James Pond logo

Supplier: Millennium Price: £24.95

After the rannygazoo over the witless Greenpeace game, which did the environmentalists more harm than good, it's refreshing to see that most puerile of game formats, the so called 'cutie', being used to promote simplistic environmental messages.

James Pond is a fish with a mission. Twelve missions in all, which range from rescuing lobsters to helping fish to safety before radioactive canisters send them on a mad feeding frenzy, plugging leaks in old tankers and rescuing mermaids and orchids.

Well the music is suitably jolly, but it's the excellent graphics which really deserve a mention. You really feel this is an Amiga you're playing on, rather than the Sega-like graphics of games like Pang. Incredibly colourful, they also feature eel-smooth parallax scrolling.

As well as the nasty humans seeking to stop our fishy hero, there are nefarious aquatic foes to combat, which can either kill or stun poor James, costing him valuable time. To these he can blow bubbles, which encapsulate said foe. Swimming over the bubble destroys the enemy within.

There are secret caverns to explore for bonus points, and plenty of surprises along the way. If you are looking for a bright and colourful, but most of all hugely entertaining game to play, then check out James Pond, environmental messages and all. He's far more tasty than Haddock and Chips.


James Pond logo

MILLENNIUM £24.99 * Joystick

James Pond is a 'lake-onic' secret agent with a 'tail' to tell. 'Pond'-er this, as the world's greatest underwater agent he must 'sea' that the 'scales' of justice are tipped in the good guys' favour. Cool and ef-'fish'-ent, he is licensed to 'gill'. (Good 'Cod' what a lot of fish jokes - Reader's voice).

Now Pond faces his greatest challenge yet: 12 missions that would even make a Great White blanch. A View to a Spill sets James against oil magnates as he has to plug a leaky pipeline, in Fishfinger it's a battle to stop smugglers looting a sunken wreck, while Orchids are Forever sees the fearless fish fight the foes of the forests who are foraging for some frightully fragile flora.

Licence to Bubble is Pond's first mission. Dr Maybe, the world-famous mad, evil, mega-lo-maniac scientist, has imprisoned six of Pond's lobster friends in pots and sent a crack team of restaurateur divers to pluck them up from the sea-bed. James has to set his fishy friends free before the entrées are served.

Swimming around this underwater wonderland you'll notice it's full of junk and nasties. The overall playing area is surrounded by cliffs and caves, while the surface has small islands, which house pick-up points. The fish on a mission can swim in all directions and grab objects between his front fins. In this case he's after the keys that will open the door to freedom for his crustacean chums.

James is forever blowing bubbles, which trap his enemies and a quick swish by the fish turns them into collectable point style goodies. The debris that lies o the sea-bed is a treasure trove of trinkets and traps. Most turn into points at the touch of a tail-fin but some, especially on the later levels, prove fatal.

The missions have time limits that are generous enough to encourage exploration, which is just as well because there's more to James Pond than meets the eye. James can nip home to save special items for use on later missions; there are also three styles of secret caves full of extra points, short cuts to higher levels and more hidden bonus points than it's possible to collect.
James Pond will have to 'trawl' every inch of the playing screen if he's going to 'net' even a fraction of the points that need to be 'hauled'.

GRAPHICS AND SOUND

James has style. The backgrounds are a sumptuous blend of coppers that span the spectrum and the sprites are colourful and exceptionally cute. James swims smoothly - except when drunk on Jack Daniels - and picks stuff up with ease. The visuals have the backing of an excellent theme 'tuna' and brilliant underwater effects. Pond is a fish with class and the game shares his sophisticated look

LASTING INTEREST

James has 12 levels and the later ones are real sharks. Good players who are dead-dead-good gamers will finish it within weeks. However, Pond has a secret up his scaley sleeve. In the very best Rainbow Islands tradition the whole game is littered with secret caves and gameplay touches that will both bemuse and amuse you.
In the same way that the graphics have been polished until they shine, the game-plan has been carefully worked, reworked and worked again, so although James doesn't win in terms of the game length stakes, he certainly does in 'depth'.

JUDGEMENT

James Pond is the first of the Christmas cuties. He looks good, plays well and sounds spiffing too. The cute tone is backed with a sense of fun, which is what it is all about. Gargantuan brain-twisting games have their place, but so do the amusing tests of joystick control. Pond treads that 'fin' line between overt cuteness and tough game design: play it and you're ensured a 'whale' of a time!


