reviews\ Dec 3, 2003 at 7:00 pm

James Bond 007 Everything or Nothing - GBA - Review

I’m a sucker for all things Bond and who can really blame me?  Not only does this suave British secret agent get to see wildly exotic locations around the world and get into plenty of action on the way but he also gets to sweep the most beautiful women off their feet.  It’s no wonder the Bond franchise is doing well in the movies--who else can do all of this with style and in a crisp tuxedo?  So it’s no surprise that games have been made featuring 007 and only recently (with James Bond 007: Nightfire) actor Pierce Brosnan used his likeness to the games.  In James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing, the game sees a new format as well as major Hollywood talent.  Does this actually work for the game?


First of all it should be noted that Everything or Nothing will be released on all of the major consoles as it had done in the past but it is the Game Boy Advance that has gotten the honors of introducing this game first.  The story is loyal to the recent Bond films starring the current Agent 007, Brosnan, and follows the usual brand of Bond villainy.  It seems that a highly classified prototype nano-robot and its project chief, the lovely Doctor Katya Nadanova (who, lucky for us and Bond looks like supermodel Heidi Klum), have suddenly disappeared from the science department of Oxford University.  In the wrong hands this technology can become a powerful threat to the world and, as it turns out, the culprits responsible for the disappearance of the project is threatening with the usual--world domination.


In the beginning of the game, 007 tracked down the technology to a secret facility in Egypt’s Sahara Desert.  Suddenly the entire building begins to explode all around our favorite secret agent as he attempts to rappel down to safety as walls blow away right before him.  Not a bad way to open a game, actually.  It is here that we come to discover that this Bond adventure is seen through a third-person perspective--unlike last year’s Nightfire.  It also shows off the game’s biggest flaws, but more on that a little later.


The game takes you through the usual settings, which in this case are exotic locales that range from the streets of Moscow, the casinos of Cairo, the tropical beauty of the Peruvian jungles and even the graveyards of my beloved New Orleans.  You follow the lead that points to a maniac by the name of Nikolai Diavolo whose many armed henchmen you will take on using your gun, fists, grenades and those nifty gadgets Q always makes just for you.  There are even moments when Bond gets to drive his Q-enhanced Aston Martin V12 Vanquish (loaded with machine guns and oil slick).  You can upgrade Bond throughout the game by earning Style Points you gain by successfully using stealth kills (shades of Splinter Cell).  Your upgrades come in the form of new Q gadgets to ammo kits for your weapons.


While all of this sounds good on paper, the game’s new third-person format feels a bit awkward.  Bond moves around quite easily and he can even crouch at a moment’s notice, but when it comes to aiming your gun or your fists in the general direction of an enemy this is where the game slightly falls apart.  The auto targeting system is so slow that by the time it focuses on your enemy, you will probably already be dead.  You can, of course, aim manually and this really does help things.  Punching can be a lot harder, though, and there are times when Bond takes on enemies through hand-to-hand combat.  The real bad news is that the game is also a bit repetitive, although it does try to mix things up. 


Here’s the good news, though.  When Bond climbs into his Aston Martin, the game becomes highly addictive.  The driving sequences actually feel a lot like Spy Hunter with its machine guns and oil slick that spins enemies out of control.  Bond also comes across longtime foe Jaws who is hankering to sink his metallic choppers into 007’s hide.  The Q gadgets are also helpful and actually pretty inventive.  There’s a HoloBond gadget that projects a holographic of Bond that attracts enemies toward it while you sneak past them or attack them while they’re distracted.  There’s even a four-player multiplayer Arena Deathmatch mode (using the GBA Link Cable and gamers with their own copies of the game).


Nightfire was actually quite a visually impressive game and Everything or Nothing is actually quite similar when it comes to nicely detailed locations and neat character models.  It’s great to see some familiar faces in the roles of many of the game’s characters (it’s even a treat seeing Willem Dafoe and Heidi Klum in video game form).  The environments have plenty of details whether you’re inside a fancy casino or out in the lush tropics of the Peruvian jungle.  The game also recreates fire pretty well and you’ll see some pretty impressive explosions as well.


The game also has a great score that plays throughout the game and the Bond Theme really doesn’t get tiresome to hear after all these years.  The sound effects are also nicely effective in this game and everything from gunfire to explosions has a nice ring to them.  There are a number of words that are repeated throughout the game.  You’ll be hearing mostly from M at the beginning of most conversations you have with her and occasionally an enemy would spout out something like “Hey!” if they spot you. 


Everything or Nothing is not everything we’ve come to love about the recent 007 games, but it’s still better than nothing and that’s saying a lot for a game that is just too repetitious.  There are plenty of levels and the car levels certainly add more bang for your buck, but it is, overall, not the best Game Boy Advance Bond adventure we were all hoping for. 


#Reviewer's Scoring Details


Gameplay: 6.5
The game’s weakest areas come from the awkward controls that make the game’s main character move around the environment somewhat sluggishly.  The auto aiming isn’t all that great either and it will force gamers to put the manual aiming to work instead.  While there are a few things that add more variety to the action, you can’t help but feel that the majority of the action is simply repetition.


Graphics: 7.5
Surprisingly well done, Everything or Nothing showcases some pretty backgrounds and detailed areas.  The game’s first mission is set in a casino in Cairo and it’s filled with elegant painting, statues and plenty of gambling tables.  The cut scenes are not as sharp as Bond’s last adventure on this platform, but you are able to recognize the Hollywood stars lending their appearances for the game.  The game also does explosions right. But did I mention it has Heidi Klum? Okay, maybe I did but come on . . . its Heidi Klum!


Sound: 8.0
That Bond theme music somehow never gets tiring and it is played here very often.  Of course there is an original score found here too and it’s pretty good.  You’ll find a number of sound bytes that are repeated often throughout the game.  Succeed in a mission and M (played by Dame Judi Dench) offers the same words of praise: “Good show, Bond!”  The gunfire sounds great in the game, as does explosions.


Difficulty: Hard
Who knew how hard it would be to fill Bond’s tux?  This game is actually pretty tough and it is, no doubt about it, all centered on the pretty awkward controls.  The bad guys respond more quickly in gunfights and their aim is a lot better than Bond, especially since the automatic targeting takes a long while to lock on to your enemy.  The car sequences are also challenging, but far less frustrating than the stealth sequences.


Concept: 7.5
All the right Bond elements are present and accounted for and this is what really separates this game from GBA games of a similar genre.  007 is not just a number but an attitude and the good folks at EA Games seem to understand this and place emphasis on Bond-styled action and charming wit during cut scenes.  The Style Points feature also adds a nice touch and has you upgrading your arsenal and gadgets.   Being able to add juicy extras (such as new gadgets) via the GameCube and the GC version of Everything or Nothing is also a plus in my book.


Multiplayer: 8.0
Thanks to the GBA Link Cable, up to four players can take each another on deathmatch-style in an arena and the action is actually pretty fun.  You, of course, must have a friend that has his or her own copy of the game in order to play.  The game as a four-player multiplayer game actually runs smoothly too.


Overall: 7.0
Everything or Nothing may not be Bond’s most shining moment as far as GBA games go, but there is still some fun to be had in this third-person action game.  It’s great to see the Bond license used in a game and even more so with Hollywood talent putting their faces to villains and heroes alike but the game falls short in what really counts--action that doesn’t get repetitive. 


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