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The Bourne Ultimatum

For: Mobile

Bourne to be wild?

Product: The Bourne Ultimatum | Publisher: Vivendi Games Mobile | Format: Mobile | Genre: Action, Film/ TV tie- in, Platform | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | File size: 427KB | Reviewed on: K800i other handsets | Version: Europe
The Bourne Ultimatum Mobile, thumbnail 1
A summer's day out at the beach always seems like a good idea. There's the promise of sunshine, golden sand, beautiful people in swimwear and a glistening sea in which to frolic. Once you arrive, though, you realise it's chuffing freezing, the sand's equal parts dog poo and cigarette butts, and as for the people in their cossies, well, it doesn't bear dwelling on.

So, it's an idea that doesn't, in reality, live up to the fantasy.

Something that could, justifiably, be said about The Bourne Ultimatum. It's got all the ingredients for a top-notch mobile phone thriller: a suitably dramatic plot, a hero with more kick-ass moves than Jet Li and the sort of set-piece sequences from a blockbuster movie that are simply begging to be turned into a thrilling video game.

Which makes this cursory effort all the more disappointing.

Loosely following the plot of the upcoming film, you play as Jason Bourne himself in the third part of his quest to find out who he really is and where he comes from. This isn't a game you'll want to play, then, if you don't want to be tipped off on the major plot points.

Suffice it to say that you uncover more devious elements of the Treadstone project, get chased by several unsavoury characters intend on putting an early end to the Bourne franchise, and fight your way through several locations, including New York, Tangiers, London and Moscow.

Doesn't it all sound promising?

The wheels start to fall off The Bourne Ultimatum early, as it becomes rapidly apparent that the opening level sets the tone for the entire game. A side-scrolling affair, the aim is to traverse the levels from left to right while a succession of crooks blunder onto your fist and die from their injuries.

The occasional firearm livens matters up, but only until you realise that you get just a few shots with each one and that the way the game's presented, with large sprites on a portrait screen, means that most enemies are too close for the gun to make a difference almost as soon as they appear.

A brief sojourn on a motorbike intimates at better things, and the snipers' crosshairs that trail you across the later levels are an impetus-providing novelty, but neither feature salvages The Bourne Ultimatum.

Meanwhile, the storyline that's sucked in so many millions of readers and moviegoers is reduced to curt sentences uttered by Bourne and rendered on-screen in a supposedly high-tech military manner (i.e. digitally, in white pixels on a green background) with the effective purpose of introducing tougher crooks.

Whilst visually solid, with smooth animation and detailed backdrops, The Bourne Ultimatum feels phoned-in. More paraphernalia than game, it has many of the right elements – decent presentation, well-spaced power-ups, a semblance of narrative development – but they're bolted together without inspiration, as though assembled from a cheap kit.

Yet it didn't have to be this way; you need look no further than the recent Die Hard 4.0 tie-in to see that side-scrolling action games can entertain and amuse without compromising the big-name licence. Or, better still, take the Splinter Cell games, each of which has offered up a blend of innovative action and thoughtful narrative time after time.

Which means that, beyond any masochistic notion of ruining the film for yourself by revealing the key twists in the story, there's little to recommend in The Bourne Ultimatum. Even if you're stuck in post-seaside traffic jams.
The Bourne Ultimatum
Reviewer photo
Mike Abolins | 13 August 2007
Whilst not offensive, this paint-by-numbers conversion of The Bourne Identity is a far cry from the thrills and spills of the movie that sired it. Strictly for devoted fans of the series
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