Thursday, 8 November 2012

007 Games Part 12: Nightfire (PS2)

Super AiG's Guide to Every (old) James Bond Game Ever, Volume 12

Game 24 - Nightfire (2002)
Formats: Game Cube, PlayStation 2, Xbox.

007 nightfire title screen
Hey, Brosnan's back. Well, his likeness anyway. He'd been replaced the year earlier in Agent Under Fire by an overly smug Bond impersonator, but we're back with the real deal now.

Nightfire nightfire was released days before Die Another Day hit cinemas, but doesn't actually have anything to do with the movie. Instead it's a brand new story following on from Agent Under Fire. Poor Die Another Day never actually got a game, perhaps because the film was already basically a video game adaptation of a Bond movie.

Like the last game, this was released exclusively for the three sixth-gen consoles left standing at the time (poor Dreamcast never got a Bond game), and I'm playing the PS2 version.

The gun barrel shot makes an appearance, excellent. It's CGI though this time, not a live action clip.

Okay it starts with Bond in a helicopter following a woman racing an AC Cobra through Paris with goons on her tail. The loading screen said "protect Dominique", so I'm fairly certainly I'm meant to be keeping the bad guys off her tail.

This seems to be a tutorial level and lesson one is 'press R1 to fire'. They're starting off pretty basic aren't they? I mean seriously, they don't even trust me to aim the gun myself yet.

I pressed R1 a few more times and a whole lot of cars exploded, but they just keep coming. Enemy gunfire eventually disables Dominique's car, so Bond has to swing down to the rescue.

Bond and Dominique ditch the Cobra, and drop behind the wheel of Bond's BM... no, hang on that's an Aston Martin! The Vanquish is way classier than the BMW Z8 he was driving in the last game in my opinion.

The game runs me through the basics, and then I'm allowed to drive it myself. It's a straight run with only one path to take, and my goal is to... get close enough to a van to disable it. Like I didn't have enough trouble trying to do that in the last game.

Fortunately it was no effort at all, and I've saved Paris, or whatever. I'm still not entirely sure what I was even doing here. Cue the opening credits.

Yes! It's an actual opening credits sequence, with real live people waving guns around and everything. You know, I think this is the first time a Bond game has gotten its own original theme. Here, have a youtube link, watch it yourself if you're curious: nightfire opening credits.

Awesome, the level select screen makes a return. Thank you GoldenEye for making this a tradition! I know it probably seems like a dumb thing to keep pointing out, but I really do appreciate it when I don't have to replay half a game just to get to a bit I liked in the middle.

Oh right, I should probably also mention that the game has multiplayer mode, complete with bots this time (unlike Agent Under Fire's botless deathmatch).

Back at HQ, M briefs me on my new mission with a series of flashy video clips that probably took a lot of late nights from a few unfortunate MI6 employees. A few photos and a sheet of paper would have done the job, but M likes her mission briefings to look expensive. Incidentally they didn't get Judi Dench to do her voice, or Pierce Brosnan to play Bond for that matter, and you can tell.

Oh right, the mission is to... something something undercover agent, stolen guidance device, space weapon, etc. I'll just figure it out as I go.


LEVEL 2 - THE EXCHANGE.


Looks like I've got to break into Castle Wolfenstein.

Well it's a first person shooter again, which suits me fine. Hey, that truck looks... convenient.

I jump in and ride it all the way to the next stage. That was simple enough.

Okay I'm inside and I finally get to do some shooting. I think it'd be fair to say it's a lot like Agent Under Fire so far. It's a very average shooter for its time, but in a good way. You wouldn't mistake it for a Modern Warfare game.

Nice helicopter.

The health and weapon systems seem to have carried over from Agent Under Fire (and GoldenEye pretty much). There's no regenerating health, body armour is scattered around but rare, and I can carry more weapons at once than any regular secret agent could ever dream of holding.

Surprise, turns out I had a tuxedo under my gear. Nobody could have seen that coming, especially not the guards who just let me inside thinking I'm a guest who got lost.

Okay I've successfully infiltrated a party. Luckily all that shooting and murder outside didn't tip anyone off that there might be an intruder.

