James Pond 2
|James Pond 2: Codename RoboCod|
Amiga version game cover
|Publisher(s)||Millennium Interactive (Amiga, Atari ST, CD32, C64, DOS)
U.S. Gold (Game Gear, Master System)
Electronic Arts (Mega Drive)
Play It Ltd (PlayStation, PlayStation 2)
Ocean Software (Game Boy, SNES)
Valcon Games (Game Boy Advance)
Codemasters (Nintendo DS)
James Pond 2: Codename RoboCod, also known as Super James Pond, is a platform video game and sequel to James Pond. The game was developed by the same British video game developers as the original game. The title music by Richard Joseph is an upbeat rendition of the RoboCop film theme.
James Pond 2 was originally released on the Amiga, Atari ST and Sega Genesis in 1991 by three different publishers. The game also appeared on Amiga AGA, Amiga CD32, Atari ST, Game Gear, Commodore 64, Master System, PC, Acorn Archimedes, Game Boy and SNES. The SNES version was called Super James Pond in North America, whereas in other regions it was named Super James Pond II. And the Game Boy version was called Super James Pond in every region. More recently the game was released as a budget title for the Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, and as a download on the PlayStation Portable and PlayStation 3 via the PlayStation Network store.
The game takes place immediately after its predecessor, James Pond. Although Acme Oil Co. has been destroyed by James Pond, Pond's arch enemy Dr. Maybe survived and has retreated to the North Pole where he has taken over Santa's workshop. Dr. Maybe is holding Santa's workers hostage (in most versions of the game they are penguins, in some they are elves), and has turned many of Santa's helpers into his own twisted and dangerous assistants. James Pond is recruited to infiltrate Santa's grotto, free the captive penguins, retrieve the stolen toys for the children of the world, and defeat Dr. Maybe once and for all. This time, however, due to the greater risks involved in this mission, Pond is given a robotic suit and the code name "RoboCod" (a pun on RoboCop). This suit gives Pond superhuman strength and agility as well as enabling him to stretch his midsection almost indefinitely and reach otherwise impossibly high areas.
James starts outside Santa's toy factory. There are many doors, each of which leads to a stage with many differently-themed levels, 50 in total. Hostile creatures lurk in these levels, and they come in many forms. There are no weapons in the game, so James must jump on them to defeat them. After completing two "doors", James goes on to another door where a boss awaits.
James's body armor enables him to extend his body vertically to incredible lengths and grab hold of the ceiling or platforms above him. This allows him to travel along the ceiling and drop down on the top of an unsuspecting enemy, or to get to otherwise inaccessible areas. James can also pick up items that provide points. Power-ups include extra lives and wings that grant James the ability to fly. From time to time James may enter vehicles, namely cars, planes or flying bathtubs.
In the original UK version of the game, the penguins featured as in-game product placement for the McVitie's biscuit company's Penguin Biscuits, making it one of the earliest games to use this form of advertising. The 1991 EA release in the U.S. and Euro market featured the penguin in a Christmas scene in Box art by illustrator Marc Ericksen. According to a 1994 article in the UK edition of PC Gamer, Penguin outsold arch-rival KitKat for the first time in the product's history soon after the release of the game.
Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, and PlayStation versions
James Pond 2 was released for the Game Boy Advance and PlayStation in 2003, the Nintendo DS in 2005, the PlayStation 2 in 2006, and PlayStation Network in 2009. The handheld versions are identical except for the addition of a map on the second screen of the DS and the PlayStation versions are identical to each other too. All these versions of the game are largely different from that of the original. The graphics have been improved to take advantage of the consoles' newer hardware, and while the levels retain some of the themes of the originals, their layout is entirely different. In the new versions, McVities' sponsorship branding has been removed from the game, and Robocod must rescue Santa's elves, rather than penguins. In addition, the hidden levels have been omitted entirely. These recent iterations are re-makes rather than ports of the original game.
UK magazine ACE gave the Amiga version a score of 934 out of 1000, calling it "polished, playable and (...) fun" and "completely excellent". Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the SNES version a 5 out of 10, commenting that "James's ability to make himself tall is quite interesting, but that is really the only special thing about him. Fans of JP may be better off with his Aquatic Games." They gave the Amiga CD32 version a 5.5 out of 10. Though they praised the soundtrack, they remarked that the garishly colorful graphics tend to cause eye strain, the gameplay is mildly fun but unexciting, and that aside from the "extremely pixelated" full motion video intro, it is identical to the version on the less powerful Sega Genesis.
- MegaTech review, EMAP, issue 1, Jan 1992
- Upchurch, David (December 1991), "RoboCod", ACE (London: EMAP) (51), pp. 62–67
- "Review Crew: Super James Pond". Electronic Gaming Monthly (51) (EGM Media, LLC). October 1993. p. 36.
- "Review Crew: James Pond II". Electronic Gaming Monthly (54) (EGM Media, LLC). January 1994. p. 52.
- Mega magazine issue 1, page 76, Future Publishing, Oct 1992