LOS ANGELES - James Bond hasn't been sipping martinis and firing his Walther in the game world for nearly as long as he has in movie theaters, but the gadget-loving secret agent's nearly 30-year history spanning more than 20 video games is almost unmatched in Hollywood, where video game tie-ins with the latest blockbusters are commonplace nowadays.
Indeed, when it comes to Bond games, they weren't always golden (especially thinking back to such awkward entries as 2000's "007 Racing" and 2004's "GoldenEye: Rogue Agent"). Even when others did it better, 007 maintained a presence in the interactive medium, with three big-screen Bonds - Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig - portraying him in games.
Here's a look at five of Bond's most noteworthy virtual operations:
- "James Bond 007." Bond's first game, a side-scroller from Parker Brothers released in 1983 for such 8-bit systems as the Atari 2600, was among the first film-based games. The mechanics were far less groundbreaking though. It put players behind the wheel of an oddly shaped amphibious vehicle in levels inspired by flicks like "Diamonds are Forever" and "Moonraker."
- "GoldenEye 007." When it debuted in 1997, this popular Nintendo 64 shoot-'em-up based on Bronson's initial Bond outing revolutionized the first-person shooter genre by pioneering how virtual sniper rifles work and setting the standard for multiplayer matches long before "Halo" and "Call of Duty." It proved so popular, it was later rereleased for the current generation of consoles.
- "007: Everything or Nothing." Although it wasn't the first Bond game to steer away from the film franchise, this 2003 adventure was the first to succeed at shaking it up with an original story from veteran Bond screenwriter Bruce Feirstein, performances from Brosnan and Judi Dench, Heidi Klum as a Bond girl, Willem Dafoe as a villain and a new title song from Mya.
- "007: From Russia With Love." Electronic Arts went retro with "From Russia with Love" in 2005, incorporating fun vintage elements like Bond's jet pack and Aston Martin. The slick third-person game followed the story of the 1957 novel and 1963 film and also featured Connery's voice and likeness, marking his return to the role for the first time in more than 20 years.
- "007: Legends." Activision is also going old-school with this first-person shooter set for release Oct. 16. "007: Legends" will be armed with six missions based on different Bond films, including "Goldfinger" and "On Her Majesty's Secret Service," with Craig playing Bond throughout. A downloadable level based on the upcoming Bond film "Skyfall" will be available after launch.