Get exercising those eyebrows! Roger Moore is back as James Bond in the 1977 movie. Once again 007 - licensed to kill and do raunchy things with as many women as possible - has to thwart the plans of a megalomaniac and save the world. This particular villain, Karl Stromberg, has an aquatic bent. He has captured two submarines, and intends to use them to nuke Moscow and New York. WWIII will result, leaving Stromberg's undersea empire to rule the world. 007 has been called in to foil the villain, aided by Anya Amasova, the glamorous Soviet agent. They take to the road for the opening 'scenes' (levels) of the journey in the ultimate Q-Mobile.
Steering the Lotus through vertically scrolling roads, a slender map gives an advance warning of obstacles. Traffic cones present no problem but water patches slow you down, oil spins the Lotus and knocking down pedestrians costs 50 points! 'Q' tiles line the route, collected for later use. The Lotus transforms into a speedboat halfway through scene one, where jetties, mooring posts and aggressive boats have to be avoided. Back on dry land for the next scene: heavily-armed vehicles hinder progress but Q's van is at hand, lowering a ramp for you to board it. Weapons can be bought using collected 'Q' tiles: lasers, smoke screens, armor etc.
The most important device is the submersible upgrade, necessary for the next scene - a vertical-scrolling shoot- 'em-up. Divers and subs attack the converted Lotus as it approaches Stromberg's base. Once there, gameplay switches to a single screen Op Wolf-style shootout. Bond slowly makes his way across a gantry to plant a bomb but Stromberg's men have other ideas; you take control of Anya's gunsight to shoot them.
More watery vertical action, this time on jet skis, as Bond pursues the sub Stromberg and his henchmen, Jaws, escape in. Once on board, you look down one of the sub's corridors while Stromberg's men appear from doorways. Shoot them and shortly, Jaws and Stromberg appear, holding Anya hostage. Maim the bad guys and save the girl otherwise the world won't be a nice place and you won't have anyone to go to bed with tonight!
The Spy Who Loved Me places you in the rather comfortable old English shoes of Roger Moore, as he returns once more to save the world, this time from the insane clutches of Karl Stromberg. Kaz, as he is known to his friends, has stolen two submarines, one Russian and one British, and intends to use them to take set the cold war superpowers at each others throats and so take over the planet. James Bond is back in action.
Set over six levels, The Spy Who Loved Me is not so much a consistent game, but more a compilation of classic game styles including Spy Hunter, Master Mind, Operation Wolf and Xenon 2. You begin the game in Bond's infamous submarine car - an adapted Lotus - and from here you have to race along, avoiding or destroying enemy cars and collecting bonus points by driving aboard the weapons trucks that sporadically appear. The controls of the car are responsive, but you have to travel quite slowly to get a fair chance of avoiding oncoming obstacles. Halfway through level one, you drive off a jetty, get into a speedboat and race through a maze of docks, boardwalks and swimmers. Unfortunately, it is far too easy to take a wrong turning and find yourself in a dead end. You cannot reverse, so the only thing to do is lose a life. There is an on screen map, but as it is less than a centimeter wide strip on the left hand side of the screen, it is far too small to be practically useful.
Provided you have bought submarine capability from the weapons truck, at the end of Level Two you transform the car into an underwater attack vehicle and play a rather limp version of Xenon 2. The enemies range from enemy divers that only swim and fire forward to large bubble-like machine that follow set patterns around the screen while firing a stream of bullets at high velocity. Avoiding the bullets is nigh on impossible due to the sluggish response and movement of your car. Because of the large amount of enemy shrapnel flying around, you find yourself dying a fair bit.
Levels Three and Six are straight Operation Wolf shoot outs. Both follow the same lines - the enemies appear in half a dozen preset locations and you have to take them out before they shoot you. Ammunition is limited, but more can be collected by shooting magazines left by dead bad guys, and thankfully your crosshair can be controlled by the mouse as well as the joystick.
Level Four is the Mastermind section. You have to input numbers in an attempt to match symbols randomly selected by the computer. Level Five takes you back to Spy Hunter and Level Six is the final level of Operation Thunderbolt, only the pilot and terrorist have been replaced by Anya, the beautiful Russian agent and Stromberg himself.
The Spy Who Loved Me is far from original. However, it gets brownie points for sheer variety and, with the exception of the Xenon 2 section, a high level of playability and addictiveness. However, it is a very short-lived product, and I cannot see it being played over and over again. It is fun while it lasts, though.
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