Review by neothe0ne

"Bond is back, the best since GoldenEye"

Pros:
It's James Bond!
Unique weapons and gadgets
The Q-enhanced car
Well designed stages
Fully-customizable bots
You can jump!!
Very fun multiplayer

Cons:
No co-op
Physics model could use improvement
Rare lag spikes if game goes on too long

All the James Bond games turned out by Electronic Arts have been less than mediocre. Tomorrow Never Dies (PS1), World Is Not Enough (N64 and PS1), and Agent Under Fire really could not rival Rare's GoldenEye for N64. However, James Bond is making a comeback at last. The graphics of the game are pretty good. Most of the stages you go through are dark, but you can tell that everything is pretty well detailed. The music in Nightfire is distinctively Bond-style. There's the catchy Nightfire theme, and the classic James Bond theme after you exit a single-player mission. The music in multiplayer are mostly remixed Bond themes, but everything fits. The gameplay is fun, and that's what makes this better than past EA Bonds.

The Nightfire story features the enemy organization attempting to cause mass chaos on the world. You start by breaking into a castle to attend a party, and you retrieve a weapons case and escape. The classic Bond story. However, GoldenEye had no voice acting, and the few lines that did appear such as "Drop the gun!" in the Soviet Archives were not very.. story-like. So, for the first time, you have a good single-player Bond-style campaign to get through, complete with voice-acting and cutscenes. You can also do "Bond stunts" which are basically "impressive" manuevers in certain places. The 2nd mission, you're introduced to your car, with all of Q's enhancements. You can fire rockets, shoot machine guns, drop a screen of smoke, and do Bond stunts like flying over road blocks. The story only has 10 missions, but it is pretty fun, even though it's short. There are three difficulty levels, Operative, Agent, and 00 Agent, and you can unlock multiplayer characters by getting Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum awards.

Nightfire has some unique customizations to utilize, but also has some missing options to tinker with. Low-gravity from Agent Under Fire is nowhere to be found, to the dissapointment of many. That was one of the key features that made AUF almost endurable. The controls of the game are not too hard to grasp, but there are only a few control sets to choose from. Personally, I find that switching weapons with the D-pad on the default Nightfire setting doesn't work too well in this game, so I use the Moonraker setting. It's exactly the same except you switch weapons with Z but still switch gadgets with the D-pad. After that, I have no complaint with the controls. This game is also one of the only (if not the only) first person shooter on GameCube to have a JUMP BUTTON!!! Even though Nightfire's jumping is sort of slow and not quick enough for the speed of the game, it's still a great thing to not be limited to your level of ground. The physics model in Nightfire could use improvement, of course. The slow jumping is a minor thing compared to death animations. When I kill other people with explosives, it seems that it takes a full second after the blast before their bodies fly to the ground. While this is not a major handicap, it did make me commit suicide too many times by using explosives so close, and it is a big annoyance.

Nightfire features 4-player split-screen multiplayer, with arena, capture the flag, assassination, defend/assault, and a few other normal modes, but also has some Bond-unique modes. GoldenEye Strike is a type of game where there are two GoldenEye keys (like in the movie) and the team that acquires both activates GoldenEye which locks onto a random enemy target with a red beam and kills them in a few seconds. If you get targeted by GoldenEye, your camera switches to third-person and you see your character in the middle, a red beam on it, and then you get killed. In multiplayer, you can have up to 10 players on a stage at once, 4 humans and 6 bots. The bots in the game are COMPLETELY CUSTOMIZABLE. That means you can define the attitude (defensive, offensive, vengeful, cooperative, ect), set health, recovery rate, and reaction time, set aggression level, set accuracy, ect. There are tons of characters to choose from, but only one Bond can be in a game at once. Bond is the only male in MI6 and the rest are females, and they are outnumbered by loads of Phoenix characters. The only female Phoenix character is Kiko, and the rest are mostly non-unique guards. Oddjob is the highlight of the characters, though. The Phoenix cronie's got his one-hit KO hat! Other enhancements include the radar, grapple (hookshot, speeds you to a grapple hook), gun turrets, and tanks and helicopters. The tank is hard to control, but it can't be killed. The tank and helicopter are remote-controlled, so while you use them, you're just standing there, so be careful.

The weapons in Nightfire deserve a gold just by themselves. You're default weapon is, most of the time, the P2K. This pistol is arguably the best weapon you can get. You have the Tactical and Covert Snipers, with good scopes to control with. You've got multiple machine guns, many with Grenade/Explosive secondary fires. There are handheld grenades and explosives. The only dual-wielding weapon in the game is the K-40, and you can only dual-wield them if you're Phoenix. There's the Golden Gun, one hit KO with one round loaded at once, which is a favorite of some. Super-impressive and unique guns, however, are the Samurai and Sentinel. The Samurai is a laser gun with two modes, "Beam" which shoots a regular laser and overheats very slowly, and "Overcharge" which takes a long time to charge, long time to un-overheat, and has huge range and causes an explosion on impact. This gun is very useful, and is the ultimate in the Sniping weapon set. The Sentinel is a regular rocket launcher in the Unguided mode. In the Guided mode, you get to control every move the rocket makes. You can guide it into a target from miles away (well, almost....) but it has limited fuel. This is the ultimate weapon on Normal mode. All the guns are nice, but the weapon sets the guns are in take away from the full fun of using them. The only way to get an ideal weapon set is to use Random and keep restarting until you get a set you like.

Nightfire is one of the best games EA has put out on consoles in recent times, and it is definitely the best Bond shooter since GoldenEye. NightFire is a good attempt to satisfy our wants, but it is not perfect. The deciding factor is, and remains, the fact that the name is Bond. James Bond.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/30/04, Updated 01/07/05


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