"No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die."
Ah, Mr. Bond. So, you've decided to venture into the world of video games... once again. What was that last mission called? Oh yes - Goldeneye. Perhaps there are those out there who have heard of it. There, you defeated an evil organization bent on world conquest, as well as "gettin' it ooon" with several lovely ladies… hmm, that's actually pretty much what happens in all your adventures.
More importantly, though, in that game you set a standard for the first person genre. Your new game, Tomorrow Never Dies, is a third-person perspective shoot-em up. My question to you, Mr. Bond: Does it measure up? Even ignoring your past quest, is this game worthy? The answers, Mr. Bond are no, and no.
One would hope that with each new adventure, there'd be bigger thrills, spills, and chills. At least that's the Hollywood prescription for the sequel world. Even though this game is of a different type and made by different developers, because it bears the Bond license it faces comparison to its older brother. However, even without a Goldeneye, this game is lacking.
A Bond plot isn't exactly Shakespeare: diabolical madman, buxom women, etc... The Tomorrow newspaper is just a cover for an evil organization, owned by that notorious guy that tries to sell you Infiniti cars. He's up to no good, because otherwise there would be no movie or game; and since you're Bond… James Bond... you must stop him.
This is a pure action game - 99% of everything you do will be running around and shooting. It all takes place via a third-person view much like Syphon Filter (which is a better game).
The controls are simple. You have a secret gadget and a weapon. The gadgets don't have any real strong play to them - you use them for the one shot required task, and that's it. Basically, when the screen pops up for you to push a button, you push it… and that's the depth of gadget use. For instance, the camera. You can only take pictures of the necessary items. You have to stand at the required distance, then the button pops up. For some reason you can manage to take a picture of a helicopter completely surrounded by giant crates. I think that was a little flub on their part.
With the weapons, the idea of gameplay is just face the enemy, have the gun auto-lock on, run and strafe around a bit, and shoot. Sniping mode is here, but you cant snipe any enemies that aren't already on the screen, totally defeating the point of sniping. Take out one guard, and suddenly the alarm goes off. Is that a sign more guards will come rushing in to help their fallen comrade? Nope. That alarm just turns off by itself, and all is well once again. Suffice it to say that enemy intelligence is limited.
There are some attempts to mix it up among the 10 short levels by adding in skiing and driving sequences, but they aren't very well done and don't add much. They're really just there to proclaim variety. As you ski down a slope full of pop-up, you must push your rivals left and right. Weak. The car sequence isn't any better. And whatever happened to that beautiful BMW motorcycle from the movie?
Graphically, this game just isn't there. Things in the distance inexplicably pop into existence as you near them. Framerate isn't very smooth and clipping errors abound. With its dated look and blah environment, this game just doesn't have the style that it should. The closest they ever get to that traditional Bond flair occurs after you beat the second level. The screen dissolves into one of those classic sequences where the credits roll and the 'almost naked' girls dance around whilst bullets fly every which way. This sequence works, but the other movie footage just doesn't flow because of the game's choppy graphics.
At first, I passed off the music as simple remixes of the classic Bond theme. But I noticed that while they are mostly remixes, they're well done remixes. They would have added great audio quality if only there were game enough to match. But sadly, there isn't.
Tomorrow Never Dies is really just an empty and shallow game. Unlike some of the Bond movies, which are tremendous fun with their ludicrous plots, fast paced action and classic one-liners, there is far too much about this game that is just crying out for more. I have the feeling that the primary goal of this game was to release at the same time as the new Bond movie, The World Is Not Enough. Tomorrow Never Dies needs to go back to Q's laboratory for some more work.