Review by CyricZ

"Joanna Dark, will you marry me?"

Creepy titles... Did I get your attention? Good...


Three years ago, we were blessed with the incarnation that was Goldeneye. Ne'er before has there been so much said about one game. So much to be discovered. So many little things to whine about. So many hours spent alone or with friends, working to achieve perfection.

It appears that all good things must come to an end. For a new Phoenix has arisen that will change once again the way we look at the Nintendo 64.

You are special agent Joanna Dark. Graduating with unbelievable honors from the Carrington Institute, you are almost immediately thrust into your first mission. The missions escalate in importance until it is apparent that the very world is in your trigger-happy hands.

The veritable dieties at Rare have given us the most sumptuous banquet of a game. From the beauty and intrigue of the Solo Missions, the ferocity of the Challenges, the near-bottomless options of Multiplayer, and of course, the nerve-wracking time-released cheats to prove that you are indeed the most Perfect Agent in the land.

Let us feast...

Graphics: 10

The picturesque streets of Chicago. The attention to detail on a simple rocket launcher. The bar has been raised once more, and once more, it has been Rare who has raised it. I'd say they were phenomenal, but that wouldn't begin to describe it.

Oh, yes. The framerate. It's always about the framerate with you people isn't it?

First tip for maximum framerate happiness. Turn Hi-Res off. Trust me. In the heat of the action, it doesn't make that much difference at all how detailed the bad guys are. It matters whether or not you can precisely center your sight on his head, press the trigger and watch him undergo one of the realistic death throes that enemies endure.

I have played the four-player game with simulants, and yes, the framerate suffers there. Why you'd want so much carnage is beyond me, anyway. Even when I play Unreal I never have more than 8 adversaries, human or otherwise.

So, satisfied, naysayers? Happy? Good. Let's move on.

Music and Sound: 9

A particularly haunting and chilling Goldeneye-esque musical soundtrack. The pulsing beat, like that of your own heart, mixed with the bass tones of underlying conspiracy. Not an orchestral masterpiece, but definitely extremely well done.

Some of the sounds will seem quite similar to fans of Goldeneye. Many will not. Of particular interest are those of the dying enemies. I almost felt remorse after hearing a guard yell ''I don't want to die!''... almost... I s'pose it goes without saying that I didn't feel as remorseful after being called a *****...

Plot: 8

An FPS with plot? Strange but true. Even the all-mighty Half-Life fell a bit short in this respect. I won't be a bugger and spoil the whole thing (partially because I don't know the WHOLE thing). Just know that this plot is worthy of a Sci-Fi Channel TV movie, at least.

Gameplay: 10

What can I say? FPS? Doesn't begin to describe it...

Goldeneye, but better? Not even halfway there...

Let's start with play control. Imagine Goldeneye's control scheme. Got it? Good. Now, add more stuff onto that. Impossible you say? Rare say, nay. Now, by merely holding down the A or B button for a couple of seconds, you can instantly choose one of your weapons or equipment at hand, or switch to your weapon's secondary function (of which EVERY weapon has one of), respectively. Oh, and it's quite easy to get into, I assure you, especially if you've played Goldeneye...

Wanna hear about the AI?

Honestly? A little bit better than Goldeneye as far as actual combat goes. If you're talking AI as in keeping a bead on you, or being able to follow and track you, or being able to shoot over railings (finally), then we are some light-years ahead of Goldeneye.

Oh, and they don't stick their arms through the doors, either.

Replay Value: 10

Do I honestly have to explain it to you? Oh, very well. This game will keep you busy for a long dang time. As I mentioned earlier, those ''beat a time, earn a cheat'' cheats are back, not to mention a whole bunch thrown in for beating Challenges, which are reminiscent of one-player deathmatches.

And this is all before the Multiplayer comes into play. Between Co-Operative, Counter-Operative (if you didn't know, this puts one person in Joanna and the other in a random, respawnable enemy), and all the different types of arena-type combat (King of the Hill, Hold the Briefcase, Capture the Flag), you and your friends will be up until some time in the morning playing this. Ever seen a sunrise while shooting your friend in the back? It's just magnificent.

Icing on the Cake: (Cool little things)

The realism in the guards is a very nice touch. With the swearing, realistic blood-splatter (and the option of turning said things off), this is definitely the closest I've been to the guys I just put a bullet through.

Some very slick reload animations. The Phoenix pistol is my personal favorite at the moment.

A LOT of voice. Fairly well done acting, too.

Flies in the Ointment: (Annoying little things)

The aforementioned framerate problems, when they occur, which is to say, rarely.

Your alien friend's Elvis?

Overall: 10

What more is there to say? If you liked Goldeneye, and I assume that's a fair number of you, you'll have no trouble falling in love with Joanna. Have fun with it. Find the cheese. Did I mention there's cheese?

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 05/23/00, Updated 05/23/00

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