- Publisher: Nintendo
- Developer: Rare
- Release: Nintendo 64, 25 August 1997
- Genre: 3D Action
- Players: 1-4
- Save: Battery-backed, 4 files
For the uninitiated, Goldeneye is an adaptation of the James Bond film from two years beforehand. Don't you just love how we used to have to wait two years between a movie and its video game? It would have solved a lot of problems during the Atari age, let me tell ya. The game follows the movie's storyline, involving a set of spacebound EMP weapons stolen by a post-Soviet Russian crime gang. Pretty much all of the film's key scenes are re-created, from the pre-credits dam jump, to the St. Petersburg tank chase, to the climatic fight atop an antenna cradle. But the game builds upon the original story, either by extending existing scenes or adding new ones entirely. You know the level in the missile silo where the Goldeneye sattelites launched from? It doesn't appear in the movie at all. But it does help bring certain pieces of the story together, and more than anything, gives us some more game to play in.
|There are some characters|
whom you're not allowed to kill.
Unfortunately, the objectives you must accomplish on these missions are not always intuitive. Take the very first level, for example. On the Secret Agent (medium) and 00 Agent (hard) difficulties, one of the objectives is to attach a covert modem somewhere. Even if you read the pre-mission briefings, it is totally unclear where you're supposed to attach the thing. And you only get one of them, so if you throw it someplace you're not supposed to, you can't get it back, and you'll have failed your mission. (To that end, I'm glad the levels in GoldenEye are a little short, averaging about 5 minutes apiece, which is the stick I will beat Goldeneye: Rogue Agent and 007 Legends with to no end.) I'll welcome a break from the standard linear string of objective markers any day, but taking things too far the other way is right out as well. Throw me a frickin' bone here, is what I'm saying. And another thing, how come we can only equip non-weapon items from the pause menu? And why can I still get hit, or killed even, during the extra second it takes to run the pause menu transition animation?
|Some objectives are hard to find.|
Another sore spot one could also blame on the N64 hardware is the graphics. As I said before, I'm not one to depend on graphical proficiency in order to extract fun from a game. I do draw the line, however, when drops in the frame rate get in the way, which I'm sad to say happens quite a bit in Goldeneye. But let's be honest, were any video games out at the same time that much better-looking? And finally, I'd like to address the multiplayer mode. I'd like to, but I never had the friends to play it with on a regular basis, and there aren't any AI bots for us solo players to get our jollies with, so my authority's not the greatest on the matter. Judging from similar experiences in games like Perfect Dark and The World is Not Enough, however, I appreciate the degree of customisation available in setting up multiplayer matches, especially when you throw unlockable cheats into the mix.
So now comes the million-pound question: is Goldeneye still good? It's certainly playable, if that's what you mean, and potentially fun as well. Anybody who's been burnt out by the rigid linearity imposed upon us by all those Call of Duty clones should appreciate the relative freedom most missions give you in how you approach your objectives. (Although maybe too much freedom, as I explained a few paragraphs ago.) But that's just it: so many of the defences I could whip out for Goldeneye stem from the fact that it's not like today's crop of shooters. And yet not all shooters are like that; there are still shooters out there which emulate Goldeneye's business model as well, and are technically better for having built on its formula with improved technology and experience. Not that we'd ever have been blessed with them in the first place without Goldeneye, however. So yeah, it's still good, but it's not like I wouldn't change anything about it, either. Let me put it to you this way: if I had all the knowledge and resources to make whatever video game I wanted, and no licensing or trademark restrictions to worry about, I would make an updated HD remake -- not a reboot, a remake -- of Goldeneye. Actually, that would be my second choice behind making Mega Man Legends 3, but you should have picked up on that by now.
P.S. I am aware of Goldeneye: Source, a free, fan-made Half-Life 2 mod which emulates and expands upon the original's multiplayer mode. I like it very much, in fact. But I choose not to count it unless or until they work the single-player campaign in there.
+ The story follows the movie, but takes liberties in all the right places.
+ The level lengths are just short enough to encourage repeated play-throughs.
+ Responsible and then-innovative use of stealth gameplay.
+ Control options make the best use of the N64's controller.
- Some objectives are so poorly-described that you could miss them entirely.
- The frame rate is highly prone to slowdown during intense action.
Control: 4 out of 5
Design: 4 out of 5
Graphics: 2 out of 5
Audio: 4 out of 5
The Call: 75% (B-)