James Bond 007 was one of many card games that was released into an already overcrowded market.
To make a card game stand out, one tactic used by a company was to use an established character or universe (ie Star Trek, Star Wars, Middle Earth), and James Bond was one such universe that could make a decent game.
So how does it play?
Surprising well all things considered, though it is very much a light game compared to something like Dune:Eye of the Storm or ICE's Middle Earth CCG.
The objective is for a player to complete missions, and the first to get a number of points is the winner. There are five types of mission cards. The first is the plot card-IE Retrieve the Solex Agitator from Man with the Golden Gun. This card is rated as a 5 point card except on rare occasions (more on that later). You can play a card underneath to make the mission more difficult, but this must be a lesser rating. The next logical progression is the four star Villain card. There is a wide variety of villains like Hugo Drax, General Orlov etc. Then you have the three star Henchmen, comprising cards like Oddjob. There are also location cards and obstacles.
Each card brings with it an icon which represents what the other players Bond card must overcome. Only one Bond can be used against a mission at a particular time, and it is obvious that soon Bond on his own cannot overcome a mission. To help him on his way you have Ally cards using familiar characters from the obvious like Felix Leiter to the more obscure Miss Caruso. There are also equipment cards. Allies and equipment cards 'beef up' the Bond card by providing more icons. When a player feels he can tackle a mission he declares it. The player who has laid down a mission then can play event cards designed to hinder the Bond character and the Bond player can also play Event cards designed to help. Whoever loses out, whether by not being able to meet the requirements or just conceding wins. If the bond player wins, he gains the points total of all the cards that made up the mission.
Of course, it's not all one sided, at the same time, the other player is doing the same, laying down missions and fending off Bonds.
Regarding mission cards, there are a small number of limited edition cards which strangely enough are quite easy to find. These are laminated and the missions cards in here are worth one point more.
Overall its a fun enough game, but one which can become bogged down.
Another critisicm would perhaps lie in the choice of images. At the time of the games printing, Goldeneye was the new Bond film, and had been the first Bond film for some time. This is reflected in the card images, and a disproportionate amount of the game cards are devoted to this one film.
A decent, but flawed game that perhaps would have done better if it had not been released into a market that had such a glut of games already.
I think that the one major flaw in the game was the fact that Alec Trevylan (006, the traitor) was a HENCHMAN!!! Dang, he was the villian of the movie! They made Orumov (the henchman to 006!) the villian! This just threw the game out of whack. Also, there weren't any other sets promised or released. So, you have a sup-par game that was made mediocre before it started. It was simple enough, but you had to devote some time to make decks, and to test them. Like you said in the review, it is very easy to get "bogged down."