Retro Gaming Challenge Week Eight: James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing (Xbox)

The name’s Bond… and you know the rest. James Bond 007: Everything Or Nothing, EA’s take on an “original” Bond adventure is a little clunky in places, but it’s essentially satisfying.
Ask a gamer to name a good James Bond game, and 9 times out of 10 they’ll say “Goldeneye“. That last gamer? They’re simply being contrary for the sake of it. For a character with the rich potential of Bond, he’s sure been in some crappy, ill-advised and half-hearted games.
I say this as someone who spent a silly amount of pocket money back in the day for the Amstrad version of The Living Daylights. Thanks for nothing Domark, wherever you are these days.

Admittedly, when you were playing with the RAW GAMING POWER of the mighty Amstrad PCW, you kind of had to take what you could get. Which was this.

So Pierce Brosnan gets the one “great” Bond game, the one that came out years after the movie had hit cinemas and in a way that left everyone, including Nintendo, surprised. There’s a lot of 007 dross out there, but there are a few key games that, while not great in that Goldeneye way, are still pretty decent. EA held the Bond rights for a while and did some terrible things with it – Goldeneye: Rogue Agent and From Russia With Love, for example – but they also did Everything Or Nothing, a game that tried something entirely different.
Everything or Nothing ties accurately into the Bond movie mythos, with voice appearances from Brosnan, Judi Dench as M, John Cleese as Q (all correct for their time) and even Richard Keil as Jaws. No, really. I mean, he’s iconic and it’s fun to face off against him, but it’s also weirdly anachronistic to have a Roger Moore Bond villain suddenly pop up in a Brosnan-era adventure, even one that’s loosely linked into A View To A Kill.
But, I hear you say (I have microphones everywhere, and you really ought to get that snoring looked at), there’s no Bond movie called Everything Or Nothing.
It's a virtual John Cleese as Q! More importantly, it sounds like John Cleese, because it IS John Cleese. Everyone knows that he'll do just about anything for money.
It’s a virtual John Cleese as Q!
More importantly, it sounds like John Cleese, because it IS John Cleese. Everyone knows that he’ll do just about anything for money.

Indeed, you’d be right there, but then Everything Or Nothing applies the Bond formula to an entirely new tale of nanobots, treachery, gorgeous women in peril and just about every other trope you could throw into a James Bond script.
Oh look, it's a clichéd arms deal. I wonder if a certain secret agent is lurking in the shadows somewhere, ready to break it up?
Right from the start: A clichéd arms deal. I wonder if a certain secret agent is lurking in the shadows somewhere, ready to break it up?

I’ve watched worse Bond films than Everything Or Nothing would be, even though it obviously has to cram in action sequences along the way. These mix between straight third person mission-oriented gunfights and driving sections in predictable car models quite well, albeit not for terribly long. Again, that kind of fits the movie motif that Everything Or Nothing goes for, because this is meant to be a movie, not an epic mini-series. It even has its own suitably Bond-esque theme tune.

Annoyingly, despite apparently being quite a solid seller on the original Xbox, it’s not a title that will run on the Xbox 360.
That meant for this week’s gaming challenge, amongst other things, picking between the Duke and S type Xbox controllers.
I’m an S Type kind of dude, but your tastes may vary; what it did remind me was that there was a period when a variety of control methods and hand sizes were at least partially catered for. In some ways I miss that, because even the third-party controllers these days tend to simply ape the existing PS4 or Xbox One controller designs. But I digress, when I should be plotting my revenge against Bond… I mean, rescuing the western world from diabolical schemes. Yes, definitely that second one.
Triggering the special "007" moments is good fun, although some are more obvious than others.
Triggering the special “007” moments is good fun, although some are more obvious than others.

Visceral Games tried pretty hard to hit the somewhat cliched Bond beats, and they generally succeed. The third person stealth/shooter parts of Everything Or Nothing work slightly better than the driving sections,although both have their slightly clunky sections where you have to perform specific actions to trigger the next cut scene, not always in an obvious way.
There's a switch in this level, and a few other surprises. Good luck finding them on your first run through.
There’s a switch in this level, and a few other surprises. Good luck finding them on your first run through.

To give you an example, there’s a driving section where you’re behind the wheel of a Porsche Cayenne (because nothing says Bond like product placement) chasing a heavily armoured train. You have to get under the train, which essentially involves driving very close to it near a bridge. Get the timing wrong, and you plummet to your death and a failed mission. Get it right… and the Cayenne plummets anyway, but Bond hangs on. The first time I got it right, I figured I’d failed yet again. I’m still not entirely certain where the gap between victory and failure was, actually.
Everything Or Nothing definitely shows its age, as it’s a game from that era where physical models had moved on from pointy polygon knees on characters… but only just. Bond looks like Brosnan, and M looks like Judi Dench, but they’re more like the plastic action figures of those characters than the real deal. Was there ever a Judi Dench M action figure? There so should have been.
Everything Or Nothing isn’t a classic game in the Goldeneye style, but it is a solid James Bond adventure, and that’s enough. It would make a solid Bond film of its era – maybe not so much so in the Daniel Craig era, but certainly for any Bond pre-Craig, especially Brosnan or Moore – and given that’s what it strives to do, that makes it enough of a success to be worthy of retro recommendation.
Next Week:
I can put it off no longer. It is time.
Time to put aside notions of “good” gameplay and dive into Godzilla for the Dreamcast, a game I should have been playing back in week two. To say that I’m not looking forward to this would be something of an understatement, and to put that in full context, I’m a big fan of the big green guy. I already know this is going to hurt.
That still leaves the voting open on the PlayStation One game that I’ll play in the week following. Voting on this one has dipped and dived, with every title but Wargames at one point or another being the “lead” game. Have your say on what I play next by clicking below to vote!
[socialpoll id=”2360896″]

Author: Alex

Alex Kidman is a multi-award winning Australian technology writer, former editor at Gizmodo, CNET, GameSpot, ZDNet, PC Mag, APC, Finder and as a contributor to the ABC, SMH, AFR, Courier Mail, GadgetGuy, PC & Tech Authority, Atomic and many more. He's been writing professionally since 1998, and his passions include technology, social issues, education, retro gaming and professional wrestling.

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