GREAT FISH OF OUR TIME
Number 12 in an occasional series: THE COD
Gadus Morhua can be found in both the North Atlantic and the Baltic. Coloured brown with grey spots they can grow up to 1.5m in length and were formerly a staple foodstuff. Overfishing has led to a decline in numbers and an increase in price. Cod are a lonely breed and are renowned for their poor dress sense. The Result of this is that they are only ever invited to dinner parties for all the wrong reasons.

James Pond logo

Immer wenn unter Wasser gerade mal wieder ein Geheimagent gebraucht wird, tritt er in Aktion - James Pond, die zarteste Versuchung, seit es Tiefseefische gibt!

Millenniums Actionspiel ist eine comichafte Satire auf den englischen Vorzeige-Spion James Bond. Top gestylt und im schnieken Anzug schwimmt der schuppige Held durch farbenfrohe Unterwasserlandschaften und erledigt mit professioneller Gründlichkeit seine (zwölf) Missionen.

Im ersten Level muss Pond beispielsweise Hummer befreien, die irgendein Bösewicht in rostigen Käfigen gefangenhält. Der Held der Sieben Meere sammelt dazu goldene Schlüssel ein, schwimmt damit zu einem Käfig und schwupp - schon ist der Hummer frei und das Punktekonto voller.

Ein bißchen schwieriger, als es sich hier anhört, ist die Sache allerdings schon: Kollisionen mit anderen Meeresbewohnern kosten Lebensenergie, und wenn sich Pond zu lange über der Wasseroberfläche aufhält (z.B. auf einer der Plattform-Inseln), bekommt er eine Überdosis Sauerstoff und segnet das Zeitliche.

Unter Wasser ist Pond bewaffnet: Er kann Luftblasen verschießen und sich damit aufdringliche Fische vom Leib halten. Wenn er die Bläschen selbst berührt, gibt es dafür (meistens) Punkteboni, zusätzliche Zeit oder Extrawaffen.

Suchen, Sammeln und Knobeln - all das ist nicht neu, aber hier wird es mal äußerst witzig präsentiert. Dazu versüßen flüssige Animationen, hinreißend gemalte Sprites, butterweiches Scrolling und nicht zuletzt eine ausgezeichnete Spielbarkeit das Agentenleben. Gut getaucht, James! (C. Borgmeier)


James Pond logo

Millennium jump in at the deep end this Christmas with their contender for the all-important number one spot and look likely to make quite a splash.

James Pond, an aquatic parody of super-spy 007 with added environmental conscience, is a 12 level arcade adventure which may plumb the ocean depths with its use of awful puns but it still shows a clean pair of fins to games of similar ilk.

It's been designed and programmed by Chris Sorrell who also did the programming on Yolanda for Millennium. The game, originally to be called Guppie, has taken 6 months to complete and certainly looks the business.

You play Pond, a cute-looking chunk of cod that's inspired by Japanese-style animation. Indeed, the whole game owes a tip of the hat to the Orient and is none the worse for such influences. At the start of the game, James appears at the entrance to his undersea home ready for his first mission. A message scrolls on screen which tells you briefly what to do.

The first level is comparatively easy compared to the rest of the game and involves collecting six keys to lobster cages and releasing the trapped lobsters before fishermen can collect them for the cooking pot. All levels must be completed in a set time or else your mission has failed.

The Pond sprite is easy to control and responds well to a tug on the joystick, but watch out for bottles of booze as these can make ol' James a wee bit tiddly and you'll have difficulty getting him to go anywhere. Likewise, a bottle of glue will fix you to the spot for a short while. To pick up objects, merely position Pond over them, press downwards on the joystick and fire.

There are two in-game tunes, both of which are jolly but tend to grate after a while. There are also three separate jingles for the hidden bonus caves which are located throughout the game. The sound effects option is better and offers a wide variety of electronic bleeps which add to the overall atmosphere of the game and are rather fun.

As well as being inspired by Japanese games, James Pond also spoofs Flood, a platform game from Electronic Arts. The secret agent and Bluebeard ghost which follow Pond around are similar to the ghost in Flood and nibble away at your energy levels.

Mushroom are used to move around to different areas on each level and, as such, remind me of the transporters in Flood. Even one of the intro screens has a Quiffy lookalike staring at you! Apparently, the game is one of programmer Chris Sorrell's favourite games.

