LICENSE TO THRILL?: James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing (2003)

Sarah fills 007’s shoes for one of his very best console outings.

Who made it?: Visceral Games, Griptonite Games (Developers), Electronic Arts (Publisher).

Genre: Third-Person Shooter.

Platforms: PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, Game Boy Advance.

Format: Optical disc/cartridge.

Released: February 27, 2004 (UK console versions).

If Dr. No is the original James Bond movie, and Goldfinger is the standard to which all other Bond movies are held, then James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing is surely the best Bond movie that isn’t actually a movie. I’d like to think that the words “Everything or Nothing” were scribbled on whiteboards in the developer’s offices, because they certainly took these words to heart.

The game truly does have everything. It opens with the signature gunbarrel sequence and the James Bond surf guitar theme blaring amidst the coolness, followed by a stunning action set-piece to start things off – this time involving a stolen nuclear suitcase bomb being handed off in an arms-trade – and once you (Bond) have finished shooting every pixel in sight, the game brings you to its very own opening title sequence, complete with a theme song that repeats the game’s title a billion different times in a very catchy chorus. Then you get down to business as the real plot begins to unfold. And yes, it is shaken… not stirred.

Pierce Brosnan, Judi Dench and John Cleese all reprise their roles as Bond, M and Q, respectively, and are joined by Willem Dafoe as the game’s antagonist, Nikolai Diavolo, a former KGB agent who was put-off by the encroaching westernisation of his homeland. Rounding out the cast are Heidi Klum, Shannon Elizabeth, James Arnold Taylor, and Mýa, who also sings the theme song.

Everything or Nothing was co-written by Danny Bilson and Paul Demeo (creators of the 1990’s Flash TV series), as well as Bruce Feirstein, the latter of whom worked on the Bond movies GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies and The World is Not Enough.

The story revolves around nanotechnology being created to fix damaged nuclear reactors without putting people in harm’s way, but it is instead weaponised by Diavolo and turned into a corrosive substance which eats away at any and all compounds. Naturally, he plans to use this to take over the world. What Bond game would be complete without such a plot?

This is the second Bond tie-in to have a theme song made specifically for it, with Nightfire being the first. It’s also the second to feature a third-person perspective, rather than the traditional first-person of most older Bond titles. The game adaptation of Tomorrow Never Dies was the first to incorporate this perspective, though Everything or Nothing perfected the system. It’s cover-based, so you can hug the walls and use the environment to your advantage. It also has a unique targeting system that allows you to snap directly onto an opponent, as opposed to zooming in and manually dragging your crosshairs over them. Rappelling is also a key feature of the game, and it allows for some truly cinematic moments within the game itself. Mission Three is a prime example of this. You start by rappelling down a very tall building filled with guards that also happens to be burning and exploding all around you. The game comes with a myriad of hand-to-hand combat moves and takedowns as well. The animations for these are smooth, and the execution is always satisfying to watch. The same is true for everything else. It’s a very well-polished experience.

All of these features are distinctly Bond, and make you feel as if you’re in control of the famous Double-O agent himself, as opposed to a random bloke standing behind the barrel of a first-person oriented gun. That’s not to say the other Bond games do a bad job of replicating that signature Bond style; Everything or Nothing simply does it very well and in its own unique way.

The driving portions of the game are equally as fluid and as responsive as the features listed above. You commandeer motorcycles, cars and even an attack helicopter. EA, the publishers of the game, had two different studios within the company work on Everything or Nothing – clearly taking those words to heart as I mentioned before. The shoot-em-up sections were developed by EA’s Redwood Shores studio, whereas the driving sections were brought to life by EA Canada. This allowed for total creative commitment between the two, which would explain why the game is so fluid and without glitches. Everything is made to work as well as possible thanks to their split workload, and the “fun factor” is through the roof.

While the statement “It’s like a movie!” will earn you plenty of ire throughout the modern gaming community, Everything or Nothing is truly like a movie with great cutscenes. Yet it still makes room for over thirty levels of gameplay, including unlockable bonus missions. That’s not to mention the highly addictive two-player co-op campaign, separate from the main portion, which has fun features such as helping your friend get clear of laser-blocked conveyor belts to get to the next objective, while enemies storm your surroundings. I can all but see you roll your eyes, and I agree that this isn’t exactly an original or mind-blowing concept, but it does provide depth to the experience. They really thought this game through when developing it.

Competitive multiplayer is featured in the game as well, however, it’s obviously not what you’re used to. Then again, you have GoldenEye and Agent Under Fire (which is like GoldenEye on steroids) for all your first-person shooter needs. The competitive multiplayer in Everything or Nothing allows for up to four players and features a variety of arena modes, with plenty of character avatars to choose from.

I consider James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing to be a wholesome and immersive gaming experience. There isn’t a whole lot of depth or complexity to be found within its gameplay, but as a way to spend a few lazy hours, it’s a more than satisfactory experience. I used to rent it at my local Blockbuster when I was little, and would play it well into the night (much to the dismay of my parents). The developers do a great job of replicating the atmosphere and tone of the Pierce Brosnan era of Bond movies, with their sleek and often hyper-energetic attitudes and art direction, and none of the actors phone it in. I would highly recommend this game to everyone. It does the man justice.

Useless Trivia

(Via Wikipedia)
  • This was the last James Bond game to have an original story and title until the release of Blood Stone in 2010.
  • A “jazzier” version of the main song was performed by Mýa on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
  • The game features the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish from Brosnan’s final Bond film, Die Another Day.
  • Although the game achieved Platinum Hits status on the Xbox, it is one of the few games that achieved this status that has not been made backwards compatible with the Xbox 360.

Sarah Bishop

Art lover. Food lover. Connoisseur of weirdness.

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