Like Trigger Man but with skiing and tuxedos.
Okay that’s unfair. Considering Trigger Man is still to date, the worst game ever reviewed on the site. Tomorrow Never Dies never reaches that level of depravity and at times is almost even fun. Not to mention it was made years before on a previous generation system. BUT more on why it reminded me of TM later.
Tomorrow Never Dies was the second James Bond film I ever owned on VHS and is still a favorite of mine. With its distinctly late 90’s feel (Bond in blue shade sunglasses and electronic music) and one of the few plot lines that involves the Chinese Government not being the fucking worst it always gives me a fun rush of nostalgia. Not to mention it introduced The West to absolute goddess, Michelle Yeoh as Chinese secret agent and Bond ally, Wai Lin.
So the movie is a big one for me and to be honest, I have always wanted this game but other then a Blockbuster rental back in the day never really had a chance to really dive in. Until now – well into my thirties where I have the money to buy all the games I want and about one free hour a day (sometimes one hour every few days to actually play all of the games I purchase.)
For starters, like many 90’s children who were hooked on the Bond franchise by Goldeneye for the Nintendo 64 I was disappointed to learn that TND was a third person title and to be fair even decades later I still kind of am disappointed. Maybe Black Ops Entertainment felt a third person view mode would encapsulate the Bond experience more. They do manage to include two skiing levels and a driving level to the fold. OR it was a sign that Black Ops did not have the capabilities of making a game anywhere close to Rare’s Goldeneye. After all, the PlayStation was inferior graphically than it’s rival. Either way it would be the last Bond title not made by EA for a very long time (thank God).
Like many of the Bond games during the Pierce Brosnan era, the video game uses his likeness but the characters is voiced by another actor. In fact, every character throughout the game is voiced by other actors which does hurt the experience a bit.
The game does follow the movie to a certain degree with a couple of major plot point changes (Paris lives/Stamper is a secondary boss with little to no introduction/ for whatever reason it has you Ski to some other terrorist’s hideout at one point in the game). But it tries to blend in some of the higher action FMV from the film into the movie.
The game doesn’t look bad for a PS1 title but it’s controls are awful. Aiming is utilized by the circle button while firing is the X button. Ergonomically this is a pain in the ass. As is the D-Pad controls which is more of a product of its time than anything else. But that doesn’t excuse the slippery as ice response times as you’re running around trying to stay alive as waves of auto generated enemies keep coming after you.
The sound is fantastic, despite the shitty voice acting and the briefing section is OK. They could have expanded on it to give the missions a more sense of depth and urgency but they chose more of a flashy high tech looking HUD. Even on AGENT difficulty the game is very fucking hard and it beat my ass pretty good. But once you get the hang of it and begin progressing through levels you realize that the level design is poorly balanced. Some levels are very long with no check points in between, so when you lose to that boss at the end of the level you start over from the beginning while other missions can be completed within three minutes.
On Average you can find this time for about $6 on Amazon CIB – which is a tough price to turn down. For band fanatics and collectors it’s worth the money but for others who just want a fun third person shooter from the era – stick with Syphon Filter.
Where it stacks up in the 007 Franchise:
4.) Nightfire (80%)
7.) Tomorrow Never Dies (PS1) (66%)