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Tomorrow Never Dies
"Delve into the intricacies of espionage - photograph enemy documents, eliminate enemies in silence, rig targets with timed explosives and sabotage opponent's encampments"
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Developer  Black Ops Game Type  Action
Distributor  EA Review Date  Jan 00
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Setting the Scene:
 
      "My name is Bond.... James Bond." Those immortal words that must send a shiver up the spine of any bad guy who believes he could take on the best that Her Majesty's Secret Service can offer.

Hot on the heels of his success on the Nintendo 64 with Goldeneye, James Bond, secret agent 007, makes his Playstation debut in the adventure... Tomorrow Never Dies.

Sound and Vision:
 
      The intro contains all of the quality from a real Bond movie trailer leaving you gasping for breath and pleading for more. The customary white dots (you must have seen a Bond movie opening) move horizontally across the screen and upon their return reveal one Pierce Brosnan taking centre stage. He takes aim and 'BLAM!' shoots into the screen... the blood flows. Then, backed by the original Bond theme tune, a non-stop barrage of in-game action entwined by real-life footage sets the scene perfectly. There's guns and rockets, choppers and fast cars, skiing and tons of explosives... 007 is back and looks fully armed with a license to thrill.

Dispersed throughout the game are several short movies. These are not of the FMV variety, but cut sequences of animation used in a similar way to those witnessed in Metal Gear Solid.

While Goldeneye was a first person shooter, Tomorrow Never Dies turns the tables upside down and aims more towards a third person action game such as Duke Nukem: Time to Kill. This perspective allows Bond to execute many impressive moves such as a helpful tuck and roll to escape the enemies clutches and the ability to stoop and then creep silently along walls.

Before each mission a short description is offered via a briefing screen. Nothing to get too excited about here. I was hoping for a little sub-game offering a chance to toss James' hat onto the stand... but no chance.

First impressions of the polygon secret agent are quite good. Standing with gun cocked upwards in the snowy out-backs he cuts a mean figure. Green cords, brown suede jacket and a backpack, obviously filled with special gadgets. In the distance a guard can be seen warming himself over a fierce drum fire. Wind whistles through the trees.. and there's that music, guitars twanging out that original theme tune. The atmosphere this creates raises the hairs on the back of my neck.

Up ahead several guards can be seen patrolling their zone. Wrapped up for the winters weather the cold shows on their breath in a similar fashion to that previously seen in MGS and Syphon Filter. In fact the whole game bares many affinities to Syphon Filter.

There is an element of pop-up, but it is usually kept so far in the distance that the gameplay is hardly affected. Only on occasions did I feel that an extra few yards of vision would have been beneficial to the mission... and to James' safety, of course. When nearing a solid object James helpfully becomes transparent so the game doesn't really suffer from many visual annoyances.

Overall Tomorrow Never Dies is graphically quite tidy, while musically it's a peach.
 
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