Step on it, Miss Moneypenny.
The James Bond universe is perfect for the gaming world. Cool gadgets, burly action and impeccable style can make for some great gaming moments, as evidenced by the smash hit Goldeneye. But since then, most other Bond games have left something to be desired...this one included.
Although the name implies it, 007 Racing isn't really a racer. The game plays more like Twisted Metal, with missions to accomplish rather than other cars to race. You'll be running all over town collecting weapons and battling it out with baddies. This game can quickly turn into a mosh, pitting armored cars against one another in the name of Her Majesty's Secret Service.
You play as Mr. Bond himself, and you have at your disposal some of the finest automobiles the Secret Service can afford - with all the fixin's, of course. The game takes you through some of Bond's finer moments, borrowing storylines from many of Ian Fleming's greatest hits. And using cars from the series means that you can finally hop behind the wheel of that Aston-Martin and floor it.
What would Bond be without gadgets? Each of the levels has you using some of the finest stuff that Q Labs can cook up. From oil slicks to homing missiles, you'll have to use every trick in the book to get the job done.
The job, in this case, takes on many forms. Trouble just seems to follows James Bond, or he follows trouble. This title follows suit, as the missions are varied enough to keep you on your toes. From the basic shoot 'em up to chasing a speeding semi down the highway trying to burn all of its wheels out with a laser and apprehend the driver, variety is what Bond is famous for, and variety is what you get.
However, you also get control problems. A BMW should handle like a BMW, not like a '72 Super Beetle. Controlling the car should be the least of your worries; there's nothing more frustrating than fighting the wheel in a high-speed chase while shooting at helicopters.
Thankfully, the button layout is intuitive, reminiscent of Twisted Metal 2 with the shoulder buttons controlling weapons while the two analog sticks drive the car. So even though it handles sluggishly, at least you aren't fumbling for buttons.
The graphics are behind the times (even for the PSX), plagued with gritty textures and people resembling stick figures. I can't help but to expect a little more from Mister Debonair himself. At least your car doesn't look too bad, but everything else is uninspired and the action loses a little of its punch.
The multiplayer mode is so un-noteworthy that I won't bother telling you how much it suck. Come to think of it, I will. It sucks. Coupled with the shoddy graphics, the split screen is ugly, ugly, ugly. I also won't bother telling you about the extremely small levels in which to battle (crap! Did it again!).
Bond wouldn't be Bond without his horn section, and the music in 007 Racingfits the bill. The energetic soundtrack helps keep the adrenaline flowing and the Bond vibe alive. The gameplay sounds aren't bad, either. Q chimes in every so often showing more concern for the well being of the car than your personal safety. His proper British accent and snide remarks make him the classic Bond contact we all remember.
007 Racing has the makings of a good game, but fails in its delivery. Some gamers can look past gritty textures and stickmen for the decent gameplay and variety, but the poor control that plagues 007 Racing is hard to resolve. True Bond fans will enjoy sitting at the wheel of Q-lab's creations, but the staying power of 007 Racing is short, and the novelty ends there. Rent this game before committing your hard-earned cash.