James Bond 007: Nightfire
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North American cover art
|Developer(s)||Eurocom, Gearbox Software, JV Games (GBA)|
007: Nightfire (also released as James Bond 007: Nightfire) is a first-person shooter video game featuring the character of the British secret agent James Bond and a sequel to Agent Under Fire, published by Electronic Arts in 2002.
007: NightFire was developed by Eurocom for the PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, and Xbox video game consoles. Gearbox Software developed the game for Windows using a very heavily modified GoldSrc engine (derived from the Opposing Force fork, also developed by Gearbox), which Aspyr later re-released for the Mac. The computer versions are substantially different from the console versions, featuring different missions and a modified story line. In 2003 Electronic Arts released NightFire for the Game Boy Advance, this time developed by JV Games.
The game marked Pierce Brosnan's fourth appearance as James Bond before the release of his fourth and final Bond film Die Another Day. His likeness was featured in the game, but not his voice, which was provided by Maxwell Caulfield.
Overall there are many weapons that the player can carry including grenades of various sorts and other types of explosives. In addition, there are numerous amounts of mounted weapons found throughout the game. As with previous James Bond games, the weapons that appear are based on actual weapons, but with the names changed. Some weapons appear in the console version but not the PC version, and vice-versa.
Each version of the game differs significantly from the others. The PC version, for example, has fewer levels than the console versions and does not implement driving mode. It begins the plot right at Drake's Austrian castle, skipping over the French mission. Also, in this version, Rook dies much earlier on, in the astronaut training facility that Bond infiltrates. The Game Boy Advance version resembles the PC NightFire more than the console versions. However, the very general overall storyline and characters remain the same in all versions.
In the multiplayer mode of Nightfire players can play in many different levels, including Fort Knox, from Goldfinger, Atlantis and the sub docking pen from The Spy Who Loved Me, and many Nightfire related levels, including Drake's castle, Drake's underwater base, and Drake's secret missile silo. Other levels include Skyrail and Ravine. The player may choose to play against AI bots with customizable reaction time, speed, and health. The amount of usable bots vary in the console version. In the GameCube and Xbox version, up to six bots may be used. In the PlayStation 2 version, up to four bots may be used and up to four humans can play. In the PC version, up to 12 bots may be used. The PC version also has an online multiplayer mode.
Some medals obtained will unlock new characters. Notable characters included from previous James Bond films include Francisco Scaramanga and Nick Nack from The Man with the Golden Gun, May Day and Max Zorin from A View to a Kill, Jaws from The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, Elektra King and Renard from The World Is Not Enough, Auric Goldfinger and Oddjob from Goldfinger, and Baron Samedi from Live and Let Die. Players can customize multiplayer settings before playing. However, one disadvantage to this is that the game will not save the alterations players make to the multiplayer mode.
The game's prologue mission starts in Paris, France, with James Bond (voiced by Maxwell Caulfield with the likeness of Pierce Brosnan) helping French Intelligence operative Dominique Paradis evade a gang chase while chasing a truck with a stolen nuclear weapon, before continuing in his car. After stopping the truck from blowing up the Eiffel Tower, Dominique and James celebrate New Year's Eve.
The British Government sends Bond undercover to a party in industrialist Raphael Drake's Austrian castle. M (voiced by Samantha Eggar) believes that the party is a cover for the exchange of a missile guidance chip between Raphael Drake and Alexander Mayhew, who manages the Japanese branch of Drake's industry, Phoenix International, and had stolen the chip from the United States. Phoenix is believed to be a front for weapon smuggling. M gives Bond the instruction for 007 to rendezvous with CIA agent Zoe Nightshade and Dominique, who is posing as Drake's mistress. While Zoe distracts the guards, Bond makes his way to the exchange and steals the chip. Agents Nightshade and 007 make an try to make an escape on a cable car, when Drake's bodyguard, Rook, attacks the cable car with a rocket-launching helicopter. Bond shoots down the attacking helicopter using rockets found in the cable car. James and Zoe then escape Drake's forces in an armored snowmobile before continuing in James' car. They rendezvous with Q (voiced by Gregg Berger), who takes them out of Austria.
After the breach, Drake threatens to kill Mayhew, should the operation fail. Mayhew contacts MI6, saying he will provide vital information if Bond comes to his rescue. At his Japanese estate, Mayhew is attacked by Drake's men, consisting of Japanese thugs. Bond fights his way through the estate and manages to obtain a file from Mayhew's safe. As they are prepared to make an escape from the estate, Mayhew is killed by a ninja. The file leads Bond to Mayhew's office at the Phoenix Building in Tokyo.
