You might be able to tell from the way that my blog header is the cover art from the 2008 edition of Diamonds Are Forever, with my xbox gamertag (which is a famous line from Casino Royale) photoshopped onto it, that i am a bit of a Bond fan.
Last week was the 50th anniversary of the first EON 007 production, Dr No. Sky television also set up a movies channel dedicated to the franchise, and have had a few programmes focussing on the 'top' moments from the series. They are also holding a poll on the website, allowing fans to vote on their favourite Bond moments, with a view to holding a countdown programme at the end of the year.
I voted for the ski chase from the opening of The Spy Who Loved Me.
Anyway, i like computer games almost as much as i like Ian Fleming's secret agent, so i've been thinking about my favourite great moments from 007 video games as well. Contrary to popular belief, there have been a lot of them, with many coming from games that aren't GoldenEye 64. These are my top 5.
5. GoldenEye 64: The wristwatch laser.
GoldenEye is rightly regarded as one of the greatest first person shooters of all time, but outside of the Facility level, there were precious few moments in which you actually felt like James Bond. You may as well have been playing as John Rambo in the jungle, silo or archives.
However, using Q's ingenious invention to escape the train Trevelyan had Bond and Simonova trapped in was pure 007. Unsurprising, since it was directly lifted from the film, but a welcome change in pace and the sort of thing the game could have done with a little more of.
4. Blood Stone: Greco hits James with a chair.
This one might seem a little odd, but i'm a big fan of the literary 007 as well as the movie versions. One of the trademarks of the man Fleming wrote about was his ability to withstand severe punishment, and quite often shrug it off entirely until the job was done.
So when, during the opening level of Blood Stone, a Greek terrorist by the name of Greco surprises Bond by smashing a wooden chair over his back, only to instantly get punched in the face and ultimately beaten into submission, it brought a smile to my face because it was like something out of the novels.
3. Quantum of Solace: The credit sequence.
The game features a gunbarrel sequence very similar to the one used at the beginning of Casino Royale, in which Bond picks up a gun, turns and shoots.
This leads into the opening credits and the game's song, 'When Nobody Loves You', performed by the gorgeous Kerli. It opens with the traditional 'dum-dum-dum-dum...dum-dum-dum' motif that David Arnold has been reluctant to use in the Daniel Craig films, and it was really cool to hear it over the gunbarrel sequence.
The song itself holds up against those used in the films too. The verses and chorus are sung in a way reminiscent of the likes of Sheryl Crow's Tomorrow Never Dies and Garbage's 'The World is Not Enough', but the pre-chorus is a bit more non-traditional, and almost rap-like. Like all good Bond songs it's representative of its era.
2. Blood Stone: The Siberia car chase.
In my opinion, Blood Stone is the closest any video game has come to recreating the feel of an on-screen 007 outing. In addition to combat, it was able to incorporate some (admittedly very basic) traditional spy work - such as finding prints and a voice sample to bypass a security door - and actual, authentic car chases.
The best of which saw Bond escape an exploding factory in Siberia, hot on the heels of Pomerov, an oligarch suspected of being involved in a plot to use chemical weapons.
The trip passes through a snowy road onto an ice-covered lake - which i enjoyed partially because it didn't involve vehicles with invisibility cloaks this time - and ends with James driving the car off a ramp and landing on the train in which Pomerov was making his escape.
1. Any Bond game with a multi-player mode: My encyclopaedic knowledge of the franchise.
Literally the most fun i have ever had on xbox live was the time i killed a guy while playing multiplayer on Quantum of Solace, by shooting some electric panelling behind him. I quipped over the headset "shocking... positively shocking".
Or the time i meleed a guy off a roof, to his death, and declared 'he had no head for heights".
LOOK WHO CAME: