Super AiG's Guide to Every (old) James Bond Game Ever, Finale
This is the last Bond game post for a long while, I promise you. Just two more Nightfire games and then we're done. Normal service will resume shortly.
Game 25 - Nightfire (2002)
Formats: PC, Macintosh.
Nightfire, but it's definitely not a straight port. This is a separate game created by Borderlands developer Gearbox Software, who should hopefully know a bit about making a first person shooter.
Click the pics to view them at a slightly more civilised resolution.
LEVEL 1 - RENDEZVOUS.
The road to castle gates is guarded by assholes, but fortunately I'm licenced to kill them all. They make no effort to run for cover, but they're irritating little bullet sponges who can soak up a half-dozen bullets unless I manage to nail them with a headshot.
Oh, and yeah it did let me shoot out the searchlight if you were wondering.
There's a switch on the wall so I flick it, grab some armour and head back out into the cold. Sadly I never find out what it did. Possibly something to do with searchlights.
Huh, this cutscene was done in-engine on the PlayStation 2 version, but here it's pre-rendered. I wonder why that is.
LATER, AFTER I INEVITABLY BLOW MY COVER AND EVERYTHING GOES TO SHIT.
Fortunately this game has something the PS2 version could never have: quicksaves. Not something I want to abuse if I can help it, but it's nice to know I can set myself a checkpoint along the way, instead of being kicked back to the start of the level every time Bond gets his dumb-ass killed.
Sorry, I mean when I get Bond's dumb-ass killed.
SOME CORRIDORS LATER.
Well, uh, okay then I think I'm done with this level.
I do like the way the little henchmen fall out when it takes a hit though. It serves them right for flying around in the cold with the doors wide open. Idiots.
Though now we're stuck in a snowy forest. I guess it must be time for a high-speed snow-mobile rail shooter escape scene!
LEVEL 2 - AIRFIELD AMBUSH.
Zoe keeps giving me instructions like 'turn off the generator to cut the searchlights' and 'don't follow me into the same building, you idiot', and I have to follow them to the letter. I tried ignoring her and wandering off and I tried sniping the guards, but every attempt to go off-script eventually ended with me getting caught.
Still at least I didn't run into an invisible wall or get a "YOU ARE LEAVING THE MISSION AREA" message popping up, so it's still doing better than a lot of modern first person shooters.
Deus Ex, trying to sneak up behind someone with the electric prod. Anyway I just have to use something from my box of gadgets to knock this guard out without being seen, and I can get inside the entrance to the tower. Wherever that is.
There are no objective markers in this, and no map, so I'm forced to use my brain and find my own way around. To be honest I can live without markers, though I do miss those auto-maps. It seemed like every FPS had one in the mid 90s, then all of a sudden they vanished. I blame Quake.
I'm hiding in the corner because there's a camera right above me, slowly panning from left to right. I guess someone in the security room likes the view as well. I don't know exactly what happens if it sees me, but I don't much want to find out.
GoldenEye isn't it?
Fortunately this turned out to be really easy. The hardest part for me was trying to figure out where Zoe actually was, and fighting the temptation to shoot the explosive barrels next to her. I screwed up the latter more times than I'd have liked; I guess I've just been conditioned to instinctively shoot red barrels.
It's nice to get back to some good old fashioned running and gunning, though I still wish it was a little easier to spot the enemies. They like to find a dark place to hide and shoot me from, so I have to either fire blindly into the shadows or run through the gunfire to get close enough to see them.
LEVEL 3 - UNINVITED GUESTS.
30 MINUTES LATER.
Oh right, this screenshot's just reminded me that I can only carry 4 weapons at a time. And I must drop one weapon to pick another up.
20 MINUTES LATER.
Then after a short fight with a ninja I completed my job here and drove away (in a cutscene) to the next mission... sneaking through a building to retrieve information from a mainframe without harming any guards. I am so much not in the mood for a surprise stealth level right now.
I honestly can't tell if this is better or worse than the console game. With the rail shooter and driving levels replaced it's definitely slower paced, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Mid-level save games are definitely a point in its favour, but on the other hand it's missing my beloved level select and all the rewards. I think I'd need to play them both more before I can judge either of them properly.
I know this much: it ain't crap, so it gets a star:
Game 26 - Nightfire (2003)
Formats: Game Boy Advance.
Like the PC version it's jumped straight to Austria, skipping the car chase sniper mission in Paris. Probably for the best though, as who wants to aim a rifle with a d-pad?
They die in like two hits, but getting those two shots on target can take a while using a d-pad.
The GBA game skips straight to this scene as soon as I enter the building. Definitely no messing around photographing guests in this one. Or voice acting.
I was expecting a pain in the ass stealth mission, but nope I turned left, used my laser on a door, and that was it. Objective completed! Took about 10 seconds, including the time I had to wait for the laser to cut through the lock.
Turns out my guns were all empty, and I had to run up and electrocute the guards with my car key stunner. I guess I should start putting my bullets into the enemies from now on instead of spraying most of them across the wall behind them.
A COUPLE OF CORRIDORS LATER.
To punish me for my poor judgement the game throws me back outside the castle at the very start of the level, with all progress lost. Well fuck that, I'm done with the game. Even the PS2 version had the sense to have the occasional checkpoint at a cutscene.
Atari 2600 game was this dumb! Right that's it, I'm turning this off.
So what have I learned about the second decade of 007 games? Well, it started late. It took until 1997 for GoldenEye to finally come out, but a lot of people considered it to be the first (and perhaps only) great Bond game, and it set a new template for the franchise. Not a great deal of Bond platformers were released after that one. Instead the series became mostly first person shooters with vehicle driving interludes, and I don't think I'm being too biased when I say that it was generally a good direction to go in. Also less than half of the games were based on a movie this time, allowing developers to throw in as much first person shooting and vehicle driving as they felt like, without leaving players wondering what happened to the story they saw at the cinema. Not that anyone was complaining about GoldenEye doing its own thing.
On the other hand James Bond 007 on the Game Boy and 007 Racing on the PlayStation stand out from the shooters as the last attempts to actually do something different with the franchise, and though I didn't like them much, they added some variety and I think it's obvious how repetitive the games have gotten since then. The James Bond books and films are at least as much about the character travelling around, investigating, and actually dealing with people as they are about him running down corridors with a machine gun, and out of all of these titles it's the Game Boy game that's come closest to including that in gameplay. But with Modern Warfare games topping the charts while Alpha Protocol bombed, I guess mindless shooting is what we're stuck with. Shame really, I bet Telltale or Quantic Dream could make an awesome Bond adventure game.
Oh oh... LEGO James Bond! Why hasn't that happened yet?