Welcome, one and all, to Box Art Brawl! We’ve reached the tenth round in the series where we present a bunch of box art variants and then put it to you lovely people to see which one prevails in the ensuing bout. In an effort to showcase some of the dross that will never make it to this hallowed arena, we took a midweek look at a small selection of the worst covers ever to sully a Nintendo system, but today we're back with a touch of class, a vodka martini and a distinctly low-poly cranium. You know the name, you know the number, you know our favourite multiplayer settings (Facility, Pistols, Licence to Kill).
But first, a recap. Last week we celebrated the launch of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening on Switch by going back to the original colour remaster on Game Boy Color. Ultimately the stone-cold quality of the European version won out and it collected exactly half of all votes. The colourful Japanese version picked up one third and the North American gold box mopped up the remainder.
As the astute among you may have divined from our subtle references (not to mention the title and lead image on the article), this week we’re jumping platforms to the Nintendo 64 and Rareware's seminal console FPS GoldenEye 007. It's a classic that's never been rereleased thanks to a complicated cocktail of rights and licensing issues that will surely be shaken loose one day (these things usually are when there's money to be made). As well as being an incredibly influential game with a cracking local multiplayer component, the cover art is famous for something that once you see, you can never unsee.
Each of these covers shares some traits, but which one does it better? Which is stylish and suave enough to make it through the brawl and come out Onatopp? And which poor chap will follow the inimitable Sean Bean from the Cradle to the grave? Let's have a look at what tricks 007 has up his sleeve...
Combining classic black and white imagery of Bond and Natalya with yellow and orange explosions, fighter jets and a helicopter, it's got all the elements you want from Bond. The logo could arguably stand out a little better, especially where the red 007 gun barrel blends into the red strip on the right, but it's an effective cover and we've got a lot of affection for the way the top right corner folds down to reveal the N64 logo. The 'Rumble Pak' logo matches the colouring around it, although again it gets a little lost.
Perhaps a little on-the-nose, but this is a robust cocktail. It's big, it's brash, it's Bond.
The Japanese cover uses the same basic ingredients but includes Xenia in the top right and an old-school '80s James Bond 007 logo with a crosshair just beneath her. The portrait orientation opens up the image and the logos and text shift to the bottom half while a red border gradually fading to black towards the bottom.
Certainly a more complex beverage than the previous - perhaps a little more traditional - but it still ignites the senses.
Using the same basic elements as the North American cover, the European variant has the classic black border common to nearly all Nintendo 64 games in the region with the peripheral logos and information pushed out to the sides. This frames the central image and makes the other elements like the Rareware logo stand out on their own.
Debonair with a hint of danger, not unlike a certain secret agent with a licence to kill. We forget the name...
That's your lot this week! An Oddjob it may be, but take a look below, click your pen three times as you click your favourite and shoot that 'Vote' button to let us know which version hits your target. The results will then be revealed for your eyes only:
That's all for this week - we’ve exhausted our clip of 007 references. Feel free to head down into the section below and let us know which Bond is your favourite.
Box Art Brawl will return.