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GoldenEye Rides A Very Strange Line
by Jeff Gerstmann on
There's something sort of weird about remaking levels from someone else's game, but this modernized GoldenEye is no simple remake.
Activision announced a new game called GoldenEye 007 at Nintendo's press conference to uproarious applause from folks with fond memories for the last game to bear that name. But after digging a bit deeper into this whole project, it's sort of weird and not exactly what you'd expect. For starters, it feels like a modern shooter, not a remake of an N64 game.
The first thing you might notice about this Eurocom-developed game is that James Bond is now being played by the current movie Bond, Daniel Craig. In addition to Craig's involvement, Judi Dench is reprising her role as M. The original writer of the movie has been brought on to "update" the story of the movie to make it fit better with a more modern Bond. So you'll still see characters like Alec Trevelyan and General Ourumov, but the game now takes place in 2010. In-game gadgets have also been given a fresh coat of paint, so you'll hack computers with a smartphone in the new game.
So it's telling a story that's roughly the same and taking you through a lot of the same sequences from the original game... but it also has very little to do with the actual game. Rare, the developer of the original GoldenEye, isn't involved with the project, so the levels can't be 1:1 remakes. But you'll still see some familiar sequences in new ways. The game still features the dam sequence and offers similar (though, I suspect, not legally actionable) design.
The other major difference comes from the game's controls. While you can play with a Wii Remote and Nunchuk, if that's your thing, I played the game with a Classic Controller Pro. With two analog sticks and plenty of shoulder buttons, the game simply plays like a modern console-based first-person shooter. None of the swimmy analog gun movement from the original is there at all, and you can now vault over low barriers. Heck, you can even hold down the left trigger to aim down the sights. With that control scheme in place, the game feels like a Bond-themed Call of Duty game.
The multiplayer in GoldenEye includes four-player splitscreen, which I suppose you kind of have to put in there if you're going to write "GoldenEye" on the box. But it'll also have eight-player online with standard deathmatch and objective-based modes. It sounds like there will be some persistence to the online multiplayer, include a perks system that, you guessed it, sounds just like something you'd find in a Call of Duty game. Classic character models from the Bond franchise will be present, including Jaws, Scaramanga, and Oddjob, who throws his hat instead of lobbing grenades. Some of these characters and other customizable options will be unlocked along the way.
Visually the game looks pretty good, and the action Activision showed off looked pretty intense, with some good melee kill animations. When you marry that to a proper, modern control scheme, you get a game that manages to recall the original game just enough to remind you that it was a popular N64 game without making you ignore all of the things that console shooter developers have learned over the last 13 years. It's out this holiday season on the Wii.