There should be more games that let you play as a spy, mostly thanks to the combat opportunities, great locations, and puzzle-solving elements that can be utilised. But when you look at the library of games available, there aren’t many spy games out there; especially in the modern era. Sam Fisher of Splinter Cell fame comes to mind, whilst James Bond games should be money makers, but apart from GoldenEye, they’ve all fallen short.
So with The Spy Who Shot Me we have not just a parody of GoldenEye 007 but a parody of the whole spy universe. Does it work?
Whether you like spoofs or parodies will determine your enjoyment of the storyline and writing of this game. It takes the James Bond world and turns it upside down as you play Agent 7, working for the agency M169. It takes you on a spy journey around the world to different locations, but don’t get your hopes up because this is very much a retro FPS and you won’t be seeing that old friend Ray Tracing in a game like this. I quite enjoyed the parody element though, at least initially. But very quickly the jokes started to wear thin.
The gameplay is exactly as you would expect of an old retro FPS. You get armed with a pistol and off you go on a mission to get somewhere, moving through corridors and locked doors that need opening. Enemies will either be waiting in a room for you to kill or they will come flying at you in droves, leaving you to take them out. In the first few levels, the enemies aren’t even armed with guns; just wine bottles and other melee weapons. But soon they are shooting back at you through the levels.
As well as shooting with your pistol, you can throw knives at your foes. As you progress you find other weapons to help you on your mission too, including grenades, shotguns, and rifles. You have health to collect, dotted around the stages, as well as that all-important ammo for your guns. The Spy Who Shot Me isn’t ever as hard as other FPS games in terms of limited supplies though, and I never felt worried that I would run out of ammo.
The Spy Who Shot Me is mostly a corridor-based affair; quite linear. There are a couple of moments in the game where you have a timer or have to collect a few things to open a door, but overall it’s a simple FPS. There is a speedboat section and some skiing that breaks up the shooting, but, overall, it’s all very simple.
However, checkpointing is lacking and if you die you may well end up backtracking a bit. Further, the gameplay doesn’t feel fluid and – for me – playing for anything more than fifteen minutes at a time made me feel a bit sick. Maybe it was the motion. Or the old-school visuals.
In terms of those visuals, The Spy Who Shot Me looks very much like GoldenEye 007, from the character design to the level design. It lacks some of the charm though, perhaps because it doesn’t take itself so seriously. And whilst the menus are fine, there isn’t a pause button to help out in times of need. Well there is, but it doesn’t stop the action. Expect some decent voice work though, delivering cheesy lines.
The Spy Who Shot Me is going to divide opinion. For the price, I think it’s worth taking a gamble, especially if you love old-school FPS adventures. With that in mind it’s good fun and pays a decent homage to that genre. But if you are after a sequel to GoldenEye, then you might be left disappointed. The Spy Who Shot Me is fine, but it doesn’t feel very polished and it failed to hit the funny bone I was looking for in terms of humour. I also found the gameplay and mission structure a bit too old school. In fact, it grew tiresome at times.
On the flip, there aren’t many spy games out there, so The Spy Who Shot Me should be applauded for adding a new option to the library.