Budget Shooter Theater #2: 007: Nightfire’s dreadful PC version.

Since I’m more of a writer than a Twitch streamer, I’m gonna be doing recaps and info dumps of Budget Shooter Theater streams alongside regular blog posts for those who wish to keep up. Mainly so I can keep tabs on things, and have records for everything.

After playing the absolute classic The Ultimate Doom with a litany of cool GZDoom mods, I eventually pulled up the “Decision Wheel,” which was me using the site Wheel Decide to determine the next game I was going to play. It landed on 007: Nightfire, requested by Bobinator, a friend of the site.

You’re probably thinking, “Oh! I remember that game! That game was amazing!”. Yeah, it was amazing. On a Gamecube, a PS2, even an Xbox. But that’s not the version I was playing on stream. I was playing the less-than-stellar PC version, released around the same time and developed by Gearbox Software.

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In hindsight, this is quite the blandest James Bond game cover. Pierce Brosnan and one of the girls in the game. Couldn’t add a bit more excitement, EA?

Back in 2002, Gearbox Software was contracted by EA to make a PC game loosely based on 007: Nightfire. At this time, Gearbox was still a plucky fresh-faced developer, piggybacking on Valve’s Half-Life games. It wasn’t until 2005’s Brothers In Arms: Road to Hill 30 did they actually get to make something entirely original that wasn’t based on an existing license or a port of something like Halo: Combat Evolved.

Loosely inspired by the 1979 Bond film Moonraker, the plot involves Bond (portrayed by but not voiced by then-current Bond actor Pierce Brosnan) investigating the plot of a philanthropist who decommissions silos and does charitable work, when in reality he’s making missiles for Operation Nightfire, which would destroy the whole world. It’s a typical Bond story for the era. Not full of pastiches like 2001’s Agent Under Fire, but certainly not the more “serious” Bond that Daniel Craig brought to the role in 2006.

I don’t know where I read this, but I heard apparently Gearbox wanted to make a Bond game based on You Only Live Twice, but was told to make this instead. The only other things of note is the story written by Danny Bilson, the man who would later sink THQ thanks to the trainwreck that was Homefront, which had a butt-ton of promotional ads; and one of the mappers for the game was Marc Schroeder, who worked on the Poke646 Half-Life mod as well as maps for the aborted version of Counter-Strike: Condition Zero that Gearbox was working on.

Other than that, it’s a pretty mediocre Bond game. Not the best, but certainly not as awful as, oh say, Goldeneye: Rogue Agent. Clearly the console version is the superior product here. I wouldn’t actively seek this game out except for curiosity’s sake.

Since this game was made back in the day when Windows XP was considered the platform standard, it hasn’t been optimized well for modern machines. Indeed, my physical copy refused to run because I wasn’t running it as an Administrator, and forcing it to run as Administrator resulted in a whole lot of bupkis. Eventually I downloaded a fan-patched version to make it run on Windows 10. Even then, it still wasn’t without its problems:

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Might as well call this “ROM CHECK ERROR.”

While I don’t usually advocate piracy, the game is no longer available for purchase legally, and EA hasn’t had the James Bond license in years, so for all intents and purposes it’s considered abandonware. If you’re curious to play it yourself, you can go to http://www.nightfirepc.com, which pretty much has the full game on there updated to work on modern machines, though it still has flaws like the problem above.

This playthrough happened in two parts. The first part covered a fair chunk of the game, even featuring the aforementioned graphic glitch shown above. The second part didn’t go nearly as well, and I abandoned it after dying so frequently to enemies with laser-focused guns and with little health. Both parts had Bobinator, my friend and the person who requested the game, on it. I bounced between having him on stream to eventually doing it solo, and in hindsight I should’ve kept him tagged along for the whole ride.

After quitting Nightfire in disgrace, I went onto the next game that the Decision Wheel gave me: Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, which you can read about here.

PART ONE (streamed on December 17, 2016):

PART TWO (streamed on December 23, 2016):

BONUS VIDEO:

I felt real bad the next day that I didn’t finish Nightfire despite the show’s original premise being about beating these. I was probably tired at the time, and I didn’t give the game a fair shake. So I finished the game off stream. I ended up beating the game on Operative difficulty, which was somewhat easier than Agent, the difficulty I was playing on originally. If me struggling through the second part made you question my gaming skills, then this bonus video might make me look somewhat more competent.

Budget Shooter Theater is was a stream series where I tried to play and finish as many first person shooters, third person shooters, and light gun rail shooters as I could, with occasional guests. It lasted for about 7 games spread throughout various Twitch streams from 2016-2017. While I abandoned this idea in mid-2017, the articles are still up for posterity.

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B.J. Brown

B.J. Brown is the creator and sole writer on You Found a Secret Area. Casually writing since 2010, Fascinated by dumb things like game shows, music, and of course, video games. Also on Twitter. You can support their work on Ko-Fi or Patreon.

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