Review by TheBiggah
"Rare Ltd. has once again redefined a genre"
I've been shocked by the number of people asking ''Should I buy Goldeneye or Perfect Dark?'', on message boards and chat-rooms since the release of Perfect Dark. Personally, I'm astounded by the number of people who haven't yet purchased Goldeneye.
Some people may wonder why I would bother to write a review for a game that came out so long ago, especially since the sequel to this classic has already been released. The answer is this, I don't think this game has been reviewed fairly by anyone on gamefaqs. Sure it's gotten great scores, but nobody has gone into the real reasons why it's so great. One author even called it an RPG. Goldeneye 007 is a First Person Shooter--NOT a Role Playing Game.
Even though the hit sequel, Perfect Dark, has already been released and has proven to be superior to GE007 in many ways, it doesn't change the fact that GE007 was revolutionary in it's design, and that PD, while being a Fantastic game, hasn't drastically changed the face of gaming like it's predecessor did.
This game was released in 1997 and at the time, had arguably the best graphics on the N64. Obviously as I write this in 2000, the graphics are a bit dated. However, the graphics in this game are better than most FPS (First-Person-Shooters) on the N64. The enemies are all full polygonal--not sprites as in Doom 64. The characters look and move fairly realistic although there is a slight glitch in that a soldier's gun and face will show through a door when he's standing right next to it.
Explosions are well done and leave clouds of smoke (particle effect). Your gun will even leave bullet holes in everything you shoot as well. Glass shatters, and computers explode when shot.
The levels are amazingly accurate when compared to the movie, and you'll easily be able to recognize many key scenes from the movie.
The sound in this game is absolutely amazing. The SFX are right on and are VERY essential to the game. The guns all sound realistic and each has it's own distinct sound.
The music is outstanding. It truly was an accomplishment to get so much great music on such a limited cartridge back then. The music really compliments the level design/atmosphere. Sometimes it's fast paced and get's your adreneline pumping and other times it's suspensful. Occasionally there is no music--just ambient noise--and it creates the desired effect of getting you on your toes and being worried about where those soldiers are. The music will change if you set off any alarms and is quite an addition to an already impressive game.
There is no voice acting, so the characters all speak in text that appears on screen. This text is very important and will help develop the...
Ahh, yes. This game amazingly has a story. Unlike any FPS before it, Goldeneye has a creative story besided the usual: ''You're a space marine. Aliens have invaded... You must kill them all.'', and actually encourages stealth rather than force in most instances.
The story is basically the same as the movie(which the game was modeled after), with a few liberties taken in order to make it more exciting/fun as a video game.
The basic story is this (taken from the instruction manual):
All right, 007, it's time to get down to business. Some time ago, Pirate, a top-secret combat helicopter, was hijacked from a French war vessel in Monte Carlo. Pirate was stolen by Xenia Onatopp. She was assisted by several mysterious comrades.
Xenia, a former Soviet pilot, is a known accomplice of the Janus Syndicate, and international organization that is world renowned for its dealings in top-flight illegal arms. They are currently based in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Pirate reappeared two days ago in Russia near the site of an unusual disturbance believed to be the result of the discharge of the GoldenEye weapon satellite.
The situation is serious, 007, If Pirate or Goldeneye has fallen into the wrong hands, I don't have to tell you that the security of the free world could be in jeopardy. We want you to recover the Pirate helicopter and get to the bottom of this. You are licensed to kill.
Now that's already a great story, but it get's better. There's a twist in the plot that makes this story much more enjoyable.
This game has it all. Great graphics, exceptional music, spot on SFX, and a well thought out story. Add to that some of the most intuitive control and immersive gameplay in the industry, and you're looking at a best selling classic, which is exactly what this game is.
First off, the menus. The menus in this game are very easy to navigate. Before each mission, Bond is given a file that includes his mission objectives, background on the mission, and a briefing by both 'M' and 'Q' as well as a comment or two from MoneyPenny.
During the level, all of this information and more can be accessed via Bond's ''Q Watch''. The Q Watch allows you to view information on the current mission, change weapons, controller configuration, and other game options.
Control is exceptionally tight in this game. Very well done. If you use the default configuration (there are a total of 8 different configurations) the controls will be as follows: The Control Stick is used to move in all directions and move the target icon on the Options screen. The A button is used to change weapons with the B button being used to reload the current weapon or open doors/flip switches/etc. The C buttons are used to strafe. It's also possible to duck and lean out from behind corners to snipe enemies by using the R button.
There are a total of 17 different weapons in the game, each of which has it's own distinct feel and purposes. When you're in a stealth mission, it would be stupid to use a loud gun such as the AR-33 Assault Rifle. While very powerful indeed, it's also very loud. Guards can and will hear the noise and come running. In that situation it'd be better to use a silenced weapon so as not to attract attention to yourself.
This game also has a great hit-detection system that helps enhance the reality factor. If you shoot an enemy soldier in the foot, he won't take as much damage as if you shot him in the head. Also, the guard will limp or hop around on the foot you shot. When shot in the butt, enemies do an entertaining sort of dance that is quite funny to watch.
With three different difficulty settings, you'll be sure to be challenged. As you increase the difficulty, not are the enemies harder to defeat, but you have more objectives to complete, and have less body armor to get you through the missions. Add to this the fact that there are secret levels that can only be opened by beating the game on each difficulty, and you'll fall in love with it.
Until quite recently, there were no known push-button codes for this game. If you wanted to play the game while being invicible, you had to earn it by completing a level in a specified amount of time on a certain difficulty setting. For those of you who have not played this game, I strongly suggest that you do NOT use these codes to access the cheats. You'll ruin the experience. Take the time, and earn them the way they were meant to be earned. You'll thank me someday for telling you to play through it for real.
This is perhaps the greatest strength of the game. Rare added to the game a four-player deathmatch almost as an afterthought, and it's exhilerating. With eight different game scenarios there's plenty to keep you occupied.
Normal: Standard competitive mode.
You Only Live Twice: Each player has two lives. The last player alive wins.
Flag Tag: When carrying the flag, no object or weapon can be used. Whoever has the flag longest wins.
The Man With the Golden Gun: Whoever has the Golden Gun can defeat enemies in a single shot.
Licensed to Kill: Every hit is fatal.
Team: 2 vs 2
Team: 3 vs 1
Team: 2 vs 1
There are also a total of 11 different arenas to compete in, each of which is well designed and fun to play in. Chances are that you've at least heard of the great multiplayer mode in this game.
Not only does Goldeneye have a killer Deathmatch game, but the single player game will keep you coming back for more. I've owned the game since a month after it was released and I still play the single player game. It's a fantastic and well thought out game that will keep you coming back for more, regardless of how many times you've beaten it.
Simply put, this game is one of the best the N64 has to offer. With revolutionary Multi and Single player modes this game is an experience not to be missed. I still play this game because even though Perfect Dark is a killer game, few things are more satisfying than fragging friends in the caves, library, and bunker --none of which made the PD cut. People often ask whether they should buy GE or PD. My answer is buy them both. PD has a multiplayer that will blow you away, but GE is a classic that you simply cannot afford to pass up. Don't pass up the experience that is Goldeneye merely because Perfect Dark has arrived. You'll only be cheating yourself.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 07/20/00, Updated 07/20/00
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