Bond is able to infiltrate the building while the guards are changing shifts and secures official NightFire documents. He is then attacked by Drake's men before Dominique provides a distraction, which allows Bond to escape via parachute off the roof of the building.
The NightFire documents lead Bond to a nuclear power plant being decommissioned by Phoenix International. Bond retrieves evidence of Drake's activities and escapes. However, he is then double crossed and captured by Kiko, Mayhew's former bodyguard, and turned over to Drake. On the top of the Phoenix building, Drake plans to kill Bond and Dominique, who has been discovered as a mole. Dominique is kicked off the rooftop and killed by Kiko. Bond escapes to the ground level before being saved by Australian Intelligence agent Alura McCall.
M sends Bond and Alura to Drake's private island, where Drake has set up a jamming signal. The pair infiltrate the island and eliminate Drake's defenses. M makes Bond aware of the UN, EU, and NATO forces arriving on the island to dismantle remaining enemy combatants. Bond makes his way to Drake's underground silo, fighting off Kiko before entering one of three space shuttles intending to capture the Space Defense Platform. Kiko incinerates in the blast pit when Bond's space shuttle launches. Bond reaches the U.S. Space Defense Platform, where Drake is. He successfully sends all eight missiles off course, saving millions of lives, and causes Drake's laser weapon to malfunction, leading to a huge explosion. Finally, Bond kills Drake. As the station goes up in flames, Bond blasts from an escape pod and goes back down to Earth, where M informs him that astronomers from around the globe are reporting "unexpected meteor showers" (which is actually the debris of the now-destroyed Space Defense Platform).
- Alexander Mayhew: The man in charge of the Phoenix International properties in Japan. When he betrays Drake, Bond tries to protect him from Drake's Yakuza thugs after failing to protect the stolen missile guidance module back in Austria (the disappearance of this item was the reason for Drake falling out with Mayhew), but Mayhew dies when a ninja shows up and stabs him in the back with a samuri sword. Mayhew is voiced by Ian Abercrombie.
- Alura McCall: An Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) agent who comes to Bond's aid in Tokyo and goes with him to Drake's island. She provides critical aid to Bond when he has to stop the nukes from launching of the space defense platform. She is first seen when collecting Bond from the Phoenix International building in Tokyo, giving him a lift from the building in her red sports car. Alura is voiced by Kimberly Davies.
- Armitage Rook: The head of security for Raphael Drake, and like many previous henchmen, he has the abnormal ability to survive the most dangerous scenarios. He has a big size of 6'6" (198 cm) and is massive built. He is first seen at a party in the Austrian Alps hosted at Drake's castle. When 007 and CIA agent Zoe Nightshade witness a secret meeting, Rook pursues them in a Mil Mi-24 Hind helicopter which is subsequently shot down by Bond. Rook manages to survive and returns later at the nuclear power plant not far from Tokyo in the mission "Chain Reaction" and also at Drake's Phoenix Base, bearing a scarred left eye and armed with a state of the art Samurai laser gun. Despite this advantage, he is killed while engaged in an intense firefight with Bond. In the PC version of the game, he dies when he is killed by the lethal blades of a huge fan inside a wind tunnel-like astronaut training facility; in the console version, he is killed much later on in the plot by Bond while inside Drake's underground shuttle hangar. In both variations, he dies while fighting Bond. Rook is voiced by Richard Whiten.
- Dominique Paradis: A French Intelligence agent met by James Bond whilst being saved in the mission "Paris Prelude". After she celebrates New Year with James, she then arrives the mission of the party to infiltrate Drake's Austrian Castle, in that she is trying to have a sort of relationship with Drake. Bond meets up with her later, in retrieving information on Drake, with a brief kiss interrupted by Zoe Nightshade. She then arrives later in the level "Nightshift", and after spotting and trying to assist Bond with infiltrating Drake's Phoenix Japan Headquarters. However, Drake later reveals that a hidden camera allowed to see this. Later, Kiko brings Bond to the top of the building, and Drake reveals that he knows of Dominique's true loyalties. Kiko takes her to the edge of the helipad to execute her, but Dominique knocks her gun away and engages her in a brief fist fight. Unfortunately, she loses the fight and is kicked off the building by Kiko, and falls to her death to the lobby floor. It should be noted though, that her fight with Kiko created enough of a distraction to allow Bond to escape. Dominique is voiced by Lena Reno.