The graphics are superb and of arcade quality. With parallax push-scrolling and 16 colour-splits, it all makes for a very attractive package. The gameplay is equally appealing. It's easy to move the character around and some of the later puzzles involve a bit of though, especially as you have to open and close walls and discover secret passages.

James Pond is populated by a weird and wonderful cast of characters, some helpful and others out to turn you into shark bait. Most enemy fish can be rendered harmless by encasing them in a big bubble which, when run over, kills the fish and releases the contents of its stomach.
Old boots, I LOVE NY mugs, Rubik cubes, carrots, jam-pots and even stuffed Garfield dolls abound and these can be collected for extra points. A lot of imagination has gone into thinking up so many weird and wonderful objects.

You start with three lives. The control panel indicates how may objects or tasks you still have to complete and an angry looking Pond holds up his fingers to show how many lives you have left. Throughout the game there are various objects to collect and store away. A top hat, a goldfish bowl, a pair of sunglasses, a ray gun and dynamite are all scattered around for you to find and have various properties. For instance, the sunglasses allow you to see poisonous jelly fish when exploring the shipwreck in level four.

Out in November, JP is certainly amusing, but at £24.99 and with only 12 easy-to-complete levels, it doesn't represent good value for money. Still, a good game which should provide several hours of fun and enjoyment.


L E V E L   G U I D E
  1. LICENCE TO BUBBLE - Pick up keys to release trapped lobsters
  2. FROM SELLAFIELD WITH LOVE - Save fish from radioactive waste
  3. A VIEW TO A SPILL - Blow up a leaking oil platform
  4. THE FISH WITH THE GOLDEN BAR - Retrieve gold bars from a sunken wreck
  5. FOR YOUR FINS ONLY - Locate toxic waste canisters and place in the path of a marauding lager lout
  6. FISHFINGERS - Hidden contraband must be found
  7. THEY ONLY LIVE ONCE - Rescue seals from vicious Eskimo dwarves
  8. LEAK AND LET DIE - Stop leaking oiltankers before the sea become polluted
  9. ORCHIDS ARE FOREVER - Protect a tropical rainforest from construction workers
  10. MONEYRAKER - Salvage priceless vases from the lost city of Atlantis
  11. THE MERMAID WHO LOVED ME - Save mermaids from mad scientists
  12. DR. MAYBE - The scientists turn on Pond. You must escape

James Pond logo

Meet Pond, James Pond - he's licensed to brill in Millennium's aquatic arcade romp. Teresa 'Miss Tunnypenny' Maughan slipped a wetsuit over her white tux and prepared for a whale of a time.

I'd been herring rumours about something fishy happenin' at Millennium over the last few months but put it down to a load of old codswallop. Seems I was wrong because they've been hard at work creating a new Secret Agent, James Pond. But this 007 is a very different kettle of fish - in fact he is a fish!

He's a fish with a mission. Well, twelve to be precise. Each mission has a fishy, Bondy, ozone-friendy theme - the first is called Licensed To Bubble, the second From Sellafield With Love and so on. He must successfully complete all missions to defeat the evil scientist, Dr. Maybe, who has taken over the ocean and trapped all of Pond's friends and family and is threatening to give them a battering (hem).
You as Pond must determine whether he's a fish or a prawn and whether he's got mussels or brawn.

At the beginning of each mission a message will scroll telling you what to do - in mission one for instance you must collect keys and swim to the lobster pots in order to release them. There are six lobsters and you must set at least four free before the lobster catchers get to them first. There's no time to mullet over either because you've got to get your skates on to beat the time limit which varies according to the mission.

Things are made even more difficult by enemies (like dogfish, octopi, sharks etc.) who are looking to give you a good kick in the winkle! Still, at least Pondy comes equipped with his own bubble gun which catches the nasties in an air bubble enabling him to touch them to collect a bonus.

There are also heaps of other bonus objects to collect like potion battles whose porpoise is to kill all baddies on-screen, clocks for extra time and hearts for an extra life. Others are not so helpful like bombs and glue pots. Plus there are secret caverns to discover which feature some goodies and some baddies, but make sure you're not following a red herring 'cos your fishometer will drop all the time whilst you explore. If it runs out you lose a life and you only have three lives altogether.

