Although I doubt anything will ever live up to Rare's
exquisite "Goldeneye", 007: Agent Under Fire
from Electron Arts (EA) holds up quite well.
The first thing you need to realize is that this is a PS2 game. It looks and feels a lot like
Grand Theft Auto 3 and Spy Hunter, and tends to lean more to an arcade style of gameplay than to a purely skill driven
first person shooter, like Goldeneye. It follows then, that this game is extremely easy. Surprisingly easy, as a matter of fact.
I was able to get through most missions on the first try, mainly because of the copious amount of body armor
placed all over this game. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. It is quite enjoyable to not be killed
every 5 minutes and the ease keeps the frustration level very low.
"Agent Under Fire" is played primarily in the first person, however, there are a variety of circumstances in which you'll
find yourself. One mission you might play in classic first person, the next mission you're driving a sweet BMW around a city.
The car is equipped with missiles, guns, smoke, everything gadgety. This mode is quite entertaining and you can think
of it as Spy Hunter. Also, there are missions, where you find yourself manning the turret of a tank, blowing up
everything in your path. The variety is a nice feature and it is integrated
quite well, however, it never really feels right; like you're playing something other than Bond.
The game is divided neatly into 12 missions, with each mission consisting of several objectives. The objectives
are the normal Bond fare like using your laser to cut a lock, or rescuing hostages. The game also offers
a bronze, silver, and gold medal system based on various stats and mission time (much like the Star Wars series).
This gives some incentive to replay
the missions, and it is fun the first few times through, but not enough so to buy the game.
The graphics are great (I forgot which system I was playing until I realized I had a PS2 controller in my hand),
but the controls could use some tweaking. I felt that strafing was unnatural (either the L1/L2, or right analog stick),
and you'll experience some confusion when switching between gadgets and weapons. Otherwise, L2 works well for manual
targeting and all the other controls are what you'd expect.
In conclusion, "007: Agent Under Fire," will satisfy that Bond craving you have had, and it is truly a fun game to play.
However, if you are expecting a real Bond experience; difficulty, stealth, and excellent AI, you'll be disappointed.
It's the perfect renter for the Christmas vacation. Happy ending and all.