"Unlicensed" Bond

M: This private vendetta of yours could easily compromise Her Majesty's government. You have an assignment, and I expect you to carry it out objectively and professionally.
James Bond: Then you have my resignation, sir.
M: We're not a country club, 007!

In 1989, Timothy Dalton took up the Walther PPK and role of James Bond for the second and last time. This movie, directed by John Glen is harder than all previous exploits, Bond is driven to avenge his friend Felix Leiter, who had been mutilated by drug baron Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi). As the mission is not sanctioned by MI-6, Bond even gives up his License to Kill. Set entirely in Miami and Mexico, and adopting a harder style, this is the most american Bond, following more in the tradition of american action movies than the Bond tradition.

Franz Sanchez: SeƱor Bond, you got big cojones. You come here, to my place, without references, carrying a piece, throwing around a lot of money... but you should know something: nobody saw you come in, so nobody has to see you go out.

Plot:

The plot of the film is down-to-earth and believable, although in places there is the extravagance demanded in a Bond film. It begins with a happy occasion: shortly after capturing the Drug baron Franz Sanchez, Bond's friend Felix Leiter gets married. But Sanchez escapes, and proceeds to teach Leiter a lesson, killing his wife and throwing Leiter to the sharks,severely mutilating him. Bond refuses to drop the matter even when ordered to by M, his license revoked.

Checking Leiter's files, Bond is led to Pam Bouvier (Carey Lovell), a CIA operative. He meets her but they barely escape before flying to Isthmus City, Sanchez's home. There Bond starts spending big money and works his way into Sanchez's trust. He is taken along with top Eastern dealers to Sanchez's base, but is finally recognised by henchman Dario. Bond escapes, starting a fire which eventually blows up the base. Meanwhile Sanchez tries to make off with four tankers full of drugs dissolved in petrol.

Helped by Pam, Bond catches up with the convoy, destroying the various trucks and closing in on Sanchez. They fight hand-to-hand until their tanker crashes, and Sanchez recovers first. He is about to kill Bond with a machete when Bond burns Sanchez's fuel-soaked body with a joke lighter given to him by Felix and Della.


Trivia:

We have two Bond girls, who complement each other perfectly. The gritty, foul-mouthed pilot Pam Bouvier (Carey Lowell) is an excellent contrast to the airheaded but enjoyable Lupe (Talisa Soto). Sanchez's kept girl who is whipped for betraying him early in the film, and shows more airheadedness by sleeping with Bond in Sanchez's palace. Krest spies on her and she gets her revenge on him by helping Bond cause his downfall.

Franz Sanchez: What did he promise you? His heart? Give her his heart.

To lay out the toys from Q-Branch, I think I better let the man speak for himself:

James Bond: This is no place for you, Q. Go home.
Q: Oh, don't be an idiot, 007. I know exactly what you're up to, and quite frankly, you're going to need my help.
Remember, if it hadn't been for Q Branch, you'd have been dead long ago.

(Opens case)
Q: Everything for a man on holiday. Explosive alarm clock -- guaranteed never to wake up anyone who uses it. Dentonite toothpaste -- to be used sparingly, the latest in plastic explosive...

This Bond lead back to the roots of Fleming's original Bond character, but broke with the spirit of the series. This upset many fans, which, together with production problems, to a long hiatus, lead to Dalton not playing the role in the next part. The next Bond, Goldeneye, would star Pierce Brosnan, who was originally supposed to replace Moore, instead.

To finish up and complete the writeup, here is a nice link to all things Bond:

Previous Bond: The Living Daylights, Next Bond: Goldeneye

Licence to Kill (LTK) is a glamorous way of saying "one-hit kills". The term can, in theory, be used universally, but is almost always used with reference to Nintendo 64 first-person shooters GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark.

