For Your GAMING ENJOYMENT Only
I accidentally played this after Nightfire, having come to believe that Nightfire came out first. That I was mistaken was immediately obvious upon booting it up, since Agent Under Fire is even more old fashioned than the already quite prehistoric Nightfire. Even though it's a PS2/Gamecube game, the default controls are based on N64's Goldeneye, where you're expected to use the left stick to turn instead of strafe. A dual analog preset exists, but the game's not set up to accommodate that control scheme. You have to hold down a face button to crouch, which prohibits simultaneous use of the right stick. This game's so old fashioned that it even has lives! There's no autosave, either. When you're done playing you'd better remember to return to the main menu and save your profile or your progress will be gone. I learned this the hard way.
Maybe it's because I played on Easy this time, but I had a lot more fun with this game than I did with Nightfire despite the latter being effectively the same game. I think the difference is that Agent Under Fire seems to be more aware of its own limitations and doesn't ask half as much from the player. There are no instant-fail stealth missions and no levels where you start out surrounded by snipers. I only noticed a single spot in the game that seemed to rely on infinitely spawning enemies, as opposed to the many in the game's sequel. There's a great emphasis on using your gadgets to find alternate routes or bypass dangerous situations. Bond Moments, which are pre-configured opportunities to do 'cool James Bond stuff' in lieu of straight gameplay, will sometimes instant-kill bosses by pushing them into vats of lava or crushing tanks under a collapsing bridge instead of requiring you to fight them head-on.
Context also helps things along. Agent Under Fire has the likeness of Pierce Brosnan in it, but it is otherwise a tribute to the cheesier films of the 1960s and 70s. The plot involves evil clones, you go into an underwater base and do an awesome rail shooting level where you drive a hover-car down a track super fast and smoke dudes with an AK-47, and the final level is a base on a snowy mountain called "Evil Summit". The music is also on point. When I used that crane to push a boss into a lava furnace, it played this awesome brass 'oops-a-daisy' stinger that I'm sure came straight out of Roger Moore's buttcheeks.
Listen, it's not a fantastic game I think everybody should play. In fact, the driving levels are pretty bad. In Nightfire the cars were used for straightforward speed gauntlets, but Agent Under Fire you have to drive around little open areas following blips on your radar and shooting other cars like a really limp Twisted Metal. For the main FPS gameplay, the controls are kind of a huge problem and some of the SMG weapons are crazy inaccurate. Some parts are tonally weird, like a cutscene in one mission where Bond accidentally breaks into some lady's bedroom while she's getting dressed behind a divider and just stands there getting horny at her silhouette, seemingly oblivious to the fact that he's in the middle of doing a really intense sex crime.
It's a really, really short game. I beat it in like 2 and a half hours. In addition to the weird inclusion of lives, this game's so old that checkpoints aren't really a thing. If you can, I recommend making use of emulator save states. Oh yeah, and the game doesn't have an ending. You kill the evil person, there's an explosion, and Bond jumps onto a plane. Game over. There's not even credits.
By laying the cheese on thick and providing alternate paths through missions, Agent Under Fire somehow manages to be more fun than many later entries in the 007 series despite being far, far behind the times. The driving levels are lame, though.