- Makiko Hayashi (or just "Kiko"): Alexander's personal female bodyguard, very skilled in martial arts. She originally appears to be working with Bond and helps him to penetrate the Japanese branch of Phoenix International after Mayhew is murdered on Drake's orders. However, her true allegiance is revealed when she shoots Bond with a tranquiliser gun at the Tokyo nuclear plant; she then takes him to Drake. While on the top of the Phoenix Building, Kiko and Dominique get into a fight after Bond attempts to escape. During the fight, Kiko kicks Dominique Paradis off of the Phoenix Building's heli-pad, sending her down to the lobby floor and killing her instantly. Kiko continues to serve Drake from then on and attempts to kill Bond at Drake's island fortress by using a trap which drops the bridge leading to the shuttle, sending him in the shuttle launch chambers. However, Bond takes cover in the blast chambers and kills Kiko's men, forcing her to retreat. Bond activates the same trap Kiko had used on him only minutes before, sending Kiko into the launch chamber; Bond activates the shuttle and boards it. Kiko is incinerated in the launch chamber when she is unable to reach a blast chamber before the door closes. Kiko is voiced by Tamlyn Tomita.
- Raphael Drake: The Brazilian-Russian dual heritage owner of Phoenix International Corporation, is the main villain in the game. He poses as a humanitarian and an avowed opponent of the use of nuclear weapons, but in reality he is hoarding dozens of nuclear weapons for his own future use. He tries to take over world by hijacking space defense platform and launching its arsenal of nuclear weapons against major NATO bases in an attempt to wipe out global security. He is killed on the space station by Bond, who shoots him with a Phoenix Samurai laser gun before escaping the space station in a rocket, with Drake's corpse left floating into space as the rocket launches and the station explodes. Drake is voiced by Michael Ensign.
- Zoe Nightshade: A CIA agent who helps Bond in Drake's castle. Zoe previously worked with Bond on his last mission (Agent Under Fire). She is first seen in Nightfire when Bond sneaks into the library, where Bond also meets Dominique Paradis. After Paradis gives Bond the key to Drake's secret meeting, Zoe and Bond talk briefly about the mission, however Zoe appears to be jealous of Bond and Paradis's relationship. Zoe leaves and attempts to create a distraction for Bond but is captured under Rook's suspicion, although this may have been the distraction she was planning, and taken to the cable car outside the castle for interrogation. She apparently frees herself, as she is later seen defending it from Drake's men. Bond later defeats Rook, who is in a helicopter, from the cable car. Bond and Zoe escape by sliding down the cable car line and together they find a garage with armored snowmobiles. Bond and Zoe wake up the next morning in a small MI6 safehouse. It appears that Zoe and Bond had sex the night before. After shaking off Drake's men, Zoe and Bond get into his Vanquish car and rush to rendezvous with Q. This is the last time Zoe is seen in the series, as Alura McCall is later assigned to help Bond in his mission. She is well aware of Bond's relationships with women, as seen by her teasing nature when she encounter Bond and Dominique in Drake's castle. Zoe is voiced by Jeanne Mori.
|This section requires expansion. (October 2013)|
Critical reception of Nightfire has been generally positive. Many console critics mentioned that it had a well thought out and consistent plot. Some say it is the best 007 game since GoldenEye 007 and that it has similarities with Moonraker's story. Many reviewers praised the accurate James Bond model, as they said it is very realistic. It proved popular with customers and was re-released for the PlayStation 2 in December 2004 a Greatest Hits edition. The game has sold over four million copies, surpassed only by Goldeneye and Agent Under Fire.
Reviews toward the game have also pointed to the realistic animation of the James Bond character. In addition to this, graphically most users have also positively commented on the fact that James Bond and Pierce Brosnan look and move so much alike. However, while the console reviews have been generally positive, some critics believe that the main negative aspect of the game is its relatively short length. Critics also noted that Nightfire does attempt to steer away from previous Bond games (notably GoldenEye) and add a more interesting story line. Critics also derided the game's bots, as having difficulty navigating through the multiplayer maps; because of this, bots are not available in the map Ravine at all.
The PC version of the game, on the other hand, has been almost universally eviscerated by critics. Eurogamer gave the game 3 out of 10, while Computer Gaming World called it "the most incompetently crafted shooter in living memory", noting the game's poor art, terrible A.I., shoddy voice work, and highly derivative level design.
In 2008, PC Games Hardware included Alura McCall, Makiko Hayashi, Dominique Paradis and Zoe Nightshade among the 112 most important female characters in games.
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