Game Reviews

James Pond in the Deathly Shadows

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James Pond in the Deathly Shadows

Though James Pond 2: Robocod sits proudly in my Mega Drive back catalogue – and by 'proudly', I mean gathering dust in my parents' loft – it's never been first on my list of series that deserve a 21st century revival.

Micro Machines? Yes, please. Flicky? I'll take several, thanks. A James Pond remake with a tentative link to a Harry Potter movie? Erm, I might pass.

What makes it worse, however, is not only is this an unmerited return for the fish with fingers - it's also an entirely slack one.

Aping the original

In terms of structure, Gameware's take on James Pond has more in common with the very first release in the series than with its more famous platforming sequel, Robocod. Pond swims about underwater, bubble gun in hand, firing at every foe in the vicinity without prompt.

Your job is to steer Pond away from danger. Tapping a green pad in the bottom-left of the screen causes him to swim skywards for a second, while holding it down causes him to sink.

Any contact with his surroundings – whether the ground, walls, or any of his fellow fish life – drains his health, while tapping said button too often drains his oxygen. Once it's run out, Pond simply heads towards the seabed, failing to react to any inputs you make.

Not that any of this is clear. Though your only real goal is to make it to the 'finish' line intact (from which point the following stage appears to kicks off automatically), en route you'll come across a slew of icons and trinkets you can pick up simply by swimming into them.

All out of air

They're presumably of some benefit to your cause, though it's not clear how. More certain is the impact shooting down your fishy friends has.

Swimming into them while they're incapacitated by a bubble from your gun – an act worth varying numbers of points in itself - adds 1,000 to your points tally, though James Pond in the Deathly Shadows isn't really equipped to be an old skool scoreboard chaser.

Strip back the licence – which doesn't add much anyway – and you're left with a mini-game that Gameware has attempted to stretch out into a full blown release.

Which, all in all, leaves the latest James Pond as something of a nonevent.

From art style through to content, there's nothing here that connects Deathly Shadows to its predecessors, and nor is there a new spark of ingenuity that lets game stand on its own two feet.

James Pond in the Deathly Shadows

With no real link to the series of old, and no gameplay of its own to speak of, James Pond in the Deathly Shadows is the kind of non-event that you're best off ignoring
Keith Andrew
Keith Andrew
With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font. He's also Pocket Gamer's resident football gaming expert and, thanks to his work on, monitors the market share of all mobile OSes on a daily basis.