Mean Machines

James Pond
By Electronic Arts
Sega Mega Drive (EU Version)

Published in Mean Machines #8

James Pond

He wears a tuxedo, carries a gun and is a hit with the girlies. The fact that he's a fish makes no difference to his espionage activities. James Pond, or Double Bubble Seven to use his code name, is on the trail of the evil Doctor Maybe whose plans for world domination threaten civilised fish everywhere. Can James thwart the intentions of the man with the cat and save the oceans of the world?

Twelve missions await the brave subaqua agent; View To a Spill, for example, pits Pond against a leaking oil platform - he gathers dynamite to blow up the legs of the platform. Of course things are never that simple, and a host of baddies lurk to do Pond some mischief. Starfish, mutated fish, crabs and squids all drain our hero's energy, and other hazards (like radioactive canisters and invisible jellyfish) have the same effect.

Each mission's objectives have to be completed within the time limit, using the warps and secret areas to gain bonus points. James carries objects into his house for other extras, including the letters that spell various words (all of which are clean!). Let's hope James is up to the job, as Pussy Galore won't turn up to help him out...

Wet Things

James Pond: Underwater Agent

Want some extra points? It's a good idea to grab as many items as possible, 'cos bonus lilves are gained for getting lots of points. Here's a list of the goodies in Pond's domain, and the effect they have on James:

  1. Yellow Starfish:
    This puts James' Fishometer (or life measure) back up to maximum. Useful if our agent is suffering a little!
  2. Red Starfish
    Super speed. Pond now dashes around the screen, and if he collects seven of these he gets hyper speed!
  3. Oyster
    Touch an oyster for jolly benefits! The shellfish follows Double Bubble Seven, neutralising up to eight foes in his path.
  4. Fairy Wand
    This makes James invincible temporarily, allowing him to race through baddies and obstacles.

Famous Fish Of Our Time

James Pond isn't the first famous aquatic adventurer, not by a long shot. Captain Haddock, of Tintin and Poole fame, is known to millions of school kids across the world.

The Codfather series of films has been a huge success, and Al Carpone was a notorious gangster in the twenties. Then there's Robocod - half man, half fish, all cod. Can you think of any others?

Landing That Fish

James Pond: Underwater Agent

Pond isn't completely limited to water. He leaps out of the sea, lake or whatever at any opportunity. In the fourth level (The Fish With The Golden Bar), James gathers gold bars and takes them to a waiting rowboat. Bonus items are often found above ground, like glue pots and hearts.

However, the surface world isn't all roses and there are a number of dangers lurking overhead. Friendly storks help him out though!


I like this game! An aquatic spoof of Ian Fleming's Bond is a great premise for a Megadrive product, and this is the first game developed for this console in good old Britain.

James Pond: Underwater Agent

It's certainly fun to play, and the main sprite is cleverly animated. However, the backgrounds are bland throughout the levels, and the basic challenge never varies (it only gets slightly more difficult each time). It really needs some change of pace and play to turn it into something definitely worth buying.

As it stands, it will appeal to some people but others will not be impressed by the lack of high quality 16-bit graphics and repetitive gameplay.


James Pond provides plenty of fun when you first start playing, but unfortunately it doesn't hold its appeal over a long period of time, due to the rather repetitive gameplay and the fact that its twelve levels aren't difficult to complete.

James Pond: Underwater Agent

Rushing around avoiding the nicely drawn aquatic sprites and picking up items is enjoyable, but there isn't really enough variety - some form of bonus screens where you have to do something other than collect things would have helped break up the action.

As it stands James Pond is a fun game that you'll play loads when you first get it, but won't be one that you'll go back to in the coming months.


Presentation 79%
The game starts with a movie-opening, which is nice, if not exciting.

James Pond: Underwater Agent

Graphics 79%
The sprites are very nice, but unfortunately the backgrounds are dull.

Sound 73%
Again this is nothing to write home about, but is inoffensive and suits the game well.

Playability 85%
Great fun and easy to get into, the straightforward action of James Pond is instantly enjoyable.

Lastability 71%
Twelve missions confront James, but once they're beaten you won't be coming back for more.

Overall 79%
This is different, unusual and amusing, but ultimate lacks the depth (ho ho) to make it to the big time.