From Russia With Love

Bond's sliding onto the only handheld as slick as he is

James Bond has always been known for cool little gadgets, and now he's appearing on one. After making a modest splash on consoles, his third-person shooter From Russia With Love is bringing retro style, one-liners and a cast of dead actors to the PSP on March 14.

More or less a direct port of the console version, From Russia With Love recreates the classic Bond film of the same name as a third-person shooter. As in the umpteen previous Bond games, the suave superspy will spend most of the game running around on foot, sneaking up behind enemy agents and riddling them with bullets. The hook this time is that, instead of Pierce Brosnan's chiseled mug (or one that looks vaguely like it), the game stars the original Bond, Sean Connery, whose younger face, smoothly replicated on the PSP's small screen, contrasts with his (noticeably) older voice.

In the nearly finished version we played, the actual 3D gameplay made a smooth transition as well. Each level looked nearly identical to its console counterpart, although a few small touches (like the obstacles Bond has to jump over) were removed. Most vehicles have also been left in the garage: the driving and boating missions were replaced by cinematics -although the level where Bond straps on a jetpack and dogfights a helicopter was fully intact. Also, in a plus for anyone short on battery life, the cinematic sequences can be skipped.

Bond's gadgets are at your fingertips as well, including the Q Copter, a little remote-control flying bomb. Even "Bond focus," which lets you target specific areas on enemies (such as their guns or the ropes they're dangling from), and the flashy "Bond moments" (say, kicking down a guard while swinging through a window for extra points) survived. In short, very little is lost in translation.

If you've already played through the console version, though, the main draw of the PSP edition will be its multiplayer. Connecting up to six players wirelessly, it offers up four game modes: Classic (which is to say "deathmatch"); Domination, in which the player who dies the least wins; Dogfight, a deathmatch with chaingun-and missile-equipped jetpacks; and Flying Ace, which is Domination with jetpacks.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.
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