Imagine a James Bond movie where you control what happens. That's the idea with "James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing."
This new action-adventure video game isn't some hackneyed film spinoff - it's one of the best movie/video game combinations I've played.
"Everything or Nothing" redefines high production values for video games. From the moment the MGM lion roars at the beginning to the climactic showdown, the graphics, gameplay and music are polished to a high gloss.
The actors should be commended for venturing into the digital realm. The story is typical Bond fare, but it really comes to life with the use of real people.
Willem Dafoe voices Bond's archrival Nikolai Diavolo, a crazed ex-KGB agent bent on using nano-robots to take over the world. Guiding Bond through globe-trotting missions is M (Judi Dench). The rest of the cast includes Heidi Klum as the traitorous Katya Nadanova, geologist-turned-Bond-babe Serena St. Germaine (Shannon Elizabeth) and hulking, metal-mouthed fan-favorite Jaws (Richard Kiel).
Bond (Pierce Brosnan, naturally), engages in the usual witty banter during frequent life-or-death situations involving gorgeous women and high-tech gadgetry.
"Looks like this is the end of the line," he says moments before piloting a helicopter off a runaway train zooming toward a blasted bridge.
Unlike the movies, you won't have time to munch popcorn. You'll have your hands full controlling Bond. This game swings from laughably easy to maddeningly tough.
I was breezing along, squashing evildoers like bugs, until it came time to skydive off a cliff to rescue Serena. As if the tumble wasn't enough, I had to dodge gunfire, avoid rock outcroppings, catch Serena and then shoot my rappel gun before smashing to the ground.
There were many "smashing" moments before I successfully pulled it off. It was a bit disturbing to see the super agent croak, but anyone planning to finish this game had better get used to seeing 007 die once in a while.
The game rewards so-called "Bond Moments," where you think and act like the super agent.
For example, I remotely controlled a laser-shooting car to detonate a fireworks factory and distract a town full of corrupt police.
Another Bond-esque moment was when I sent my Aston-Martin V12 Vanquish zooming out of a factory, through a huge pipe and out into the streets of the Big Easy's French Quarter.
The rewards are so-so bonuses like production stills and concept art, nothing to top the thrill of actually pulling off the stylish moves.
Where would Bond be without all his cool stuff? There are plenty of gizmos, straight from the MI6 labs and Q (John Cleese).
My favorite was the Porsche Cayenne Turbo sport-utility vehicle. In true Bond fashion, it can shoot missiles and even has a "Q-Cloak," making it invisible for a short time. Very handy for dodging those all-seeing international terrorists.
Another nifty tool is the Q-Spider. You guide this small robot into hard-to-reach spots to see what's going on. More advanced models have some extra kick - they can explode.
Bond fan or not, owners of the GameCube, Game Boy Advance, PlayStation 2 or Xbox are in for a treat with this $50 game, which is rated T for teen.
Three and a half stars out of four.
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