When bookmaker Ladbrokes first calculated the odds for the all-format Christmas number 1
, the pundits reckoned on Goldeneye Rogue Agent
being the favourite. And you can sort of understand the logic. Everyone loves James Bond, right? That last Goldeneye game, that was pretty popular, wasnít it? And FPSís, the masses just canít get enough of them, can they? And itís certainly true that EA knows how to effectively market a product to the average casual gamer. So on paper, Goldeneye Rogue Agent
must be a winner.
However, according to SPOnGís not-at-all secret intelligence, this is a non-sequitur argument. Everyone does love James Bond, but this game chews up the fantastic settings and characters laid out by the film and spits them back in your face in a big phlegmy splodge of Bond wrongness. Goldeneye
on the N64
was amazing (especially at the time of its release) and set the standards for a high-quality movie-game conversion; yet Rogue Agent
falls far short of these standards. And as popular as FPSs may be, alongside Half-Life 2, Halo 2, Doom 3
and such-like, Rogue Agent
has to be the weakest example of the genre released in recent times and it's clearly out-classed on all fronts.
Whatís most depressing, however, is that EAís understanding of the Bond license actually seems to be regressing instead of moving forward. Nightfire
and Agent Under Fire
, although little more than FPSs-by-numbers, were quite entertaining, even if they werenít anything particularly special. But they didnít sully the good name of any particular film, and could easily be forgiven as warm-up efforts in the early days of the licenseís execution. And then last year we were brought Everything Or Nothing
. It wasnít amazing either, but it was a step forward and the shift to third person was refreshing. Thanks to EAís enormous wallet, it did also feel like a close relative of the films upon which it was based. The mainstream press noted the high-cost production values of EoN as something indicative of the wider evolution of the industry. It brought with it positive connotations for the future, which it is has now comprehensively contradicted with a turgid bucket of lameness.