Aquablast is probably better known today as “Live And Let Die”, a James Bond movie licence by Elite and Domark.
But what was exactly “Aquablast” then? Well it seems that Elite had this great little boat game by Dave Thomas, and around that time Domark wished to churn out as many Bond games as they could.
Somehow they must have seen Aquablaster, or were aware of it, and struck a deal with Elite to turn it into a Bond licenced game. It kind of made sense, but then again, the boat sequence was only a small part of the film.
Dominic Wheatley (Ex-head of Domark) had this to say:
“Steve [Wilcox] was the boss of a company called Elite. And they had done a number of coin-up games. In fact, one of the things that happened was, we [Domark] did Star Wars that was based off the coin-up machine from Atari.
We did such a great job that Atari came over to see us and said “We want to put all our coin-ops with one company…we’re going to decide which company we want to give all our future coin-ops to, good or bad, for a flat fee, build a business together…
We were thrilled! But I was more worried about Steve because Steve had done lots of coin-op conversions that they had made loads and loads of money out of. Fortunately for me, Steve decided that he didn’t need the coin-op guys anymore – that he could do it on his own, make his own games, he didn’t need the licenses, he didn’t need the royalties… Steve’s business made the wrong decision.
He had been making games that people didn’t know of…his business simply faded away and he was struggling a bit. Aquablast was a game I thought my business was in – I thought immediately that it was reminiscent of ‘Live and Let Die’ with the chase scene… I simply said, “You give us your game, we’ll put a license on it, we’ll publish it…” And that was that. “
Actually it seems that Domark had a previous version under development themselves by Lynsoft, which we also have an entry on. Apparently the early version was taking a long time, and by chance Domark saw Aquablast and decided to take that on as a quick solution.
Elite didn’t mind, as it brought in more money for them than maybe Aquablast would have. Steve Wilcox recollected that it came about because the engineers creating the game for Domark had let them down and Domark were keen to satisfy their commitments to their licensors – DanJaq (?).
Would Aquablast C64 been that different? Well, apart from maybe a few graphics and the sound, maybe not. But it would be very interesting to find out if the game did still exist in its old form. Did Mark Cooksey do other music for Aquablaster? Is there another loading screen somewhere unused? This is our job to find out.
We do know that Aquablast did surface on the 16-bits in the US, which was the same game as Live and Let Die, just the licence removed for that market. So its likely that hardly anything changed apart from the name and loading screen + music.
Well, we located Dave Thomas many moons ago who sadly confirmed he no longer had anything of Aquablast in its original state, so we may have to keep looking around!
Also Mark Cooksey confirms that music and SFX was done for Aquablaster, but most of those tunes seem to be missing. We think that the high-score tune from Live and Let Die and also the SFX were from the original game though.
Do you know anything more about this earlier version?
Contributions: Peter Weighill, Matt Wheeler, Dave Thomas, Unknown source