Reviewed on: N64
When I was growing up I had a PS1 instead of an N64 so I never experienced classic games like Goldeneye or Ocarina of Time. Last year I wrote about my first time playing Ocarina but I didn't review it (God knows why). For Easter my girlfriend bought me a copy of Goldeneye for the N64 (which I got in December last year) and I have since played it to death. The reason I’m telling you this rather than simply cracking on with the review is because, unlike many reviews for this game, mine is not full of nostalgia, I'm doing an honest review based on a first time playthrough of the game and its modes. So I don't have rose tinted glasses on.
Goldeneye’s story is pretty well done. The game manages to have pretty much all of the notable places, people and moments from the film but also adds to them with new settings and objectives. This means that the game is true to the film’s story but manages to exercise some creative license and create a good game, rather than stick rigidly to the confines of the license. Typically licensed games are awful but thankfully by taking this approach Rare ensured a high level of quality throughout. All of the character’s likenesses are used and many classic weapons and gadgets from the film appear and can be used. Perhaps the best part about all of this though is, despite being a first person shooter predominantly you still get to do the awesome tank section and you still get to use great gadgets like the watch laser. Even the pause screen is a gadget! Its done using Bond’s watch which adds immersion to the story mode and is a great touch.
The game’s missions vary depending on difficulty, with harder options giving you more objectives, but all consist of blasting through corridors of enemies and completing objectives which can range from picking things up and destroying things to escorting people and simply getting from A to B without dying. The fact that higher difficulties feature different objectives adds great replay value to the game which is only added to with the prospect of unlocking two secret missions and replaying the game with the cheats that you can unlock.
As well as this fantastic story mode there is also of course the legendary multiplayer. Having never played it before I made it my first port of call and loved every second of it. The range of modes, characters, weapons, settings and maps provide endless fun. They really do not make multiplayer games as good as this anymore. Whether with two people or the full four this is the best fun you can have in a multiplayer game and it really makes the fact that so few modern games have split screen modes hurt even more. I’d choose split screen Goldeneye over any online multiplayer game, and I love online multiplayer!
The story, level design, multiplayer and replay-ability all make this a truly great game and it is still great fun to experience today but of course there are areas where it shows its age. The graphics, though good for the time and by no means offensive nowadays, do look blocky and there are some instances of slow down in big firefights. The controls also suffer occasionally and things such as executing tight turns at high speeds (particularly useful during the last level) can be a bit tricky. By and large though the game stands up well, the controls only take a couple of minutes to adapt to and the graphics really aren't that bad. Also the sound has held up tremendously well. It makes use of some of the film’s iconic themes but also adds its own, every track is awesome and suits the game perfectly. This soundtrack is top notch!
When this game was released it set the bench mark for FPS games on consoles. Many games have come and gone since and have proven to be titans in the genre but Medal of Honor, Halo, Call of Duty, Battlefield and every preceding Bond game all pale in comparison to this beast of a game. It may not be able to rival the FPS games of today on a technical level but in terms of sheer enjoyment, design choices and replay-ability no FPS can hold a candle to this. Controversial? Maybe but I'm saying that without the benefit of nostalgia, I love this game and I will be playing this for years to come. This is one of the only games I have played that truly deserves all of the hype that surrounds it. This is simply jaw dropping and if you like games then you owe it to yourself to go out and buy an N64 and a copy of this game.