The Name is Spy, Sly Spy
The name is Spy, Sly Spy, admittedly an ambiguous choice when it comes to initials, but an all-around pistol-wielding badass. The American version of MI6’s precious Mr. Bond, come to live in the action platformer of the same name, ported to the Nintendo Switch. Another retro arcade game of yesteryear. How does it hold up in today’s day and age?
I am a big James Bond buff, and it comes as no surprise that the Nintendo 64’s golden boy is still Goldeneye 007. Surely there must be a solid dose of nostalgia at play here, but that game was instrumental to me personally, as well as to the industry as a whole. Any other Bond title released on a Nintendo platform since, I had to pick up and play. Sly Spy is not James Bond, but for intents and purposes, he is the perfect stand-in, and I’m happy he parachuted his way onto the Nintendo Switch.
This little game surprised me in that there is quite a lot of platforming, if fact more so than I expected from an arcade shooter, or shmup. Choose your path, jump up, drop down, climb ladders, and face mortal enemies, Sly Spy has it all. As can be expected from their stable of games, the controls are tight and work very well, though it would have been nice to have a slightly increased sensitivity as that split-second of seeing an enemy pop up from behind and turning around to make him stare down at the end of the barrel of your gun could prove fatal. Too many a time did it happen that I spotted the enemy and anticipated, in my perspective, timely fashion, and yet dropped to the ground, cutesy of one of the many enemies.
There is good variety among the different levels, with the underwater levels graphically quite amazing for an old-school arcade title. The annoyance, though, was that it felt that the Sly Spy’s hitbox was a bit too big, so much so that tactfully dodging out of bounds at the last second was not at all possible, as I was being hit at places where my body didn’t even have places. After finishing a level you’re advancing through a mini-map to dive right into the next level, a small feature, granted, but a nice break-up and break-away from many an arcade game. The difficulty in subsequent levels increases dramatically with bosses that are merciless. One of my personal favorites must be the hat-throwing little guy, a mirror-image of Bond’s infamous Oddjob. Sure, I died many times over facing this villain, popping in coins like there was no tomorrow, but I did so with pleasure instead of getting frustrated. The game is honest, ruthless, but honest in that regard.
Eliminate enough enemies, fill up your meter, and you will find yourself holding the legendary weapon, the Golden Gun, which is furthermore emphasized by the robotic-yet-engaging voice-over. Whereas Mr. Bond’s Golden Gun is a pistol really, Mr. Spy’s version is almost a rifle, throwing out, eh, blasts of fire? Well, it is effective, I give him that. One shot will kill anyone in the line of fire – pun intended. There are a good number of different weapons, as well as the ability to lose your weapon and to go at it bare-knuckled.
Defeat all the villains, bandits, and side-kicks and save the day to meet the President, sitting, laughing and congratulating you on your mission. He will tell you that you have not yet seen everything there is to offer, and he’d be right about that. Start the game anew, run, gun, and jump your way to victory yet again, this time with better results.
“Get yourself a copy!”
Sly Spy is no slouch. It is a simple game in its setup, yet a compelling game in the arcade genre. It features a plethora of Bond-styled elements, including the iconic jet-pack, an underwater scene, harpoon gun, bowler hat-throwing villain, Golden Gun, and of course, there is the ever-famous opening scene, without the camera shake though. There’s a good number of different graphical effects, including different aspect ratios and screen styles. If you are a Bond fan, or you enjoy a good ol’ shmup with a decent amount of platforming, then head over to the e-shop and get yourself a copy of this game as you will not regret it!