Could have been great, but is merely bland as hell

User Rating: 5.5 | James Pond: Underwater Agent GEN
I played RoboCod first and loved it. Aquatic Games came next, and while it has limited appeal there's at least some variety in the gameplay. I found James Pond for £7 at a market stall sometime in 1993. I figured I was in for a great time. I was disappointed.

The presentation was great. James Pond came in a colourful case with an oversized Electronic Arts cartridge. The title screen too was cute and funny. Everything leading up to actually playing told me that it was a wise purchase.

Pond himself is an "Underwater Agent" for FI5H. His missions mainly involve preventing pollution in his corner of the sea and keeping bad guys out of his water. The levels are named after Bond movies, "A View to a Spill" is the name of a level involving an oil slick, for example. The sea in each level isn't very deep, or wide for that matter. In fact it seems that each level is nothing more than a...Pond. The lack of ability to really go anywhere or change the scenery much really got on my nerves.

Where James Pond fails is the gameplay. It's tolerable for the first three or so levels but it remains the same all the way to the end, and no way could I be bothered sticking with it that long. The third game in the series came out later that year (and boy is that a brilliant game) so the original JP was quickly dumped in a corner and never played again...by me at least. Someone stole the cartridge and left me with an empty box. It didn't bug me too much since it wasn't a game I intended to go back to but I hate losing things.

Even for James Pond completists this is a hard sell. I do wish for another JP game to go into development. Vectordean and Millennium went defunct long ago. As far as I know Sony are the new owners of the Pond franchise after they acquired the majority of the Millennium library back in 1997. Though it is doubtful since he was always overshadowed by Sonic and Mario back in the early nineties. Very few people know of James Pond these days despite re-releases of RoboCod on various current-generation consoles.

Ah well...I'll always have the memories.