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|James Bond 007: Agent Under Fire|
|Developer(s)||EA Redwood Shores|
|Engine||id Tech 3|
|Platform(s)||PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox|
James Bond 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 for PlayStation 2, GameCube and Xbox game consoles. It is the fourth Bond game which is not based on a film or book in the James Bond series, following James Bond 007: The Duel, James Bond 007 and EA's own 007 Racing. The game's story arc continues in the following sequel, Nightfire, released a year later. Unlike previous Bond games which featured the likeness of then current Bond actor Pierce Brosnan, Agent Under Fire used the voice of Adam Blackwood and the likeness of English actor Andrew Bicknell for Bond.
Agent Under Fire features over fifteen different types of firearm, 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 007, 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.
The multiplayer mode in Agent Under Fire features up to four players, with several unique arenas to host multiplayer battles in. The multiplayer games can also be played with one player against an AI player.
CIA agent Zoe Nightshade, a mole in the Hong Kong-based botanical research firm Identicon Corporation, is discovered and captured while investiging Identicon as a possible front for a weapons-smuggling ring. James Bond (Andrew Bicknell) infiltrates the Identicon facility in an attempt to rescue her, as well as retrieve a suspicious courier case in the same building. After rescuing Nightshade from a submarine set to launch, the pair flee the facility with the courier case. Nigel Bloch, the head of Identicon, has his henchmen chase the agents through the streets of Hong Kong. The two steal a second case of vials from a nearby Identicon factory, then rendezvous with R, who provides Bond with a gadget-laden BMW Z8. A limousine pulls up, and a figure inside fires a rocket at the agents, killing Nightshade, and steals the case. Bond pursues in his new car, stopping an armoured van containing the stolen vials.
The vials contain nine blood samples, eight of which contained blood of world leaders. One contains the blood of Reginald Griffin, a British diplomat serving at the British embassy in Bucharest, Romania, who is obsessed with protecting a room, outside his jurisdiction, in the embassy. Bond investigates the embassy, and also encounters a strange woman after bursting into her room. He pretends to be a lost security guard and obtains a security card to Griffin's office. In the office, he finds Griffin dead, before a man, identical to Griffin, confronts 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 the Malprave Industries' branch in Switzerland, Bond poses as a journalist and notices that the woman he encountered at the embassy is actually the CEO: Adrian Malprave. Knowing that she will recognise him, he plans an escape. After collecting evidence, he makes his escape from the facility. Analysis of the computer message from Romania mentions "Defective Merchandise", believed to be a code name for Dr. Natalya Damescu, formerly an employee of Malprave, now under protection at the British Embassy in Bucharest, the same one in which Griffin was serving as a diplomat. She also has inside information to offer. Carla the Jackal, an infamous terrorist who also killed Zoe in Hong Kong, leads a raid on the embassy. Bond fights the terrorists before running into Damescu. After a confrontation with the Jackal, Bond kills her and picks up a data chip on something known as "Poseidon".
The data chip leads Bond to an oil rig located in the South China Sea. After running into Bloch, Bond follows him into Poseidon, an underwater base devoted to cloning. After seemingly killing Bloch and destroying his lab, Bond escapes the complex by climbing onto a submarine bound for a Royal Navy aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean. Onboard the submarine, Bond finds Zoe Nightshade, still alive, where she reveals that the woman he "saved" from the Identicon facility was actually a clone meant to gain information from Bond on what MI6 knew about Poseidon and then to infiltrate the CIA, and that the Jackal had intended to kill Bond.
Depending on whether or not the player picked up the verification code, Bond and Zoe are either captured and taken to the brig, or have a sexual encounter as the submarine is automatically piloted to the aircraft carrier. In either case, the pair investigate the ship. It is discovered that eight world leaders have been cloned, and are to be replaced by the duplicates. Bond destroys the craft carrying the clones, and the pair make their escape. They head back to the Malprave Industries building in the Swiss Alps, where Bond successfully rescues the eight world leaders. Before he can escape from the base however, Bond encounters Malprave, who has set the base to self-destruct. She also reveals that Bloch is still alive, and that Bond had merely killed his clone. After a firefight with him, Bond follows Bloch into Malprave's main office and shoots him with a rocket launcher, sending him crashing through a stained-glass window to his death. Just as Bond manages to leap free of the base before it explodes, Malprave appears and tries to jump clear too, but is consumed by the blast and ultimately killed. Bond lands on a military aircraft being commandeered by Zoe, and together they escape the smouldering base.
Agent Under Fire originally started as the PlayStation 2 and PC versions of The World Is Not Enough, and was based on a modified Quake III Arena engine. In 2001, the PC version was cancelled, and the PlayStation 2 version was remade as Agent Under Fire. Before going further in development, the studios' original plan was to bring Roger Moore to reprise his role as Bond. In the end, however, the behaviours between Moore's interpretation of the character and the one in this game shared identical attitudes. Andrew Bicknell provided the voice and likeness of Bond for the game. However, his casting was not widely reported, and several video game magazines released at the time, such as PlayStation World erroneously reported that Bicknell's Bond was an original generic character invented for the game.
Similarly, originally John Cleese was to reprise his role as "R" from The World Is Not Enough. Cleese had previously played R in the PlayStation and Nintendo 64 versions of The World Is Not Enough and 007 Racing, and production footage of the game released showed Cleese's likeness and voice. However, due to copyright reasons, Cleese's likeness was replaced and his lines redubbed by Miles Anderson, who had imitated the voice of Desmond Llewelyn's Q in previous games. Anderson used the same voice he had used for Llewelyn's Q when voicing Cleese's character. Cleese did however reprise his role as R in commercials for Agent Under Fire.
EA stated in several gaming magazines that Bond would be going "back to its roots", as the game was originally designed to be a true successor to Rare's 1997 GoldenEye 007. Early promo screenshots of the game reflected this, featuring the GoldenEye healthbar.
The Cincinnati Enquirer gave the PlayStation 2 version three-and-a-half stars out of five and called it "Slick, sexy and jam-packed with action — but this adventure is short with limited playability over time, except perhaps for its multiplayer modes." However, it later gave the other two versions a score of four stars out of five. FHM gave the PS2 version three stars out of five, stating, "There is the usual mix of chick[s], cars and guns to keep even the most special of agents happy." Maxim also gave the PS2 version six out of ten and stated that "At last you’ll infiltrate the secret lair, where you’ll discover…you’ve been playing a very standard-issue game."
By July 2006, the PlayStation 2 version of Agent Under Fire had sold 1.5 million copies and earned $58 million in the United States. Next Generation ranked it as the 30th highest-selling game launched for the PlayStation 2, Xbox or GameCube between January 2000 and July 2006 in that country. Combined sales of James Bond console games released in the 2000s reached 4 million units in the United States by July 2006. The PlayStation 2 version also received a "Platinum" sales award from the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA), indicating sales of at least 300,000 copies in the United Kingdom.
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