You can't keep him off the telly on a bank holiday and nowadays he seems to be almost as prevalent in the gaming world. That's right: James Bond is back on your consoles in 007 NightFire
--and ready to endorse a bottle of vodka near you.
Games companies are weird. This release comes in the same year as the 40th anniversary of James Bond, as well as Die Another Day, the 20th film to feature the loveable old womanising drunk. So what do EA, proud bearers of the 007 games license, do? They make a game based on an amalgamation of all the Bond movies, with their own "original" story line, then go and stick Pierce Brosnan's face and a bunch of clips from Die Another Day in it. Whaaaat?
Bizarre marketing decisions aside, this could finally be the game to come out from behind the shadow of the seminal N64 classic GoldenEye. Which means, of course, that this is a stealthy first-person shooter (with a few car-racing levels thrown in for good measure) bolted onto a cracking multi-player mode. Following on from GoldenEye is a bit like being asked to make Citizen Kane 2, but EA have sensibly gone back to the spirit of the original and NightFire is much more strategic than their last attempt, the rather shallow Agent Under Fire. Once again you can learn a pathological hatred of security cameras as you use an even wider array of Q gadgetry to kill people without them even noticing.
The multi-player mode is also good, with meatier weapons than last time, including a particularly fun remote-control missile launcher. People are always crooning about nobody doing it better than Bond, but in the gaming world that's not always been true; with this game, though, it looks like he's taken the ejector seat straight to the top of the first-person shooter pile. --David Jenkins