The name’s Bond. James Bond. (insert 007 jingle here). While we like to post a Retro game every Sunday, it’s crazy to realise that we have yet to talk about the Nintendo 64 smash hit, Goldeneye 007. A game enjoyed by millions (surely), and one of Rare’s biggest titles. It was also instrumental in the future of first person shooters. Let’s done the tuxedo, fill our pockets with gadgets, and talk about one of the genre’s best.
Goldeneye released for the Nintendo 64 in 1997, two years after the movie hit the big screen. Featuring Pierce Brosnan and a great supporting cast, Goldeneye was a superb Bond flick, and featured enough action and set pieces to justify a good gaming experience.
The first thing that stands out about Goldeneye from the moment you start the Dam mission is the music. The soundtrack in this game is phenomenal, with atmospheric tones, beats, electric guitars and the famous 007 jingle buried into a few of the levels’ score.
Another standout inclusion in Goldeneye was the aiming system. Hold down the Right Bumper on the N64 controller and use the thumb stick to aim at a limb or head of your enemies, and cause limb damage or a straight up headshot. Goldeneye was the first game to feature one hit headshot kills, something that we encounter in every modern game now, and take for granted.
The levels followed the locations of the movie, and added a few more in to stretch out the gameplay. Each level could be played on three varying difficulty levels. Each difficulty level made the enemy’s attacks stronger, or started you with less health, but also gave you more objectives to complete in the mission before you could finish it.
The three difficulties included were Agent, Secret Agent and 00 Agent. Using the opening level ‘Dam’ as an example, on Agent you were only required to progress through the level and bungie-jump off the dam to complete the level, similar to the opening of the movie.
On Secret Agent, you had to neutralize all alarms to avoid more enemy soldiers spawning near your location, and on 00 Agent, you had to do all of the above, as well as install a covert modem and intercept a data backup. These were located in different parts of the level, and back then, you didn’t have a navigation system telling you where to find your objectives. The game required you to explore each mission on a lower level, learn your locations, and then work it all out as you played.
Completing each mission level also unlocked a new cheat that you could activate on the main menu. These cheats would also gameplay in fun ways such as adding paintball effects to your fired bullets, or activate big head mode.
Some of the challenges needed to be completed by finishing a level and all of its objectives on a set difficulty and under a specific par time. Many of you who played this game will remember the vast amounts of time you replayed Facility or Control on 00 Agent. The good times, eh?
Goldeneye also featured a multiplayer mode which helped define console multiplayer shooters. It allowed up to four players to play competitively with splitscreen, and offered a wealth of fun game modes to play, which brought many players hundreds of hours of entertainment.
You could play License to Kill, which was a one shot kills mode, The Man with the Golden Gun, which had one powerful pistol in each map to find. Whoever found it got a one shot kill if the shot hit, and was dropped if the player possessing it was killed.
You could also choose to play with only a select number of weapons, and could have a wonderful time playing Slappers only, the melee weapon of choice in Goldeneye!
Perfect Dark, its spiritual successor added the ability to add bots into the multiplayer, and was seen as a better multiplayer experience, but my heart lay with Goldeneye’s multiplayer, with its realistic loadouts as opposed to Perfect Dark’s futuristic weaponry.
Goldeneye sold over 8 million copies and quickly became the third biggest selling game on the Nintendo 64, behind Super Mario 64 and Mario Kart 64.