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Agent Under Fire

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007: Agent Under Fire is a first-person shooter video game based on the James Bond franchise. Developed and published by Electronic Arts, it was released in the Fall of 2001 for Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox.

Agent Under Fire is the fourth Bond game which is not based on a film or book in the James Bond series. It follows Domark's The Duel, Nintendo's Game Boy RPG James Bond 007, and EA's own 007 Racing.

Story

CIA agent Zoe Nightshade, a mole in the Hong Kong based Identicon Corporation, is discovered and captured. Identicon, a botanical research firm, is a possible front for a weapons-smuggling ring. James Bond infiltrates the facility in an attempt to rescue her, as well as retrieve a suspicious courier case in the same building. After freeing Nightshade from a submarine set to launch, the pair flee the facility with the courier case. Nigel Bloch, the head of Identicon, has his forces chase the agents through the streets of Hong Kong. The two steal a second case of vials from a nearby Identicon factory. They then rendezvous with R, who provides Bond with a gadget-laden BMW Z8. A limousine pulls up, as an assassin inside launches a rocket at the agents, killing Zoe, and steals the case. Bond gives chase, stopping an armored van which contained the stolen vials.

The vials contain nine blood samples, eight of which contained blood of world leaders. One contains the blood of British diplomat Reginald Griffin, serving in Romania, who is obsessed with protecting a room, outside of his jurisdiction, in the embassy. Bond investigates the embassy, finding Griffin dead, before a similar-looking man attacks him. After overcoming him, Bond finds a message from Bloch on Griffin's computer that mentions Malprave Industries, based in Switzerland. Bond takes the information from the computer and escapes.

At Malprave Industries, Bond, posing as a journalist, sees that the CEO is a woman he met at the embassy, Adrian Malprave. After collecting evidence, he makes his escape from the faciilty. Analyzation of the computer message from Romania mentions "Damaged Goods," believed to be a codename for Dr. Natalya Damescu, formerly in the employ of Malprave, now under protection at the British embassy in Romania. She also has inside information to offer. Carla the Jackal, an infamous terrorist who also killed Zoe, leads a raid on the embassy. Bond fights the terrorists before running into Damescu. After a confrontation with the Jackal, Bond picks up a data chip on something known as Poseidon, and delivers it to R for analysis.

The chip leads Bond to an oil rig in the South China Sea. After running into Bloch, Bond follows him into Poseidon, an underwater base devoted to clone development. After destroying the lab, he climbs onto a submarine bound for a Royal Navy aircraft carrier. On the submarine, Bond finds Zoe, who reveals that the woman he "saved" from the Identicon facility was a clone meant to infiltrate the CIA, and that the Jackal intended to kill Bond.

Depending on whether or not the player picked up the verification code, Bond and Zoe are either captured or are taken to the carrier unharmed. In either case, the pair investigate the ship. It is discovered that 8 world leaders have been cloned, and are to be replaced by the clones. Bond destroys the craft carrying the clones, and the pair make their escape. They arrive at Malprave's base in the Swiss Alps, where Bond saves the eight world leaders. Before he can escape the base, however, he encounters Malprave, who has set the base to self-destruct. She reveals Bloch is still alive, and that Bond had killed his clone. After an encounter with him, Bond follows him into the main office and kills him. He manages to escape the base before it explodes, taking Malprave with it.

Characters

  • James Bond: Also known by his codename '007', Bond is a British Secret Intelligence Service agent, and the protagonist of the game, sent to investigate the beholds of Identicon, associated with Malprave Industries and track down the vials containing the blood samples of many world leaders. Though the likeness of then-current James Bond, Pierce Brosnan had been used in the three games prior to Agent Under Fire, Bond's character model in the game is rather generic. Claims have been made that the design of Bond in the game was intended to be an amalgamation of all the actors who had portrayed 007 up to that point. Other sources have claimed that the design was modeled after Adam Blackwood, the actor who voices Bond in the game.
  • Zoe Nightshade: A CIA agent, gone missing in action while investigating Adrian Malprave. She was cloned after her capture, whom Malprave would use to infiltrate the agency she works for. The clone was killed at the early stages of the game by Malprave's henchwoman, Carla The Jackal, with a missile, which was meant for Bond and not her. Later, she was found by Bond in a submarine, to whom she reveals Malprave's deadly schemes. She is said to be modeled after an unknown Canadian model, and was voiced by Sydney Rainin-Smith.
  • Adrian Malprave: The main antagonist of the game. She is the head of Malprave Industries, whose intention is to take over the world by kidnapping eight world leaders and replacing them with cloned doppelgangers. Despite being the evil mastermind, she never battles Bond personally but rather sends in her henchman on her behalf. She is voiced by Corina Harmon.
  • Nigel Bloch: An international terrorist who moonlights as the CEO of Identicon, a subsidiary of Malprave Industries. He secretly works with Adrian Malprave in her scheme for world domination and acts as her proxy in battle, confronting Bond with a rocket launcher and jet-pack during the final fight. He is voiced by Denny Delk, perhaps most notable for voicing the memorable role of Murray in the Monkey Island series of video-games.
  • Carla The Jackal: Malprave's extremist henchwoman; Carla is determined to kill Bond in order to satisfy her pride and prejudice. Her name is a play on a real life criminal named Carlos The Jackal. She is voiced by Erin Cahill.
  • Reginald Griffin: A British diplomat, working in the British Embassy in Switzerland, is a world leader himself whose blood sample was found in the vials. He was killed before Bond could get to him, who in return was encountered by Reginald's clone, whom he neutralizes in the process. Investigating his profile and personal computer in his embassy headquarters, Bond learns about Malprave Industries. He is voiced by Joe Paulino
  • "R": He is Q's personal assistant and second-in-command in the Q-Branch, reserved for providing Bond and every other 00-Agent with the latest high-tech gadgets and vehicles for his assignments. He is voiced by Miles Anderson.
  • "M": She is the head of the British Intelligence or the rather known MI6 to which Bond works for, often briefs 007 his missions and contacts him through earpiece for further information to be supplied with during a progress. Her character is modeled after Judi Dench's portrayal of the character but never makes a physical appearance. She is voiced again by Caron Pascoe, who had previously voiced M in the video game adaptations of Tomorrow Never Dies and The World Is Not Enough.

