Review by PyramidHead87
"Do Not Cross...The Man with the Golden Gun"
Ah, here we are...nearly 8 or 9 years after the initial release of one of the greatest games to ever grace this Earth. To be honest, I am surprised this game actually lasted this long in the running of other, more "superior" FPS's that have come out since then. The only other FPS I know that nearly beat Goldeneye in the running was Perfect Dark. I have played it, but for some reason, I couldn't relate to it as well as I related to the Goldeneye game.
Unfortunately, Rare eventually had to give up their license after EA bought it up...and eventually running it into the ground with Tomorrow Never Dies. This led many to question why Rare lost the license in the first place. However, in a smart move, Free Radical (the team who worked on Goldeneye from inside Rare) broke off from their mothering developer and began to work on the first TimeSplitters game...ironically at the very same time as Perfect Dark. Though Rare doesn't have the license...and EA doesn't seem to be giving Free Radical ANY opportunities...you can tell that even from the TimeSplitters games, the developers themselves still want to throw a little Goldeneye in their mixes. They know it's a great game...AND YOU SHOULD, TOO!!!
For an N64 game, the graphics are breathtaking. Sure, you're going to look at this game today and say, "eeww! I used to think THIS crap looked good?!" Well, that's the same story with the Mode-7 games on the SNES. It may look horrible now, but then, it was stunning. Yes, the textures are a little washed-out and muddy, but you can't really hold that against the N64's processing power. However, I always say this when I'm playing this game...at least these graphics were better than the graphics of most games on the PS1.
Each level in the game has been imagined from the film counterpart, only for extra detail to be thrown in so James Bond would actually have something to do in the meantime, which I'll get into later on. One thing you should also know about is the enemies. These soldiers and guards aren't just generic characters from nowhere. These are the faces of the people who actually MADE the game. This gives enemies a bit more personality, and a little bit of a humor incentive. I mean, you can shoot David Doak and Stephen Ellis in the face...before they shoot at you, too. So far, this is the only game I know that's been clever enough to do this. Other games cheap out by giving you identical character models for EVERY enemy in the game. So, kudos to Rare for actually doing something clever with the enemy models.
What's weird is that even though you hear voice clips of characters grunting and groaning, there aren't any actually voice recordings. You'd think there'd be some small Bond-ism phrases and such, but there's Bond's (oddly entertaining) hissing when he gets shot, there's the enemies groaning when they die...and there are the gun blast noises. It's especially enjoyable to hear during the game's multiplayer when EVERYONE is shooting someone. You also have the ultra-cool James Bond remix tunes playing throughout the levels. Most of the 007 games I've played have had really good James Bond remix tunes, and thankfully, this is far from an exception.
Where Goldeneye succeeds, others fail. I've noticed a trend in FPS's that, if a multiplayer is good, the single player is atrocious, and vice-versa. However, Goldeneye seems to have the same amount of care in both the multiplayer and single player components. The only FPS that I know has come close to this formula is 007: Nightfire. Even the TimeSplitters games focused more on multiplayer than single player. Here, however, you actually have varied missions to take on during your journey through the Goldeneye world. You do all this across three difficulties: Agent, Secret Agent, and 00 Agent. Agent (the easiest) is basically you taking on the basic mission objectives with weaker enemies. This could pass a game quickly. On 00 Agent (the hardest), you get the more demanding mission objectives with stronger enemies. Though this difficulty may seem overly difficult at first, it is manageable as long as you learn the levels and develop strategies for getting through them. One important aspect is cover--standing out in the open will destroy you with hails of gunfire, but using walls and corners to pick off shots can help you even in the toughest situations. Once you unlock 007 mode, you get the complex objectives with the ability to tweak enemy difficulty. That means you can make is as painfully easy or as devilishly difficult as you desire.
As I stated before, most of the levels are designed after their film counterpart with a few extra things around for Bond to do rather than to just get to the end of the level. For instance, on the Dam, Bond basically ran across it just to get to the bungee platform and onto the facility entrance. In the game, you actually have to hack into a satellite system, destroy security alarms, THEN jump off the bungee platform. And in the Facility, Bond slipped through the bathroom, walked down some stairs, and met Trevelyan in a closet of some sort. In the game, you do start off in the bathroom and fight the guards there (if you want), and you even have to run down some stairs...but Trevelyan is on the other side of the building where the bottling room is. This is a room the looks freakishly like its film counterpart, which is a good thing.
There are also extra levels thrown in that weren't even in the movie at all. One example of such a level is the Missile Silo, which I guess is just a place where you find Ourumov in the meantime. There is also the Caverns which is another level that wasn't in the film. And then, there are the two bonus levels towards the end...one level that takes almost a skilled player to beat, and another that may have required a Nintendo Power magazine or something. I'll leave you to decide which one is which.
Throughout the game, you can unlock cheats by beating missions on certain difficulties at certain Target Times. Some of these cheats may be near impossible to get if you're first learning the game, but after some experience, you can unlock cheats for even the tightest time challenges. You may even beat your own best time in the process! You can also use some of these cheats in the multiplayer in the game. The multiplayer is what people are almost always talking about with this game. Even though you can only play with human players (and not Bots), there's a unique feel to the multiplayer that makes it different compared to mulitplayers in FPS's like Perfect Dark and TimeSplitters...I don't know what that "uniqueness" is, but it works.
And finally, if you start to feel yourself tiring of the game just a little, you can go looking for random stuff in the game, like Easter Eggs, programmer glitches, etc. The programmer glitches and "mysteries" are the most fun...there are hundreds upon hundreds of things in the game that the programmers left behind in the memory but never made these things turn up in the final game. Hunting these things down is fun in its own way, and if you invest in a GameShark, hunting down glitches, programming errors, Easter Eggs, and random interesting stuff will never get tired.
If you can find it, BUY IT. After a friend finally gave me his N64 for good, along with Goldeneye, I always kept the thing ready to play if I developed an itchy trigger finger. Sometimes I play it to beat the game itself. Sometimes I beat it to see if I can meet the Target Times again. Sometimes I play it to hunt down Easter Eggs and programming errors. Whichever the reason, you'll have a jolly ol' time playing. 9/10.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 04/06/06
Got Your Own Opinion?
Submit a review and let your voice be heard.