"We need to get off the ice," says Nicole to Bond. She's not talking about crystal meth, you understand - 007 is irresponsible at times, but not that irresponsible. No, the plummy-voiced lady is talking about the thin, frozen lake that Bond is currently driving over at ridiculous speed in a battered-up sports car. By extension, she's also talking about the ruddy great helicopter that's spitting out missiles and tracer-lit streams of hot, hot lead. Given the circumstances, "we need to get off the ice" is a strong candidate for Understatement of the Year.
Moments later, we do indeed get off the ice - but not in the way that Nicole planned. My typically fluffy driving skills finally get the better of me, and the car slips into the freezing waters. Instant death for Nicole, instant death for Bond, instant failure (and nagging embarrassment) for me. Luckily the game resets to the previous checkpoint in a matter of seconds. It's a good thing too - because this is about the twelfth time that I've cocked-up and crashed in the past 12 minutes.
This particular section of Bloodstone seems pretty hard, but then again, it's been culled from the middle of the game, at a point when you're probably supposed to be quite comfortable with the controls. I've got no idea what's going on in terms of the plot: Bond is in a car with a posh woman called Nicole (who has the voice of Joss Stone) and is chasing an angry Russian man named Pomerov, who's trying to escape 007 by train. The level finds Bond chasing the runaway choo-choo through a variety of terrain: you start out driving through an exploding oil refinery, replete with jack-knifing tankers, then break out into snowy terrain and end up skittering over the ice.
It's an out-and-out driving stage, so despite the presence of the chopper there's no combat, but to be honest this still leaves the player with plenty to manage: slide-y handling, instant-death hazards, and a fleeing target who'll disappear over the horizon at the slightest opportunity. On top of this there's a rather nice-looking (but intentionally rather distracting) snow effect, with thick flakes of white whirling into the camera. It's a busy sequence in other words, but the car controls with a weighty responsiveness that recalls Bizarre's past work in the racing genre. The whole thing comes across a bit like Bond mixed with a more streamlined version of Burnout, or perhaps even MotorStorm. It's tricky and easy to fail, but it somehow stops short of being frustrating - even to a hapless provisional license holder like me. The destruction effects are also rather pleasing, and there's certainly no shortage of things to go boom.
Even with my cack-handed driving, the chase sequence quickly draws to a close, ending the interactive part of my first meeting with Bloodstone's Bond. A Bizarre Creations developer is on hand to demonstrate one of the third-person shooter sections, which apparently account for roughly two-thirds of the game. If you're anything like me, you'll probably be quite curious about how the Liverpool studio is planning to handles these sections. After all, we all know that Bizarre is well-versed in the Art of Vroom Vroom; aside from 2008's The Club, the studio has little track record in the Art of Bang Bang.