Considering how many movie blockbusters are packed with jaw-dropping action sequences, car chases, adrenaline-fuelled fighting and killer plot twists, you would think this would make them prime material for gaming adaptations. However, history shows that this is not always easy, particularly for the very biggest names from the world of film - including 007 himself, James Bond.
Along with other major franchises, the action-packed world of Bond has been mined on numerous occasions for gaming, but not always in the most successful manner. Creating a quality movie tie-in video game does seem to be a difficult trick to pull off, as it is worth remembering that many film franchises have surprisingly struggled in this regard.
For example, after several misfiring attempts, fans of the Alien series finally got the game they deserved with the magnificent, nail-biting horror of Alien: Isolation. Similarly, only a handful of Star Wars games have lived up to the huge expectations of that series’ ardent fanbase.
Video Game Variations
Since the first Bond-themed games were released in the early 1980s, 007 has been the inspiration and star of more than 20 games across a range of consoles, platforms and formats. The diversity of their styles - from side-scrolling adventures and point-and-click to even simple, early text adventures - perhaps showcases the versatility of the fantastic and rich heritage of the character.
Perhaps the most successful of these have been the first person shooter-style games of the 1990s, the pinnacle of which was undoubtedly the fantastic GoldenEye released in 1997. It was so good in fact it was even remade. While the game is an undoubted classic, though, it is worth remembering that it only really brought a couple of aspects of the character to life - namely the range of gadgets and weaponry at his disposal.
What about the cunning and stealth that the spy undoubtedly possesses? The game James Bond 007: Blood Stone used a likeness of Daniel Craig and was among the few titles to actual be based on an original storyline. In addition, it also allowed players to be a little more sneaky when it came to taking out enemies, just like James Bond.
More Inspiration From 007
Perhaps surprisingly, not all Bond-related gaming is necessarily spy games, strictly speaking. 007 Racing did exactly what you would expect by offering players the chance to enjoy the experience of driving some of Bond’s most famous cars.
However, interestingly one aspect of the franchise that has never quite been leveraged by games developers has been Bond’s love of casinos. Considering the number of times he has been spotted at a roulette table and the number of online gaming sites offering such an experience, we’re yet to see an effective use of the character in such a setting.
Oddly, there are numerous examples of movie tie-ins operated by big-name casinos proving popular even when they have little to do with that world in terms of gameplay, although they do convey the general atmosphere, look and feel of their cinematic counterparts. You can play Terminator 2 slots at William Hill, for example, which even makes use of a feature they call T-800 vision in a bonus round. The odd unofficial Bond-like title does appear in that domain, though, with rather familiar likenesses used along the way, and we've even seen some spoof games including Agent Jane Blonde.
The release of SPECTRE passed without any mention of a potential gaming tie-in, with the last console title to hit shops being the 007 Legends game released to mixed reviews. With the franchise’s future being uncertain in that area, it will be interesting what steps will next be taken to allow gamers the chance to experience the thrills of a Bond adventure.