Publisher: EA Games
N Amer - 11/19/2002
James Bond 007: NightFire Review
After abandoning the lofty goals of becoming a firefighter or astronaut when they grow up, most kids latch on to the notion of working for Her Majesty’s secret service after their first viewing of a James Bond movie. The guy has it all… curvy foreign babes, kick-ass gadgets, the bragging rights to saving the world about a billion times, and curvy foreign babes. Because over 99% of us aren’t British and the majority of us turn to jelly in the presence of a curvy foreign babe, our dreams of being Bond become blemished.
Thank god for video games. EA Games gives us all a chance to be His Suaveness with James Bond 007: Nightfire for the Nintendo GameCube. Nightfire follows everyone’s favorite super agent around the world in an original story designed specifically for the game.
The story of Nightfire begins with seemingly altruistic Raphael Drake, head of the Phoenix International Corporation, doing his duty as a philanthropist by dismantling nuclear warheads across the globe. What a nice guy. Well, nice until we realize that like all nice people, he has ulterior motives to take over the world through deception, blackmail, and good old-fashioned violence. Drake has plans to steal the Nightfire device, a missile guidance system with the capabilities to do all sorts of naughty things. Looks like Bond is going to have to take some time off of shagging curvy foreign babes and save the world once again.
Much of Nightfire is primarily a first-person shooter/stealth game, but Bond also gets to spend some time in some vehicles, most notably his tricked-out whip, a modified Aston-Martin V12 Vanquish that purrs like a kitten and handles like Allen Iverson. Bond can use an arsenal of weapons, an array of super spy gadgets, and in true Bond fashion spout all those perverted lines to curvy foreign babes that would reward the common man a slap in the kisser. This is the first James Bond game that truly gives gamers a secret agent experience worthy of the Bond name.
The campaign mode in Nightfire is an objective-based mission game. There are twelve missions in all, each with various amounts of objectives, usually in the five to six range. One of the cooler features of Nightfire is the option of accomplishing a single objective in many different ways. For example, in one of the earlier missions, one objective is to breach the walls of Drake’s estate and meet up with operatives at the supervillain’s party. Bond can accomplish this by running and gunning straight towards the front door guns blazing, sneak around the side of the mansion and perform a few highwire acts to get in, or hop into a delivery truck and stealthily strut into the party, tuxedo untarnished. The game rewards all styles of gameplay, awarding points and hidden features for blatantly killing enemies as well as stealth. 007 Bonus points are awarded for executing particular Bond moves, such as cutting power to security systems, finding shortcuts, or anything else that makes a super agent’s life easier. The only glaring weakness of the single-player mode is the brevity of the game. It’s not impossible to imagine beating the game on a rainy afternoon.
Most of the maps are fairly large and no one is holding your hand guiding you through missions. This means you’ll have to do a bit of exploring to progress through the game. Nightfire forces gamers to think like spies, accomplishing goals without spilling too much blood by creatively moving from one objective to the next. Q will occasionally give Bond a few tips, and for those completely clueless, hints can be accessed from the Pause menu.
The gameplay is very similar to one of EA’s other titles, Medal of Honor: Frontline. Nightfire plays more like a mod of MOH, using the same game engine but changing textures, story, and adding a few extras. Unfortunately, the computer AI is only slightly better than the remedial intelligence of Medal of Honor baddies.
James Bond has several different weapons he can arm himself with, including silenced pistols, sniper rifles, and a very cool guided rocket-launcher, but what really makes James Bond a super spy is his collection of Sharper-Image-catalog-meets-Soldier-of-Fortune gadgets. Q has set Bond up with car keys that double as an electric stunner to incapacitate enemies, a watch with a high-powered laser, a cell phone that doubles as a grappling hook, sunglasses with thermal and night vision, and more. These toys add depth to Bond’s arsenal and will be necessary for poking around missions and finding shortcuts.
Much of the hoopla over the Bond games deals with the multiplayer modes, made legendary by Goldeneye for the Nintendo 64, and Nightfire’s fragfests overcome a few shortcomings to be quite enjoyable. There are 12 multiplayer modes available, but some only become available by progressing through the single player missions. Satisfy your bloodlust in free-for-all or team Deathmatch, defend and attack in capture the flag, or protect strongholds in King of the Hill. There are other modes similar to Unreal Tournament’s Assault and Domination multiplayer modes, but the real draws continue to be Deathmatch and Capture the Flag.
If you don’t have the codes to unlock all the levels, modes, and skins for the multiplayer mode, you’ll have to trudge through the single player campaign. Once you do, you’ll be treated to all the multiplayer modes and skins which include Oddjob, Goldfinger, and Jaws.
Although the graphics of Nightfire are fairly basic for a first-person shooter, the textures look fantastic. The designers of the game also put extra effort into the detailed objects such as statues and pictures in some of the levels and it really adds a bit of flair to the environments. Even though Bond’s Aston-Martin only gets used in a few missions, the physics and graphics on the vehicular missions are quite impressive. Although most of the game looks great, a few portions seem as though they were put together hastily. The cutscenes look great, and the designers did a great job of accurately depicting Mr. Remington Steele himself, Pierce Brosnan as Bond.
The sound of Nightfire is appropriate, but doesn’t particularly stand out. The music is very much in the same vein as the Bond theme, and when it gets going, gamers may just get a hankering for a martini, shaken not stirred. The voice acting in the cutscenes is great, and you may just hear the amorous James Bond sleazily declare “Anything can be penetrated with the proper tool” or something equally sex-laden.
007 Nightfire does a great job bringing in the Bond-spy factor into the first-person shooter genre, and is a fun, although short, game. Multiplayer fans won’t be disappointed by the mode in Nightfire as it is one of the better multiplayer games available for the GameCube.
007 Nightfire is rated T for teen, with suggestive themes (oh that dirty Bond) and violence.
The gameplay is pretty solid, and the AI is thankfully smarter than Medal of Honor. The various gadgets and other spy elements are a great addition, and make the game more than just a simple shooter.
For the most part, the graphics are great. Some levels are noticeably less detailed than others, but then again who would expect a missile silo to be as decorated as a millionaire’s mansion?
The audio is fitting, but not mind-blowing.
The difficulty is adjustable, but it only effects the skill and accuracy of the computer opponents.
Kudos to EA for emphasizing all of the skills a spy needs to be in Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The various gadgets, vehicles, and scenarios make for a fun spy experience.
Bond once again turns out an excellent multiplayer experience in Nightfire.
007 Nightfire would easily have received a score near 9 if it were just longer. The multiplayer modes give the game some replay value, and the presentation is nearly cinematic. Highly recommended as a rental.
GameZone Review Detail
007 Nightfire has some great elements, but ultimately falls short of greatness of the account of its length.
Reviewer: Tim Surette
Review Date: 12/10/2002