Review by KasketDarkfyre

"As good as Nightfire.."

Bond games go back a few years and the movies that they are based on are older than I am. With the great James Bond being the fantasy of women and the envy of men, it’s no wonder several games have been made to model after the great super spy. From Golden Eye to Tomorrow Never Dies, you’ve taken the role across several different platforms and now to the Play Station 2! The game takes place in the Far East, ranging from London to Hong Kong through several missions of intrigue, adventure and plenty of cool explosions and wicked weapons. New bosses are introduced and a movie pretty much takes place and unfolds before you eyes with several references to the old Sean Connery Bond character. However, you’ll find that the game pretty much settles between average and mediocre with the been there, done that game play and story plot as well as some noticeable loading times in the most unexpected places!

Bond…James Bond…

The game play is run and shoot if you have to, or pull off some pretty amazing moves with the gadgets and the surroundings. Doing things like using the surroundings or going a different way and doing things that you would expect Bond to do in the movies opens up a new scoring bonus called Bond Moves! All of the things that you would expect, such as ducking through vent shafts, using suspended boxes and creating huge explosions all earns these points for you and goes towards your medal rating at the end of the stage. You’re no longer just trying to complete the stage and the objectives like in Golden Eye, but rather trying to complete the stages and the game in such a way that you earn points to get Gold Rankings, which in turn unlocks special items!

This is a little feature to the game play that is fun, but also ends up frustrating you at the same time in trying to do everything and not get killed in the process. Playing through the game allows you some leeway in terms of what you can do and the types of items that you’ll find. In order to use a weapon, you have to find one, kill off a guard and take theirs or you’ll be equipped with one from the start that you can use to kill whatever is in your way! You’re no longer just using weapons to complete your objectives either because you have to use the Q Gadgets that are given to you in order to complete certain parts of your mission. This adds a little more game play, in which you have to think about what you’re doing and how you’re doing it before hand.

Once you’ve done all of this, there is a two-player mode that allows you to play just like in the Golden Eye game with some friends in several different styles of matches that really test your mettle. The secrets and otherwise can be found by doing what it is that you have to do within the stages and by getting the best medal that you can for each stage. As you progress, you’ll find that there are plenty of things that you can do and in most cases, it falls along the same lines as the Spy Hunter game in which the better you do in both the goals and time, the better off you’re going to be when it comes to the rewards. All in all, these small instances of extra game play functions should be enough to keep you coming back for more.

Controlling Bond is something different entirely and quite honestly, the game goes downhill a bit with this portion of the game. There are two different set ups that are pre-made for you to use while playing mainly with the analog sticks as your movement and turning and the directional pad as your weapons selection! This can be a little confusing and cause some headaches when you’re trying to switch weapons and end up with a Q Gadget instead while you’re getting nailed from all directions. The second part of the control has to do with some of the driving stages that you play through in which you have to hit one button to pull up a weapon and then another to fire it. Then you have the gas, brake, and hand brake {which is virtually useless} in order to make your car go and stop. It’ll take some getting used to before you get the driving controls down correctly and rookies to any game such as this may have a hard time even with the standard first person controls!

Through The Eyes…

Visually though, Agent Under Fire is a good looking game with plenty going for it. The locations are well detailed, well lit and overall full of things that you can blow up and destroy! If something looks like it’ll cause a chain reaction, hit it and watch the explosion as well as collect your Bond Move bonus. The locations that you roam through can either be expansive or very limited in what it has to offer and with some stages, there just isn’t enough to explore. Weapons fire looks great and the gun battles that you’ll have with multiple enemies in the various missions are movie quality in their own right!

However, if you’re looking of ultra cool effects that range from bullet casings flying everywhere and monstrous explosions that cause extensive ‘impact-damage’, then play Red Faction because Agent Under Fire doesn’t have it to that extent. Some of the cut scenes are also done in such a way that you feel as though you’re playing an older game with no real movement to it. Characters look a little blocky during these cut scenes and some of the overall detailing on the different characters could have been stepped up a notch!

Soft Sounds In The Midst Of Battle

Audio wise, the game is in good shape, with plenty of highs and lows in the music to accompany the action that you’ll find onscreen. There are several instances of the Bond Theme, which after a while can grate on your nerves, but really doesn’t interfere with the game itself other than to tell you that you did something right or that you screwed up! The voices are also well done, complete with that British accent that has always accompanied Q and M, but Bond actually sounds like the old Sean Connery Bond of old and that is something to a movie buff such as myself to hear. With the combination of the sounds and the voices, there is enough here for any action fan to really drool over and it sound awesome through the correct surround sound setup on the stereo.

Until Bond Strikes Again…

Overall, Agent Under Fire has plenty of things going for it even though it seems like a rehash of the first few Bond games. With the driving parts of the game, you’re playing 007 Agent and with the mission scenes, you’re playing Golden Eye and Tomorrow Never Dies all over again! The visuals are good and the game play is pretty sweet, but the control has got to go. Action fans will find that the extensive goal oriented missions will have an impact on how often you play the game, with hours of play time available if you’re into the game. With the difficulty that you may find in the control, most First Person Shooter fans will find that this is a game with plenty of noticeable flaws that is worth a weekend rental for some and a purchase for others.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 11/23/01, Updated 02/04/03

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