I’ve been a fan of the British secret agent James Bond since I first saw A View to a Kill at the age of 5, for the record, A View to a Kill is still my favourite film in the franchise; you’ve just got to love Christopher Walken as a Bond villain! In addition to having seen all of the movies in the franchise (including the unofficial entries), I had also played all of the console games based on the license. Even though movie-licensed games tend to suck, the Bond license has a much more solid track record for producing decent games. Because of that, I decided to produce lists of my picks for the seven best and worst Bond games starting with 7 of the best.
I should make it clear before we begin, these lists only count the games that had console releases. I never got to play the entries that were only on the Apple II, Commodore 64, or ZX Spectrum; so, it wouldn’t be fair to include them on these lists. With that said, let’s look at my picks for the best Bond games.
7. The World Is Not Enough – Nintendo 64
I put this game low on the list since it blatantly copied GoldenEye, with so much with its gameplay, but it is still a blast. The campaign mode followed the movie reasonably enough, the visuals hold up for a late-era N64 game, and the gameplay is easy to pick up and hard to put down. Its multiplayer while lacking some options is also excellent. This is an excellent game to add to your Nintendo 64 library.
6. Everything or Nothing – Playstation 2, GameCube, Xbox
Multiple games were made that were not directly based on any of the movies. Fortunately, many of them were good. Everything or Nothing felt very much like a playable Bond movie, even having Pierce Brosnan voicing 007. The third-person cover-based shooting mechanics are familiar to anyone who regularly plays Gears of War, and there are tons of over-the-top scripted moments to satisfy the Call of Duty fans. While this game is not canon with the film franchise, it feels legitimate enough to be.
5. GoldenEye: Rogue Agent – Playstation 2, GameCube, Xbox
This is the ultimate role-reversal. Instead of playing as Bond, in this off-kilter first-person shooter, you play a disgraced MI6 agent who joins up with Auric Goldfinger on a mission to kill Dr. No. This game really has fun with the fact that the player portrays the villain. Shoot-outs are far more chaotic than in other Bond games, especially when the GoldenEye powers and environmental hazards are thrown into the mix. These elements are also in the multiplayer, leading to some of the most fun matches I had with friends. Sometimes, it’s just fun to be the bad guy.
4. Agent Under Fire – Playstation 2, GameCube, Xbox
Although it received flack when it first released for being too generic, I had a lot of fun playing Agent Under Fire. The mechanics are excellent, and there are numerous ways to complete many of the objectives. I love the variety in the game. Missions range from first-person shooter segments to turret sections to driving missions, all of which play great. If you think of this as an amalgam of everything you love about Bond, you will have a blast with this one.
3. From Russia With Love – Playstation 2, GameCube, Xbox
From Russia With Love is one of the greatest movies in the franchise, and the game honours it in every way imaginable. The 60’s era was recreated flawlessly, the original music is used to great effect, and the legendary Sean Connery even provided new dialogue for the game. Even though the story is very faithful to the film, some elements from other Connery Bond films made wonderful appearances like the Aston Martin from Goldfinger and the jetpack from Thunderball. The third-person shooting mechanics taken from Everything or Nothing have tightened, creating some of the most exciting shoot-outs in the franchise. Honorariums don’t get better than this.
2. Blood Stone – Playstation 3, Xbox 360
Just as Everything or Nothing provided a wonderful playable take on a Brosnan-era Bond film, Blood Stone provided a perfect playable take on a Daniel Craig-era Bond film. The third-person shooter gameplay takes many cues from Splinter Cell: Conviction which can only be a good thing since that was the most fun Splinter Cell game in my opinion. Blood Stone‘s driving stages are the best of the whole franchise, fitting since the game was developed by Bizarre Creations, the guys behind Project Gotham Racing. Without a doubt, this is the best Bond game not based on a Bond film.
1. GoldenEye 007 – Nintendo 64
Yeah, yeah, you all saw this one coming from a mile away. GoldenEye 007 on the N64 is still the perfect model for how to make a game based on a movie. The campaign hits all the key moments from one of the best films in the franchise. The difficulty is perfectly balanced; I love how upping the difficulty adds new objectives to each stage, not just making the enemies hit harder. The game still looks good, even after 20 years. Of course, its multiplayer mode is legendary, providing lots of ways to play including the Golden Gun mode (just don’t let anyone pick Oddjob as his/her character). GoldenEye 007 is not just the perfect Bond game; it is the perfect movie-licensed game.
Well, those are my picks for the seven best Bond games. Disagree? Hit me up on Twitter with your comments. Next time, I’ll be counting down the seven worst Bond games.