We all remember our first first-person shooter that really stood out. I am one of the many people that fell in love with the genre with GoldenEye on the Nintendo 64. It was a game that truly stood out on the console. GoldenEye on the N64 was developed Rare, eleven months after the N64 was released in America.
At the time, and even still to this day, it is considered one of the greatest video games based on a movie. The re-playability of the game was the highest ever. In addition to the split-screen multiplayer the game featured a level select that let you choose a specific point in the game as well as a difficulty to play it at. The higher the difficulty; the more damage you took, the more objectives to complete and overall a much more challenging experience. There were time challenges tailored for each level and they were even tied to a specific difficulty. Upon completion of the time challenges, you earned unlockable cheats or multiplayer elements. With these prizes dangling on a string, you wanted to be the very best.
Flash forward thirteen years. In this timespan we: watched a few more 007 titles based on movies release and fail on the Nintendo 64 and Playstation; had a couple of mediocre 007 titles released on the next generation of video game consoles (xbox, Gamecube, PS2) that did not follow any particular movies; and we also had a game released on those same consoles that stole the moniker of GoldenEye to release another flop.
After 13 years of attempted mimicry, GoldenEye saw a rebirth on the Nintendo Wii. I chose not to play this title based on the controls for the Wii console. This was not just a graphic overhaul, it was a new game developed by Eurocom. It was not until the game released a year later on much friendlier First Person Shooter consoles that I picked up a copy. I actually waited a few months and picked up this game, Halo: CE Anniversary and Metal Gear Solid HD as a buy two get the third free deal. Of the three games that I purchased, I was most excited for GoldenEye.
After returning home with my new old games, I quickly put GoldenEye in. It was incredibly pretty. The first level, The Dam brought back so many memories as the level loaded. I was having a nostalgia attack. Then, just like that, the nostalgia was ripped out of my chest like the ritual that takes place in the Temple of Doom. So much changed, so quickly. I played through the first level and set it aside. I went on to play through Halo: CE anniversary and even take a small break from video games before finally coming back to it.
After returning to the game, I had accepted the fact that this was a new game. It re-imagined the story based on the current state of the franchise. It took the key points and characters and reworked the aspects to work with a Bond fifteen years (the movie was released in 1995) later. They made the game flow extremely well, by reworking and extending certain parts of the movie to make them fit a video game format. With that regard, I felt like some scenes were taken too far. There were some elements that the game could have done without; Mainly the casualness of Bond as he mingles during the missions was a bit overdone. Sure, 007 is a suave and sophisticated man, but there is no room for that in a First Person Shooter. Another element that I did not agree with was the use of real-time events that had you mashing a certain button in order to “succeed” in an event. Things omitted or changed too much were the character models and complete lack of Boris.
After working past these flaws, I can appreciate the game for what it does. It takes a 15 year old movie and a thirteen year old game, mixes in the newest and most hyped bond of the past thirty years, with a little bit of retooling on the story elements to create a game for a Call of Duty Generation. One aspect that I particularly enjoyed was the use of stealth. I loved it. Silenced weapons were a godsend. If you ran out of ammo for your silenced weapons, you were forced to blow your cover. This made it feel more like 007 than the story.
With the multiplayer of the Nintendo 64 version receiving such high marks, we could only expect the best from this re-imagining. Unfortunately it is too drastically different. The multiplayer maps are no way shape or form identifiable with the original game’s maps. That right there is a deal breaker and that can be seen in the ridiculously low number of online players if there even are any. I have tried to play the game online several times at different times of the day, but have yet to be able to get into a match.
The achievements for the game were quite entertaining. I decided to go for the difficulty and collectibles achievements, but the game really ratcheted up the difficulty towards the end. I have twelve out of the fifty collectibles to find and I made it through two-thirds of the game on the 007 difficulty with three-fourths of the timed completion achievements. On a much darker note, a solid 37% of the game’s achievements are tied up in multiplayer which no one plays so they are completely lost.
After playing through the game on Agent and making it to the more action intense levels where you are constantly being bombarded and left near death for the majority of the time, I have decided not to finish the game and just move on once and for all. I would like to say that one day, I would like to finish this game on 007 difficulty for the pride in saying that I completed both the Nintendo 64 version and the newer 2012 remake at that difficulty, but that would only be me lying to myself. Newer games that look much better have presented themselves and I still have better older games that I have yet to touch on my list of games to play.