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Domark Ltd
1988
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£8.99
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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93
Ciaran Brennan
Chris Bourne

The Bond films went through a really bad patch during the 70's. Apart from the fact that Roger Moore was the naffest 007 of all time (did you know that towards the end of his Bond career, old Rog needed a stuntman to do his running scenes for him!), the films usually had really awful theme tunes sung by Shirley Bassey or Paul McCartney. None of these was worse than Macca's Live And Let Die, and the standard of the song was matched by the dismal film which had Bond faffing around New Orleans trying to deal with the hocus pocus of a Voodoo priest. For some reason or other, Domark has decided to licence this film - 12 years after it was first released! But what does time matter if the game is good? Let's have a look and see!

The game's story is loosely based on the original film plot. The evil Dr Kanaga has holed up on the Carribean island of San Monique where he plans to harvest the world's biggest poppy crop and flood the world market with heroin. This done, he should then be able to take over the world (what he plans to do when he's in charge of a world full of junkies is anybody's guess) Obviously Bond has to put a stop to this, but he's really up against it this time as Dr Kanaga has the power of Voodoo to draw on and masses of zombie slaves at his beck and call.

For some reason, "M" (Bond's boss) reckons that the best way for this evil-doer to be brought to justice is for 007 to take a speedboat and blast his way along four different waterways the Nile: an anonymous practice canal: an Arctic river and the river which flows through New Orleans. This may seem like a peculiar solution to you and I, but I suppose that's why M is the leader of the British Secret Service and we're still at home playing computer games.

The first mission is a target practice section, where Bond takes his motor boat along an undefended stretch of river and shoots at floating targets. This is a piece of cake for anyone with a licence to kill. so after a few attempts at this it's into the missions proper. The three missions are largely the same, differing only slightly in background and some of the defences, Things to watch out for include floating mines, rocks which protrude slightly above the water, dive-bmbing planes and helicopters and gun emplacements on the river banks.

In a wonderful spirit of international co-operation, the CIA are always around to lend a hadn, dropping extra fuel and missiles from passing aircraft. Even at this point caution must be exercised though, as Dr Kanaga's nasties occasionally drop bobby-trapped cannisters hoping that you'll pick them up by mistake - the fiendish devils.

The gameplay can best be described as a sort of waterbound Road Blasters, with the boat remaining mid-screen and the river stretching and bending in its path. Some nice touches appear along the way, like the boat leaping into into the air when it hits a log and the impressive tunnel sequences (just wait for the light at the end). However these good points are completely outweighed by some pretty startling deficiencies such as the remarkably iffy collision detection, the similarity between rocks and mines (this is important because mines can be destroyed and rocks can't) and the fact that is impossible to end up on the bank - no matter how bad your steering is.

One glaring fault that stood above all others is that when using the joystick I couldn't find any way of launching the 'Snuff' missiles (which are essential equipment in certain sections), this meant that using keys was more or less compulsory.

I didn't get too much fun out of Live And Let Die. The game is too similar to most of the driving games that are doing the rounds at the moment and the flaws in the programming destroy any enjoyment that may have been in there. This may have been a very noble co-ooperation between two software producers (Elite did the programming, leaving the production and marketing to Domark), but as a film tie-in it's a sad waste of a licence.

A run-of-the-mill racing game with a Bond licence tacked on.

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