- Original release year: 1997
- Consoles: N64
I think GoldenEye is another game that everyone remembers the first time they played it. At least, people my age, in their late 20s/early 30s do. Personally, I didn’t have an N64 in its heyday (I bought mine some point after I’d picked up a Dreamcast), but I had a few friends who had one and I used to go over my best buddy’s house and we’d play it almost every time I went over. The multiplayer was just so good and its mostly this it is remembered for.
What’s strange about the legacy the multiplayer left and it being so revered, is it was actually an afterthought, that was added at the last minute. Even the level design for many of the levels, although classic, were simply lifted from parts of the single player game. It’s the polar opposite of what First Person Shooters are like now, when the single player mode is the afterthought (and that’s when there even is one).
The story mode in GoldenEye 007 was really good. It shows its age now, but you know, I cranked it out recently and it’s still fun. It follows the story of the film for the most part and does so really well (if I remember right – I haven’t actually watched the film in over 10 years and it’s probably been just as long since I completed the game too). Rare did an exceptional job of recreating the look and feel of the James Bond films, featuring weapons and gadgets from the film. Each mission has a set of objectives, which only increase in number and depth as the chosen difficulty level is increased. There are 3 difficulty levels – Agent, Secret Agent and 00 Agent. It was such a simple idea and worked so well.
In terms of gameplay, GoldenEye revolutionised the First Person Shooter, particularly for consoles. The use of a single analogue stick and clunky control feels a bit dated now, but the single player and multiplayer modes are still fun nonetheless. GoldenEye introduced some mechanics that are still pretty awesome today, like shooting someone in the arm and watching them clutch their arm in pain. Or shooting someone in the balls and watching them clutch their balls in pain.
GoldenEye was the first and only James Bond game to be developed by Rare. Afterwords, Electronic Arts took over the licence and went on to to have a few different developers produce James Bond games. The next film, Tomorrow Never Dies, was bizarrely chosen to be adapted into third-person shooter and was exclusive to the Playstation. I guess, The World is Not Enough, developed by Eurocom for the N64 (and a PS1 version handled by the Tomorrow Never Dies developer) was what tried to be the sequel to GoldenEye, but the change in developer showed. It was a decent game, but not up to the quality GoldenEye established. Rare, instead, went on to work on the spiritual and true successor, Perfect Dark, which was arguably even better than GoldenEye, but that’s for another feature…
Unfortunately, the only way to experience GoldenEye is on the original N64 hardware (or via emulation). I say unfortunately, because current Bond licence holders, Activision, Rare, Nintendo and Microsoft (current owners of Rare) had worked out a deal man thought would never happen, for a HD remake/remaster to be released for the Wii and Xbox 360. Work had started and screenshots looked phenomenal, but unfortunately, Nintendo eventually pulled out which meant the project could not continue.