In a little over a month a franchise that has spanned 40 years, 20 films, 12 video games, and seemingly countless novels, makes its debut on Macintosh computers with Aspyr Media’s release of James Bond 007: Nightfire.
You can’t talk about a Bond game without recognizing the standard set in 1997 by Rare’s release of Goldeneye 007 for Nintendo 64. It’s amazing when you reflect back on Goldeneye as a definitive evolution in first-person shooters (FPS). It is equally amazing to realize that in the seven years that have followed Goldeneye’s release, no one has yet to surpass, much less equal, the effort. Unfortunately, the Bond franchise has a bit of a monkey on its back and the real question we’re forced to answer with each subsequent release is, “how does it measure up to the superlative?”
While the verdict isn’t earth shattering, it is uplifting. Nightfire is perhaps the best Bond effort since Goldeneye 64 (outside of the current console release), but how much is that really saying? Inside Mac Games had the opportunity to shake and stir a beta build of James Bond 007: Nightfire, and the results might surprise you.
Where everyone knows your name…Everyone knows James Bond. Most everyone has a favorite Bond “moment.” The 007 franchise is so embedded in our cultural landscape that nearly anyone you meet has been imprinted with some sort of composite of the world’s most famous spy. At least that thinking seems to be where Nightfire derives its narrative inspiration. Drawing on, and remediating, several popular moments from the franchise’s mythos, Nightfire tells the story of James Bond as he finds himself on the trail of Rafael Drake- a corrupt businessman who is attempting to use an orbital super weapon to destroy the world.
In order to accomplish this, James Bond must shoot and sneak his way through nine levels ranging in locale from an Austrian castle, a Japanese mansion, and a South Pacific island; ultimately concluding aboard an international space station.
Now, of course you’re not left to rely solely upon boyish good looks and wit. You’ve been issued a license to kill and are properly supplied with means to exercise that allowance. Throughout the game, you have access to 13 separate weapons of moderate to mass destruction. Highlights of that arsenal include the mainstay Wolfram P2K pistol, the Suisse M9-32 Commando submachine gun, Winter Covert Sniper rifle, and the Phoenix International Laser Rifle.
That’s not even including the signature Q-Gadgets. You have access to your laser watch, cell phone grapple, car key stun gun, and PDA decryptor. Some gadgets have very prescribed and linear uses, but others (such as the stun gun) allow from some very enjoyable havoc. The grapple wasn’t functional in our build of the game, but I expect that to add greatly to game play.
After you’re finished saving the world, there is a multi-player mode that supports up to 32 Mac-to-Mac players across 15 maps in death match, team death match, or capture the flag scenarios.
We weren’t able to get in a lot of multi-player, but we played enough to see that it is a solid feature. The ability to add competent bots until you reach the limit of 32 players is a nice addition as well.
Players might be disappointed by yet another Aspyr title being limited to Mac-to-Mac networks, but for a solid response to this trend I suggest reading IMG’s recent feature; One on One with Glenda Adams (Part 20).