Amstrad Action


Live And Let Die

Author: GBH
Publisher: Domark
Machine: Amstrad CPC464

 
Published in Amstrad Action #39

AA Rave

Live And Let Die

It sounds like a plot from a Bond film (OK so it doesn't - but I've got to start somehow!): a while ago those truly wacky and off the wall merchants Domark (did you see their zany stand at the PC Show, with Rambo and The Leaderene?) beat off all sorts of heavyweight competition and pulled off a fabulous coup by acquiring the license for the James Bond film Live And Let Die. Unfortunately, however, they had omitted just one tiny detail: what to do with it.

Meanwhile, in another part of town, those not-nearly-so-wacky people Elite had a shoot-'em-up speedboat game all dressed up but with nowhere to go. Some marketing genius got the two software houses together and so was launched Live And Let Die, the computer game.

The link with the film, as you might expect from such a peculiar genesis, could politely be described as tenuous -indeed the only discernible connection is a boat chase. You view the landscape as it comes out of the screen towards you and your boat sits in the centre of the screen. Below the playing area is a dashboard with a speedometer, fuel gauge, score, stage number and number of missiles. You start with three missiles and a full tank of fuel. Extra missives and fuel can be found floating in the river or are occasionally parachuted in by helicopter.

Live And Let Die

There are four different tasks: practice mission, North Pole exercise, Sahara Desert exercise and New Orleans Mission. The practice course is just a single stage with loads of targets to blast. The targets come in two colours, red and black. Red targets can be blasted with a single shot and black targets must be hit with a missile. Every time you hit something, the boat explodes and valuable fuel is wasted, and the game ends when you're out of fuel.

After a few games on the practice course you'll be ready to take on the added hazards of baddie boats, mines rocks, gun emplacements, logs and air craft. Both exercises and the mission have all of these dangers. Bumping into logs send you flying into the air, but collision with anything else is deadly. Rocks (and ice floes) can't be destroyed, but everything else can be blasted to bits.

Rivers tend not to flow in straight lines, so it comes as no surprise to find out that the ones in the game go all over the place. They narrow in places too and even disappear into tunnels. Some sections have steep banks along the sides and to avoid some of the water based hazards yon must, go up on the banks: of course, you can't stay there forever, gravity has something to say about that.

Live And Let Die

Eventually it's time to take on the New Orleans mission and things get really tough. All the old adversaries from the the two exercises are there, but in greater numbers to make your destination, Mr Big's headquarters, a difficult place to get to.

Sound effects are a mixture of sirens and explosions with no noise for the boats' engines and there no tune during play. A simple tune plays on the title screen. The graphics are chunky and colourful with only a little animation. Your boat is well-drawn and bounces and pitches nicely when travelling along. The scenery moves smoothly and quickly towards you.

At first sight, Live And Let Die looks just like Buggy Boy on water. Second sight confirms this except that the gameplay is much better. It's not just a matter of getting around a course in a certain amount of time or lose; you have to make that time by collecting fuel and there's also the satisfaction of being able to blast, some of the things that get in your way. James Bond games have been consistently average to poor in the past, but this one is a significant improvement.

Live And Let Die

You're going to die a horrible death, Meesta Bond; but before you do I will reveal my plans to take over the entire world - ha ha ha-ha...

Second Opinion

I only played Buggy Boy once and this is a good improvement. The game features aren't particularly original but the toughness of each mission, added to the fact that you get better the more time you spend on it, makes me want to play it every time it's loaded. Limited long term appeal but bags of fun. Recommended.

First Day Target Score

Complete the Sahara Exercise.

Green Screen View

Live And Let Die

OK

Verdict

Graphics 79%
P. Fast and smooth moving graphics.
P. Chunky graphics, but colourful nonetheless.

Sonics 48%
P. Good effects.

Live And Let Die

Grab Factor 82%
P. Practice level to get you started.
P. Tricky at first, but not impossible.

Staying Power 84%
P. Four different objectives of increasing difficulty levels.
N. When you've completed all missions you'll only play it occasionally.

Overall 80%
The best Bond game yet.

GBH

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