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GoldenEye: Rogue Agent Published by: EA Games Developed by: EA Games ESRB Rating: T for Violence For: GC, PS2, XBX, GBA, PC Version Reviewed: GC

James Bond has always been the epitome of cool. A suave secret agent, Bond has been played by Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and others. But this is a game that, although set in the ?Bond? universe, has very little of Bond himself. Largely, this is because the game is not Bond-centric. It follows a fictional character called GoldenEye (in this case referring to his gold mechanical eye which grants him special, electronic powers) who was discharged from MI6 for ?reckless brutality? following a training mission in which he allowed 007 to ?die.? In other words, if the training had been in real life, then Bond would have died. Anyway, classic Bond villain Auric Goldfinger offers the discharged agent a position in his organization, your character accepts, and off he goes into a massive gang war between Dr. No and Goldfinger?s respective camps. This game features villains such as Goldfinger and Dr. No, hat throwing Odd Job, GoldenEye baddie Xenia Onatopp, and Goldfinger henchwoman ***** Galore, as well as the star of The Man With The Golden Gun Francesco Scaramanga, voiced by the actor who played him, Christopher Lee.

Graphics

The graphics are simplistic at best, muddy at worst, in Rogue Agent. Cut-scenes are blurry, obviously ported from another system or computer, and often the frame rate staggered so low that I died because I couldn?t move. The graphics especially pale in comparison to games such as Def Jam: Fight For NY, Soul Caliber II, Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, or even Tony Hawk?s Underground 2. While none of these comparisons is entirely fair, given the difference in genres, they do show that much more can be done with any game. In short, Rogue Agent?s graphics feel unfinished, unpolished, and basically incomplete. On the other hand, all of the classic villains are just like what they looked like in the movies, and all of the lip-synching is spot on. Otherwise, there?s not much to say about the graphics in this game, save that they can go from presentable to shaming in the blink of an eye. It really is a shame, as well, given the amount of high profile games that have come out this year, the majority of which look quite good. The latter years of a console?s life cycle are supposed to produce better, more technologically mature games. This is just sad.

Game play

Rogue Agent is unlike any shooter I have played in almost ten years, even recent games like 007: Nightfire. The most recent releases it would compare to are the Serious Sam series and Painkiller; standard run-n-gun fair, which hasn?t been seen for years, and is now making an appearance again after a hiatus. Really, the last game that I played that was anywhere near this frantic was Wolfenstein 3D on the Mac. Even that wasn?t as violent, high-strung, or action packed as this game is. That?s not always a good thing. Weapons fill levels, but you can only carry two at a time. One gun for both hands, be it two shotguns, a pistol and a grenade, or a double-handed weapon like the rocket launcher or rail gun. Often it ends up being a question of whether or not you have enough ammo for the gun you are carrying. It runs out quickly, so the answer is often no. This means that the player is in a constant state of switching weapons, and with initially unintuitive controls, this often proves to be a trying task. Also, the difficulty level, even with auto-aim turned on, is extreme. Hordes of enemies give the orcs in The Lord of the Rings a run for their money, because you are literally being shot at every single step of the way. Even though health automatically regenerates after a few moments, the sheer amount of available body armor in the levels shows that the developers knew that the difficulty was too high. One level has your character running along the top of the Hoover Dam, shooting at multiple tanks with low rockets and low grenades, while helicopters swoop in, and enemies storm your position. It?s enough to make me cower in the corner in sheer terror. It gets that bad. To remedy this, the developers decided that they wouldn?t allow the player to open doors. This time honored clich? of the first person shooter genre has allowed player to use a simple button press to see if a door is open. It adds to the illusion that the level is much larger, and has been used since id Software released the original Doom on the PC in the early ?90s. Well, no such luck here. Instead, the good, thoughtful folks at EA Games opted instead for the automatic door technique. This greatly reduces the amount of time spent checking available doors, but also cuts down on the illusion of being a character in a game that first person shooters do so well. This all in the favor of having more action and harder difficulty.

Sound

The sound is, in every sense, the strongest aspect of the game. Never offensive, but always present, the sound ranges from excellent voice acting on the parts of Dame Judi Dench (M) and Christopher Lee (Scaramanga) to grade-A techno, pulsating your ears while you play. The techno adds to the frenzied feeling of the game, and helps drive the game along. The guns also sound quite good, with different discernable effects emanating from the barrels of each of the weapons.

Control

Once again, the controls in GoldenEye are some of the best around for a shooter. The game offers two control set-ups, one for those bound and determined to play the game just as if it were on the PC, and one for veterans of the Bond games of yore on the N64. And it really works well that both triggers fire the weapons, just as in Halo 2. The only strange button to press is the Z button, which does a physical attack and allows you to stun an enemy to take him hostage. Oh boy. Like that does much.

Appropriateness

Once again, EA Games fails to make a game that is family friendly. Given the subject matter, what more can be expected? While certainly not as sexually offensive like past Bond games, Rogue Agent still manages to pack a hefty dose of double entendre into this game, with characters like ***** Galore from Sean Connery flick Goldfinger, and Xenia Onatopp from the 1995 Pierce Brosnan iteration of James Bond, GoldenEye. For this reason alone, I cannot in good conscience recommend this game to anyone under the age of sixteen. In terms of violence, Rogue Agent is the same as, if not worse than, Halo 2, minus the blood and gore. This means that even if children play the game, they are really getting the same amount of violence of a quasi-graphic depiction of war that is represented in Halo 2. The violence is frustratingly intense, with area after area filled with enemies, planes, and screams of the dying. I mean that the amount of violence, and the ways it hits you are frustrating. I never throw my controller, but I came close to doing just that in Rogue Agent. You play an evil man working for the likes of one the most famous Bond villains, Auric Goldfinger. And while quite novel in its concept, the game falls flat in execution, making for a poorly done and offensive game. Rogue Agent starts off with a bang (007 ?dies?), and doesn?t let up until the end. It takes every single cheap shot in the book straight from Doom and Wolfenstein 3D, while not innovating or even providing decent graphics. It is not just a bad game on a moral level; it is a bad game in every sense of the word, from the violence, to the sexuality. Despite the Teen rating, this is not a game for teens, nor anyone who values game play, their personal sanity, or more importantly, their faith. Keep away at all costs.

Final Ratings

Graphics D Game play C- Sound A Control B Appropriateness F

Overall 75% C

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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