007: License to Kill (1989)

007: License to Kill (1989), developed by Quixel, published by Domark, based on the move License to Kill

This is the first part of the series of me taking a nostalgic glance back in the time towards good old Amstrad CPC 464 games. My introduction to the series can be found here. I am using WinAPE as my emulator.

Out of the many James Bond games released in the 80s, License to Kill was the one we had for the Amstrad. The game itself consists of 5 different levels, more or less based on what happens in the movie.

During the first level, you control a helicopter and try to keep yourself out from harm's way by dodging little bullets and shooting buildings on the ground. And dodging bigger buildings in order not to smash your copter on them. There's also a jeep you can chase and gun down until the ending point. This particular level does offer some challenge, at least on CPC 464, as the bullets you need to dodge are pixel sized black cubes, so it's easy for them to get lost in the background.

The second level has James ditching his copter and going on foot. This time around, you have to shoot enemies by pressing down the fire button and then rotating a target cursor in the right direction. Mr Bond also has a limited supply of bullets, as he only has 3 clips with 15 bullets each. Luckily the enemies leave some additional ammo behind. Overall, perhaps the easiest level, as you can take your time and plan your moves ahead.

3rd and 4h levels take place over water. First, you chase a down a plane and try to get rope dangling Bond catch it by the tail. Not a difficult task in the end. Next, you end up swimming, dodging boats and bullets by dodging. The goal is to shoot a harpoon, which you can get from other divers you need to kill first, on a plane and waterski to it. This can be easy if you manage to hit the plane right away, which lead into some minimal dodging action.

In the final level, you are driving a big truck, smashing other trucks out of the way.  Another pretty simple level. Just keep driving and smashing the trucks until you win the game.

I don't know if the emulated version of the game I played is easier than the one I owned as a kid, but License to Kill is a far easier game than I remembered. I did play it through as a kid as well, but I did remember it to be a lot harder. Now, after bungling a bit on my first try on the first level, I went through the game on my second go and didn't die once.

A bit clunky controls aside, License to Kill is pretty fun, albeit short game. The graphics are okay and the sound effects and the music, the License to Kill theme is pretty decent version, sparse, but all in all, it was a fun playthrough. No wonder I played this quite a bit back in the day.

In many ways, you could consider 007: License to Kill as a casual game from a modern perspective. It's simple, easy to play and doesn't take a long time to finish. Even with the small issue of graphics making the bullets a tad hard to see at times, there's nothing genuinely taxing about the experience as a whole.

if you are interested in the game and want to give a try, but are wary of the chunky Amstrad graphics, there are graphically and musically better versions released on Amiga and Atari ST.