Who is ready for a retro review?! After a near two-month break, this week we are looking at Nintendo 64 classic: Goldeneye 007. Goldeneye is an integral point in gaming history; not only did it prove shooters could be pulled off on consoles, it also proved not all licensed games are trash!
James Bond is back to save the world! (Really, that’s all you need to know going into this.)
Goldeneye 007 is a first-person shooter set mostly to the events of the movie of the same name. Being an early console shooter, you will be surprised about the amount of control you have in this game. While the N64 doesn’t have dual analogue sticks, you still have full control; movement, strafing and looking is all included. Goldeneye also features crouching and unlike many games even today, dedicated leaning control. The default control scheme in Goldeneye has you using legacy controls by todays control schemes, but if that isn’t your preferred control method multiple control schemes are available including options to use two N64 controllers as one dual analogue solution. Goldeneye was the game that cemented my preferred layout for shooters that I still use today: 1.2 Solitaire FTW!
Goldeneye features a single player campaign that has 20 missions with 18 story levels and two unlockable levels, three difficulty levels and one hidden difficulty. Difficulties add objectives to levels; the higher the difficulty, the more challenging objectives and enemies you encounter. Each level also has an unlockable cheat code that varies from infinite ammo to paintball mode. To get through every level, depending on difficulty, you need to rely on signature Bond gadgets and multiple different weapons through the level. Before each mission, you are treated to a full MI-6 briefing dossier that outlines your objectives and characters you will encounter. Post mission screens also treat you to a wealth of stats that range from accuracy to favorite weapon used.
Multiplayer, believe it or not, was originally not intended to be part of this game. Added in at the last-minute, Multiplayer would go on to be the King of the Goldeneye package. Multiplayer features multiple levels, some based off the campaign and some original, and numerous characters to choose from. More characters and levels can be unlocked with the use of button cheats and Game Shark codes. Multiplayer can be played with two to four people with several different game types and weapon sets. What everyone probably remembers most about Goldeneye multiplayer was the inclusion of Oddjob. Oddjob is a tiny character that would stand under the aim height of every other character. Many friendships across the globe have been ruined by the tiny hatted character.
Goldeneye has some of my favorite N64 audio work to date. Music, while repetitive in levels, also fits each levels tone and makes it atmospheric. Gunshots, explosions and ricochets are crisp and precise. The only thing I could do without is the constant character grunts and screams while being shot.
Being an early N64 game, graphics in Goldeneye are not that impressive. Character models, weapons and levels are blocky. Textures are decent from distance and fit the game very well but don’t look as good up close. Goldeneye is one of the first games I remember playing that also paid attention to details. Bullets leave holes in walls and characters start to show blood where they have been shot. At the end of some longer multiplayer matches I have had some grotesque pure red characters! My favorite graphical touch that was added to Goldeneye, is the faces on most non-story characters being those of the development team! Goldeneye was also one of the few N64 games that supports native widescreen.
Despite turning 20 years old later this year, Goldeneye is still one of the great examples of how a game should be made. While many today will avoid the game based on bad controls or by how dated it looks, I still enjoy nights I can convince a room full of friends that it is time to play Goldeneye. We of course agree no one can play Oddjob! Without the success of Goldeneye 007 who knows how much longer it would have taken for shooters on consoles to be accepted as viable. Would Halo or Call of Duty exist in the same way they do today without Goldeneye? Who knows? Don’t let its age deter you; get some friends and go play Goldeneye!
TL;DR: Go buy an N64, four controllers and Goldeneye 007 right now!
Alright, I convinced you, huh? How can you play this game?! Goldeneye 007 is only available on Nintendo 64.
N64 (~$16) – The one and only!