You can make them more powerful and more accurate by purchasing upgrades with points that you acquire from locating secret documents and other goodies. The gadgets are as fun to use in the game as they are to watch being used in the movies.

Using guns presents a bit of a problem. They don’t feel comfortable in fact they are a little awkward to aim in some situations. You have to use a dual button system to shoot. One button to aim and the other to fire. It takes a lot of getting used to especially if you’re a dyed-in-the-wool first-person-shooter. Once you’re in the middle of a huge shoot out it’s not a problem but when you get caught by surprise the two button system just doesn’t come naturally.

Vehicles such as cars and boats are used primarily for racing. They are cumbersome to control and subsequently not a lot of fun. The jetpacks are another story. These should be used in more games. They really add much-needed dimension to the gameplay. They are relatively easy to control and move about with great fluidity. You can reach different levels and continue to shoot at enemies while flying around.

If you just want to get through the game you can probably finish it in a day. If you want to uncover all the unlockables it will take about twice as long. There are lots of bonus features to find such as the making of the game, Bond girls and extra challenge missions.

Up to four players can take part in the multi-player modes which feature variations of Deathmatch and Capture the Flag. These modes use the split-screen since there is no online play. The graphics take a nose dive and the framerate is cut in half. Even in the single-player mode the animation is a little stiff and jerky although the facial renderings and expressions are top shelf. When words come out of Bond’s mouth you listen, even though some of the lines would embarrass Sylvester Stallone. It’s always a treat to hear the James Bond theme so make sure you crank up the power amp.

Unless I’m wrong, but I’m usually not, we are witnessing the death of the movie industry as we know it. The future generations will be amazed to learn that we used to watch movies and didn’t play them. From Russia With Love may not be unique in many gameplay respects but its accessibility is certain to help shape the future of entertainment.

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