Although James Bond is one of the best known movie characters of all time, his transition to the video game world has been a rocky one. Everybody points to Rare's popular Nintendo 64 port of GoldenEye, a first person shooter that managed to capture the movie's intensity and the fun of 007's gadgets. Unfortunately few other Bond games have managed to live up to GoldenEye's success, which puts James Bond the Duel in good company.
The Duel is not only James Bond's worst title, it's also a terrible side scrolling game that is not worth your time. In fact, the game is so generic that if it weren't for the tuxedoed hero and a couple familiar bosses they could have gotten away with calling it just about anything else; it could have been the template to just about any action movie license.
This is especially frustrating when you consider how rich with prime material the James Bond series is. We're talking about larger than life villains, beautiful locations, fast action, covert stealth missions, cool cars, even cooler gadgets, and plenty of women. You could have an amazing game from just picking three of those elements at random, yet only a couple of companies have been able to get 007 just right. It baffles the mind.
But that's the biggest problem with James Bond the Duel, it doesn't really try to do any of those Bond trademarks. It doesn't require any kind of stealth, there are no cool cars, the settings are generic at best, and the "fast action" is so slow you can make a vodka martini for both you and your enemy (shaken, not stirred) before even thinking about dodging a bullet. The Duel simply does not encompass any of those elements you love about James Bond, which makes this 2D experience a real waste of time.
Things go from worse to ... well, even worse, when you actually start playing this sluggish train wreck of a game. Moving is unresponsive and your bullets take forever to hit their target. Oddly enough, while you're forced to move at the slowest speed possible, you are able to jump extremely high. Like three times your body. It's freakishly impressive ... but it's not something James Bond would do.
You know things are going to be bad when the James Bond picture in the intro is not Sean Connery or even Roger Moore, but the likeness of Timothy Dalton. This is the perfect example of how a company can completely miss what is so cool about a license, James Bond is more than a guy gunman who jumps really high in the air. Heck, not even that most of the time. Thankfully the Duel was forgotten as quickly as Timothy Dalton's career!