007: Nightfire (Windows)

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Written by  :  Zovni (10665)
Written on  :  Jul 01, 2005
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  1 Stars1 Stars1 Stars1 Stars1 Stars

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The name is Crap. Generic Crap.

The Good

Mr. Bond returns to the PC in the form of a console conversion thanks to the nice folks at Gearbox, the same folks that handled the Halo Pc version... seems like these guys make it their business to bring crap to the pc but what the heck, let's see what Bond's up to this time.

The game starts in the right track by providing a completely original fmv intro sequence filled with all the trademarks of a Bond intro: a nonsensical but sexy song, half-naked chicks posing around, flying guns and LCD-induced imagery plus the ever present shoot-at-the-iris Bond sequence. And this is just the beginning, the game licensed all aspects of the Brosnan-era Bond, complete with the Aston Martin from the "Die Another Tomorrow isn't Enough" or whatever the hell the last film was titled, the music theme, and all the characters. On the Bond scale of authenticity this game ranks pretty high.

As you already know Nightfire is an fps and as such takes you to quite a varied collection of locales and settings, from a tropical jungle, to an european castle, a skyscrapper, a Japanese mansion and even a space station! Variety is certainly very high in the levels of Nightfire. This can also apply to the weapons and gadgets used by our man Bond which includes practically the entire arsenal of CS plus some original weapons as well as classic gadgets like the laser wrist-watch used to break locks and Q-specs which give Bond a choice of thermal vision, light amplification and x-ray vision (which allows you to see the underwear of the female characters ;).

uhm... that's all I guess.

The Bad

Ok, where to begin... Good god is Nightfire awful! This has got to be one of the most generic, insipid and uninspired fps I've played in recent memory with practically no remarkable features to speak of. The game basically throws you into a series of levels which include objectives such as planting a computer virus, destroying this or that or finding X person (all stuff related to the abysmal plot which I'll get to later on) problem is regardless of what your objective is, the levels play the same always. Bond's franchise allows for some serious spy action (and the whole stealth/action thing is certainly in vogue nowadays) however the game never exploits this. All the levels have you killing hundreds of goons until you reach your objective, the gadgets aren't integrated in the gameplay and instead replace "reaching the level's exit and pressing a switch" with planting a bug or using a breaking a lock with your wrist-watch, and the inclusion of scarce "Bond moves" which are just a fancy way of calling the semi-stealth parts (ie. shoot an energy generator to shut off the lights) only hint at what could have been a better title. There are some levels which include a sniping sequence or have you protecting someone else, but like the rest of the game, they are poorly done and boring as hell. Only one part in which Bond has to fend off hundreds of enemies while descending an elevator managed to surprise me a bit, but that's it.

The game plays more like a Serius-Sam clone than the serious shooter it's trying to be and this takes it's toll on the premise and plot of the game as much as in the gameplay. As another reviewer noted, the first mission is one of the worst examples of this, as we are asked to believe that Bond "skillfully" infiltrates a private party in a castle after he had a massive firefight with automatic weapons and grenades in the castle grounds... Later levels have Bond walking around with a missile launcher (??WTF??) and clearing buildings and mansions of goons just so he can reach whatever he's supposed to.

To be fair I found the later maps to be adequately complex and interesting, but they are basically just a third of the game's maps, the rest have as much depth as an amateur CS map. And to top it off the levels are filled with the most idiotic AI enemies I have seen, you can shoot a missile and kill 3 guys in a corridor, but unless you open the door leading to the office and actually make visual contact with the others that are in there they won't react to your presence! :) Guess Bond slipped them some drugs in the morning coffee and that's why he isn't concerned with being sneaky and all that... Anyway, when badguys do shoot at you they try to do it through walls or themselves, they also get stuck in the most puzzling situations and are more a danger to themselves than to you (such as rocket-launching baddies trying to shoot through the floor to get to you :) . And increasing the difficulty to higher settings only brings back fond memories of Unreal bots as the enemies remain as retarded as ever, but have dead-on accuracy and can hit you from a mile away.

The graphics in the game are.... well, they are "adequate" in the sense that they don't completely suck ass, but they won't win any awards either. Some maps and the female models look good (in fact the female models look VERY good) but the rest is extremely bland and boring to look at with lots of flat textures, practically no lightning effects and more clipping errors than I care to remember. I'll admit that the specular highlighting is well done (with every babe having that ultra-glossy lipstick shine that makes them look as if they just ate fried chicken) but that's it.

Then there's the story... man I guess taking potshots at a Bond story is pretty much redundant but this one is even worse than the movies. I mean, ok, I can get the "Evil-business mogul wants to destroy the world" crap and the inclusion of ridiculous amounts of sexy babes and cars just for the sake of it, that's Bond-style storytelling and I can perfectly understand it (besides it's still only half as ridiculous as your average Metal Gear Solid story) but the plot of Nightfire makes absolutely no sense. Not only is it horribly un-original but it tries to inject "twists" with as much subtlety as a fist to the face. For instance in a particular moment the plot comes to a dead end as Bond pretty much screws things up, and just as he's about to be shot to death a car flies out from nowhere and that hot babe that you saw somewhere reveals herself to be a superspy and already knows what the bad guy's next move is going to be and takes you to his lair in the next level... Not even Halle Berry's inclusion in the last flick was as shitty! Add to that characters that betray/ally with you for no particular reason except to somewhat stir things up plot-wise and some of the most poorly written dialogue in videogame history and you just know you have a winner in your hands.

Heck, the dialogue alone deserves a special mention, as Bond spouts catchphrases and one-liners that wouldn't be funny even if Arnold Schwarzenegger said them in an Austin Powers movie, (with a voice that sounds NOTHING like Brosnan's, I really don't know what the hell the people that say it sounds like him were smoking but believe me, it doesn't sound like him at all) It's almost funny sometimes as Bond seems to be in an alternate dimension and doesn't really listen to what everyone around him is saying, plus he talks in the same weird language that his movie's titles are written in.

Characters are cardboard cutouts devoid of any charm or personality, and they come and go into the plotline as they please with no explanation given. I still don't understand how the hell did most of the characters get introduced in the story, Allura for instance just pops in saying that she's a super-spy and that's it, and if someone could tell me why the bad guy's bodyguard lost his eye between a few levels and hates Bond I would be really grateful (actually no, as I don't give a shit). Some of these gigantic plotholes could be explained with the omission of the vehicle sequences from the console version which were surely the only fun things in the game and (of course) they had to be removed for the PC version so it could be a completely mediocre title. But while those missing sequences might explain why our heroes are in a car in the cutscene that follows the level that you just ended (with no car in sight, mind you) I doubt it magically patches all the holes in the story.

The Bottom Line

Even if it had the vehicle sequences from the console versions I can hardly understand why anyone would want to play this piece of crap. Nightfire is a complete mess, a shallow, boring and generic game with a story that could only appeal to retarded monkeys and which gives as much fun as smashing your head against a brick wall. For spy-themed fps action the NOLF games blow this piece of rubbish out of the water (but then again, pretty much any game does).

On an interesting sidenote I am most pleased to see that only PC-reviewers are throwing shit at this game (not just here on Moby, but anywhere you look) while console gamers go "Nightfire rulz!!" thus confirming my belief that console gamers wouldn't know a good fps if it leaped out of the tv/monitor and shot them in the face.