theuselessgod's GoldenEye 007 (Nintendo 64) review

A pioneering game that has aged horribly.

The Short

Pros

- Proved for the first time that FPS games can work on a console controller

- Loads of characters and maps

- Relatively robust and surprisingly open-ended single player

- Four-player multiplayer had a variety of weapons and game types

- Has duel wielding before any of the Halo games thought that was unique

Cons

- Looks really, really bad today

- Controls also have aged very poorly

- Game is completely outclassed by modern shooters

- UI for life/ammo is bulky

- Lots of glitchy bugs in single player

- Some characters, such as Jaws and Oddjob, are imbalanced in the multiplayer mode

Master Chief, eat your heart out. Also, most screenshots will be emulator uprezed

The Long

Goldeneye 007 was a revelation. After years of Quake and Doom dominating the FPS scene on computers, consoles were still trying to catch up. When the N64 and Playstation finally made the "official" jump to 3D, it isn't surprising they wanted to cash in on that profitable FPS market. They'd ported games like Wolfenstein to the SNES with rather poor results, but the N64 had something different. Rather than just having a d-pad, it introduced an analog stick with full 360 movement. Rare, already famous for their Donkey Kong Country games, decided to try and do the impossible: make an FPS that worked on a bulky controller.

Thus, we got Goldeneye 007. And the rest is history.

And they said it couldn't be done, mwhahaha!

I have plenty of great memories sneaking over to my friend's house to play some 2-4 player Goldeneye. It was a revelation, offering four players on a single box (unlike computers, where you'd have to LAN it, everybody with separate towers). It was the ultimate party game, and the friend in my neighborhood who had it was pretty much king of the street. Using a combination of the trigger, analog stick, and the side d-pad, you could now both move and shoot with relative fluidity (made possible through a very generous auto-aim). It was a novel concept, and one that eventually lead to Perfect Dark and the advent of duel analog stick FPS control.

So, it's been 15 years since Goldeneye came out. Is it still as good as my memories remind me? Well...no. In fact, after playing modern FPS games, Goldeneye is borderline unplayable.

Ah, here's how the game actually looks on an N64!

The controls have aged horribly. Yes, they were revolutionary at the time and yes, they paved the way for what is now a massive FPS scene on consoles (arguably bigger than on computers now, except maybe Team Fortress 2), but Goldeneye straight up sucks now. It isn't fun to play, it's clunky and ugly, and I actually get hand cramps trying to play it. And the multiplayer? It's still pretty good in concept, but trying to get three friends willing to tolerate the awful controller and control scheme for the same fun they could be having on Halo or Call of Duty and you have a hard sell.The auto-aim is also frustrating, as it is extremely generous to the point of insane. Perfect Dark ended up doing it a little better, but in Goldeneye it's just...either too smart or not smart enough. It's hard to say, to be honest, but seeing your gun flap around by itself is weird to those accustomed to the precise aiming of the previously mentioned modern FPS games.

It doesn't help that everybody looks like deformed monstrosities.

The single player is still decent, with a surprising amount of non-linear ways to tackle missions. It essentially gives you an area (base, etc.) and an objective, and it's up to you to figure out the best way to go about that. While there are really only a few set "best" ways, the freedom is appreciated, even if it still boils down to "walk into this building and shoot some guys."Multiplayer is unbalanced if you play with Oddjob (who is short and thus harder to hit. BANNED) and Jaws (who is taller and you only pick if you hate yourself), but aside from that works well. The various modes are now famous ("You Only Die Twice" and "The Man with the Golden Gun" being our two favorites from days gone by). Some of these modes have later been integrated into other FPS games ("Swat" in Halo is sort of like "The Man with the Golden Gun") though I'd love to see them make a more serious comeback in the original form.

Blur. James Blur.

The game didn't look that fantastic when it came out (I still think most N64 games looked worse artistically than most SNES games, if only because blocky polygons << good pixel art), and now it's straight up hideous. Enemies are especially malformed, with weird heads and arms and janky animations throughout. Textures are uniform and really muddy and disgusting, which I guess makes sense since this is the N64 but seriously...it looks awful. The sound design is classic but also just decent, with guns being tinny and unrealistic and the music fitting the Bond theme but generally proving blasse throughout.

The game is a decent length, if you can tolerate it for that long.

Die-hard fans will probably still glean a bit of enjoyment from Goldeneye 007, but they are the only ones that need apply. The newer gamers who want to see what the fuss was all about will be turned off the second they are handed the N64 controller, and even people with fond memories might only give it a few minutes before going back to duel analog sticks. Goldeneye 007 is a game that certainly was important, but the key word is "was." It was a gateway to a better control system, and as such is outdated and a horrendous mess now. If you loved this game do yourself a favor: keep the memories, don't play it again now. It'll only shatter those rose-tinted goggles, which I'm guessing you want to keep intact.As it stands in 2012, Goldeneye 007 just can't cut it. Fans clamoring for an XBLA re-release must have not played it recently, as the Perfect Dark one was hardly playable, and that's a far better game. Just...leave it where it is. We won't ever have the same Goldeneye 007 experience in its entirety again, but you are in luck: there's a boatload of good console FPS games out now to fill that gap. Invite some friends over and blast them in four player Call of Duty or Halo. Trust me, it'll be better that way.

Two out of five stars.

Licensed to kill anybody who gives his game a bad review.

More at http://nathanvsvideogames.blogspot.com

0 Comments

Other reviews for GoldenEye 007 (Nintendo 64)

    Legendary 0

    Before Goldeneye was released on the N64 there was no console shooter that actually played well. Sure, if you go back to the game now it has aged horribly, but at the time it was the best out there. While the graphics and sound were not groundbreaking, they were done well enough to still be impressive. The thing that really set this game apart was the tight controls, epic single player, and the insanely addictive multiplayer. This was the game to be playing with friends when it came out, and I s...

    1 out of 2 found this review helpful.

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