The Bond Collection
The 007 movies series is the biggest moneyspinner in box office history - still - and it's inspired numerous games, from the recent PC-only David Wolf to established C64 classics such as Spy Hunter and Impossible Mission.
Unfortunately, official products have so far failed to capture the magic that even lacklustre efforts such as Sly Spy display. It's a shame as the licence offers so much potential, for gameplay and profits, but the only respectable Domark 007 title so far is Licence To Kill, which has recently been re-released by The Hit Squad.
This clever design squeezes six distinct mini-games into a single load, all are vertically scrolling but the variety is impressive. To begin with, you control a helicopter chasing a jeep, then you switch to being on foot, picking off villains one by one, then it's back to the helicopter to follow a plane, next you don a wet suit for some swimming, then a water skiing bit and finally it's a juggernaut chase. Graphically attractive and very tough (possibly too much so), Licence To Kill is an entertaining and faithful adaption of the original movie and got 80% in Issue 53.
In between handling the new flicks, Domark also have permission to convert old Bond flicks. Without the rush to meet a movie release deadline, you might think they could work wonders, picking out the best bits of movies everyone has seen over and over. No such luck. For Live And Let Die (70%, Issue 46), Domark simply bought Aquablaster from Elite, an unofficial follow-up to Buggy Boy which was nowhere near as good and unlikely to sell without some marketing gimmick - e.g. a 007 logo. Released on budget a while ago by Encore, at least it's not The Spy Who Loved Me (38%, Issue 69).
The most recent of the Bond conversions this had numerous brilliant scenes to base sub-games on, and the 16-bit versions were quite good. Unfortunately on the C64 Domark tried to keep it to a single load, resulting in poor graphics - and the 16-bit Operation Wolf-style scenes were dropped. All that's left is a vertically scrolling game with a mix of driving and underwater shoot-'em-up levels without the zest or variety of Licence To Kill.
For this price you might expect A View To A Kill (36%, Issue 4) and The Living Daylights (57%, Issue 29) for the sake of completeness, if not gameplay, but in any case Domark's treatment of the Bond licence clearly resembles Casino Royale rather than Goldfighter.
Licence revoked. Astonishingly overpriced and underpowered.