Coinciding with the 50th Anniversary of the Bond series, anticipation couldn’t be any higher for Daniel Craig’s third turn as the iconic secret agent in the upcoming Skyfall.
Directed by Sam Mendes with a cast that includes Judi Dench, Javier Bardem and Ralph Fiennes, Skyfall features a smorgasbord of respected Oscar talent. It even has the legendary Coen Brothers regular Roger Deakins on cinematography duties, making it clear that this isn’t just any run of the mill Bond film. But while excitement is high for Bond’s 23rd outing on the big screen, the secret agent also has to compete with the London Olympics and the Queens Golden Jubilee for the world’s attention.
As well as the release of Skyfall and a 50th anniversary Blu-ray box set of all 22 Bond films, a celebratory video game titled 007 Legends has also been recently announced. Best described as a sort of ‘Now That’s What I Call Bond’ compilation, 007 Legends is a time-hopping mix of Bond’s most iconic missions, spanning six yet to be announced Bond films.
With developer Activision tight-lipped about the six films – and iconic missions – which will make the cut, here’s our own pick of 5 classic Bond moments that we’d love to play through, and another 5 that we’d rather skip using a level select code.
5 Missions We Would Like To See
Casino Royale – Bond’s First Assignment
Daniel Craig’s first run as Bond remains one of the true highpoints of the franchise; a back-to-basics Bond adventure that’s not only gritty and exciting but also emotionally charged. After the ridiculous antics of Die Another Day, GoldenEye director Martin Campbell took the series back to its roots, showing us a vulnerable Bond, with most of the girls, gadgets and glamour stripped away.
Activison’s video game tie-in to the lousy follow-up Quantum of Solace bizarrely featured a great deal of Casino Royale’s plot, including the impressive Parkour sequence. What we’d truly like to see in 007 Legends is the black and white opening sequence which sees Bond hunting down a group of rogue agents to earn his double-0 licence. It’s not only a great and memorable pre-title sequence, but its inclusion in 007 Legends could see the opening expanded to allow us to see just why Bond ends up scuffing with his targets in a dingy toilet.
The World Is Not Enough – Thames Boat Chase
The World is not Enough is a pretty good Bond adventure, ranking as one of Brosnan’s better entries in the series. However, it arguably shoots itself in the foot by offering its most impressive scene of the entire movie at the very start. In what’s still the longest pre-credits sequence to any Bond film at around 15 minutes, Bond peruses a femme fatale assassin on the River Thames in a gadget filled speedboat designed by Q.
Beginning with an explosive exit from MI5’s headquarters and ending with Pierce Bronson falling from a hot air balloon and rolling down the Millennium Dome, The World Is Not Enough’s opening is one of the most relentlessly exciting that you’ll see in any Bond film. A video game rendition of the sequence is surely a no brainier, allowing for a high-speed boat chase along the Thames complete with a ridiculous ride through the streets of London. Think Hydro Thunder meets The Getaway.
The Spy Who Loved Me – Austria Ski Chase
The Spy Who Loved Me is both loved and hated in equal measure. To some it’s one of the best films of the series, showcasing the very best of Roger Moore’s suave portrayal of Bond with some of his finest moments. To others, it epitomises everything that’s wrong with Moore’s turn as Bond, filled with dire puns (“keeping the British end up sir”) and goofy kitsch –after all, it was scripted by the same man who gave us the ‘Confessions’ series of bawdy sex comedies in the ‘70s. But while it’s either a classic Bond film or an embarrassment depending on who you ask, few would argue that its opening sequence is anything but genuinely classic.
After getting his end away in a shack on the Alps (“tell him to pull out !”), Bond flees from a bunch of assassins in an exciting ski chase, eventually making a death defying jump off the edge of a mountain. It’s at this point where Bond deploys his Union Jack parachute, propelling the scene into iconic film history. So iconic in fact, that I’d easily wager that this scene alone makes The Spy Who Loved Me a strong candidate for inclusion in 007 Legends.
From Russia With Love – Orient Express Brawl
From Russia with Love was only the second Bond film ever made, and yet it confidently introduces many elements of the series that would later become essential. It marks the first appearance of the pre-credits sequence, theme song and the ‘James Bond Will Return’ end credit. It’s such a classic Bond film that EA already already attempted to bring From Russia with Love to gamers back in 2005, also bringing Connery’s iconic portrayal of Bond back to life.
They did a reasonable job, creating an enjoyable take on the film – even if the original didn’t begin with Connery flying around Big Ben with Natasha Beddingfield on a Jetpack – but unfortunately, there’s one major problem. One of the films classic sequences – the epic train fight between Bond and Robert Shaw’s Red Grant –was completely changed to a generic shooting section. Thus 007 Legends is given the perfect opportunity to give us a proper brawling boss battle akin to The Bourne Conspiracy’s brutal fight sequences.
