Movie mashup doesn't work in '007 Legends'

palcala@herald-leader.comNovember 8, 2012 

A mission from Goldfinger and other James Bond movies is included in 007 Legends.

PHOTO COURTESY GAMES PRESS

  • VIDEO GAME REVIEW

    '007 Legends'

    About: The latest James Bond video game ties to the new film Skyfall.

    Players: Single, multiplayer

    Pros: Decent action sequences and good music are among the few highlights.

    Cons: The story is less than stellar, and the graphics are outdated.

    Availability and price: $59.99 on Xbox 360 and PS3, $49.99 on PC. Coming Nov. 18 on the Wii U.

    ESRB rating: T

    Manifesto's rating: 6/10 (Xbox 360)

    Metacritic rating: 4.6/10 (Xbox 360)

In 007 Legends, a bad digital likeness of Daniel Craig voiced by someone else portrays James Bond in missions from five previous films in which 007 was played by other actors.

What was that, you ask?

Let me explain.

The game begins as the new film Skyfall and — spoiler alert — when Bond is left for dead, he begins to remember his past adventures.

The game uses scenes from Goldfinger (Sean Connery), On Her Majesty's Secret Service (George Lazenby), Moonraker (Roger Moore), Licence to Kill (Timothy Dalton) and Die Another Day (Pierce Brosnan) to throw together a story, even though nothing really connects them.

The likeness of Craig is the only one shown as Bond throughout the game, and each scene happens in the present or at least in the past five years so products such as cellphones and flat-screen TVs are not out of place.

007 Legends lives up to the usual curse that befalls licensed games. I had high hopes, though, given the recent success of titles such as Transformers: Fall of Cyberton, Batman: Arkham City and even Captain America: Super Soldier.

Unfortunately, 007 Legends disappoints on almost every level.

If you live in Kentucky, the best part of the game has to be watching Bond find a key chain in the shape of the Bluegrass State that he takes to Fort Knox in Goldfinger.

Before the game starts, you can choose whether to have your health automatically regenerate over time or find health packs. I think it's odd that I was given a choice, but I chose regenerative health, thank you.

Some missions are played like a typical first-person shooter while others are supposed to be done in a stealth mode.

The straightforward shooter missions are simple. Bad guys keep coming at you until you reach a waypoint or complete a task.

The stealth mode missions, however, are difficult to complete without alerting enemy guards. That said, you usually can get to the checkpoint even if you are under fire, defeating the whole purpose of claiming it's a stealth mission.

The gameplay in the first-person shooter segments is fine and plays like an older Call of Duty game. The quick scoping works extremely well, maybe too well. Bond's trusty Walther PPK can take out enemies at a distance, although higher-caliber weapons usually are available.

While the mechanics are solid, the graphics are lacking, and it doesn't really seem to fit the character of James Bond. For example, I really don't remember the scene in Goldfinger in which Bond leads an army of CIA troopers to storm a Fort Knox filled with bad guys. But it's been a long time since I saw the movie.

I generally just kept asking myself, "What does this have to do with James Bond?"

So we come to the sneaky spy gadgets. They are a cellphone that can read fingerprints and take pictures (wow!), a watch that can fire a laser and shut down electronics using an electromagnetic pulse, and a dart pen.

The watch is supposed to be used as a motion detector in stealth missions and is one of my biggest complaints in the game. At the bottom of your screen, you have the watch at left and a miniature map on the right. The face of the watch becomes a small radar-type screen with red dots showing enemy movements, but often the bad guys are around corners or in a different room, so you have to look at the mini-map.

I often found myself looking back and forth trying to figure out when a guard walked out of sight or turned a corner, but because they have very different scales, it was almost impossible to use both. Having the map and radar in the same device or at least shown to the same scale would have made stealth mode much more enjoyable.

The story moves along from movie scene to movie scene with mediocre graphics showing your favorite bond villains like Jaws and Oddjob, as well as Bond girls like Pussy Galore and Jinx. But if you're looking for Jinx to resemble Halle Berry, who portrayed her in Die Another Day, think again.

She's designed instead to look like an actress named Gabriela Montaraz.

Let's just hope the next time a movie tie-in game is needed for 007, some effort will be made to create a title that elevates and adds to the franchise rather than drags it down.

Pablo Alcalá: (859) 231-1604.

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