tiistai 18. joulukuuta 2012

REVIEW - 007: NightFire | GBA | 2003

RELEASED: March 28, 2003

After failing their licensed efforts Tomorrow Never Dies and The World Is Not Enough, EA started their own line of original 007 stories, which received moderately positive reviews, and used Pierce Brosnan's likeness, making them novelty items for Bond fans. The first in line was 007: Agent Under Fire, which was released on the Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2 and Xbox in 2001. Non-surprisingly, the game followed the pattern laid out by the Nintendo 64 classic GoldenEye 007. The second one, 007: NightFire, was released in late 2002 on the same platforms, as well as on the PC, as a somewhat stripped version. An EXTREMELY stripped version of the game - but still an FPS (!) - was released on the Game Boy Advance on the first quarter of 2003. An FPS on a 32-bit handheld, now that's something I've just got to see. ...There. Now let's continue.

This is a fine mess we're in, literally

The Phoenix International Corporation is assumed to be a friendly organization who have taken it upon themselves to dismantle nuclear warheads across the globe, but evidence discovered by the MI6 indicates that the CEO, Raphael Drake, is actually hoarding the warheads instead of neutralizing them. Time for 007 to put another megalomaniac out of business... and lay a few ladies on the side.

Return to Castle Uglystein.
I totally dig the idea of a completely original story - or should I say, 50% "completely", 'cause this is just about the most basic plot in a 007 story you can possibly get. Freshness of storytelling aside, an original story obviously leaves room for freedom and imagination in game design. That being said, I'd have no qualms with trying NightFire out on the PlayStation 2 or Xbox. The Game Boy Advance version... well, I can't blame them for not trying, I guess, but let's face the truth here. Or a few. First off, it's a 3D game on Game Boy Advance. Secondly, it's the type of game that needs certain types of controls. If even the Nintendo 64 controller isn't enough for good FPS controls by standards higher than Doom, how in the hell could the Game Boy Advance be?

Whenever there's a subpar game at hand, I like to start with positives, so here goes: the game features probably the best-quality digitized speech I've heard in a GBA game. It's extremely repetitive and generic, but the quality is seamless. I also like the music - good stuff, high quality, the theme song checks in. I'm getting some of the same feelings I got from playing GoldenEye 007 on the Nintendo 64 the first time, that feeling that I'm truly playing a Bond game here. Too bad the only thing you can do with this game without grimacing in pain is listening to it, though.

When I say it's painful to watch, I really mean it. Sure, I should be fascinated that they could pull this type of game off on the Game Boy Advance with half the decency, but that doesn't change the fact that simply watching the game causes actual pain to your eyes, which quickly radiates to your brain. You can't tell the difference between enemies and friendlies - believe me, you'll learn that the hard way. "If it's moving, shoot it" is what your instinct tells you to do once you catch a glimpse of this game, but it doesn't work for long.

Well, aren't you a little rough around the edges.
The controls are terrible. Changing weapons, precision aiming and crouching are assigned to some hard-to-remember, hard-to-perform button combos. Luckily there's somewhat of a cover system to allow you to hide behind large crates and structures to buy you and the crappy controls some time, but it gets all the more tiring as the difficulty level increases. The least the game could do is change the weapon automatically once you run out of ammo, but that wouldn't be exciting, now, would it? Maybe not, but hell of a lot more comfortable in this gaming environment.

One thing I do like about the game is that the stealth adventure elements that were so out of place in the last game I played (The World Is Not Enough) are now much more interesting and a more credible part of the gameplay - even in this small format, but still, I'd rather see how they play out on a major platform. This game just wasn't meant to be.

007: NightFire is a promising game... but it doesn't belong on the Game Boy Advance. It's worse than ugly, and the controls are less than limited. I guess it's enjoyable in (very) small doses.

+ Sounds good
+ I seriously didn't think an FPS on the Game Boy Advance could be even semi-entertaining
+ The stealth and adventure elements finally feel like they're part of the game

- Looks terrible, and not just terrible, but messy and totally devoid of clear indications of friend or foe
- Extremely limited and uncomfortable controls

< 5.8 >

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