LTK mode first appeared in GoldenEye's deathmatch mode. It appears on the list of multiplayer modes alongside Normal (a standard deathmatch), You Only Live Twice (last person alive wins), and The Living Daylights (flag tag). To play LTK mode at the same time as one of the other play modes is very simple; select e.g. Flag Tag on the Mode menu, and on the Health menu, set all players' health down to "-10 (Hero)". This has the same effect. In Perfect Dark's multiplayer mode, the "one-shot kills" option appeared, but by that point, GoldenEye was three years old and the name "Licence To Kill" had stuck.

When you play an LTK game, the deathmatch will continue as normal but a single shot anywhere on the body with any weapon (or even a fist) will kill any player instantly. This calls for a large change in tactics from a standard deathmatch:

  • Most notably, your preference in weapons will change. Where a Klobb (the worst weapon in the game) was previously an inaccurate and pitifully weak SMG, it now becomes extremely dangerous, and where a Cougar Magnum was the most powerful pistol in the game, its low fire rate and small capacity leaves it overshadowed by otherwise weaker pistols.
  • In GoldenEye, body armour becomes useless. One shot will kill you regardless of how much you're wearing. (In Perfect Dark, picking up a shield will protect you from exactly one shot.)
  • Going for headshots is also pointless now. Ordinarily, getting a headshot does huge amounts of extra damage, and marksmanship is a very worthwhile skill - but this is invalidated in LTK mode. The auto-aim automatically aims for the chest, which makes kills pathetically easy to gain, so it's customary to turn off the auto-aim when playing LTK.

Dont get me wrong: LTK matches can be the tensest, most enjoyable matches of your life. Play LTK. You'll enjoy it. But it is important to note that the three effects above mean that LTK is never used as an alternative to Normal mode in organised competitive tournaments, where prize money may be at stake, and a level playing field is very important.

LTK in solo missions

LTK's popularity quickly extended past multiplayer, because it was possible to emulate LTK in the solo missions. First you need to finish GoldenEye on 00 Agent and unlock 007 Mode, which allows you to customise your enemies' various attributes. The same extra options appear when you complete Perfect Dark on Perfect Agent. Set them up as follows:

  • Enemy Health: 0% (so that if you shoot them, they die instantly)
  • Enemy Damage: 1000% (so that if they shoot you, you die instantly)
  • Enemy Accuracy: 100% (this means a single shot fired out in the open will kill you)
  • (GoldenEye only) Enemy Reaction Time: 100% (this makes them react fast)

In LTK mode, GoldenEye and Perfect Dark become ten times harder than before. You'll need encyclopaedic knowledge of the location of every enemy and drone gun to make it through any level without being shot once. Surface 1 and Surface 2, where enemies with sniper rifles pick you off from a quarter of a mile away, are near-impossible to survive for more than ten steps, and with the full set of objectives to complete, even the simplest of levels becomes a massive challenge. Although many people have done the odd level here and there (I recommend starting with the Facility in GoldenEye and Skedar Ruins: Battle Shrine in Perfect Dark), only a handful of people have completed GoldenEye or Perfect Dark fully on LTK.

There is no reward for completing either game on Licence To Kill, but if you're the kind of hardcore gamer who is up to this challenge, then success and recognition are their own rewards. The GoldenEye LTK World Records (fastest times) can be found here and the Perfect Dark records here.

Dark LTK: for when LTK is too easy

The few hardcore gamers in the world who find LTK mode trivial have only recently begun experimenting with the obvious continuation of the theme - setting Enemy Health to 1000% as well. Now an enemy in Perfect Dark will require a headshot to be taken down with any sort of efficiency, while an enemy in GoldenEye will need something of the order of eleven headshots. Solo missions played using these maxed settings cross the line from being merely difficult to tactical nightmares. To even finish a single level requires judicious use of explosives, intense rationing of ammunition, huge amounts of planning, staggering accuracy, Jedi-grade reactions and an awful lot of patience - but it can be done, and indeed has been for many levels. Not for the faint of heart.

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