LICENCE TO KILL
Bond movies beg for translation into computer games. James Bond's name conjures up visions of fantastic car chases, totally impossible escapes, great-looking women, and dry martinis. Brøderbund software has come out with a game that attempts to flesh out the vision. Based on, and named after, Bond's most recent film, Licence to Kill, the game takes six scenes from the movie and puts you in the position of our hero in this arcade-style offering. Your mission is to catch Sanchez.
The first scene has Bond and his CIA counterpart, Felix Leiter, chasing the evil Sanchez in a helicopter. With Sanchez racing off in a jeep, you must maneuver past varyingly tall obstacles, dodge gun emplacements and try to prevent Sanchez's escape. To help you do this, there are control panels describing the amount of damage your chopper has taken and your current altitude. The joystick controls your direction, altitude, and speed; and it fires your gun.
Next, Bond is chasing after our villain on foot. You're given a finite number of bullets (although you can get more), and you must dodge explosions and ambushes. Graphically and strategically the most interesting of all the scenes provided, this situation demands thought and inventiveness.
Scene 3 sends us back into the air as Bond tries to jump from his plane to Sanchez's. This setting becomes a mere exercise of coordination, as you must time your jump perfectly before time expires and Sanchez leaves U.S. territory.
Scene 4 features our intrepid hero swimming underwater and attempting to interrupt a drop by drug smugglers. You're given only a limited amount of oxygen, and staying under is the only way to avoid being shot. A tough one.
In scene 5, Bond shows off his water-skiing skills and you show off your reflex skills as you race though all kinds of obstacles, trying to catch you-know-who. If you have played any of the popular race games, this scene will hold few surprises.
The final scene requires completion of two separate actions. The first is to successfully drop from a plane to a truck. The second is to drive the truck, destroying tankers as you go, until you finally stop Sanchez in the lead tanker.
The hardware requirements necessary to play Licence to Kill are EGA, CGA, or Hercules capability and 512K of memory. This allows practically anybody to play the game, but the question is would anyone want to?
There are several problems that make this game ultimately unsatisfying. One is the lack of documentation. There are literally more words in this review than there are in the manual. The game's instructions tell you only what the joystick does and what the situation is, and then it lets you go at it. It doesn't explain the symbols on the control-panel menu, how to win or lose, or what the symbols on the map mean. At the least, I would expect a demo game. I might have been able to figure the mechanics while watching the computer play. Starting with such limited knowledge decreases the game's pleasure and playability.
Another major fault is the matter of subject interest. Essentially, this game is six different arcade games in one package. But the differentiation between one scene and another is so slight as to suggest not six different games but one game six times.
On the plus side, the graphics are truly terrific, especially in EGA. Unfortunately, that's too little to earn a recommendation. I expect a lot more from a game that carries the name of James Bond. This is one package I wish I had a license to stop.
IBM PC and compatibles—$34.95
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