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Video Game / James Pond

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James Pond is a video game series created by the British developer Vectordean Ltd. and has been released on a number of consoles, most notably the Amiga computer and Sega Genesis.

An obvious spoof of the James Bond franchise, the titular character is an anthropomorphic fish named (surprise) James Pond who is secret-agent Double-Bubble 7 of the organization F.I.5.H. and has a "license to gill" in his battles against the evil J.A.W.S. organization and its leader Dr. Maybe (a spoof on the infamous 007 villain Dr. No). His adventures begin in James Pond: Underwater Agent (1990), in which he defends his watery home and its denizens from polluters and enemy agents. His next adventure, James Pond 2: Codename Robocod (1991) sees Pond wearing robot armor as he sets out to save Santa Claus and his toy workshop, and James Pond 3: Operation Starfi5h (1993) sends Pond into space to save the moon and its cheese supplies from Dr. Maybe in a Super Mario World-like adventure.

James Pond also appears in the spin-off The Aquatic Games, in which he is one of the playable characters in an Olympic-styled sports event. Most recently, Pond has been seen in the 2011 iPhone game James Pond in the Deathly Shallows. A Kickstarter project was announced in September 2013, but later canceled twelve days before it ended due to underperforming.


Tropes associated with James Pond:

  • Abnormal Ammo: In Underwater Agent, Pond shoots bubbles to trap enemies so that he can pop them away. Operation Starfi5h gives him a gun that shoots fruit.
  • All There in the Manual: For the first two games, you get barely a screen's worth of dialogue at best telling you what the game's all about. Averted in Operation Starfi5h, which opens with a lengthy story sequence explaining the plot.
  • Art Course: In James Pond 2, one of the doors has an art-themed workshop with paint and pencils. There's also music-themed room in the level as well.
  • Camp: Part of the appeal of James Pond is him being a Funny Animal fish who's a secret agent, trying the save the environment in the first game. The sequels have even more ridiculous plots, such as Saving Christmas in James Pond 2, which is actually very unclear about what you're saving besides Christmasnote , and the third game's plot is the trope right below. It actually helps that in the Sega Genesis versions of the first two games, the music sounds like it's trying to be orchestral due to the brass instrument soundfont, which distinguishes.
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  • Cheesy Moon: The entire plot of Operation Starfi5h is that Dr. Maybe wants to mine the moon and cripple the cheese market with his ill-gotten dairy gains. Not all the levels in the game are actually cheese levels (they're all dairy product levels), but there's actually two different cheese "environments"—the regulary yellow-orange holey swiss cheese, and a later section of the game referred to as "blue cheese", which has a weird, vine-like surface with thorns. This place actually appears on the map as a palette swap of the yellow cheese's map section graphics.
  • Continuity Nod: In the opening cutscene of Operation Starfi5h, Dr. Maybe is seen leaving Santa's Workshop where he had just been defeated in the previous game.
  • Expy: Isn't it obvious by now?
    • The sequels parody other movie franchises titles, specifically RoboCop and Star Wars.
  • Mascot with Attitude: It was the 90s, after all. The very heyday of the animal-mascot platformer started by a certain blue rodent. Though James Pond actually predates Sonic, as Underwater Agent was released for the Amiga in 1990. Also unlike most examples is that he's not Totally Radical so much as Campy
  • Multiple Endings: Four of them in Operation Starfi5h, two of them bad:
  • Nintendo Hard: The first game... wooo, where do we begin? Enemies that rapidly appear and attack, invisible jellyfish that suck your life without you knowing, and no mercy-invincibility means that Pond will die very fast, especially in the later stages.
  • No Fair Cheating: Averted with one of James Pond 3's Good Endings, which if you use the cheat password, gives you an otherwise normal good ending where Dr. Maybe goes delirious. The closest thing to this trope you get is a "Now try without cheating!" message that appears after the enemy list and credits.
  • Opening Shout-Out: The first thing you see in Underwater Agent is a parody of the MGM Studios logo, complete with Pond impersonating the roaring lion.
  • Palette Swap:
    • In James Pond 2: Codename RoboCod, the yellow rock/pebble graphics that can be found in the cars/vehicles level can also be found in the underwater parts of the bathtub level, except colored blue-green.
    • James Pond 3 has a few of these.
      • The underground "slime" levels such as "Slimeswold" actually reuse the above-mentioned rock graphics from James Pond 2: RoboCod. The above-ground "slime" levels downplay this, as those levels reuse some of the cheese levels' graphics, such as one flower sprite and the swiss-cheese holes, but still is visually different (Maybe Dr. Maybe already successfully mined the cheese in those areas?)
      • In addition to "Slimeswold", the rock graphics from James Pond 2 also are reused on some platforms in the "blue cheese" areas. The blue cheese area itself is represented on the map by a palette swap of the earlier yellow cheese's map graphics.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Downplayed since the game itself uses a complex password system, meaning you could go to previous passwords you had if you've kept them around, but in James Pond 3, whenever you complete a cheese mine level, the level is inaccessible afterwards, unlike regular levels or even bosses. One cheese mine, "Rennet Mine 1", has a "Micro-map" that unlocks the Secret Level "Hidden Cheese Silo", so if you complete the cheese mine without getting the micro-map, you can't access "Hidden Cheese Silo". Getting the map itself is tricky, but not too hard, and you can restart the level if you miss it.
  • Product Placement: Robocod frequently plugs Penguin Biscuits, a real-life candy in the UK. Later releases of the game remove the marketing.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Inverted. Being a fish, Pond can't breathe on land. In Underwater Agent, he can find a special helmet to keep his gills wet when he must surface. The sequels give him specialized suits as part of the plot.
  • World of Pun: The Pond games are filled with puns, from those aimed at the 007 franchise (the first game) to dairy puns (Operation Starfi5h).


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