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Q's Armoury (ZX Spectrum)

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Q's Armoury was made in 1990 by Divide by Zero for the ZX Spectrum. The game takes place after Lord Bromley's Estate which I have reviewed in episode 161. Q's Armoury was released as part of the so called James Bond Action Pack bundled with a ZX Spectrum +2A micro computer, two other games and a joystick. On one of the included tapes are messages from Q, each giving an introduction to one of the games. I will play the message for this game in its entirety at the end of the review.

In the game's story the MI6 has identified the organization behind the helicopter attack and the assassination of 002 as "Spider". In this organization are four well known, very dangerous mercenaries. Therefore James Bond went into Q's Armoury to be equipped with new weapons. Q gives Bond a special pistol which can just be fired by James himself. The gun has a fire mode selector which can be set between full- and semi automatic fire. Furthermore Q hands James some explosive rounds. M insists that James meets a certain points requirement with the new equipment at the firing range. This story is in disagreement with the one of Lord Bromley's Estate, in which the criminal organization was called "Spectre".

The hit detection in Q's Armoury works considerably worse than in Lord Bromley's Estate. The worsening is curious considering both games use the same technique and were coded by the same programmers. The gun is measuring the Y position precisely but struggles to determine the X position in a raster based manner. As workaround a band at the correct Y position is turned black. Then the system draws a fuzzy white bar up to that position where it expects the gun to be pointed at. If no light is sensed the system continues to poke for the right position by altering the location of the white bar. Once the gun senses light the system draws the bar at about the same location again to confirm the prior measurement. If the gun still senses light the target is considered to be hit.

The game just consists of 3 levels. The game mentions that in each level one of the fire modes of Q's new pistol is used: Semi automatic , full automatic and the explosive rounds. The three levels play very similarly, but the required score gets higher each round. All weapons sound the same but they behave slightly different. In full auto mode of course the trigger can be kept pressed to shoot multiple rounds. When using the explosive rounds the shots don't need to be as precise to hit the targets. In between levels there is a quick shot mini game in which bonus points can be earned.

The game just accepts light guns with a BT connector and refuses to accept DE-9 light guns. Furthermore the game doesn't seem to work well with the Cheetah Defender.

I didn't enjoy Q's Armoury as for the finicky hit detection. The art is decent but the animation is very choppy. The lack of music and a loading screen make this game look like a rushed effort to me. I came to expect more from target range games on the ZX Spectrum, after playing Bronx Street Cop.