Review by Braben
"Well, it`s not Goldeneye, but it sure delivers the goods while it lasts."
While I am not all that sure if this is the first James Bond game since the all mighty Goldeneye, and while it wasn`t even developed by the same guys, it is my first Bond game since Goldeneye, and comparisons are inevitable as well as necessary in my opinion, so let`s, and a lot.
Agent Under Fire is supposed to have an entirely new and original plot according to the back of the game`s box, and maybe it is true, but I could`t care less, I wasn`t able to read all the briefings because I found them too boring. However, in case you are interested (sure) take your time and read the briefings because the missions have almost nothing to do with each other.
I am a bit lost here, they are pretty good, but I also found them a bit empty or simple sometimes. And Brosnan`s 3D counterpart for example doesn`t look like him, not even a little (okay, maybe just a little), and now that I think this is probably because this is not an entirely official title. The scenarios are mostly pretty cool, sometimes a little bit so-so like that stage inside an embassy, but overall well made, nothing remarkable but well made.
There is as much music as it is usual in the genre when we are talking about a game that actually has music, so you know what to expect. Needless to say there are lots of remixes of the catchy and cool Bond theme, and they are all very good, but there is not enough music for me.
The voice acting is surprisingly good, I would even say first rate despite the fact that not even Bronsnan provided his voice. But it is the same, all the voices are enormously similar to the originals.
Has its pros and cons, but overall it is better than expected, being the short length the only real flaw, plus, the gameplay has a lot of similarities with Goldeneye, which is a big plus.
The first and one of the most important similarities is that the game is divided in missions, so we are able replay them whenever we want and we can`t save in the middle of a mission, which is excellent. These missions, all of them, are miles away from the perfection of Goldeneye, while more spectacular, they are not nearly as fun, and in my opinion there are very few (only twelve), sometimes they are too short, not nearly as good as they could have been, and not all of them are classical stages as there are like four driving scenarios. The result is a mixed bag, the stages are very cool, but also lacking.
The missions still have objectives, beating the crap out of everyone you have at sight is not enough. These objectives are very standard, place bombs, protect people, destroy this or that, etc. Now, the good thing about this is that, like in Goldeneye, the objectives do not limit the game, there is no need to waste time looking for an item or someone to kill or anything, we are not going to get stuck without knowing what to do.
Surprisingly, the driving scenarios are excellent, excellent and badass as hell, with great controls and loads of fun. The only problem is that while fun, the standard stages are better, and as I said before there are like four driving scenarios, and with only twelve missions that is too much.
The controls are basically the same we always find in a console first person shooter of the new era, and if we change the unplayable default configuration (the third one is probably the most comfortable, as well as the most similar to Goldeneye), everything works fine unless you have never played one of these games in a console, in that case you`ll need time.
Now, let`s check out one of the key elements in any first person shooter, the weapons, and to my surprise again, they are Goldeneye style, this is, most of them are machine guns, and machine guns rule (talking about first person shooters, I am not a mad member of the National Rifle Association). However, I was expecting the typical Doom, Quake or Half Life arsenal with useless rocket launchers and stupid hyper powerful high technology guns with only two bullets that take ages to open fire. But no, in this game all the weapons are useful. Now if you think that makes them a bit boring, I can`t see why, and in any case I prefer them boring than completely useless, because what I sure find boring is having to use the same two weapons all the time like in the above mentioned Doom or Quake.
Where Agent Under Fire surpasses Goldeneye is in its ``spectacularity level``, there are missions that are a total blast, like the second one over our fancy car or when we have to blow up helicopters with huge cannons. Too bad the game is so short and the missions so limited even with those cool moments.
Another thing Goldeneye lacked and that this one fortunately doesn`t are the hilarious and chauvinistic Bond`s trademark one liners, after the first mission when Bond saves the girl she gets close to him and asks ``How am I going to thank you?, and Bond stares at her with that attitude of his and replies `` don`t know, but I`m sure we`ll think of something`` and then we hear the cool Bond theme and the sequence ends. There is another great one when he meets two white haired twins, or later in a submarine. Hell, that is how it`s done, with style!
Finally, the most important flaw in the game aside from the short length is, without doubt, the wasted potential. From the new villains to the scenarios, Agent Under Fire has ``loads of wasted potential here`` written all over it, we only see or fight with the cool baddies one or twice along the whole game, there is a commando girl with glassed that looks ultra baddass, but we only see her once, she escapes, and that is as much as you are going to know about her, and the same can be said for the rest of the bunch and for the scenarios that, as I said before, could have been ten times better very easily. With a lot more stages this would have been passable, but the game leaves you craving for more, and so it`s sad, very sad.
Less than a week is more than enough to beat the game. Now, of course there are extra features by completing special requirements (accuracy, wasted ammo, secret areas, etc), features such as unlimited ammo for certain weapons, new weapons and things like that, it depends on our performance after each mission. But there is a problem with this, and it is the same one Goldeneye had, the thing is that there is absolutely no way to clear some of the stages with a score high enough to obtain the bonus features, for example I am still trying to figure out how to clear Goldeneye`s first stage in less than two minutes to obtain the secret there, here it is the same, there is no way to clear some of the stages with a good score.
The multiplayer option is fun for while, but only for a while because the special arenas designed for it are pretty bad.
As a result:
Agent Under Fire is too short, it is not nearly as well structured, masterfully designed and it is not as fun as Goldeneye, and it is undeveloped, but it is still a wonderful first person shooter and I enjoyed almost every single minute of it, it is a very worthy title if you have a friend who owns it or a place to rent it a couple of times.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 10/07/04
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