James Bond 007 Agent Under Fire
Review of James Bond 007 Agent Under Fire
What the original Playstation severely lacked was the power to promote the wealth of First Person Shooters (FPS) that our PC gaming friends were enjoying in abundance. The most playable were classic conversions such as the Doom series and Quake 2, although personally I thought Exhumed/Powerslave showed precisely why games made specifically for the PSX were far superior to over ambitious PC ports (Dark Forces… say no more!). However, to reach the level set by the excellent GoldenEye on Nintendo 64, Sony console owners had to wait until the launch of a more powerful games system. Within the first 12 months of the PS2 we were swamped with a wide selection of tasty frag-fest shooters in the form of Timesplitters, Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament. Now it’s time to see just what Agent 007 can do with all this extra capacity.
The title ‘Agent Under Fire’ won’t be immediately recognizable to your average James Bond fan because unlike most other 007 games the theme is based on an original story rather than a hit movie. The story goes that James’ services have been requested for a mission involving the rescue of beautiful CIA Agent Zoe Nightshade and assist in bringing down a bio-tech company bent on cloning and replacing world leaders. It all begins with an excellent intro movie action-packed with explosions, stunts, birds and baddies… backed by the original Bond theme of course.
Allowing the younger gamer to enter the world of a fantasy character such as James Bond could easily lead to a critical backlash. I mean… one minute ogling a bevy of semi-naked busty babes and the next mowing down a multitude of villains may seem like fun to most of us, but to the ‘cleaner living souls’ of this world it would only provide ammo for their cause. To counteract this threat EA have made the graphics look almost like a cartoon, which cleverly defuses this uncertain condition, while still providing enough realistic effects (life-like faces and wobbly breasts) to create a make-believe situation. Generally the character and weapon models look amazing, textures are clear and crisp, and the environments look believable.
Before a mission begins a briefing is offered stating the main objectives. This sequence is also used to introduce the player to the currently available gadgets. Following each successful mission a target score is awarded containing details of accuracy and efficiency with a 007 Bonus awarded for high scores (Golden Guns, extra multi-player maps etc).
The gameplay is fairly similar to GoldenEye in as much that the majority of the 12 individual missions are viewed from the first-person perspective and involve the correct use of weapons and gadgets to achieve the given aim. For example Bond must break into a complex, take out the guards, photograph secret documents and make his escape by using a padlock-melting laser and grapple claw-hooks. Expect to activate and ride on board a cable-car, crawl through confined ducting, smash through locked windows and gather and use a wide selection of tasty weapons from sniper rifles to rocket launchers.
At first movement seems sluggish, aiming inaccurate and selection of a gadget is downright fidgety (to say the least). Now this should have been the death call of a FPS, but similar to Timesplitters I think most players will adjust their natural train of thought and eventually accept these annoyances just to continue playing the game through. I also thought the enemy AI was below average. They are either slow to react, making them easy targets (especially while setting off an alarm), or run around like headless chickens shooting at everything but their intended target. In fact the only time you take any real damage is when they sneak up behind and shoot you right in the face (but also making themselves an un-miss-able target).
A couple of the levels offer a pleasant distraction from the norm by allowing you to climb on board a selection of vehicles including a cool Aston Martin and the gadget packed BMW. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the cars handled, which was essential because these driving levels require total concentration just to get though them. Following the on-screen arrow radar, collecting power-ups, dodging oncoming traffic, avoiding incoming fire, selecting your chosen weapon, striking bonus awards, aiming and firing, weaving through enemy blockades… all this while following and finally stopping the target van. PHEW! Actually, this mission provides a great rush and will probably be replayed time and time again.
As a split-screen multiplayer game this will serve to pass a few extra hours in a similar way to Quake 2, but it does go to highlight how badly the PS2 needs Internet compatibility to play full-screen online Deathmatch’s against multiple human opponents.
OUR PLEDGE: We promise that we have fully played 'James Bond 007 Agent Under Fire' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
This review was written by Martin © Absolute PlayStation
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