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View Full Version : Possibly the worst astronomy I've ever seen in a video game



BigJim
2003-Jun-25, 05:45 PM
I know this has been discussed in at least one thread here before, but I'd just like to elaborate on the end of James Bond 007:Nightfire. I am talking about the GameCube/Xbox/PS2 version in particular but I believe that the PC version has the same ending. Read it for the sheer silliness of it - it may bring you a few chuckles.

SPOILERS
















Basically, this is the worst video game ending I have ever seen in terms of science. As soon as I saw it, I thought, "Must post on BABB...... must post on BABB........must post on BABB..... "

I guess you develop that reflex after being here for a while. :wink:

For those of you who don't own the game, the last mission starts with James Bond on a space station called the "U.S. Space Defense Platform." A madman named Drake has taken over the station and plans to launch 12 nuclear missiles at Earth from it. Bond has to stop him. And so begins the worst video game mission with regards to astronomy, ever (wince):

The mission begins with a cutscene of Bond in a shuttle-type orbiter about to dock with the station. Of course we can hear the thrusters. The next thing we know, Bond is outside the station, with a spacesuit, and he seems to be on a solar panel like appendage. He exchanges some words with the villain and we're off, shooting people and trying to disarm nuclear missiles.

First, when you fail to disarm a missile, we see it launch (with sound of course) away from the station, but towards Earth. If I were in orbit and wanted to leave I wouldn't just thrust towards Earth. I would have to leave orbit by performing retrofire. I'm not really sure if the missiles could actually leave orbit by thrusting towards Earth, but it would certainly take far more propellant than simply performing retrofire.

Second, we have lasers that we can see before they hit something. There is a laser that fires at you that you have to avoid (that you can hear). There are people shooting lasers at you that you have to fire at. Even better, early in the mission we see an orbiter fly overhead sounding like a jet aircraft.

If you disarm all the missiles in time (by firing at their "launch couplings" which somehow mistargets them) you get to face the madman Drake. Of course, first the station has to explode. We are told that the power core is becoming unstable and will soon explode. Of course we are never told what the "power core" is or why it will explode (presumably it is a nuclear reactor, but we are never shown it). We fight Drake, who can launch missiles at us that we can hear. After shooting him a couple of times, the mission ends. Bond magically finds a reentry capsule and leaves the station with it. Of course he thrusts towards Earth again. As he leaves the station, we see a huge explosion preceded by a ring of expanding material. This is mentioned in the Bad Astronomy book. There is no explanation of why there is a ring. Nor of why there is a giant explosion. In space all you would likely see would be the station breaking up and maybe some red-hot pieces of it. But certainly not a classic explosion like the one we see.

Bond reenters the atmosphere backwards (he is facing in the direction of reentry), which makes a lot of sense. The next scene finds him back in his magical Bond car. We hear that "astronomers around the world are reporting unexpected meteor showers". Then, in the final scene, we see pieces of the space station reentering and vaporizing a few feet above the ocean. HORRIBLE ASTRONOMY! First, they assume that no one knew that the station was there, because if they did, the breakup would have been clearly seen. No explanation is given as to why pieces are coming so close to the ground or why fragments haven't been found on the ground. If a space station exploded and broke up, we would know it. Also, there is no explanation as to why the fragments reentered the atmoshpere instead of staying in orbit.

I'll probably think of some additional things sooner or later. One of them is the question, "How did these guys take over a space station?" Where did they get the spacecraft? Why didn't the US announce that their space station had been taken over?

And an additional point: Bond has the ability to magically move wherever he wants. In the normal game, there is a jump button and a crouch button. In the space station level, "jump" moves Bond up. When you stop holding jump, he magically stops moving up. "Crouch" moves him down, and when you stop holding it, he magically stops. So we have another instance where writers don't understand inertia, similar to the movie "Mission to Mars." He also appears to have unlimited maneuvering fuel. Even though we can hear everything else, though, we can't hear any maneuvering jets. In addition, there is something called the "spacesuit auto-stabilizer" which, when used, magically brings Bond upright (there is a definite "up and down" in this mission, even though we are in space) relative to the space station.

AHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! BAD ASTRONOMY IN A VIDEO GAME!!!!!!!!!!!

And so ends my review of possibly the worst astronomy in a video game, ever.

Alex W.
2003-Jun-25, 07:59 PM
Well, it's not exactly the most stunning FPS in the world either.

Now, Halo, there's some quality SF action.

Mr. X
2003-Jun-25, 07:59 PM
Egad man, this is Drake! He is powerfully evil and has lots of money and women. :lol:

It's only natural he can get any space station he wants! :D

The "no inertia" thing is there for two reasons...
1-Easier to program
2-It annoys the players (me included :lol: ). When there is inertia in a game I find myself cursing and shaking my fist in the air. "Damn you inertia!" I say.


First, when you fail to disarm a missile, we see it launch (with sound of course) away from the station, but towards Earth.
Bragging
This has never happened to me. I mean to let Drake the time to fire the missiles :lol: .
/Bragging



If I were in orbit and wanted to leave I wouldn't just thrust towards Earth. I would have to leave orbit by performing retrofire. I'm not really sure if the missiles could actually leave orbit by thrusting towards Earth, but it would certainly take far more propellant than simply performing retrofire.
It looks more impressive if they go straight at Earth 8) :lol:

It wasn't a LASER! It was a James Bond action dealy! Since you're playing in a movie, those are most likely nerf guns.

Besides, the laws of physics aren't laws to man as cool as James Bond. I mean we're talking about a man who has defeated thousands of anonymous henchmen (Note to enemies of James Bond: SCREEN FOR CROSSEYED-ness when finding soldiers!) and who wears no less than what most us can only manage to make in a year on his back as clothes at any given moment!

