Ssssh. Calm down. I know, it’s difficult not to mention this game without feeling a trembling of excitement, even now, but we’ve got to try and be sensible about this. It’s a game, an old game by today’s standards and nothing more.
WHAT??!? AN “OLD” GAME??!? ARGUABLY THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT IN FIRST PERSON SHOOTER HISTORY, AND YOU REFER TO IT AS NOTHING MORE THAN AN “OLD” GAME???!
Cripes, my split personality has decided to grace me with his presence for this review. And for once, I have to agree, he’s got a point. I can’t remember a game before Goldeneye where the enemy reacted so realistically. Except maybe Hitman:Codename 47.
Yes, this is true, hence Goldeneye was years ahead of its time. If I could be allowed to continue without such frequent interruption? A nod will suffice…
Right, so in a big step away from the old formula of James Bond games (which, if memory serves, Gremlin Graphics had the rights to them all and were supposed to be releasing them at a rate of 1 a year), Rare brought us this frankly staggering epic for the Nintendo 64, and boy was it popular among both the casual and hardcore gamers alike…
Ahem. Yes. In a bold progression in FPS history, Goldeneye dropped you into the world of James Bond, a world made up of polygonal enemies with texture-mapped faces, a high frame rate and amusing animation, half-decent enemy AI, and oodles of fun. With the 4-player split screen multiplayer mode, much fun was to be had sniping and killing your friends, but it’s the single-player game that worked so well on its own that helped in the quest to be a massive hit.
TALK ABOUT THE STEALTH! TALK ABOUT THE STEALTH!
Alright, yeah, I’ll get to that now. Without a shadow of a doubt, the highlights of the piece were the stealth sections. There weren’t many, but it was very often better to creep along and not disturb the guards instead of charging in all guns blazing. In fact, for some levels, it was essential. Getting into a firefight, especially on the harder difficulty levels was not a sensible option.
Whilst we weren’t talking Metal Gear Solid levels of stealth, we were talking the kind where silenced weapons wouldn’t disturb a man from his duties. Memorably, climbing through a vent into the toilets on mission 2, and shooting the guard in the head, only to find you’d actually just shot his hat off, and he hadn’t noticed! Now that’s stealthy…
NO GAME’S PERFECT! STOP GIVING GOLDENEYE A HARD TIME!
Whilst Goldeneye had a lot of things, well, not exactly WRONG with it, but you know what I mean… There was a hell of a lot more right with it. But I’ll tell you what really hit the mark for me… after you complete the game, on a hard enough difficulty level, you open up a couple of extra missions. With the addition of Moonraker Lasers and the Golden Gun, these are a fitting tribute to James Bond movies as a whole, not just Goldeneye. But the ultimate moment was the unlocking of 007 mode.
WOW! THAT SOUNDS LIKE AN AMAZING FEATURE! WHY DON’T MORE GAMES FEATURE THIS STROKE OF GENIUS?
HAVE YOU EVEN BEGUN TO TALK ABOUT THE GAME YET???
Well, no. Not really. Most of the game follows the plot of the film, although there are a couple of unrelated missions (the excellent Frigate mission, for instance). Each mission contains several objectives that must be met, on the harder difficulty levels there are usually more objectives to complete. For some, stealth is the order of the day, for others there’s the chance to get involved in a bit of an altercation, but one thing is for sure, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got some cover if you want to survive the harder difficulty levels.
These days, the game probably does look a little dated. But it has to be said, the game stunned the gaming press at the time, and even now it’s considered one of the benchmark titles. Hence the impending re-release of the game (in enhanced form) on the Nintendo Wii.
We shall have to wait and see. I don’t know how they can make a mess of it, the winning formula is there, it just needs bringing up to date. And the multiplayer taken online.
But still, you should play the original, see where the FPS as we know it finally came of age, with serious and realistic graphics, serious gameplay, and serious amounts of fun.
I’M OFF NOW. GOODBYE.
Thank God that’s over.