Next to possibly proudly have the Looking Back Medal of "Meh" pinned to its dinner jacket is one of the hard-to-discriminate-between Bond games. Perhaps it's really good?

Released: 18 November 2002
Developer: Eurocom / Gearbox Software
Selected titles (Eurocom):
Batman Begins (2005)
Predator: Concrete Jungle (2005)

Goldeneye 007 (2010)

Women. Girls. Babes. Objects. THINGS. Whatever you're going to call the air-headed lesser sex in this misogynistic parallel world, James Bond is sick of them. I know this, because for a precious few hours I was Bond. I saved the world, you know. And I did it despite the fact that every five minutes I had to shake off the latest female trying to dry hump me. I reckon that beneath that greasy fa├žade James Bond is actually tired of the two-dimensional adulation from the opposite sex. I bet he just wants them to leave him alone and let him disarm bombs and deactivate laser beams, because when you're doing that Nightfire can, sometimes, be quite good fun.

Not the shooting, though. That's horrible. In what is, I suspect, a bid to keep the classification low enough to let the little ones be super spies, shooting people doesn't really seem to do much. Oh, they fall over, sure, but I was never quite sure why. The guns go 'bang', but nothing comes out. Your bullets don't impact anything. Sometimes a man will hop about a bit after your gun goes 'bang', as if he's hit his thumb with a hammer, making pained faces and holding the smarting appendage. Sometimes the scenery will kick up a bit of dust if it sees the 'bang', but I'm certain this is just the power of positive thinking at work on nature's part rather than any act of physics. This is the real unspoken twist in Nightfire: you are actually filming a movie. You're not James Bond, you're Pierce Brosnan. These are blanks, those are stuntmen, and the reason girls keep sticking their tongues down your throat is because the director made them.

No, the real fun in Nightfire is the gadgets. More No One Lives Forever than N64's Goldeneye, they're a fun bunch of non-violent options and tactical resources. Nothing groundbreaking, but still enough of a reason to make those stuntmen work for their money. Burn off locks with your laser watch, fire a grappling hook from your phone and best of all, oh, by far best of all, put on some x-ray specs. The game only ever reminds you that you have them a couple of times, and neither then very energetically, which surprised me, because they're extremely useful. Before reaching each fire fight, slap them on and count the henchmen. Suddenly Arkham Asylum's Detective Mode has a forebear. The game made little fuss over this gadget's potential, unfortunately.

Then it's only a matter of time before your subconscious pokes you about what you originally associated the phrase 'x-ray specs' with, and you're immediately reminded how you thought life should work when you were thirteen-years-old. Don't wonder why women's skin is impervious to x-radiation, it must be all those things in bottles they rub on. For me, the glasses stopped being about counting hatchet men and started being about marvelling at the lengths the developers went to texturing different undergarments for the game's dozen or so women. (They went a long way.)

Oh, the game's alright. The story is enjoyable enough, a little tune plays whenever you do something suitably Bond and, most importantly for games of this era, the ladders were well-realised: grippy yet unconstricting (8/10 would climb again). There's nothing worth howling in agony over, nor writing a review on your blog about, for that matter. Mediocrity, we have arrived.

Nightfire Gallery

Oh man, I'm going to run out of Medal of Meh medals at this rate.

2 Responses so far.

  1. SOOOO Much Nostalgia

  2. You know, since having played Goldeneye: Reloaded on the PS3 I can at least say that Eurocom are consistent.

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