So shaken or stirred, let's see how I seafared at the game. (Cue Shirley Bassey) Fish-finnnger... (da-na-na-na)... he's a maaan with the Midas Touch...

Amiga reviewTeresa: James Pond has always been a bit of a hit with the girls but will he be a hit with the gills? The answer is - yes!
Nobody does it wetter than me - unfortunately when it comes to James Pond, eel admit it - I'm crap! I managed to complete the first mission but got carried away releasing lobsters just for the halibut and ran out of time.

Having tried again I got onto the second level and was promptly turned into fishfingers. But even if you take account this reviewer's lack of talent, it's got to be said - James Pond is a touch on the hard side. The trouble is that you've got a time limit to contend with as well as only having three lives. And when you finally kick the bucket you go all the way back to mission one which is a real pain in turbot.

Criticism aside, I really enjoyed James Pond for what it was - a simple, addictive, fishy frolic with superb, animated graphics. In fact, it must be said that graphically it's stunning - all the creatures and objects are beautifully animated and the backgrounds on every mission are completely different.

But to the best bit: the sound effects - they're fab! The title music is amazing and whilst playing the game you can select either a catchy little Bond number or the sound FX. Both are really effective and add to the whole ambience.
On a scale (groan) of one to ten, James Pond has to be worth an octopi. It's brill! And not a fish gag in sight! Stop


James Pond logo

Millenium, Amiga £24.99

Pond raised an eyebrow. He had only just escaped from a dinner appointment with the evil Dr Maybe's pet pussy! But he knew the seas weren't yet safe from the wheelchair-bound Doctor.

Pond has twelve missions to attempt, most requiring him to rescue a number of trapped sea creatures or valuable artefacts. He must also battle against the scourge of pollution: 'A view To A Spill' involves blowing up an oil rig by placing dynamite at its base, while in 'Leak And Let Die' leaking oil tankers must be patched up with pieces of sponge!

In all levels, James faces great danger from fellow sea creatures who drain his 'fishometer' on contact. It's just as well Double Bubble Seven can blow bubbles to trap enemies, and then destroy them by bursting the bubble to reveal one of several bonus objects (watch out for exploding bombs and sticky glue, though!). Friendly starfish can also be collected to replenish Pond's fishometer and improve his speed and bubble power.

Cleverer still, Pond can go into secret caverns or even jump out of the water to collect things, though his fishometer is temporarily drained. James can also return down the level entrance pipe and visit his cottage where useful objects can be stored and retrieved - including a helmet allowing him to breathe above water, and a pair of shades enabling him to see normally invisible jellyfish.


Phil King James Pond's greatest asset is definitely its light hearted humour with Pond a true star: one of the most endearing heroes I've seen in ages. Then there are the fish mutated by radioactive waste, Union Jack- wearing lager louts to knock out with toxic waste canisters, and Pond even getting drunk when he collects a bottle of whisky - swaying uncontrollably with glazed eyes; well he is legless, after all! (Groan! - Ed) The basic concept of retrieving objects/creatures isn't all that innovative but each of the twelve missions holds its own special surprises along with plenty of new enemies to see - such as Bluebeard, the ghostly pirate on level four. Well-animated, characterful graphics and several catchy tunes add to the game's overall charm.
Robin Hogg Great! Action, suspense and a macho hero even if he is a fishy character! Aside from the simply superb attention to detail in the graphics, the main jolly little tunes and the smile-inducing watery sound effects, James Pond is a challenge-and-a-half with 12 missions. The wonderful thing is that the missions are widely different in style and gameplay. Whether you're dynamiting oil platforms, saving fishes or liberating lobsters, it's all done with the emphasis on fun! Add to this a great variety in the graphics and you're playing one of the most entertaining games for a long while You certainly face a new, absorbing and highly humorous challenge with each new level. It reminds me of Scuba Dive but it's all so much better as there's decent, Amiga-quality graphics and fast paced action, all very professionally done.
What's more it's all so rewarding as the programmer has thrown in loads of effects (the secret bonus screens have their own pieces of music, there's hidden lives, mega-bonuses, secret objects to collect and countless other effects to discover) and this really made the game for me. I love this one LOADS! Admittedly it's not totally original as you can't really get away from the Bondness of it all: the mood, the action, the tench-sion, the Jimmy Bond soundalike tunes, it's all here. I could carp on about this one for ages, water ace game! (Aaaarrrgghh! Ed).