|Review by||:||Ken Gagne|
One of the longest-running spy franchises finally becomes a video game in GOLDENEYE 007 for the Nintendo 64. Based on the 1995 Pierce Brosnan movie of the same name, players are put in control of the legendary spy figure through a multitude of missions.
The game is a first-person perspective shooter, similar to any of the Doom clones. There are at least twenty missions to be tackled in consecutive order, each with its own goals and obstacles.
The method for controlling Bond is selectable; players can use the joypad, analog stick, or C-buttons for movement or looking around. One default configuration is identical to Turok, which is hard to learn but ultimately flexible and powerful; other setups use two controllers, one in each hand, ala Smash TV. The aim button allows for specific targeting. When used in conjunction with the sniper's rifle, a close-up of distant foes makes precision hits possible. A clean shot to the head will remove a threat quickly, while a knee wound may cripple a guard, but give him chance to reach an alarm and warn the troops. Some buttons have more than one function depending on the situation, which can be a hassle in some cases.
The graphics are well-detailed, from the faces of the enemy to the knocking knees of hostages to the control panel on a computer. Killed guards fade away, but bullet holes in the walls endure. With a huge array of available weaponry, not arms all extremely distinct when in hand, possibly leaving some confusion about whether or not it's the right gun for the job. Everything else, from the panoramic opening zoom to the multiple instant replays of important sequences to the effective use of lighting, creates an excellent atmosphere.
The music is not top-notch, but sufficient for the game. with the Bond theme underlying most of it. The sound effects, like explosions, gun shots, alarms, are all nicely done. Nothing exceptional stands out – there are no vocals for shouting guards, just grunts and moans for when they're hit.
The challenge level is high; even those players familiar with this genre of game should still stick to the novice setting at first. There are multiple objectives to each mission, and it's not always clear on what or how they should be accomplished. Guards roam in droves, often leaving Bond outnumbered. When in a heated firing match, taking the necessary moment to reload ammunition (often every ten shots) gives the enemy time to take a few extra shots. The lack of a mapping feature often leaves much wandering and unnecessary exploring to be done.
Goldeneye supports the Rumble Pak, which functions when firing a gun or when a hit is taken. The vibration is very slight, though, so removing it won't detract from the overall game.
The battle mode is great for two to four players. Participants select one of many foes from Bond's past, a choice of weapon, and a stage in which to hunt and kill. Sniping a guard from a mile away has always been fun, but doing it to your friends is even better!
One disappointing feature of gameplay is the amount of shooting. James Bond is the world's most famous spy, yet much of the game comes down to who has the biggest gun or the quickest trigger finger. Those looking for something more covert should wait for Metal Gear Solid on the PlayStation.
Overall, Goldeneye puts on a satisfactory show. The control is tight, the graphics great, and the replay value good. It beats the pants off other Nintendo 64 games like Doom and Hexen, and is almost as good as Turok. This game does proud to the name Bond… James Bond.
This article is copyright (c) 1997, 2007 by Ken Gagne. All rights reserved. Not to be distributed without permission.
Original publication: Sentinel & Enterprise, 02-Sep-97