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Game Profile
EA Games
GENRE: First Person Shooter
PLAYERS:   1-4
March 24, 2002
GoldenEye 007: Reloaded

GoldenEye 007

GoldenEye 007

James Bond 007: Blood Stone

James Bond 007: Blood Stone

More in this Series
 Written by Leigh Culpin  on July 01, 2002

Review: ?Shaken, not stirred.?

From EA, the company who brought us Medal Of Honor - widely renowned to be one of the better current day shooters ? comes James Bond's latest (and original) adventure, Agent Under Fire. Disappointingly, the actual shooting part of the game is highly inadequate, saved only by the far too infrequent driving sections.

The latest Bond attempt features a new and original story, one that holds true to the Bond image and contains lots of gadgets, explosions, cool cars and hot babes. Unfortunately, while the story is decent, it's somewhat predictable and very ?same-old, same-old? in many senses, so it's obvious early on that (like the Bond films) the story is simply there to propel you through the action, rather than the action being a side-effect of the story. Not necessarily a bad thing, but when it's carried out in a manner such as this, bad is an understatement.

So many flaws are evident it's hard to pinpoint the one major thing that stalls the gameplay: it could be the fact that you do no thinking for yourself whatsoever, as you're always directed by a glaringly obvious bright red arrow or dot, or you are told what to do by your own voice. It could be the slight delay that you'll notice when changing weapons, greatly decreasing the speed of any firefights; it might be the fact that bullets travel more like pellets, and are easily avoidable for the most part; or it may simply be the fact that the gunfighting is overall just too slow. Obviously EA is somewhat shadowed by the success of Rare's Goldeneye, but for some odd reason they seemed to decide that fast-paced gunplay was a bad idea, and that a painfully slow auto aim and idiotic default controls would be a good plan. Why this was done is beyond me, but the fact remains that the bulk of the game revolves around the least polished gameplay aspect -- shooting.

On the other hand, the driving sequences are something of another matter. Easily the best part of the game, it's really a shame they didn't decide to make a James Bond driving game instead, as it really is excellent. The weapon selection is exceptional, as is the array of miscellaneous gadgets your various vehicles will contain. Driving in AuF gives you more of a Spy Hunter feel than the Spy Hunter remake does. The only fault I can really find in the driving aspect of the game is that it's far to infrequent ? had the shooting portions of the game been half as good as Halo or Goldeneye, this wouldn't have been a problem, but alas, it is.

Following that, the multiplayer is somewhat disappointing, and although bot support is included, it's rather basic and quite a let down. If a driving multiplayer lever had been included it would have been undoubtfully excellent, but as it is it leaves a lot to be desired, since the multiplayer shooting is just as weak as the single player.

Graphically, the game is something to behold ? a modified Quake 3 engine was used for the game, and it's absolutely gorgeous, with nothing more than a couple small glitches to fog down the atmosphere. The characters all look good and though they animate rather stiffly (with the exception of hair and breasts, both animated very smoothly, so much so that they draw extra attention with the continuous flow of motion versus the rest of the robot-like movements), they look good as well, with decent facial textures, giving you a sense of looking at someone rather than something. The sounds are, for the most part, really good as well, with solid voiceovers and sound effects, though none really stood out as spectacular.

Bottom Line
Aesthetically a strong game, and the driving portions are easily good enough to warrant a couple rentals, but the fact that the game focuses on it's weakest aspect keeps the latest Bond installment from being as good as it could have, and really should have, been.

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