Besides we all know James Bond is irresistible, right? Why everyone knows the best of us would probably be seduced by the man's style and charm! Wouldn't you? Wouldn't you? I dare you! :lol:

Glom
2003-Jun-25, 08:01 PM
I should take this opportunity to point out that Super Mario 64 demonstrates frequent examples of inertia to a small degree as well as Netwon's Third Law.

Alex W.
2003-Jun-25, 08:01 PM
Actually, I love inertia in games. Some of the best "handling" in games is when the character (Mario, Dante, a car, or something) has some sort of inertia. Of course, I still wouldn't sacrifice my mid-jump direction changes for realism.

Glom
2003-Jun-25, 08:04 PM
Okay, Mario 64 does allow you to control movements mid jump, but he's in a magical world remember. :wink:

Mr. X
2003-Jun-25, 08:47 PM
So is James Bond! 8)

How many men have:
1-Slept with that many beautiful women
2-Killed that many crosseyed henchmen
3-Killed that many very evil people
4-Won that many times at blackjack
5-Worn around 50 000 $ in clothes, and everyday too
6-Stayed dry even in water
7-Had their hair combed in place automatically
8-Worn different 50 000$ suits depending if they are standing or sitting
9-Driven so many sports cars
10-Driven so many ultimate sports cars
11-Driven so many ultimate sports cars with machine guns and missile launchers
12-Driven so many ultimate sports cars with machine guns and missile launchers and that can be cloaked too!
13-Dazzled enemies by his raw good looks so much that they aren't even able to shoot straight anymore!

A teacher of mine called him "the anti-anti-hero". I guess he just meant hero :)

He is so cool. 8)

kilopi
2003-Jun-26, 07:03 AM
he's in a magical world remember.
Exactly.

So is James Bond!

How many men have:
Magic Johnson?

kucharek
2003-Jun-26, 07:25 AM
Second, we have lasers that we can see before they hit something.
There is a nice short story "The Hunt" by my favourite SF writer Stanislaw Lem. They hunt some malfunctioning mining robot on the moon and have laser weapons. It is explained that it is pretty difficult to target with the laser as the beam is invisible in the vacuum. So they load some bottles with compressed heavy gases they blow up in the area where the robot hides to get some artificial atmosphere.

Harald

Mr. X
2003-Jun-26, 07:49 PM
Magic Johnson?

I don't know. Is Magic Johnson James Bond? :lol:

g99
2003-Jun-26, 08:25 PM
Nightfire is one of the worst games i have ever player.

I shamefully got it for the P.C. thinking it will be the next goldeneye (this is before the reviews came out).

Oy! was that a mistake. The clipping is absolutely horrible in this game. You shhot a guy with a grenade and he lies flat and floats away off screen. Yes he floats away.

All of the olny good levels in the console versions were taken out of the PC version. No driving levels at all. In compensation we got a extra, really cruddy shooting level.

You steal a jetpack in the last level and are able to use it to ive yourself bursts of height. But you only get a few short bursts before you have to refuel, but the bad guy gets unlimited fuel.

One funny thing happened one time i played the final level (i played the level twice because i was really, really bored). The final battle with Drake had him float behind a stricture. I stood right in front of it waiting for him to show up around it and blast him. But he never did. He just kept of firing at the structure and killed himself. :-)

Sever
2003-Jun-26, 09:13 PM
This sounds like MOOOOOnraker!

Jocke
2003-Jun-27, 09:49 PM
(there is a definite "up and down" in this mission, even though we are in space)
There has to be. The game engine was not designed for space environments and have to have 'up and down' for the level design. A level editor without an 'up and down' would be absolute [hot place deep underground] to work with.
Besides, you have to have a frame of reference. I'm guessing real astronauts think of the shuttle belly as 'down' when working in the cargo bay, etc.

Ba Witda
2003-Jun-27, 09:58 PM
How many men have:
1-Slept with that many beautiful women
2-Killed that many crosseyed henchmen
3-Killed that many very evil people
4-Won that many times at blackjack
5-Worn around 50 000 $ in clothes, and everyday too
6-Stayed dry even in water
7-Had their hair combed in place automatically
8-Worn different 50 000$ suits depending if they are standing or sitting
9-Driven so many sports cars
10-Driven so many ultimate sports cars
11-Driven so many ultimate sports cars with machine guns and missile launchers
12-Driven so many ultimate sports cars with machine guns and missile launchers and that can be cloaked too!
13-Dazzled enemies by his raw good looks so much that they aren't even able to shoot straight anymore!


*Raises his hand*

Glom
2003-Jun-27, 10:05 PM
I'm guessing real astronauts think of the shuttle belly as 'down' when working in the cargo bay, etc.

Astronauts most certainly define up and down, even if it's arbitrary. Skylab I was the largest single spacecraft ever placed into orbit. It was extremely roomy inside. The layout considered that in zero g, there is no up or down and acted accordingly. The confusing orientations weren't very comfortable for the Skylab astronauts so future space stations were designed with this is mind and gave an arbitrary floor by making one side slightly darker IIRC. I was once watching NASA TV during Expedition Four and saw Yury Onufrienko crossing through the Destiny laboratory. He was essentially swinging his way across an abitrary floor. Mark Shuttleworth also made the same observation during his time on Soyuz TM-34 as described in The Daily Telegraph. Even in zero g, astronauts like a sense of up and down.

Jocke
2003-Jun-27, 10:25 PM
Even in zero g, astronauts like a sense of up and down.
Well, who wouldn't, efter living a whole life in gravity? :wink:

On a different note, has anyone played Ground Control or System Shock 2?[/hijack]

tracer
2003-Jun-27, 10:49 PM
"Down is toward the enemy's gate!" -- Ender Wiggin