IT seems only logical that the longest running series of films should create the longest running series of spin-off games. But whereas the films have generally deteriorated since Connery left - never mind Moore - it is interesting to note that the games have been getting better.
LTK boots up with a slightly impure rendering of the familiar Bond theme and a terrible digitised picture of Timothy Dalton. Terrible because it is quite lifelike.
Bond begins in a helicopter with Felix, the CIA agent, chasing the notorious drug baron Sanchez who is aboard a jeep. The object is to strafe the jeep and kill Sanchez Fair enough. Things to watch out for are the occasional gun emplacement taking a shot at you, and telegraph wires.
If he survives to the end, James must jump out of the helicopter and pursue Sanchez on foot through a camp of enemy gunmen. This is easily the best part. It bears a resemblance to games like Commando, but is much more realistic - armed with a 15 shot per magazine Beretta, accuracy and fleetness of foot become more important than gung-ho doggedness.
Pressing the fire button activates an aiming reticle and releasing it fires the shot. So Bond can fire in a different direction to that in which he is travelling. This can be a little difficult at times and unless you are good you will be full of holes before you have the bad guy in your sights.
Bond makes his way back to the chopper and pursues Sanchez's light aircraft. Here he must dangle out of a helicopter and attach a tow- rope to the plane before patriotically parachuting in the water below.
Now armed with only a knife, it is not enough just to stand and stare. He must dodge enemy patrols and board a seaplane by harpooning its floats. Simply climbing on board is not the Bond way.
The final stage involves jumping on to the roof of a 16 wheeler and wreaking havoc on the highway in an attempt to catch Sanchez's elusive missile-firing jeep. I am convinced it is a major contribution to road safety.
Graphics throughout are pleasing, especially the animated end sequences to each stage which give you the feel that you are playing a complete game rather than just several little ones tagged together, like the earlier efforts in the series.
The sound effects are minimal so turn the volume down and jack up Gladys Knight on your turntable.
It is easy to say that with Domark's monopoly on the Bond series, it does not so much have a licence to kill but a licence to make a killing.
To be fair, Domark now seem to be relying not so much on hype but more on decent coding to sell its wares. Gameplay has improved to the point where the nostalgic among you mentally intone "I think I got the point" in a fake Scottish accent as a baddie gets harpooned.
A definite improvement on earlier tragedies.