From Russia With Love (GameCube) Review

By James Temperton 24.11.2005

EA have huffed, puffed and blown the proverbial door down in a painfully forced attempt to try and get Bond to work. Rare got it down to perfection in GoldenEye, but the formula of 'simple' shooters from the 1990s simply don't work in the advanced age of plot driven, interactive, high-tech action. Thus, we come to From Russia With Love. One of the best Bond films ever made, and one that should fit perfectly into videogame form...

The film is stuffed full of action and adventure, something EA are clearly trying to recreate here. Gone are the days of a Bond game meaning running around, shooting and winning. This game requires you to use your brain, if you don't you die. Viewed from a third person perspective, this game is a mixture of Splinter Cell, Metal Gear Solid and GoldenEye. Whilst at times all the game asks you to do is shoot like it is going out of fashion, you can also enjoy hands on fighting and cool 'Bond Moves', but also tactics, defending and quick thinking. Just like James Bond, you need to keep your brain in your cranium, not just your trousers...

Be warned though: this game has all the depth and complexity of an episode of Trisha. Fun and entertaining it may be, but multifaceted and challenging like Half-Life 2, it is not. More than ever though, this game really is a labour of love. You can really see the high production values this title brings with it. Across the 14 varied and expansive missions that make up the main game (along with some special bonus levels) you will experience some wonderfully classic Bond moment, all intersected with some genuinely entertaining and beautifully animated cut-scenes.

Screenshot for From Russia With Love on GameCube

This game is a real looker. The environments in which you play are outstandingly created with some lovely lighting effects and animations. In one early level you get to drive around the streets of a city. Not only are there other cars, but people and expansive scenery too. Whilst it might not have too much depth to it, the look of the game is very impressive. We were particularly amazed at the extent of the detail on Bond’s face. In fact, all of the characters have been treated to some great animation work and when they talk, their mouths move accordingly! Speaking of talking (confusing – Ed), Sir Sean Connery has leant his evermore-confusing Scottish gruff to the voice cast for this game. That means that for once in a blue moon, Bond sounds like Bond in a videogame!

Everything has been put together with a slickness that is hugely appropriate for a title under the James Bond franchise. The menus have a feeling of espionage and ‘Cold War’ about them, and all the movie sequences and settings fit in perfectly. You can even chose what clothes Bond gets to wear (a bit ‘Sims’ we know, but this is very cool!) so if you feel like fighting against a helicopter in your dinner suit, you bloody well can.

Screenshot for From Russia With Love on GameCube

The shooting mechanics are also very impressive. Using what is now becoming the ‘tried and tested’ mode for this sort of title, EA have implemented the ‘lock on and shoot’ method in FRWL (hilarious acronym – Ed). You lock with the left trigger button (to both enemies and objects you can interact with/shoot) and fire with the right trigger. You can even use ‘Bond Focus’ to target specific areas of an enemy. If a guard has a radio, you need to blow it clean off his body before you tackle him most of the time, otherwise he will have a small army on your back in no time. You can literally target any part of an enemies anatomy or equipment, making for some precision aiming fun. If that isn’t enough you can tip over tables to use as shields and shoot from behind them, shoot peering round walls and even blow up barrels to send your enemies flying. Annoyingly, you don’t get any points for ‘sharp shooting’; surely a headshot is worth more than blowing a hole in someone’s foot? Or are we just being too sadistic...

The game may be quite linear in places, but this allows for greater detail and depth to the gameplay you are allowed to use. There is loads of stuff to interact with and a lot of very entertaining, challenging and genuinely ingenious set piece battles to partake in. Levels are full of rooms and sections to explore and puzzles to solve too, making this a genuinely interesting and exciting game to play. There is nothing formulaic about the missions either. You wont just find yourself holding down ‘fire’ and running from start to finish and if you do decide to give that a go you’ll die quite quickly. The game is packed of variety to keep it fresh and ‘Bond-tastic’ (yes, we are going to use that) from start to finish.

Screenshot for From Russia With Love on GameCube

This game also excels through its use of gadgetry. The standard laser watch is included, along with the Q-Copter, Briefcase Turret and Sonic Cufflinks. The best of the lot is the Q-Copter, a flying miniature explosive helicopter fitted with a camera (designed like the cutest little bomb you ever did see) that you can zoom through air-ventilation systems to blow up obstacles or locks on doors that are preventing you from progressing. Essentially pointless, but wonderfully good fun. We didn’t even mention the jetpack in all that, this is perhaps the best addition to the game. There is just something undeniably stylish about flying around Big Ben shooting baddies and saving the girl! Sadly, the boat and car sections are fairly horrific. The controls for both are painfully unresponsive and confusing. Even after a good hour practising the driving sections, we still couldn’t get the sodding car to go round corners without hitting something...

Make no mistake though, this game is very easy. The enemy AI is more akin to ‘enemy stupidity’. For the most part your foes will just stand about waiting to be shot. Occasionally they will duck for cover behind something or they might attempt charging straight down the barrel of your gun (clever stuff – Ed).

The multiplayer is disappointingly limited. It feels soulless and we got bored of it after a few hours and went back to the main game. Thankfully, there is plenty of replay value to be found in the main game. With points to earn, items to unlock and loads to see and do, you will certainly come back for more if you enjoy it first time through.

Screenshot for From Russia With Love on GameCube

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

It isn't an in-depth gaming experience, but it is a solid and entertaining one. Some great level design and classic 'Bond moments' make this the most complete title EA have made under the franchise. We loved playing it, it made us feel cool and important. You will feel like that too, along with the added bonus of believing you can 'conquer' any woman in the world. You'll be wrong though. Cracking title, highly recommended.

Developer

MGM

Publisher

EA

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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