Review by Arkrex

"Golden"

Shaken? Stirred? How about totally hammered and left out in the battering rain to dry – that's how the bad guys must feel after every encounter with suave secret agent James Bond. He's got a license to kill and being a first-person shooter, GoldenEye 007 is not so much about kicking ass, but shooting Russian soldiers until they fall to the ground riddled with enough bullets to make Jesus cry.

Movie-based video games have got a negative stigma attached to them right from the get-go; it's a known fact that upwards of 90% of them suck balls. GoldenEye 007 was a different story, though, and in my eyes (and countless others) it truly was a golden tie-in. It was a FPS with plenty of heart and soul. Lots of killing too, sure, but there were multiple objectives to accomplish while on duty - after all, you are playing as James Bond, not generic elite soldier no. 3484107; 007 definitely is a lot more charming.

Take the facility level for example. Most FPS aficionados will no doubt see this as one of the greatest FPS levels ever designed. You begin in some claustrophobic ceiling ducts. Crawl forwards a bit and you'll find an exit into the room below – a men's bathroom. You can see a soldier taking a hard-earned **** in the cubicle just below you. How will you get past him without alerting others to your presence? Well, you've got a silenced PP7 (derivative of the Walther PPK) with you – use it.

That's just a taste of what's to come. GoldenEye 007 is clearly not your average FPS; it's about ten times classier and equally as smart, especially at higher difficulty levels. On the easiest Agent setting, enemies are pretty much cannon fodder and getting to the end of the level in one piece is the primary concern. On the hardest 00 Agent mode you'll have to deal soldiers that can seriously hurt you if you so much as poke your face through a window, and you'll have many more primary objectives to accomplish for a mission success rating. In that same facility, not only must you better adhere to the “minimise scientist casualties” objective (less blind killing), but you'll also have contact a double agent before you can get access to the bottling room which is your endpoint; the door won't just happen to be unlocked for you this time around!

Some levels become even more complex with huge areas needed to be explored that would have otherwise been skipped on lower difficulties. The Byelomorye Dam isn't just about jumping off the edge anymore; you'll need to neutralise all alarms, install a covert modem, blast through an underground sewer, and then intercept the data back-up that you triggered earlier. Then you can jump off the dam.

Tis the beauty of GoldenEye 007. There are always clear-cut goals and you're never left wandering a plain corridor thinking what the hell you're here for. Replay value is extremely high with the multiple objectives in the multiple difficulties, and you've also got groovy unlockable cheats such as a turbo mode where you move about five times faster than usual, and fast animation which puts the enemies on a similar level of speed. Add in infinite ammo cheats, golden guns (one-hit kills), and the ability to edit enemy health, damage output, accuracy and reaction speed in 007 Mode (unlocked once you have completed all missions on 00 Agent mode; a commendable achievement few have accomplished) and you've got a heck of a FPS on your hands.

And that's without multiplayer.

GoldenEye 007 made excellent use of the N64's accessible four controller ports. The screen would be split into four to accommodate each player and the environments were modified to look a tad sparse to ensure a smoother framerate, but the superb stage designs and all the classy weapons made the jump without a hitch. There were multiple objectives you could set in place too. Traditional Deathmatch is in here as is Capture the Flag. You won't find as many variants as in modern FPS's (or even its spiritual successor, Perfect Dark, for that matter), but there's a degree of flexibility offered with weapon sets being used (no guns, slappers only - if you want something different now and again!) and health handicaps to ensure that even your grandma has a fighting chance. Back in its hey-day, this was the ultimate N64 multiplayer experience (later superseded by the likes of Perfect Dark), and these days it's still entirely playable, albeit archaic in many ways.

But at least the single-player mode is still a blast, and dare I say it: better than Perfect Dark's.

Even without the Bond license, GoldenEye 007 is still one of the greatest FPS's ever developed. It has smart shooting, open-ended objectives, great guns, cheats that you have to earn through a solid display of time-trial skills, an inspiring multiplayer mode, more guns, some rather cool glitches (floating mines anyone?), unrivalled non-mouse controls, lots of guns . . . endless replayability. Tack on the balmy espionage thrills of James bond 007 and you're got a FPS that will leave you shaken and stirred and craving for even more.

VERDICT – 10.0/10 Still the best Bond game and still one of the best first-person shooters out there.
This is one of my Top 10 games, ever!


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/12/07

Game Release: GoldenEye 007 (EU, 08/25/97)


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