Developer(s) – EA Redwood Shores
Publisher(s) – Electronic Arts
ELSPA – 15
Developed to succeed Rare’s legendary shooter, Goldeneye 007, Agent Under Fire, released in 2001, garnished mixed to positive reviews. Although I don’t think it’s anywhere near as good as Goldeneye 007, and despite the fact that critics have gone on to label it a “standard-issue” game, I personally found a fair bit of enjoyment to be had whilst playing, and as a result, I spent a lot of time on it when it was released.
Graphics – 7.5/10
In lieu of the franchise’s tradition, the game is set in a multitude of different locations around the world and ranges from locations such as submarines, secret bases office buildings, and city streets. Conceptually, the game is as wonderfully varied as any film or game in the franchise. Graphically, it also did a fairly decent job of showcasing what sixth-generation consoles were capable of in a graphical sense in the early stages of their respective shelf lives.
Gameplay – 7.5/10
The gameplay also went beyond an average linear first-person shooter. With many different gadgets to use along the way, such as a decryptor to unlock doors, a laser to find hidden entry points into buildings and to break locks, and a jet pack to reach higher ground, it all provided the game with a pleasant amount of variety. Since it all also provided different ways to approach each level, it also came with a decent amount of replay value as well. There are also sequences that involve vehicular combat, which only added to the game’s level of diversity, as well as the intensity to be experienced while playing.
Controls – 10/10
007: Agent Under Fire was released when the FPS genre was about to be taken to greater heights than before. So as to be expected, there are no problems with the controls. Especially as the game was developed using the id Tech 3 engine created by id Software; pioneers of the genre. I also found the vehicular sections to be as simple to control as many of the best racing games that were around at the time, such as Gran Turismo 3, which makes the game seem even more impressive, as it was built on an engine designed specifically for shooting games.
Lifespan – 6/10
The game can only be made to last around 10 to 15 hours. Whilst not great, it’s longer than other FPS games released and was about the industry standard for the time anyway. What replay value it offers can add on a couple more hours. But I think they could have easily made this game last longer than they did by either making stages longer with more side challenges or simply having more of them instead.
Storyline – 6/10
The storyline is also typically reminiscent of a James Bond film but with considerably worse dialogue. In it, Bond is investigating Identicon; a botanical research firm suspected of being a front for a weapons-smuggling ring. A mole named Zoe Nightshade is discovered and captured, and Bond must save her, as well as stop their plans. There is also a nice twist to it all presented towards the middle of the story. But the voice acting can range from barely passable to lackluster, making it somewhat difficult to take seriously at times. The voice actor playing Bond also sounded to me like Steve Coogan. And since I’m Alan Partridge was riding high at that time, it made it especially difficult to take seriously.
Originality – 7/10
Although it wasn’t as innovative as Goldeneye 007, it has a charm that differentiates it from most other first-person shooters. The side quests in each level give players something to do beyond focusing on shooting every enemy in sight, and vehicular combat does well to diversify the gameplay. And also provide gamers with a different experience from what they were used to at that time.
Overall, 007: Agent Under Fire is a decent licensed game made before the sub-genre was taken into greater prominence with Batman: Arkham Asylum and Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor. Though it is easy to draw negative comparisons with Goldeneye 007, it’s an enjoyable experience and still holds up.