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Now also released onto Ninty's next-gen format, Agent Under Fire brings Mr Bond and all his hi-tech gadgetry, weapons and vehicles to Gamecube owners. Already released on both PS2 and X-Box, the title has often been met with considerably split opinions on whether it's good or whether it's simply not. I'd like to think I can see both sides of the argument. Let's start with it's good features. The graphics are clearly crisper and smoother than the PS2's which suffered largely from 'jaggedies', and does give this GC version some polish. Game audio is satisfactory if not totally convincing, with Bond's accent believable, weapons sounding suitably meaty where necessary and car engines realistic. The multi-player mode is accomplished and doesn't just look as if it's been tacked on as an afterthought by EA. Also, if you rarely have up to three friends round, (or just simply don't have any friends - it happens!), you can use 'bots' to make up numbers. So what are the less convincing points about the game? It is difficult to put your finger on anything too specifically that you could say is poor throughout the title, but something is definitely amiss. The levels do seem fairly linear admittedly, but they're still fun. There is a nice mix of action throughout the game - though largely being a first-person shooter there are driving levels whereby you actually drive a vehicle as well as others where you're being driven and have to shoot others chasing behind and around you. The controls for the game are fiddly at first but no worse than getting used to any other FPS on a console. But something is simply 'missing' from the whole experience. It just doesn't absorb the player as I think it should. I hate the constant comparisons that are made between this and Goldeneye on the N64 - they really can't be compared as the N64 title is somewhat different being totally stor
y-driven around a specific Bond film and really is still leagues ahead of this title as it stands. The story within this game is pretty wafer-thin and it feels largely to be a whole pile of different missions loosely bolted together. The game needs to be played for an extended period perhaps to fully appreciate what I'm trying to get across. To summarise, Agent Under Fire IS a good game, is fun for at least a while and should be given a chance by everyone even if only through a weekend rental. The difficulty level can seem disjointed from level to level and that immersive quality that takes an FPS onto the next level of greatness just isn't there. It's the only game of it's type on the GC at the time of writing and no doubt will do reasonably well. There's much better on the way though.