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 Game Cube
James Bond 007: Agent Under Fire
 Review
 Our Score 6.5/10
 Your Score 7/10
Review
Agent Under Fire is played primarily from a first-person viewpoint, with occasional forays into free-look rail-shooting and driving. In addition to the expected weapons, players can utilize new gadgets from Q's House of Spy-Tech, including a lock-cutting cell phone/laser dealie that can also decrypt security codes and take Minox-style photographs. First problem is that M, your handy voiceover buddy, won't shut up, so figuring out the possible applications of your new toys is a bit of a no-brainer. Second problem is, the game world doesn't provide quite enough in the way of possible control schemes, so you're left with an awkward one no matter which you choose.

You've seen first-person action before in the Bond series, so at least there aren't any major shocks coming there. Twelve main levels are broken down into subsections with save points, and there are vehicle-based rail-shooting and proper driving segments as well. One of the coolest features is the idea of the "Bond Move," which rewards players for imagination, audacity and style. Sure, you could hunt-and-peck three enemy guards individually with your gun or, you could shoot out the cable suspending a huge crate above said enemies, or you could blow up an explosive cannister in their midst, or...you get the idea. With each such bloodyminded brainstorm, you're rewarded with the shrieking seven-note Bond theme...and while it's a cute idea, it gets old--like, carbon-dating old--quickly. You're also rewarded with unlockables such as new multiplayer maps or even weapons, such as The Golden Gun.

The Bond Move scheme is undoubtedly the coolest feature of Agent Under Fire...which is another way of saying that it's pretty much all downhill from there. The enemies are, to put it bluntly, morons, who either stand their ground and die or rush and die. No Half-Life co-ordinated flushings here, just...flushings. As added insult, these tactical idiots initially react to your presence and/or attacks with superhuman speed (before reverting to Idiot Mode), so it's almost impossible to pull off a halfway-suave surprise attack; you have to wait for the inevitable Charge of the Brain-Deaths anyway, so you may as well have not bothered with the sneak-making. Further underscoring the insult is the ready availability of the bullet-proof vests. What else? The auto-aiming, presumably meant to be your friend, can actually drag your crosshairs away from intended Bond-Move targets (which could eliminate multiple enemies at one go)--although this can be countered with use of the manual-aiming feature. The life-threatening moments it will take you to employ this workaround are still well worth the real-life health bonus you will gain by not tearing your hair out at the dilemma in the first place. One thing you gotta admit--this is a terrific-looking Bond game, right down to the character models. Even close scrutiny of the faces yields nothing but respectable results. Even the voice-acting is halfway-decent, which is more than can be generally expected of games these days.

Agent Under Fire also offers four-player multiplay, with well-designed maps (and remember those unlockables you've been slaving your International Ass of Mystery off for in the single-player game). Surprise of surprises, you can even augment multiplayer teams with 'bots, which would have been a neat trick in the PS2 version. Otherwise, there's not too much here. The driving segments are a nice break, but they're just that--a break, far overshadowed by the main FPS portion of the game with its iffy control and weak AI. Perhaps the biggest, overarching flaw is that the whole experience feels just a tad on the linear/railed side. The attitude and flair of the "Bond Moves," showcased as a nifty bonus, aren't a major focus of the game, which just seems wrong, somehow. Played at its hardest level, Agent Under Fire is certainly a challenge, albeit an uneven and often frustrating one. At the time of this writing, GoldenEye is still a "Connery," the unquestioned ultimate Bond experience, despite its years--if you've already played it to death, Agent Under Fire is a "Brosnan," a good-looking candidate for variety or rental, but little more.


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  Reviewer:
 
Chris Hudak
Click to View
 Game Developer
  Electronic Arts
 Publisher
  Electronic Arts
 Key Genre Words
  Shooter
  Action
  Review Date - 2002-04-01


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