With the latest James Bond film hitting theaters this week – and tearing up reviews too – we thought it would be entertaining to take a trip down memory lane and revisit the Bond franchise as it pertains to video games. Specifically, we’re counting down the top five Bond games ever made. Why five, you might be asking? Well, unlike the film franchise that has served as the main inspiration for Bond’s gaming adventures, there aren’t many great 007 video games. But we have found five to highlight anyway. Here they are…
From Russia with Love
From a gameplay standpoint, From Russia with Love is the weakest of the bunch when it comes to Bond video games. However, it deserves special recognition for adapting arguably one of the best Bond stories and allowing gamers to play as Sean Connery’s version of 007 – complete with new voice work by Connery himself. But the game adaptation of the book/film isn't one-to-one, as From Russia with Love borrowed elements from other Bond films – the jetpack of Thunderball and the Aston Martin DB5 from Goldfinger – in order to make the experience more action-packed. Diehard fans of the book/film might scoff at the liberties taken, but when push comes to shove, it’s just the nature of the beast when it comes to game development.
007: Everything or Nothing
Everything or Nothing marked the last time Pierce Brosnan played James Bond in a film or otherwise. The game was developed to be a blockbuster experience, complete with a voice cast including Pierce Brosnan himself, Judi Dench, John Cleese, Richard Keil, Heidi Klum and Willem Dafoe, to name to a few. The game is also the second third-person shooter on this list amongside From Russia with Love, featuring cover mechanics, hand-to-hand combat and insane driving sequences. But for all the money pumped into the budget of Everything or Nothing, the gameplay just couldn’t match the blockbuster production values, meaning this game simply isn’t the best Bond experience out there. But it’s close.
GoldenEye 007 (2010)
There have been numerous attempts to capture lightning in a bottle twice with the GoldenEye brand since the original N64 classic. But none have done it better than Eurocom’s 2010 Wii reimagining. Eurocom went back to the original GoldenEye game and rebuilt it from the ground up, taking the raw essence of what was there before and crafting a new experience built for today’s gaming audience. Additionally, the decision to put Daniel Craig in the starring role may have irked longtime fans when first announced, but proved to be a rather inspired choice that gave the game a tone fitting the Craig era of Bond films.
James Bond 007: Nightfire
Representing the second Eurocom developed title on this list, James Bond 007: Nightfire stands as one of the most enjoyable Bond video game experiences to be had. Like a lot of other Bond games, Nightfire was a first-person shooter with occasional driving sequences peppered throughout to spice things up. The difference, though, was that Nightfire pulled everything together rather spectacularly. Furthermore, the game’s multiplayer component echoed back to the original GoldenEye on N64, which is nothing but a good thing. And speaking of GoldenEye on Nintendo 64…
GoldenEye 007 (N64)
Did you really expect something else in this spot? GoldenEye 007 is the pinnacle of James Bond video games. Hell, the game is not only the best Bond game, but is also responsible for changing the landscape when it comes to FPS’ on home consoles. There was enough content in GoldenEye 007 to keep you busy for month (years, even), between the campaign’s varying difficulty levels and addictive multiplayer mode. GoldenEye 007 set the bar for which all other Bond games are judged. So how could it not be our #1 choice for the best Bond game ever? Answer: it couldn’t.
Erik Norris is the Gaming Editor for CraveOnline. You can follow him on Twitter @Regular_Erik.