The Man with the Golden Gun – Scaramanga Showdown
Much like The Spy Who Loved Me, Roger Moore’s second run as Bond in The Man with the Golden Gun also has its fans and its detractors. While that film had its iconic Ski jump opening, Golden Gun paved itself a special place in Bond history thanks to a fantastic villain in the form of Christopher Lee’s Scaramanga. Armed with his unique self-constructed Golden Gun, Scaramanga is also notable for having a third nipple. A deadly trick shot extraordinaire, Scaramanga eventually challenges Bond to a tense showdown on his private island.
While the intense duel with skilled marksman Scaramanga could make for a thrilling video game encounter itself – if handled in a similar vein to Metal Gear Solid 3’s tense showdown with elderly sniper The End – there are also the other possibilities of Scaramanga’s unique island paradise. Known for luring his enemies into a sinister funhouse full of traps and hidden passages, Scarmanga plays psychological mind games with his victims. Scaramanga’ confusing maze and his penchant for tricking Bond could make for a unique and engrossing level in 007 Legends.
5 Missions We Don’t Want To See
You Only Live Twice – Undercover Asian
You Only Live Twice is often considered as a lesser entry in Sean Connery’s tenure as bond, but for my money, it’s actually one of his best. Renowned children’s author Roald Dahl’s script is both funny and exciting, while Donald Pleasance’s performance as Blofeld remains the most memorable portrayal of the character and the eventual basis for Dr.Evil in Austin Powers. However, even those of us who consider You Only Live Twice to be a stellar bond entry can’t deny the sheer awfulness of one particular scene.
In what’s surely one of the most unconvincing disguises ever seen on film, Sean Connery’s bond is given a dodgy wig and cringeworthy make-up to disguise himself as a Japanese Ninja. As a level in 007 Legends, you’ll sneak your way around an enemy compound as Asian Connery, dispatching guards while also unleashing a variety of offensive jokes about the taste of Chinese girls.
Moonraker – Venice Gondola Chase
The fact that Moonraker is often considered one of the worst Bond films ever made hasn’t stopped it from rearing its head in several Bond video games of the past. The entire climax of 2002’s 007 Nightfire took place on a gigantic space station, clearly influenced by the barmiest adventure of Sir.Rodge. Moonraker’s verbose villain Hugo Drax even appeared in the recent GoldenEye Reloaded as a playable multiplayer character.
Clearly it’s the potential of Bond in space which proves to be an exciting prospect for game developers – not so much anything else the film. Take for example the dire sequence in which Bond’s gondola turns into a hovercraft and glides its way across St Mark’s Square in Venice. In 007 Legends, we’d imagine this sequence as an equally appalling QTE section, with players having to make timed button presses in order to dodge tourists and make Pigeons do a double-take.
Die Another Day – Fencing With Madonna
I can never quite decide how I feel about Pierce Brosnan’s portrayal of Bond – it never really seemed to me that he found his own groove, instead giving us a mix of the saucy bawdiness of Roger Moore with the harder edge of Timothy Dalton. He still had a decent run of films, with a couple definitely standing out as series highlights.
Sadly that can’t be said of his final stab at the role in Die Another Day, which contains so many dubious moments it’s hard to know where to start. From surfing dodgy CGI, to invisible cars and a villain legitimately named Mr.Kill. The entirely unnecessary appearance of Madonna – in a cameo as Fencing instructor Verity – would be just as baffling in 007 Legends as it is in the feature film.
Taking the form of a bonus level, a quick bout of epee with Madge would reward the player with bonus lives and an unsavory achievement. Sadly, Madonna has a proven track record of ruining any film she turns up in, I’d probably say she’d have the same effect in a video game.
A View To A Kill – Seducing Grace Jones
While Roger Moore gets something of a bad rep these days for his portrayal of Bond (suave spy meets lecherous uncle) it’s easy to forget that his early adventures in the role are some of Bond’s best. Not only that, but his completely different portrayal of Bond allowed audiences to accept Connery’s absence, which is no mean feat. However, even in defense of Moore you can’t really defend his last few follies in the role.
A View to a Kill in particular is a difficult watch, mainly due to Moore’s ripe age of 57 – making Bond’s escapades in both the field and the bedroom largely implausible. Matters aren’t helped by the fact that someone decided that the perfect match for an aging Moore was the provocative and striking supermodel Grace Jones. If Activison completely lose it and decide to give us virtual Moore and Jones rumpy-pumpy, expect a controversial ‘hot coffee’ style mini-game.
Casino Royale – Flog Stuff
We’ve already established that Casino Royale is undoubtedly one of the very best Bond movies, and yet it oddly contains one of the most cringeworthy moments in the entire franchise. During a scene in which Bond and Eva Green’s Vesper analyse each other on a train, Bond’s choice of Omega watch is shoe horned in with Vesper referring to Bond’s timepiece choice as “Beautiful”. If that wasn’t enough, Casino Royale is completely awash with product placement, from Sony laptops to Ford cars.
Well, why stop there? If you’re going to glaringly stick an advert into an otherwise engaging film scene then why not do the same in a video game? Will 007 Legends feature a level in which Bond must try and shamelessly flog as many products as possible at a car boot sale before going off to save the world ? Don’t hold your breath.
Which films and previous Bond adventures would you like to see included in 007 Legends?