Developer: Electronic Arts
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Review Date: 11/1/02
Gamer? Meet James Bond. James Bond? Meet Gamer. With James Bond, you have to make sure you are not a bad guy. If you are a bad guy, he will kick your ass, put it in a paperbag, light it on fire, and hand it back to you. If you are a sexy woman in your mid-twenties, he will make passionate love to you the first chance he gets. Otherwise, he'll pretty much ignore you. Now, that sounds like an ideal career, kicking ass and making love 24/7. I have no idea how this will relate to the game review, so anyway...
Many years ago, back on an old console named the N64, there was a game. This game was called 007: Golden Eye, which was based on the movie with the same name. This game also kicked ass, wrapped it up in a baggy, lit it on fire, and handed it to you. It was herald as the greatest thing since sliced bread, or at least the greatest console FPS ever. Everyone was happy. Other games were made, based on the success of the franchise. But sadly, none were made by the creators of Goldeneye (which happened to be Rare), thus, none were able to match its sheer greatness. So here it is, yet another attempt to re-claim the throne of console FPS greatness. This game is piting itself against the likes of Halo, which is quite the task. Does it do so? Does this game kick ass, wrap it up in a baggy, light it on fire, and hand it to you? Let us find out.
Upon loading the game, I am treated to the MGM logo. Ummm... I can't skip past it... Curses... After the logo, I am greeted with a poorly compressed FMV made up of in-game footage. Hurrah... Alright, begin the game!!! I quickly begin the first level. The story starts off about a cloning facility or something... I don't care, I just want to shoot people. I continue into the game... I shoot people, and people shoot back. hmmmmm...
Being a port of a PS2 game, I didn't really expect to much from this game in the graphics department. However, I was pleasently surprised to find that they were actually pretty good. The first thing that struck me, was how well done the character models were. While they aren't incredibly realistic, they help to give a movie-like feel to the cinemas. Speaking of which, the game has a mixture of both realtime and FMV cinemas. To the untrained eye, you won't see a difference, as the FMV's use the same polygon models as the realtime engine. The only reason I can see for the use of FMV, was that in some cases the characters use facial expressions and talk. Apparently the in-game engine couldn't handle this without some slowdown, so I'm happy they used FMV in these cases. Enviorments look pretty nice a well, with a variety of texture and lighting. I can't think of many bad things to say about the graphics.
Do you like the James Bond theme? Well, if you do, then rejoice. You're going to be hearing alot of it during this game. As a matter of fact, you'll here it approximately once every few minutes. Everytime you accomplish an objective, find a secret, or do something kinda cool, it will play. Other than that, it can't be that bad, right? Wrong. I have to give them kudos for attempting what they did with the in-game music. In many cases, they attempted to make it rather dynamic, by having the music change depending on your situation. If you were in a tense gun fight, the music would suddenly speed up. If you were in stealth mode, the music would be slow and tense. Sadly, this doesn't work half as good as they intended it to. The music isn't really good in the first place, it's ok, but not super. But when, in many situations, it changes wildly every few minutes, it becomes just plain irritating and annoying. Please!!! Must... Get... Theme... Out... Of... Head!!!!
This game, as you probably already know, is a first person shooter. Shooting if fun, even if people shoot back... Er... I mean, in videogames, but not in real life. However, shooting can become very monotonous, like in this game. At first, it's pretty fun. You'll quickly notice that there are many indirect ways of killing your enemies, like firing on an explosive barrel, or a steam pipe. But, by the time you get to the end of the game, you realize there's something lacking in all this. Namely, fun. In many games, weapons are designed to have maximum effect on the opponent. However, the weapons are so weak in this game, that you will literally end up standing in front of the enemy, and unloading your rounds as fast as you can. The enemy will do this as well, making it a race to see who can pump out the most bullets. The only strategy I can see, is either using the indirect route (previously mentioned), and the ducking/reloading trick. It just doesn't work, and makes for a boring gameplay experience. Although, the saving wonder of 1-player mode is the really fun vehicle sequences. In some of the levels, you will be put into a car and you get to have a joy-ride through the downtown area. In one of them, you are even given direct control of the car itself, which easily made it my favorite level. And it's not always a car either, but I won't ruin the surprise.
Agent Under Fire tries to improve the gameplay by adding semi-puzzles to the levels. That is, if you can't just rush in and kill everyone, you can look for an airvent and crawl through there. Or maybe you can find a good sniping spot, by using the grappling hook to get up in a hard-to-reach place. The only REAL reason I can see more most of these, is to make use of the gameplay gimick known as gadgets. As in any Bond movie, that Q guy supplies you with things like laser, a grappling hook, a jetpack, etc... However, while they are meant to give you an advatage, sometimes it's just plain boring. I found rushing in and slaughtering everyone was much more fun than slowly crawling though the ventalations system.
Then there is the multi-player modes. As I recall, this is what really made 007 Goldeneye for N64 so special. Well, the multiplayer mode found in this game is... well... kind of dissapointing. I just don't get excited about playing multi-player in this game for some reason. Maybe it's just the fact that I've been playing Halo so much, that I expect so much more from this type of game. I mean, I SHOULD like it. It has all proximity mines, explosives, powerups, I could want. But it just doesn't excite me as much as I would have expected.
And lastly, a word on the medals. This may be the saving grace for the gameplay, sort of. For all it's boring parts, you have an extra incentive to play as darn well as you can. Earning a bronze or silver is nice, but gold is where it's at. When you get a gold rating on any level, you are rewarded with a powerup/weapon which can be used in any level. That's really helpful in earning more gold medals, and kicking more butt. After you earn gold, you can go on and try to earn platinum. This requires you to get a certain score, and to collect a bunch on 007 icons scattered throughout the level. Once you earn a platinum, you unlock multiplayer arenas to play in. This, in itself, helped me get some semi-enjoyment while reviewing this game.
Everybody knows that the best way to play an FPS is with a mouse/keyboard combination. It just doesn't seem right otherwise. However, console games have begun stepping up to the plate, and giving controls that are almost, if not better, than the classic mouse/keyboard combo. James Bond 007 Agent Under Fire uses the same style control, that we've been seeing since MDK2(what I believe to be the first game to have decent FPS controls) on Dreamcast. However, this control setting I speak of isn't the default. Instead, it gives you a less-than-intuitive means of moving and strafing. To get the good control setting, you have to go into the options menu and change to control setup 3. Even in this setup, some things just don't work right. I seriously have a problem with the way you cycle through your weapons/gadgets. There seems to be a delay, a delay which is just long enough to give you incredibly stupid AI enemy time to start unloading all hell upon you. When I play a game like this, I need to have controls that match my own reaction speed. A game is much more fun when it actually responds to your control. This problem only magnifies the whole stand-and-unload-ammo routine with the enemy.
While the game has it's moments of pure-enjoyment, it's over run by a rather uninspiring form of combat, uninteresting multiplayer modes, annoying-as-hell music, and general mediocrity. Be warned, this game is not for those who have played Halo! You will cry when you think of how much your $50 purchase went towards that, when compared to 007. Just wait it out for 007 Nightfire... Trust me...
Very nice looking enviormens, and character animations
The dynamic music was a nice idea, but just doesn't work
Vehicle combat is fun, normal mode wears thin unless you're working towards medals
Setup 3 works, but isn't as responsive as I'd like it to be
Overall (not an average): 6.5/10
It's fun if you're a James Bond fan, otherwise just rent