Having inherited the license for the James Bond series of video games, Activision released a remake of James Bond 007: GoldenEye and the original title James Bond 007: Blood Stone in November 2010. In line with the lead character's heritage, both games were developed by British developers and, for the first time since 1997, featured English composers. Headhunter's Richard Jacques intended his score for James Bond 007: Blood Stone to continue the legacy of the film series' scores under David Arnold and the late John Barry. His resulting score was briefly available on his official site.
Jacques instantly reflects his understanding of the modern Bond sound with the opening track "M Puts Her Trust in Bond". This track undergoes an impressive evolution during its extended playtime from its moody opening soundscapes into a tense action piece. While some of the ambient underscoring is a little thin, they still establish the espionage scenario perfectly. However, it's the action segments that really immerse listeners with their driving riffs and jazzy horns. Coming in at just over five minutes, this cue and the equally expansive "Truck Chase / Track Down" are some of the franchise's most impressive pieces and rival even some of David Arnold's richest offerings.
Indeed, the action segments are what really impress on the score for James Bond 007: Blood Stone. Emphasising Jacques' main theme for the title, "Athens Harbour Chase" is an enthralling accompaniment to the first mission in the game. The overall track is an excellent fusion of Barry's sound, with its sleazy trumpets and syncopated rhythms, and Arnold's trademarks, with its action-packed orchestration and percussive thrust. Jacques builds on these stylistic and thematic elements further on "Siberian Pursuit", an altogether more bloodthirsty cue, while "Firefight at the Dam" is an excellent portrayal of the ever-shifting circumstances of a brutal fight.
While mostly a bold and brassy experience, there is plenty of diversity in the soundtrack to serve particular scenes. "Turkish Delight" continues the series' tradition of featuring gorgeous setting themes underlaced with a hint of danger and tragedy. The jazzy espionage influence of the series makes a welcome return in "Casino Safe Crack", reflecting a more intimate side to Jacques' scoring. "Bazar Chase" and "The Package" meanwhile bring some cultural diversity to the experience with their use of Turkish instrumentation, and "Welcome to Mr. Burma" elegantly mixes ethnic percussion with electronic grooves to scenic effect in preparation for the game's final missions.
Though not featured on the soundtrack, the theme song for the game "I'll Take it All" is a noteworthy one. Joss Stone offers a passionate performance for the song in the spirit of past Bond divas like Shirley Bassey. She captures the nature of the femme fatale that she portrays in the game with her alluring yet dangerous interpretations of lyrics like "I don't care if I live or if I die". The pop orchestration certainly takes a backseat to her voice, but still captures the Bond mood. Overall, probably the best theme song of Bond's video game series. The promotional score for the title concludes with a rendition of Monty Norman's iconic main theme for the series.
One of the more conservative scores in the series, James Bond 007: Blood Stone lacks the cutting-edge stylings of Sean Callery's title and classical subtleties of Christopher Lennertz's scores. However, it does capture the new sound of the film series with its expressive action-packed approach and effectively parallels James Arnold's score for the Wii's James Bond 007: GoldenEye. Having made a successful debut on the franchise, it will be interesting to see how Jacques develops the James Bond sound with future video games.