You Need To Play 007: Nightfire Again
The bitter winter wind is gushing into my face as I peddle downhill, one hand clasped frozen to the handlebars and another toasty warm from the beaming heat of a two-for-Tuesdays Domino's.
My backpack was carrying the weight of a sugar-filled Lucozade four-pack and a pack of Moam stripes, but it was only hurtling me down the hill faster and towards the beanbag on the floor of my mate's bedroom.
11-year-old me would never have imagined that blaming the next three hours of poor skill on pizza grease and sugar crashes would have been my best gaming memory, but alas, here we are, remembering how deep into the fire of the night we found a forgotten game in a lucrative franchise that demanded more respect that it given.
007: Nightfire might not be the first game in the James Bond franchise that you think of when you cast your minds back, but with GoldenEye getting a deserved remaster this year, it's about time we revisited an era of gaming that lit my burning gaming desire and honour this spectacular title.
Succeeding A Giant
Released in 2002, Nightfire was perceived as the next step forward from GoldenEye, a timeless classic. Although it had the weight of a generational anomaly on its back, much like my bike ride, this only pushed Nightfire forward.
Backed by Electronic Arts, rather than MGM and Nintendo, the console variations of the game proved to be much more well-rounded than that on PC and Gameboy, so let's stick to consoles. In an era when the PS2 and original Xbox were breakneck technology, 007 Nightfire was quite the breakthrough.
Few players will remember the campaign/story missions, as they soon get washed up in the James Bond franchise that seems ecliptic. The story was good enough to convince players to get involved, though.
Featuring the Peirce Brosnan James Bond, albeit voiced by Maxwell Caulfield, players visited a number of Bond's villains and featured typical MI6 car chases and stealthy assassinations. However, who cares? It's all about the multiplayer, and this is why you should already be dusting off your PS2.
A gripping multiplayer experience
Truth be told, I was never very good at 007: Nightfire, I'd always beg my companion for another round, attempting to catch up and find some momentum. But it was the first game ever that had me saying, "Best two out of three," and subsequently, "Damn, best out of five then?"
Infiltrating Fort Knox on multiplayer was a stroke of genius, and the gunplay was quite exceptional, considering Call of Duty came out the next year with a similar level of movement and shooting mechanics.
While many young shooters will remember Rust as the arena where disputes were settled, 1v1'ing with an intervention in hand, only those who sniped from one castle window to the other in Nightfire could truly be crowned as gaming jocks.
Even though CoD would soon come into play, and From Russia With Love ramped up the graphics, 007: Nightfire retained the love of many players who preferred the cheesy sniping mechanics and incredible long-range maps that needed no help to become iconic.
As the first-ever new-gen console-supported James Bond game (moving on from the Nintendo 64 that hosted GoldenEye), 007: Nightfire had a multiplayer experience that was to be marvelled at, and although it didn't necessarily blow critics out of the water, it blew the minds of two eleven-year-old degens who rushed home from football training with a pizza in hand to spend yet another night in front of our screens.
The James Bond franchise is reawakening with GoldenEye becoming adapted for current consoles (Xbox One and Nintendo Switch) as early as next year, so why shouldn't you be tempted in to dig out the old consoles?
Over the Christmas period, when family and friends will gather in the frost and snow, there's only one game that can determine who the ultimate gaming master is.
Forget monopoly, forget Uno, forget FIFA, and forget Modern Warfare 2, dig out 007 Nightfire, load into Fort Knox, pick a castle, pick a window, and snipe away. Loser downs the eggnog and eats the last sprout.