James Bond 007: From Russia with Love is a third-person shooter video game developed by EA Redwood Shores and published by Electronic Arts featuring Ian Fleming's secret agent, James Bond 007, whose likeness and voice is that of Sean Connery. The game is based on the 1957 novel and the 1963 film of the same name. The game follows the storyline of the book and film, albeit adding in new scenes to make the game more action-oriented, as well as changing the affiliation of the main villains. Additionally, it features many elements of later Bond films to recreate the feel of the era such as the Aston Martin DB5 that debuted in Goldfinger (1964) and the jet pack from Thunderball (1965). From Russia with Love is also notable in that it is the first video game to use Sean Connery's younger likeness as James Bond and the first to include all new voice work by the actor after 22 years off the role. From Russia with Love is the last James Bond video game EA Games marketed before they lost the rights to Activision in 2006, as well as Sean Connery's last role before retirement.
From Russia with Love features a third-person multiplayer deathmatch mode.
One of the most obvious changes to the story for the video game is the absence of the villainous organization SPECTRE, who played a vital role in the film. Due to legal issues that have plagued the James Bond series of films since 1963, the organization was renamed as OCTOPUS and appears to lack a central leader in the same vein as Ernst Stavro Blofeld. The SPECTRE name was tied up in a long-running dispute over the film rights to Thunderball, between United Artists/MGM and the now-deceased writer Kevin McClory.
The game begins with a standard pre-title sequence in which Elizabeth Stark, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom's daughter, is kidnapped by OCTOPUS while attending a party. Fortunately, Bond was assigned to attend the party for just such an event, and he defeats OCTOPUS and rescues Stark.
Similar to the film, OCTOPUS has conceived a plan to embarrass British secret service agent 007 for the death of Dr. Julius No from the film Dr. No, in which No was an agent of SPECTRE. The plan involves the theft of a Soviet encoding machine known as the Lektor with the help of a defecting Soviet agent, Tatiana Romanova. However, Romanova is being used by OCTOPUS to lure James Bond into a trap; their ultimate goal is to let him obtain the Lektor and then ambush him for it, killing him in humiliating fashion as well. Romanova is sent by Rosa Klebb, an agent of the KGB (in both the novel and film, an agent of SMERSH) who has secretly defected to OCTOPUS. Her immediate subordinate, Donald "Red" Grant, protects Bond through the first half of the game and attacks him in the second. The game ends with a final assault on OCTOPUS headquarters, during which Grant is fatally shot by Bond.
Many of the cast from the film version of From Russia with Love return in likeness. Sean Connery, the first actor to portray James Bond in the Eon Productions film series, returned to the role for the first time in 22 years since the unofficial 1983 remake of Thunderball, Never Say Never Again. Connery not only allowed for his likeness of Bond to be used (appropriately from the 1963 film), but also recorded all new voice work for the character. In addition, two new characters were added to the story, voiced by Natasha Bedingfield and Maria Menounos, were added to the main cast (with the actress' likenesses incorporated).
From Russia with Love is the first title developed by Electronic Arts Redwood Shores to use an integrated game engine for the 3rd person action and driving segments. It was a new engine that was not based on any of the technology used for previous titles in the series but the result was similar to Id Tech 3.
The game was penned by Bond veteran Bruce Feirstein who previously worked on the film scripts for GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies and The World Is Not Enough, in addition to the script for the 2004 video game Everything or Nothing. Feirstein would also go on to write stories for future Bond games at Activision, including the 2010 remake of GoldenEye 007, third-person shooter Blood Stone, and 50th anniversary game 007 Legends.
The game's soundtrack was composed by Christopher Lennertz. Additionally, Vic Flick, best known for playing the original guitar riff in the James Bond Theme announced that he contributed to Lennertz's score.
On April 5, 2005, Sean Connery was slated to lend his voice and likeness for the game. Connery said "As an artist, I see this as another way to explore the creative process. Video games are an extremely popular form of entertainment today, and I am looking forward to seeing how it all fits together". On October 20, 2005, From Russia With Love was complete.
From Russia With Love received positive reviews from critics. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the GameCube version 73.65% and 70/100, the Xbox version 69.37% and 71/100, the PlayStation 2 version 69.25% and 69/100 and the PlayStation Portable version 63.81% and 61/100. Many points were given to the enhanced graphics and play difficulty. The Times gave it a score of four stars out of five and stated that "It’s enough to make you toss your trilby on to a hat-rack in delight." However, Maxim gave it a score of six out of ten and stated that though the game was challenging, "it's also sometimes pedestrian, with a host of uninspired levels and dim bad guys ruining what could have been the triumphant return of 007." Within three months of its release, it had sold approximately 277,000 copies.