Memory Required: 48K
Retail Price: £10.99
Language: Machine code
Author: Softstone Ltd
Surprisingly, this is the first game to be based on Ian Flemings superhero James Bond. Taking the form of a three part arcade adventure, A View to a Kill is based on the three main action sequences of the film of the same name which is due for release any day now.
The basic plot of both the film and game is quite straightforward, involving Bond in a battle with a superbaddy who has delusions of grandeur and seeks world domination. This time, the evil one is called Max Zorin and plans to blow up Silicon Valley with a thermonuclear device so that he can corner the silicon chip market and put every other computer company out of business. (Who needs Max - Mark Butler, Chris Curry, Paul Dyer et al.)
You have to guide 007 through the three games, acquiring a special code on successful completion of each task which you input to start the next game in the trilogy. This code contains information about your performance in the game just completed, and while you can use the same code to jump to any particular game, the best way to improve your performance is to play each game until you have done really well, before moving on to the next section. To complete the final game, you must have done as well as James himself would have in the first two scenarios, so unless you're really secret agent material a little practice will be in order!
The game is played in real time but you are allowed to pause, so you can sit back and sip your Martini. A choice of background music is offered: you can select the Bond theme or the tune from the Duran Duran single. More sound effects are provided in the form of speech output, phrases such as 'my name is James Bond' and 'Dammit' make occasional appearances.
Not quite icon driven, the adventure elements of the games are controlled via a 'duck shoot'system which is displayed in a window on the right of the screen. The upper part of this window shows the symbols for the items that you have in your possession, and by using the keys or joystick they can be made to scroll past a pointer to make a choice. Once an item has been selected it can be used according to the instructions entered in the lower part of the window. This lower area contains phrases such as 'return', 'search', 'drop', 'use' and 'give'. The command you select in the lower section will act upon the object you selected in the section above.
Part One of the game is set in Paris. Bond has been briefed by 'M' and is having lunch with a fellow agent, when suddenly his colleague is killed by the ruthless assassin, May Day. Bond chases her to the top of the Eiffel Tower and watches in amazement as she leaps off the top, parachuting down to safety. Commandeering a taxi at the foot of the tower, Bond attempts to guide it through the streets of Paris to the spot where May Day will land.
Using the controls, you have to guide the taxi to May Day's landing spot. The main screen provides of 3D view of the road ahead, while the lower part displays a map of the immediate area. You have a radio tracker which gives an indication of May Day's position. Driving round the Paris streets you encounter many hazards, and driving the wrong way down one-way streets will have the police on your tail, setting up road blocks or maybe taking a few pot shots. And watch out for the manic Parisian drivers - too many collisions and your car will stop working.
Miss May Day's landing, and it's back to the start for you....
San Francisco provides the setting for Section Two, the City Hall to be exact. Bond and his girl, Stacey, have found Max but he has turned the tables on them by trapping them in the lift and, because he's a nice sort of guy, setting fire to it. Bond has escaped from the lift but now you must guide him. He must rescue Stacey and escape from the burning building.
Not all of the objects found inside city hall will have any immediate use, the geiger counter, for example, is needed for the next game. As you move from room to room the fire is taking hold, and time is of the essence. Your progress and that of the fire is shown on a front elevation of City Hall displayed at the base of the screen. A thermometer on the right of the screen lets you know when things are getting too hot.
If you managed to get past the first two games then you are given the chance to save Silicon Valley and next year's Spectrum production. To complete this section of the trilogy Bond must enlist May Day to help him get to the nuclear device by convincing her of the error of her ways. The geiger counter shown at the top right of the screen will help you locate the bomb and while there's a great deal of jumping and rope climbing to do, you must always be on the look out for useful objects.
The mine is really a huge maze, and you can examine the area immediately around Bond, so avoiding those spectacular but annoying jumps into oblivion. When you locate the bomb you must disable it. Then you and May Day can make off into the sunset, safe in the knowledge that Max has had his chips and the world is once more a safe and happy place.
Control keys: vary from game to game, displayed on each title screen along with options
Keyboard play: good
Use of colour: average
Graphics: average, better in the mine
Sound: occasional bit of chat
Skill levels: 1
Screens: three linked games
This is a huge game with many interrelated elements that make it extremely playable. Some of the graphics are a bit of a let down - I'm sure they could have been a lot better, The sound? Well a great deal has been promised and if it is only half as good as the CBM version then they have done well. The speech is OK but perhaps a little feeble, the effect is very similar to the speech on Deathstar Interceptor. The facility to play any of the games in isolation is useful but I feel that once the problems have been leamt and tackled a few times the game will lose a great deal of its attraction. On the whole though I think it fair to say that for any Bond fans this game is a must - especially if you intend to see the film because that should help it all make sense, and provide you with some valuable clues to solving the game.
If you've seen Impossible Mission on the Commodore, and hoped for an equally good Spectrum secret agent game you would be sadly disappointed by A View to a Kill. The graphics leave a general impression of being crude, and the games themselves weren't exactly gripping. Perhaps if you see the film first in Glorious Living Technicolour Cinemascope or whatever, your imagination will make up for the shortcomings. Between them, the three games make up a reasonable entertainment package, but somehow I don't think I'd be totally gripped for very long.
This is the first arcade game about Ian Fleming's super (unkillable) character James Bond, Agent 007. I was quite surprised when I found out that this was the only one on the market as software houses seem to be buying up heroes like hot cakes. I loved the opening sequence - it was a very good effect although it did go on for ages. The games themselves were playable and addictive, with fair to good graphics. There is some nice speech in there too, but other than that the sound was a bit uneventful. I like the way you can select your weapons, hardware etc, although it can lead to some problems in the mine when jumping. I wish 007 would show some sign of injury, his resilience became a bit annoying after a while. For instance when in the mine after falling the equivalent of 100 feet and landing on his head he would lie flat on his back for half a second and then get up and walk off as if he had just tripped up. Still, a fun game overall, and not a bad tiein.
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