The Snake Becomes The Key

Retro Gaming Humour

Meet super-spy Basildon Bond, with a license to kill….himself.

Words:Stuart Hunt

I only played this game a handful of times when I was a kid. It never made any sense to me then and after revisiting it at 25, I can honestly say, it makes even less sense to me now. I wasted an hour of my life on the internet yesterday trying to find out what exactly you’re supposed to do. I can’t accept that your only job in this game is to run around like a spaghetti man inside a TV studio, picking up and putting down random objects and avoiding recording equipment…I just can’t.

The Adventures of Basildon Bond invites the gamer to explore the exciting setting of a desolate television studio and play the alter-ego of granny-magnet TV comic, Russ Abbott. When you fire up the game you are presented with a loading screen of our protagonist, Basildon Bond. It’s obvious that the programmer has spent a lot of time drawing the face of the character, as his pixel painted mug actually looks pretty accurate to the picture on the box. What isn’t clear is why he chose to undo all the hard work by positioning his remarkable caricature onto a repellently miss-proportioned body, which looks like he’s asked a dog to draw using an etch-a-sketch.


Also, I couldn’t help but notice that the character that you control in the game looks nothing like the image of Bond splashed across the games box art and loading screen. On the cover, he’s depicted wearing an army jacket and a pair of tights. In the game, he’s a faceless, black and grey tracksuit wearing jerk that moves around like the wavy-armed robot from Lost in Space.

During the game there are a number of different useless objects that can be picked up and umm… can be…put back down again. These include items such as; a key, a television remote control, a jumper or a magnet, the list it seems, is endless – in fact, every time I’ve played the game there’s at least one new object I hadn’t seen before. It’s just a shame that the game’s designers didn’t apply the same level of effort towards the number of enemies which Basildon must face. Trying to avoid the same poltergeist operated video camera in every single room soon wears thinner than size zero nappies on a burger addict.

Self Destruct

It seems that Basildon must have been sent on a training course for lifting correctness on the day of his combat training at spy school, because he can’t actually fight or do anything useful other then pick up ONE object and KILL himself. That’s right; the game actually gives you the option of suicide. Pressing the fire button while hitting up will cause your character to act like he’s having a nasty heart attack, and then depart from his cruel camera-crazed world. This means that if you want to actually try and progress in the game it’s probably not a good idea to control Basildon using a joystick, as an in-advertant tap while brushing against the fire button will spell a shocking end to Bond, and your nerves, as you witness him shake around like an electric chair mime artist and get whisked back to the start of the game.

To stop the cameras you have to summon one of Basildon’s ridiculous Cooperblasters. This is Bond’s ‘highly hilarious’ attack function where he can summon two jerk superheroes to fly around the room and destroy anything they come into contact with. They appear in two forms: the first will fly from one side of the screen to the other and can be controlled to go either up or down by the player. The second hero cannot be influenced with key taps and will simply fly agonisingly slowly around the screen and generally prove to be as helpful as having radioactive dogshit rubbed into your eyes. Which one you get seems to be random. Use them sparingly, you’re only given ten for the whole game and each camera annoyingly regenerates when you nip in and out of rooms. Logic commands that it’s impossible to progress any further than ten camera-besieged screens before the game leaves you holding a magnetic disk and staring hopelessly at a whirling tripod with no way of escaping.

To help make the game slightly more frustrating, your Cooperblasters don’t get replenished when you die. If you get touched by a camera with 5 Cooperblasters in your inventory, it’s a good idea to spend your next life wasting them on the first screen and then opting out from the world of TV studio espionage with Basildon’s stupid suicide shake.

Superman had trouble finding his desk.

Now there is a clue which suggests a possible task exists in the game. At the bottom of the screen are the words ‘jokes matched’ so I imagine that you’re supposed to collect the random objects and match them togther to create some sort of gag…maybe? Although, I struggle to find how any element of humour could co-exist between a wellington boot and a VHS cassette tape – It just seems like a way of tying to clumsily amble a comic element in to the game and prevent it from just being just another walk-em-up with haunted video cameras.

I fail to understand where the target audience for this game exists. I can only suppose that the focus panel for Basildon Bond was conducted inside an old peoples home for the terminally unfunny. It’s the type of game that your Nan would buy for you because it had Russ Abbott grinning on its box and not one iota of excitment. I guess we should all be thankful that Nans don’t generally play video games, or we might have seen more of these TV based gaming abominations appear – Last of the Summer Wine Bar Billiards or Terry and June on the Ropes, perhaps.


March 10, 2007 Posted by | Stuart Hunt, TV Studio Espionage | 4 Comments