Games I Own: James Bond's Nightfire

Written by Joe Martin

March 4, 2010 | 08:32

Tags: #007 #bond #fps #games-joe-owns #james-bond #multiplatform #spy-game

Companies: #ea

Technically, the title of this game is James Bond 007: Nightfire, but I really don’t want to have more than one colon in the title than I have to.

Anyway. I have something embarrassing to admit about this game, namely that I decided to buy it based on just one single feature, which I’d read about in a PC Gamer article – the ability to don x-ray specs. More specifically, the ability to use those x-ray specs to take a peek at ladies’ underwear.

Yes, that’s all it took and, no, you can’t make me feel any more ashamed about it than I already am. It was a simple lapse of taste on my part, that lead to me over imagining the depth of the game. Surely, if the developers have added that kind of feature then you’ll be able to do all sorts of James Bond type stuff!

Actually, no, you couldn’t.
As it turned out, Nightfire turned out to be a fairly run of the mill shooter. Not good, but not truly bad either. It was clearly and cleverly influenced by the grossly superior No One Lives Forever spy games, but it lacked the charm and wit and instead felt like a shallow imitation of a real 007 experience – which it was. The supposedly epic plot was really quite lame, the villains transparent, the multiplayer lacklustre and the voiceovers poor.

Games I Own: James Bond's Nightfire
Like the car? Tough. It isn't in the PC version.

Functionally though, it was OK. The actual combat sections could be quite fierce and the fact that you could roll out Bond’s gadgets, like a laser-cutter watch and a tranquiliser pen, made it feel pretty cool at points. It’s just a shame that so much of the game is based within such incredibly predictable levels. With a bit more creativity and imagination the game it could have been ‘maybe pretty good’, but the environments always felt static and dull, so the game ended up as just ‘OK, maybe’ at best.

It wasn’t aided by the fact that the PC version of the game didn’t have many of the features that the console variants had. The Gamecube, Xbox and PlayStation 2 versions all had car chases and extra levels, while the PC version was trimmed down and nothing by shooting.

It was one of the first games where I properly became aware of how a game could differ over the supported platforms. Googling through cheat codes and guides in an attempt to find extra content and hidden areas – I was sure there must be some, because there had to be more to that game than that – bought up numerous references to the cars and unlockables of the PlayStation version. The PC game had no such extras though.

Games I Own: James Bond's Nightfire
With an outfit like that, who needs x-ray specs?

I’m not really sure why I’ve held on to Nightfire all these years. I don’t hate it, but I’m unlikely to ever play it again and I couldn’t honestly label it as a title I’d enjoy or recommend except to occupy an past, impoverished, teenage self. The experience I had with it though has somehow stayed with me. Perhaps it’s because I learned a bit about how games were marketed from it. It might be because it marks a point where my taste in games matured a little more, spurred on by disappointment.

Then again, I might just be holding on to it because you can use the game to look at girls through x-ray specs.

Random Trivia: The company which developed the GameBoy Advance version of Nightfire, JV Games, claims that it was the first GBA title to use a full 3D engine.

Number of times I’ve completed it: Twice. I’m honestly not sure why I played it the second time though.
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