+ Outstanding Single player campaign, lots of weapons.
+ Awesome spy music sets the tone.
+ Revolutionary Multiplayer mode.
- Blocky-looking character models, jaggies.
- No health pickups.
What’s the story: GoldenEye 007 is based on the 1995 movie with the same name and stars spy hero James Bond. The game was originally planned to be released on the Super NES as an “on-rails” shooter but production moved over to the big N’s new system, the Nintendo 64 when it was released in 1996. GoldenEye was created by Rare and to this day the original version can only be found on the N64. Although based on the movie, the story was expanded a bit so players could experience different styles of levels and moments throughout the movie.
Whats to like: Until the release of GoldenEye on the N64, First Person Shooters (or FPS’s) were only popular on PC’s. Games like Wolfenstien 3D, Doom, and Duke Nukem dominated that platform for half a decade, and although these games made appearances on a few home consoles, none of them would equal the popularity of GoldenEye. It has to be the first time that a FPS loving PC gamer actually became jealous of a home console.
The single player mode was (and still is) a fantastic experience. With three difficulty levels to master, a slew of Bond’s trademarked gadgets and weapons, and fantastic level variety, sneaking around and mastering each stage became highly addictive. There were usually a number of ways to go about beating a stage and die hard GoldenEye fans would be mastering each one. Enemies also had great hit detection reacting perfectly to wherever you would shoot them. Fire at an enemies’ hand and hell shake it – shoot ‘em in the leg and they start hopping. This was a fairly new and very cool effect back in 1996. Enemies also displayed some fantastic A.I. – especially on the 00 & 007 difficulties.
There are a ton of awesome features about GoldenEye’s solo campaign but the last we want to mention are the objectives given to you by M. A list of certian things to accomplish relly helps give players that “I’m a spy” feeling. There are 18 levels in GoldenEye (and 2 bonus missions) and the objectives help each one have their own unique feel.
Finally, lets get to the game’s multiplayer mode; this mode revolutionized the entire genre on home consoles. Up to 4 players could sit around the T.V. and battle it out in a multiplayer deathmatch – something unheard of on a home console when GoldenEye was released. Rareware didn’t know just how popular GoldenEye’s Multiplayer would be, but to this day, the multiplayer component in GoldenEye is one of the most influential modes in gaming and had a huge influence on just about every multiplayer game after it.
Whats not to like: Being such an immense fan of GoldenEye, we hate to say this but the truth is that nowadays, GoldenEye looks bad…really bad (just look at the “S-Video” pics). Its been a while since we’ve turned on the old N64, and while the system will always be loved for having some of the best games of the 90′s, the graphics have not aged well. Outdoor levels display large amounts of fog, “jaggies” are everywhere and on everything, and character models are down right ugly. As much as this is a negative for GoldenEye, it really is the entire era and the birth of polygons that’s to blame. But hey, 3D gaming had to start somewhere.
We are still huge fans of the N64, and the system had 2 Interactive Achievement Award winners in a row, GoldenEye 007, and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. There is no doubt that if the award was invented the previous year that Super Mario 64 would have taken home the top prize, but overall, not too shabby. Below is a video of GoldenEye 007′s first bunker level. Enjoy.
It may not be the best looking game today but to this day, GoldenEye 007 is still a must play game. What it did for the FPS genre on home consoles should never be overlooked. The variety of levels, guns, gadgets, and enemy reactions made this one stand on its own. The fantastic soundtrack, and highly addictive multiplayer mode are the olive in a well shaken martini. If you happened to miss this one back in the day you need to play it a least once. A Nintendo Wii remake was just released honoring this game, the only problem is its missing Pierce Brosnan – the original Bond from GoldenEye. Anyway make no mistake, GoldenEye 007 on the N64 is one of the best games of the entire decade.