Bond is back! EA’s Agent Under Fire will appear on GameCube this spring and we’ve got some TOP SECRET INFO on 007’s next mission. Well, actually, the info isn’t all that classified, it’s just a preview and I’m overdramatic.
James Bond is undoubtedly the oldest secret agent in the biz, with decades of adventure in fictional literature and film under his belt. 007 has appeared in a few video games too, but it wasn’t until Rare’s Goldeneye hit N64 that the character’s true potential was realized in an interactive adventure. The game was a breakthrough First-Person Shooter, with a multiplayer mode that made all delays to the game immediately forgivable. So good was Rare’s outing with Bond, that countless fans hoped and prayed Rare would follow up its masterpiece with another Bond shooter game. Instead, Rare sent an agent of its own design, Joanna Dark, into action, producing Perfect Dark as the follow up to Goldeneye.
Meanwhile, Electronic Arts hungrily scooped up the Bond license and created a James Bond shooter of its own, although Tomorrow Never Dies was mostly presented in a third-person perspective and was generally considered a failure. Development of the next title was handed to British firm Eurocom, and they produced a game much in the style of Rare’s Goldeneye, licensed on Goldeneye’s movie sequel, The World is Not Enough. Although it was certainly an FPS starring Bond, it wasn’t quite as good as Goldeneye.
Then EA took the license in a different direction with James Bond Racing, which met mixed reviews. Now, Electronic Arts has ordered 007 into action once again with Agent Under Fire. Not based on any Bond movie, Agent Under Fire features a few familiar characters from the 007 mythos along with several new ones. Gameplay combines FPS style gameplay with driving levels which were created by some of the folks responsible for EA’s Need for Speed series. These driving portions of the game are supposed to be a lot of fun and a highlight of the game. Multiplayer deathmatching also comes into play, with support for up to four players and a variety of options.
Along with shooting, players will be able to perform various “Bond moves” in each level that heighten the cinematic experience and make it true to Bond’s character. Performing these moves correctly will earn points that work towards medals. Medals unlock secrets such as additional multiplayer maps, etc.
Already a high profile 2001 holiday release for PS2, Agent Under Fire will arrive on GameCube and X-Box early this year. Fortunately, EA is using the extra time to tweak the game a bit. Graphics will allegedly be touched up a bit, and AI bots—absent from the PS2 version, will be added to multiplayer deathmatches. However, there can be only four combatants total—either human or computer, so if you won’t be able to add additional bots if you have 4 people playing. Still, it’s better than not having them at all!
It’s unwise to expect this latest title to be as good as Rare’s classic Bond shooter, but it certainly has promise. Not to mention, it’s poised to be the first FPS on GameCube, which is something that won’t go unappreciated. There are rumors that Agent Under Fire will eventually be followed by another Bond adventure too, which will also hit GameCube… For now though, we’ll take on one mission at a time and see what develops. Agent Under Fire is currently set to be released on GameCube March 26th.