James Pond was the star of a series of early-Nineties video games
and Millennium Interactive
(and published on some formats by Electronic Arts
), usually leading on the Commodore Amiga
or Sega Mega Drive
Mr. Pond was an underwater secret agent employed by F.I.5.H., who happened to be a cartoony orange fish. His nemesis was the evil Dr. Maybe. The weak, James Bond-and-fish-related puns and references were constantly present in all the games of the series. The original game was designed by Chris Sorrell.
James Pond: License to Gill (aka James Pond: Underwater Agent)
Released on the Amiga in late 1990, this was a 12 level platform/puzzle game with a couple of quirks. James spends most of the game underwater negotiating small areas to reach treasure and trapped sea creatures, and as a result gravity does not operate in the usual constrictive fashion. There are also a number of special items that can be collected, such as sunglasses which allow invisible jellyfish to be seen, and a diving helmet which allowed James to travel out of the water. The 1991 Sega Mega Drive version was claimed to be the first UK-developed game for the system.
James Pond 2: Robocod
A more traditional platform game, with a large number of levels based on various themes (mainly toys and sweets, as the game was based around an invasion of Santa's workshop). James' 'Robocod' suit allows him to travel on land throughout the game. There is also an unsubtle sponsorship deal with Penguin biscuits, resulting in giant chocolatey snacks populating some of the levels. The game was released on the Mega Drive and later the PC, with various other versions appearing over the next few years.
The Aquatic Games (Starring James Pond and the Aquabats)
In true Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends style, Electronic Arts decided to take the franchise in a different direction for this Sega Mega Drive offering, which was basically a marine-themed version of Track and Field. Once again penguins were in evidence, along with the Aquabats, a group of cartoon animals presumably devised to allow the artists some respite from drawing fish with arms.
James Pond 3: Operation Starfish
The final game in the series was a long time in development. The storyline involves James being sent on a mission to the moon, which is made of cheese. This game introduced a Super Mario World-style overland map. As its release coincided with the ill-fated CD-ROM multimedia boom, the game was ported to machines that are no longer with us, such as the Amiga CD-32. For a while the game had the working title of Splash Gordon, which had to eventually be changed for legal reasons.
By this point interest was waning in the series and James Pond did not go on to make a transition to the 32-bit formats (other than ports of the above titles).
The distinctive 'rounded rectangles' graphical style of James Pond's world (which becomes more pronounced with each installment of the series) was originally due to the games' artist drawing everything directly into Deluxe Paint with a mouse, as opposed to drawing or scanning any concept art on paper.