Review by Black Devil
"I really wanted this game to be good, but it isn't."
I've always been a big fan of James Bond. I've read the books, watched the movies, and played every Bond game since Goldeneye. While GE was excellent, the others weren't. Tomorrow Never Dies was terrible, Twine was mediocre, and I don't even want to think about 007 racing again. Now we have Agent Under Fire, a game that I really wanted to enjoy. Unfortunately, it's quality falls somewhere between Twine and Tomorrow Never Dies, and doesn't come close to matching the now ancient Goldeneye.
The worst aspect of the gameplay is the controls. They feel sloppy right from the beginning. Aiming is done with the right analog, and it feels terrible. There are also only 4 options to choose from with the controls,and none of them allow you to use the Right stick for movement. The D-pad is used to cycle through your guns and gadgets, and is the only way of doing so. This creates problems because you'll often find yourself pulling out some generic Q-gadget in the midst of battle when you need an assault rifle. Speaking of Q-gadgets, there are quite a few of them. Ranging from the overused Q-laser, to the useless Q-specs, AUF attempts to immerse you in the role of a spy with these lame tools. Nearly every door in the entire game is secured with a padlock that looks like the one I had on my locker in high school. The laser is the only way you can remove these locks, since bullets have no effect at all. There are quite a few guns though, and some them look pretty good as well.
The levels in AUF can be fun, but they are generally too easy. You'll hardly ever have to figure something out yourself, since mini-cinemas are used to show you exactly what to do. There are driving levels mixed in that are actually more fun than the shooting levels. The multi player mode was surprisingly good, although it can't compare to Perfect Dark's, or Halo's. Still, there are quite a few options, which is a good thing.
I could go on all day about the various flaws with the gameplay, but at least this game looks good. The framerate moves along very well, and several cut-scenes are simply awesome to see. However, I was disappointed with the character animations, as your enemies don't seem to react appropriately to being shot. Still, the graphics are the finest part of this sub-par game.
Some of the voice acting was done well, and Bond had a couple of good one-liners, but generally the dialogue was cheesy. The main reason the score is low is because of the music. Every single time you do something right you'll be rewarded with the opening 5 seconds of the James Bond theme. This song also plays throughout the menus, and becomes annoying after awhile.
Replay Value 6/10
I beat this game in under ten hours on the medium difficulty. I imagine 00 agent would take about the same amount of time, and then you'd just have to explore the levels a bit to find a few hidden objects here and there. Finding these various items while performing particularly well on the missions will unlock various new options for the multiplayer mode, and some cheats for solo. But you probably won't need more than 20 hours to do all of that, and I'd be surprised if you even felt like trying to.
While this game has many, many faults, I still wanted to play it enough to beat it. The multiplayer mode is decent enough to be entertaining in small doses, but I can't recommend anything more than a rental for this one. Hopefully the next Bond won't suck as much, but don't count on it.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 05/31/02, Updated 05/31/02
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