Ah! Ack! Stay back!
Sorry, was just fighting off all the hate spewed at me for spelling Goldeneye: N-I-G-H– well you get the picture. But, let it be declared right now in the blackest of ink, I stand by my claim!
I’ll start by addressing my relationship with Goldeneye, because I assume there aren’t many of you upset that I didn’t say Quantum is tops in the franchise (though for the record, I do enjoy that game). I grew up on a heavy dose of Goldeneye, spending many a late night with one thumb on my joystick and the other palm wrapped firmly around the right handle. In middle school, my friends and I would congregate in a basement, altering between Goldeneye and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater (that’s an article for another day). Later on in college, I reacquired an N64 and promptly met a girl whose brother happened to have that magical grey cartridge. We began dating and thus I was permitted to borrow the game. When she asked for it back after we broke up, I sincerely considered making a desperate attempt at rekindling the fires of our paintball-mode infused love.
Long story slightly shorter, I dig Goldeneye. I really dig it. But that doesn’t mean it’s better than the game I enjoy most of all: Nightfire. Playing on my trusty PS2, Nightfire was the one game that I could enjoy with a multitap-requiring group of friends or home alone on some of my sadder Saturday nights. Fortunately, I was almost always able to find a mate to help me take down the array of AI bots and then grapple out of my grasp at the last moment, distracting me just enough that I’d get shot in the back by a Raptor .50 (damn you Ninja!).
I’ll be the first to admit that I do the majority of my damage with the guided missiles. Yes, that’s the cheapest way to play. No, the bots don’t ever join me in my kill fests. That doesn’t make it any less fun. The ideal level for this strategy is definitely Skyrail, where the mostly-open terrain made escaping a missile that was tracking you nearly impossible. That said, Skyrail is enjoyable for far more than my ethically-grey killing tactics. I’d argue it’s the best multi-player level in any FPS. It’s got plenty of space for tank/helicopter usage. There’s not one, but two buildings to have showdowns in. Each building has a rooftop that’s prime for sniping. Plus there’s a monorail you can ride around in. I’m not sure any game will be able to top that.
In addition to the multi-player magic, Nightfires‘ solo play is excellent. You play as James Bond in the likeness of Pierce Brosnan, though voiced by Maxwell Caulfield (you know, that guy from Grease 2). The storyline requires equal parts stealth, sabotage and strength as 007 has to find a way to bring down industrialist Raphael Drake. I won’t go into too many details on the plot here, but just know that it starts at a party and ends with exploding missiles at a space station, so basically the array of everything there is to love about James Bond. Any game where you can have quality sniping action and then eject missiles from a V12 Vanquish is a game that’s hard to avoid replaying.
With all due respect to the great Goldeneye, no Bond game holds a closer place to my heart than Nightfire. I still own a PS2 almost exclusively so I can play that game. Today, 12 years after its release, I can play Nightfire and enjoy it without relying on nostalgia in any way. That’s a feat that few games can boast, so I want to thank Eurocom for creating what is certainly one of my lasting favorites.