Multiplayer

Starting with GoldenEye (video game) and continuing on with The World Is Not Enough, multiplayer support in a James Bond game has become a staple. The multiplayer mode in Agent Under Fire features up to 4 players, with the option for AI bots in the Xbox and GameCube versions.

Weapons and Gadgets

Agent Under Fire features over fifteen different types of firearms as well as other weapons. Each firearm is based on a real firearm, but is given a pseudonym, the same manner as the weapons in GoldenEye 64, and The World is Not Enough. Most of the gadgets are concealed in a mobile phone, including a decryptor, grapple, laser, and remote transmitter. Bond is also provided with a card that disrupts electronic signals, as well as a jetpack.

Production

Agent Under Fire originally began as a port of The World Is Not Enough for the PC and PlayStation 2 [1]. The game was intended to be one of the first titles to be available for the next-gen console, and after a series of promising screenshots & adverts were released to the public, the video-game was eagerly anticipated by Bond fans and game enthusiasts alike. Nevertheless, despite a seemingly excellent production flow, several cutbacks and rearrangements at EA resulted in numerous members of the game's development staff being laid off. In early 2001, production of the game was suspended and it's spring 2001 release date was delayed. After speculation that the game wouldn't meet sales expectations due to the fact that almost two years had passed since the film's debut and interest had declined, the game was officially scrapped.

Once all troubles at EA had settled down, a new development team was put together and production of an altogether new game quickly began, creating a new story, new characters, and modifying the unfinished "The World Is Not Enough" engine for the new title. Though the PC and PlayStation versions of The World Is Not Enough were ultimately canceled, several elements from these games made their way into the finished version of Agent Under Fire:

  • Many character models were recycled for Agent Under Fire. If one looks closely, the henchman carrying the case of vials in the beginning cinematic of "Trouble in Paradise" is Lachaise.
  • The design of Nigel Bloch is essentially a modified version of what would have been the character model for Renard.
  • The character and look of Adrian Malprave retains many elements of what was originally the character Elektra King.
  • Two levels in the game end in a submarine dock enclosure, which were most likely derived from the level, "A Sinking Feeling".
  • The case of vials obtained in level 1 would have also appeared in "Courier."
  • Various wall plaques and doors seen in the Romanian Embassy and Malprave's Office are identical to the ones that would have appeared at the Banque Suisse de L'Industrie Building in the "Courier" mission.
  • Several elements from the lower levels of Malprave's base were taken from the nuclear bunker that would have been the stage for the level "Masquerade."
  • The computer screens in the Poseidon Lab as well as the wall screens in Malprave's Control Room feature visible schematics of the King Pipeline and pipeline transport rigs, both of which would have been seen in "Flashpoint."
  • "Forbidden Depths" in Agent Under Fire seems to be a redesign of a brand new level which would have been set after "Flashpoint", taking place within the King Pipeline aboard transport rigs.
  • The Cyclops Oil Platform contains several environments that would have appeared at Zukovsky's caviar factory.
  • The streets of Bucharest & Hong Kong seem to be an amalgamation of the outdoor environments from "Courier", "King's Ransom", "Thames Chase", "Underground Uprising", and "Turncoat."
  • It is unknown if any driving levels were to be included in the canceled game but the appearance of the BMW Z8 is directly taken from The World Is Not Enough.
  • Several cues of music that appear throughout the game were recycled from the PlayStation release of The World Is Not Enough.
  • Almost all the weapons that appear in the game would have appeared in The World Is Not Enough, including the Frinesi, PS100, and Defender.

Reception

Upon release, the game received generally mixed reviews. Many critics praised the game for it's technical qualities, with the GameInformer reviewer calling the character models "astounding". Likewise, some reviewers felt that the game was a step up from the previous entry in the series. However, many also felt that it was far from living up to GoldenEye. The GameSpot review criticized the game's difficulty, citing the game as too easy and providing little challenge and poor level design.

on Metacritic, the game has a metascore of 74,[1] 72,[2] and 71[3] for the Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox, respectively.

References


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