Remember in my review of GoldenEye (1995) where I said I would review the video game also? Well, I thought I may as well do that considering the other two articles for today are just so draining. Now I should point out at this stage that I didn’t play 007 GoldenEye in my “youth”, that was reserved for Crash: Tag Team Racing. No, the last time I played this before my review was at my “work experience”. One of the guys brought a Nintendo 64 in and this was the only game they had, other than Mario Kart 64 and Mario Golf.
Still, what did I, someone that never had the nostalgia of this game, think of it? Well, I’ll be honest, you’re going to have to read my review and find out. I can’t just give away my honest thoughts in the first paragraph, that would be counter productive at best.
007 GoldenEye as a shooter by today’s standards is extremely similar to what we receive through Call of Duty. A storyline, multiplayer and that’s basically your lot. What a lot of people probably forget is that 007 GoldenEye is technically a movie tie in game. Yes, it’s in the same category as games like Ben-Hur and Megamind in that regard. The only difference is that 007 GoldenEye is one of those very rare exceptions of a movie tie in game done right.
The campaign of the game is pretty much similar to that of the movie. Bond infiltrates the damn, and by the end of the game you’re on that very same exploding radar. It’s faithful to the source material and that is without a doubt always a bonus. Still it doesn’t really matter though does it?
A good variety of weapons feature frequently throughout the game. Personally my favourite was actually the silenced pistol, it was classic Bond. Still the rest of the weapons were as fun to use as you’d expect. As you probably can’t make out in the image header, there’s a rocket launcher. I remember that weapon being bloody killer to use. Still, dual wield SMGs were just as good a choice. Every weapon felt like it was important and integral to the game itself.
But the campaign and weapons aren’t what people remember this game for, is it? If you played 007 GoldenEye when it first came out your memories will be of the multiplayer. There were certain rules when it came to the multiplayer, one of which being nobody plays as Oddjob. Regardless of that, I did get the chance to play the multiplayer with three other people on several occasions.
So how was it? Surely it’s as good as people were telling me it was! It can’t have been terrible, because if it was then you would’ve said. As far as shooters for the time went, this game’s multiplayer was truly revolutionary. It paved the way for split screen console shooters. However, playing this game all these years later, it’s just as good. There’s a genuine charm surrounding the game and I’m not sure what exactly that is.
Is it the fact that playing with three other people is so much fun? Being in the same room throwing insults at each other and slapping the controllers out of each others hands. That’s the fun the game provides. From the interior however the game is equally as fun. A number of game modes are readily available for you to play. My personal favourite was the classic death match or the man with the golden gun.
The Golden Gun game mode is extremely simple. Someone has a golden gun and it basically kills you instantly. It’s basically just the death match game mod with the added novelty of a golden weapon. I honestly don’t think that game mode had anything more to it, nothing that I noticed if it did.
A good map is what made this game work though. There are a few that you should steer clear of. One of them was in a cave and I can’t remember what you call it. The main problem we had was that it was quite difficult to see given that everything was dark. Also we were using a school projector and the sun was glaring at the board we were playing on. Such first world problems aren’t they. Still, there are some absolutely fantastic maps hidden throughout this game. Play around and see if you can find one you enjoy.
For me though, the soundtrack to this game is absolutely brilliant. It’s no surprise that Rare and Grant Kirkhope are behind the soundtrack, who’s honestly surprised by that? Rare always had stellar soundtracks within their games and Kirkhope was the genius behind that. Even the James Bond theme makes it into the game it works fantastically. A game is given a boost by getting the music from their source material. Hearing that familiar tune as you boot up this game is utterly fantastic. Small parts to a game like the music can really add so damn much.
Where 007 GoldenEye may not be as fun as I remember it, it’s definitely got something there. It’s clear why people may look back on this game with nostalgic memory. Sometimes it’s better to keep it that way, just a memory. However in this case I’d argue that, even today, 007 GoldenEye is worth playing. The main reason for that is it’s one of those games that simply defines the console. I would definitely put 007 GoldenEye at the top of the list for games you need to experience.
But in regard to the actual game itself? If you take away all of the prestige and honour the game actually holds, what are you left with? Well, a very competent shooter that may look very dated but if you have the chance you should experience. For some reason it’s rare that we ever get a shooter with some real depth to it’s plot. If that’s what you’re after then I would certainly recommend giving 007 GoldenEye a try. Even if you don’t enjoy playing it, at least you’ve had the experience of playing a genre defining game.