James Bond has been around for pretty much as long as modern cinema. Ever since 1962's Dr. No, we've seen several dozens of action movies starring the dashing British secret service agent. Perhaps it shouldn't come off as a surprise that 007 eventually found himself in video games as well. However, just like every other popular franchise, not all video game adaptations of James Bond have been worthy of the mantle (or is it tuxedo?).
With that said, we've rounded up some of the best James Bond games ever released, if in case you're looking for your Bond fix now that Daniel Craig's out of the spy business.
On paper, GoldenEye 007 had every right to bomb. It was a movie tie-in but was released two years after the film hit theaters. Not to mention, it was released back in the 90s, at a time when licensed games were almost always bad - things have improved drastically since but there are still a couple of duds. But, for some reason, GoldenEye 007 worked and it remains the gold standard for Bond games.
Ask anyone who's played video games for over two decades and they'll tell you that GoldenEye 007 is one of the best first-person shooters of all time, which is a shame that we never got to see the full-on remake of the game.
Everything about GoldenEye 007 stands out. It's got tons of replay value and enough unlockables to keep you occupied for days if not weeks, even if you have a guide helping out. But, what sets GoldenEye 007 apart is multiplayer. The perfectly-designed maps meshed so well with the fast-paced shooting action. Sure, the graphics haven't aged well, but the gameplay is still top-notch.
When it comes to Bond games, GoldenEye is the best - nothing else comes close.
Everything or Nothing
Believe it or not, GoldenEye 007 is not the best-reviewed Bond game. That honor belongs to Everything or Nothing, which was released back in 2004 by EA Redwood Shores, which later became Visceral Games. Although the game wasn't a movie tie-in, we wouldn't blame you if you thought that it was. Willem Dafoe and Pierce Brosnan, among others, both lent their likeness to the game, with the former putting up an awesome performance as an original villain for the game.
The result was off-the-charts production value from EA Redwood Shores completing with satisfying shooting and melee gameplay with vehicle chases that would put modern games to shame. To top it all off, players even got to enjoy a two-player co-op mode with a complementary side-story to the main plot.
As Brosnan's final appearance as James Bond, Everything or Nothing was a great send-off for Brosnan as he paved the way for Daniel Craig in 2006's Casino Royale.
The World Is Not Enough
The World Is Not Enough had the unfortunate luck to be released after GoldenEye 007. To make matters worse, it was released at a time when it wasn't unusual for different developers to work on a particular platform of the same game. Case in point, Eurocom worked on the N64 version of The World Is Not Enough while Black Ops Entertainment handled the PS1 version.
Of the two, it was the former that stood out as the better effort although the latter was not so bad as it was underwhelming.
Having said that, The World Is Not Enough took advantage of every weapon at its disposal. As the N64 was getting pushed to its limit, it used the Expansion Pak for better graphics. At the same time, Eurocom made sure to pack the game full of content, including 14 unique levels and a faithful adaptation of the film's plot. It also didn't hurt that the multiplayer experience had better graphics and maps than GoldenEye 007.
Quantum of Solace
Long before Treyarch sold its soul to the devil to work on Call of Duty games in perpetuity, it flexed its development chops working on other known franchises, including James Bond. 2008's Quantum of Solace is a good example of what Treyarch could do if it wasn't too busy working on Call of Duty.
Quantum of Solace was built on the same engine as Call of Duty, which meant that Treyarch could carry over the shooter's gameplay mechanics and have a solid gameplay foundation at best. In addition, Treyarch made sure that Quantum of Solace didn't just feel like a Call of Duty clone. Players could feel like they were Daniel Craig's James Bond in Quantum of Solace, completing with melee attacks and a cover system that was relatively new at the time.
Perhaps the best part about Quantum of Solace is that it encapsulated Craig's time as James Bond, which is less sneaking and stealth and more explosions.
What is it with Pierce Brosnan's time as James Bond that developers just couldn't help but bring their A-game?
2002's Nightfire was a cinematic experience packaged as a video game. The FPS title was released at a time when the PS2 and Xbox were still relatively new to the market, so studios weren't quite sure yet what these consoles could do. However, Eurocom accomplished something that very few games ever could and that was to tell an all-original story that was on par with its source material.
The decision to incorporate an entirely new plot worked perfectly for Nightfire. It gave fans a unique Bond experience that ended on a relatively high note.
From Russia with Love
With Pierce Brosnan's time as James Bond already done (both in theaters and in video games), EA dug deep into the archives with a rather faithful adaptation of From Russia with Love. EA's last hurrah also coincided with Sean Connery's official retirement from his post as James Bond, as he lent his voice for a digital recreation of his 1963 likeness, which might sound jarring if you're old enough to remember how Connery sounded back in the 1960s.
While From Russia with Love wasn't perfect, it was clear that EA put a lot of heart into making sure that it honored Connery's time as 007.
For some reason, fans and critics alike didn't show much love to Blood Stone when it was released back in 2010. Bizarre Creations' time at the helm wasn't as bad as most make it sound like, especially as the game used era-appropriate features like melee combat with cover-based shooting and focus kills. The developers even throw in a couple of brief but memorable driving sections to boot. As a bonus, Daniel Craig and Judi Dench lent their voices as James Bond and M, respectively.
Between Blood Stone's original storyline and adrenaline-filled action sequences as well as high production value, there's not much to hate about this 2010 title.
Agent Under Fire
For better or for worse, 2001's Agent Under Fire was not GoldenEye 007 nor The World is Not Enough. While this ticked off many gamers who were expecting an improvement over the single-player and multiplayer experience that the aforementioned titles provided, it brought its distinct flavor to the table and that made it stand out from previous Bond outings.
So long as you can get past the fact that you're not playing as Pierce Brosnan - EA used Andrew Bickness for the likeness with Adam Blackwood providing the voice - Agent Under Fire is a stellar adaptation that kicked off a series of excellent Bond games from EA.