Review by neothe0ne

"Congratulations, 007. You're on the go."

Pros:
First Bond FPS for the handheld
Good music
Missions are almost exactly the same as the console versions

Cons:
Controls are very awkward
Graphics are blocky and grainy
No multiplayer

James Bond has only appeared in one handheld game before now: The World is Not Enough. That game wasn't a first-person shooter, and barely qualified as a shooter at all. Therefore, 007 appears in his first real handheld adventure, and it's quite well designed. Almost as revolutionary as GoldenEye on the N64, if you look at it in the right perspective...

The graphics of Nightfire are good enough for you to get around and see things, but leave a lot to be desired. The guns look just fine. The characters look pretty blocky and grainy from far away, and look distorted most of the time when viewed up close. The backgrounds look okay from far away, mostly with dark sky and mountains, but up-close walls and textures look terrible. Again, this doesn't really detract from gameplay, but the game doesn't look overly impressive.

The music in Nightfire is great. All the themes are very similar to their console versions, just with fewer layers in the music. The Nightfire theme sounds great, the James Bond theme sounds great, and the level themes give you the same suspense as the consoles do. The sound effects are also great, including the footsteps, shots, and shouts. The sound effects for the guns are also different, so the audio department fares very well.

The controls of Nightfire are a little awkward. One obvious problem is that there's only one D-pad and no control sticks. Moving around works pretty well with the D-pad, and you can strafe left and right with the shoulder triggers. Aiming is another story, however. You have to hold down both shoulder triggers at once, then use the D-pad to aim. This means that you may accidentally strafe before aiming, and once you start aiming, you can't move. If you move the screen too fast while aiming, you can sometimes see the graphics flash or stutter as well. The enemies aren't too hard, and you can usually get by by moving around until your gun is centered on the target you want to shoot without manual aiming at all. Of course, you're wondering what shoot is, right? It's the A button, not a shoulder trigger. It works much better for the GBA to have the control scheme this way, trust me. To duck and reload, you must also use combos of buttons, which can be aggravating, but it seems to be the best control scheme for the layout of the GBA.

In any case, aiming doesn't really matter, since there appears to be no body damage system. Shooting them anywhere does the same damage, which is a little down for gameplay, but it really doesn't matter.

Now, the single player campaign follows the same story as the consoles. Special hardware has been stolen, and Drake is behind it. At the start of each mission, you get a briefing, so those amazing cinematics are nowhere to be found. The single player only has nine missions, which is fewer than the console versions, and like the PC version, there are no vehicle missions. The objectives and layouts of most missions are just like the console versions, so you basically do the same thing, just with gameplay adjusted for the handheld controls. The difficulty is a little higher than normal, since you must get a high score to get a medal and pass the mission. Even so, the game goes by very quickly, especially since this is the only feature of the game.

Of course, the best part of the console Nightfire games was the multiplayer, but the Game Boy Advance game is lacking it. It's not really surprising, as the multiplayer games, if included, would probably lag a lot and support limited numbers people. Based on the single player missions, no multiplayer was probably a smart move by JV Games.

You have to remember, making a first-person shooter on a handheld is hard enough. There are a few examples of failed first-person shooters on the Super Nintendo, which is similar to the GBA in most respects. Now, we have an example of success, and while it's not the best, it is worth a play.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 01/20/05


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