Wednesday, March 10, 2004

James Bond thrills with polish, action

Game review

By Matt Slagle
The Associated Press

Imagine a James Bond movie where you control what happens. That's the idea with James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing.

This new action-adventure video game isn't some hackneyed film spinoff - it's one of the best movie/video game combinations I've played.

Everything or Nothing redefines high production values for video games. From the moment the MGM lion roars at the beginning to the climactic showdown, the graphics, gameplay and music are polished to a high gloss.

The actors should be commended for venturing into the digital realm. The story is typical Bond fare, but it really comes to life with the use of real people.

Willem Dafoe voices Bond's archrival Nikolai Diavolo. Guiding Bond through globe-trotting missions is M (Judi Dench). The rest of the cast includes Heidi Klum as the traitorous Katya Nadanova, geologist-turned-Bond-babe Serena St. Germaine (Shannon Elizabeth) and hulking, metal-mouthed fan-favorite Jaws (Richard Kiel).

Bond (Pierce Brosnan, naturally), engages in the usual witty banter during frequent life-or-death situations involving gorgeous women and high-tech gadgetry.

"Looks like this is the end of the line," he says moments before piloting a helicopter off a runaway train zooming toward a blasted bridge.

Unlike the movies, you won't have time for popcorn. You'll have your hands full controlling Bond. This game swings from laughably easy to maddeningly tough.

I was breezing along, squashing evildoers like bugs, until it came time to sky dive off a cliff to rescue Serena. As if the tumble wasn't enough, I had to dodge gunfire, avoid rock outcroppings, catch Serena and then shoot my rappel gun before smashing to the ground.

There were many "smashing" moments before I successfully pulled it off.

And where would Bond be without all his cool stuff? There are plenty of gizmos, straight from the MI6 labs and Q (John Cleese).

My favorite was the Porsche Cayenne Turbo sport-utility vehicle. In true Bond fashion, it can shoot missiles and even has a "Q-Cloak," making it invisible for a short time. Very handy for dodging those international terrorists.

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