007: Agent Under Fire
Yeah, I said it: Episode III
Okay, here's the thing about this game. It's fairly average, as far as FPS games go, though it did take the basic Goldeneye story mode give it a fresh coat of paint for the GameCube generation. There's some pretty solid variety between on-rails shooting, some driving sequences, and the different environments, and the game has a couple points in levels where you're given the option to think like James Bond: shoot the steam pipes to take out 3 guys instead of just shooting each of them individually, or shoot the chandelier to cause it to fall on someone rather than just shooting them. Small potatoes, but it's a nice creative touch, and the game rewards you after the level for finding those little easter eggs. All in all, it's a surprisingly good, but not great game.
Save for two things...
Thing 1: I wish ALL games that gave cheats based off of your performance in a certain level used the same system as this game. Games like Rogue Squadron or Goldeneye, when you needed to perform at a certain level in order to access a certain cheat or earn a medal could learn a lot from Agent Under Fire. What Agent Under Fire does is grant you points for accomplishing certain goals like getting so many kills or beating the level in xx number of minutes.
Now, in Rogue Squadron, if you failed ONE stat, you didn't get the medal and had to start over again, regardless of whether or not you blew the other stats away. It was all or nothing.
In Agent Under Fire, the more you beat the goal by, the more points you get. So in the end, if you've earned enough points, you unlock the cheat. What this does is allow you to maybe not be as fast as they would like, but if you use that time well and keep your accuracy or kill count high, it'll compensate, and you can still get the cheat. It lets them hold players to a standard, without making everyone play the game the exact same way. This game was a near-perfect demonstration of how to do a cheat system like this.
Thing 2: the multiplayer was fairly standard, but had a couple gems buried inside of it that I just can't ignore. The first isn't that big of a deal, but I do miss games that had bots in the multiplayer. Creating a super-awesome bot and then signing up a few friends to help take them down was a good time, and a fun little co-op mode my friends and I made up.
The second thing this game did right in multiplayer was the Q-Claw. In the single-player missions, the Q-Claw was a grappling hook that would attach to certain small patches of the level so you could swing up to them.
But in multiplayer, the Q-Claw attached to EVERYTHING. Walls, floors, ceilings, roofs, windows... just about the entire level became fair game. This threw a HUGE twist on levels as people began flying around the level like Batman. All of a sudden, what would have been pretty similar to Goldeneye's multiplayer (and fairly unoriginal) turns into something totally unique if you enable the Q-Claw. You were finding yourself getting to hiding spots NO ONE was thinking of and made the entire stage into the playing field.
007: Agent Under Fire is a legit contender for title of Best James Bond-Based Video Game Multiplayer.
Yeah, I said it.