James Pond: Underwater Agent

James Pond Amiga

Oke Doke here we go, today I’m taking a look back to a classic Amiga game. James Pond: Underwater Agent.

James Pond was developed by British video game developers Vectordean Ltd and Millennium Interactive. The game itself fits into the platform genre of video games. James Pond: Underwater Agent had mixed reviews when released.

James Pond Cover

James Pond Cover

James Pond Credits

  • Published by: Millennium Interactive Ltd.
  • Developed by: Vectordean Ltd.
  • Released: 1990
  • Genre: Action, Underwater, Puzzle, Platform

James Pond The Game

So you play the character James Pond, a mutated fish hired by the secret service to protect and defend the underwater world. The game uses spoof references of the famous book and movie franchise James Bond. Even the level names are spoofed from the very start; with the likes of “License to Bubble”, “A View to a Spill”, “Leak and Let Die” to name a few.

There are 12 missions to complete, the first mission starts off really easy but then difficulty curve really ramps up. I found the later levels particularly hard. As I mentioned earlier it became very frustrating at times. This was because once you lost all of your lives it was game over and you had to start from the very beginning. I think that if James Pond had some sort of level passkey system, one that allowed you restart the level you failed, it would have made the game far more enjoyable.

I was never able to complete this game, not even using the cheat that enabled you to select a starting level. Now there’s a challenge, I think I’ll give it another go.

James Pond Secret Rooms

During the missions you will probably come across secret rooms, some that may be filled with goodies, and some that may be filled the loads of baddies. If I remember correctly I tended to avoid these when playing higher levels.

Mushroom Teleportation

One thing that took me a while to work out when I first started playing James Pond, was using the mushrooms to teleport, perhaps I should have read the instruction booklet. I remember one time I kept jumping back and forth from one spot to another, I thought my computer had crashed or the game was buggy, it was in fact my own doing as I kept touching the mushroom. Anyway, you will see mushrooms dotted about the most of these are activated as soon as you touch them and teleport you to another area on the map, very useful  when you work out which one goes where.

Creatures of the Deep

As you make your way through the 12 levels you will encounter various creatures many are bad but some are helpful. Some are listed below, I won’t go through them all in this post though.

  • Jellyfish – Now these are a pain in the ar**e! They are invisible, you only see them when you touch them, by that time its already too late, your dead. The only way I found of spotting them is by wearing the pair sunglasses. The only flaw here is that you can’t carry any items when wearing them.
  • Squid – or octopus’ whatever they are. These aren’t too bad, when you touch them the screen goes black for a while like they have squirted ink everywhere. You won’t die immediately they just take energy from you. The first time this happened to me I thought it was a another bug in the game.
  • Oysters – these are goooood, when you touch them they will follow you around and kill enemies they come into contact with.
  • Starfish – They are not all good, in fact I’m pretty sure it’s only the darker ones that are bad, saying that they are not that bad, they just drag you around the screen a bit. The useful ones are:
    • Yellow Starfish– These will fill your health bar up.
    • Red Starfish– The red ones give you speed, this will last until you lose a life.
    • Green Starfish – These will give you extra bubble power.

Extra Items

There are many items available to collect, again some are helpful and others are well….not so helpful.

  • Hearts – not to state the obvious, they give you an extra life.
  • Poison – these are bottles with the skull on them, avoid.
  • Bombs – these are also bad, you should try to avoid these too. If you do touch one, swim away as fast as you can.
  • Glue – these are not good, not really bad but still not good. They will temporally stick you in place.
  • Bottles of Booze – touching the booze will render you drunk! Pond becomes dizzy and the controls go wacky for a short while.
  • Fairy Wands – the fairy wands are great, they will make you invincible for a while, you will notice tinkerbell of the drink flying around you when you are protected.
  • Gun – this is a gun or pistol or whatever, it helps to shoot creatures when you are out of the water or in it.
  • Goldfish Bowl – handy when out of the water, it will increase the time you can spend out there.
  • Sunglasses or Shades – helps to spot the invisible jellyfish.
  • The Top Hat – wearing the top hat will lessen the amount of damage you take from enemies, like a shield of steel.

 

Is James Pond Naff?

The magazine Amiga Format gave it an 81% rating and Amiga Action an 88% rating in December of 1990.

I owned this game back in the day and have fond and frustrating memories of it. The game itself, taking into consideration the date of its release, looks fairly good and is certainly colourful. The graphics were good with some clever and cute animations. The soundtrack was fun if not kind of repetitive. The game-play, is also kind of repetitive as most of the time you have to collect certain items and drop them off one at a time at other locations. Having said that though, it is a little addictive, well it was for me anyway as I tend not to like being beaten. Although this one… Beat me.

Naffometer

9 / 10 Rating

9 / 10

Cheats for James Pond Amiga Version

  • Pause the Game
  • Type junkyard and press ENTER to enable cheat mode with invincibility
  • Press one of the following keys to activate different cheat functions
    • Toggle cheat mode: ENTER
    • Remove All Locks: D
    • Level 3: Z
    • Level 4: X
    • Level 5: C
    • Level 6: V
    • Level 7: B
    • Level 8: N
    • Level 9: M
    • Level 10: <
    • Level 11: >
    • Level 12: ?
    • Increase screen size and speed: F7
    • Border flash: F10
    • View the end sequence: Jump to level 12 then press the D twice

 

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