Blood Stone starts alright, I suppose. There's a chase, some explosions and a bit of shooting right after a cutscene where Bond parachutes out of a plane and kicks somebody to death. You've got some jazzy opening credits - just like in the movies - where Bond punches people so hard they pop into diamonds, and Joss Stone also does a bit of singing. There's even a virtual rendition of how Dame Judi Dench would look if somebody made a scale copy of her face out of Play-Doh, and then accidentally dropped it on the floor. It's all very okay.
But then it all goes completely tits up. By the end of the second level, Blood Stone has shown its true colours: not content with being slightly - ever-so-slightly - above average, Bizarre Creations has worked hard to create a befuddled mess - one that haphazardly scrambles its way across a few locations for the course of an afternoon before closing on one of the most ridiculous, unexplainable and tedious endings I've ever encountered in a video game.
Bond spends his precious 5 hours trying to work out why the game is called Blood Stone (though nobody ever attempts to fumble up an explanation) while gunning his way across the globe, sometimes taking the time required to shoot waves of identical henchmen in the forehead - usually from behind the cover of a chest-high object. And while 007 might act like a spy he moves like a truck, with a wide turning circle and sticky, finicky controls working together to make the game's staple cover-to-cover navigation gummy and cumbersome.
While a selection of near-identical SMGs and assault rifles help perforate the villains, Bond's signature P99 shows up as the mandatory sidearm. Enemies are weak and brittle, and usually a quick squeeze of an automatic weapon will put them down - though the henchman army does adopt Kevlar and helmets later on, which requires a second tug on the trigger. The end result is always the same, however: traverse a dull corridor, kill a dozen bad guys, repeat.
Bizarre attempts to mix up the combat by adding in a flimsy stealth element and one-button melee kills; the latter recharge one of three 'focus' slots which act in much the same manner as Splinter Cell Conviction's Mark and Execute system. It's simple stuff, but Focus is an interesting idea that is almost never, ever, required at any point whatsoever.
At least you can take in the sights. Bond gets his (probably fake) passport stamped at Moscow, Tunisia, Bangkok and Burma, yet Bizarre manages to take the globetrotting superspy - with all his class, decadence and penchant for finery - and strip out any sense of luxury. He might be driving a sports car which costs more than I'll earn in a decade, but his day job is about as exciting as a weekend team-building conference in Lowestoft.