Huh? How does taking a wrong turn blow my cover? All these guys had to do was block my path and say "this is off limits to guests" and things would've been fine.

Though it did work out for me in the end, because when I restarted back at the front door I found I had far more health.

The deep cover contact I was sent to meet turns out to be Dominique from the intro, and the two agents pretty much continue where they left off in Paris. And then Zoe Nightshade from Agent Under Fire walks in on them...

I try to keep my spoilers limited to the game I'm playing so I'll just say that people who've read my Agent Under Fire post will probably understand why I'm a bit surprised to see Zoe make a return appearance. Please don't explain it to me in the comments though, that'd just lead to more spoilers.

Yeah I know it's a 12 year old Bond game, but someone might care.


LATER.


Well stuff happened, my cover's blown, and now Zoe's waiting in a cable car for me to find a briefcase containing the stolen guidance chip. She's not that interested in actually helping me look for it, but I guess I can forgive her after what happened the last time she tried to retrieve a case.


SOON.


AHA, a safe! The briefcase has to be in here. I hope. My watch laser doesn't seem to want to cut through the lock though.

Oh I have to cut the hinges. Well that's kind of obvious now in retrospect. Especially considering that they were flashing. It was a subtle effect, okay?

Typical, as soon as I climb into the cable car, out comes the Hind-D.

Fortunately it appears that I picked up a guided missile launcher along the way. What an unlikely stroke of luck.

You know, this is all really familiar somehow...

Hell yeah, I win the Gold Medal, and more importantly I've earned a prompt to save my game. Agent Under Fire let me save my game after every mission too, but it hid the option away in the menus and... well, I forgot and lost all my progress.


LEVEL 3 - ALPINE ESCAPE.


And it's rail shooter time. Shoot the snowmobiles to make them 'splode! For some reason this reminds me of the movie Return of the Jedi. Or maybe that episode of Archer.


LEVEL 4 - ENEMIES VANQUISHED.


And then I'm back in the car for another straight forward driving level. I didn't get very far into Agent Under Fire, but this definitely seems to be following the same formula. Not that I'm complaining, the driving is actually pretty good. We've come a long long way since The Spy Who Loved Me.


LATER.


They had to go and ruin my good mood didn't they? I mean skidding around the ice dispatching all enemies is a good idea in theory, but having to find and shoot down helicopters in a car with no radar and a time limit is actually pretty annoying. Cars are not designed to dogfight, dammit.

Plus it doesn't help that I have limited ammo and I need to pick up more as I drive around the arena. And the ammo boxes are basically camouflaged against the ice. There's one directly in front of me, actually.


LEVEL 5 - DOUBLE CROSS.


Right, I finally finished with that and now I'm in Japan trying to save a defecting villain from assassins.

The enemies run into the middle of the room and start firing, I start strafing left and right trying to dodge bullets and send a few back their way. It's just good old fashioned first person shooter gameplay.

This has to be the most annoying shotgun I've ever used in a game. I mean it gets the job done, but it's pump action and this is the view I get after every single shot. It's limiting my tactical awareness is what it's doing.


EVENTUALLY.


Okay, my current objective is to... save geisha girls from the assassins. Well fuck, that's not going to go well, especially as I can't even see the enemies out here anymore. Maybe I need to mess with the brightness.

And then somewhere out in the dark one of the geisha girls was killed off screen and I got an instant fail. I think this would be a good place to quit.


I would have assumed Nightfire was by the same developer as Agent Under Fire because they're very similar, but it's not. This was actually made by World Is Not Enough (N64) creator Eurocom, who later went on to work on the GoldenEye remake, 007 Legends, and the PS2 version of Quantum of Solace, which I haven't really played and can't comment on. Oh, plus they're also responsible for those James Bond Jr. games which I have played, and which I have definitely commented on.

Anyway it's got its flaws but it's couldn't say it's a crap game, at least not yet. For all I know it's all escort missions and van chasing from here on out, but what I played of it I enjoyed. Plus the multiplayer ain't so bad either for what it is. Congratulations Nightfire! You won a Gold Star!


I promised at the start that the second decade of 007 games ends with Nightfire, and it does. But not this one. Check back tomorrow for Bond week's exciting finale as I play... a different Nightfire game!

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Semi-Random Game Box