Remember how when the N64 first appeared, people were going on and on about how amazing it was and how incredible all the games were going to be and how it marked a watershed in videogaming? And then how hardly any games appeared and many of those that did were just rehashes of old Super NES games? And how people started to get little beads of perspiration on their foreheads as they worried that maybe the N64 wasn't quite the great leap forward that had been promised and that they should have got a PlayStation instead?
Well, now you can wipe your brows.
We've Been Expecting You
Goldeneye is probably the most anticipated N64 game since Super Mario 64, and after being in development for over two years (see the feature on page 26), a lot was expected of it. Thankfully, it delivers on every count. I'm not normally one for hyperbole (in fact, if you read the magazine regularly, you'll probably have realised I'm a bit of a cynical old bastard), but Goldeneye is the best game on the N64. Yes, even better than Mario 64. At some point in the distant future, maybe I'll get a little tired of repeating the missions... but then there's still the deathmatch game to have fun with!
Where to start? The plot's always a good place, and Goldeneye sticks as closely to the storyline of the film upon which it's based as it's possible for a game to get. A few liberties have been taken, such as having Bond actually visiting the Severnaya complex (which he never did in the film), but the overall story progresses logically from location to location.
The game is structured so that there are three difficulty levels for each stage - Agent, Secret Agent and 00 Agent. As an Agent, the game is fairly straightforward, with a few simple objectives that have to be met on each level. All you have to do on the first stage, for instance, is reach the dam and do a bungee jump from it. On Secret Agent level, you also have to destroy the alarms dotted about the complex, and when you play as a 00 Agent you have to install a modem transmitter and break into the base computers to upload their information to MI6 as well. The guards' aim improves on Secret Agent and 00 Agent levels, by the way!
There are 18 levels in Goldeneye, an impressive number considering the almost obscene amount of detail crammed into them, as well as two secret bonus levels accessible once you've beaten the game on the higher difficulty settings. Despite the memory limitations of a cartridge, they look absolutely superb. Unlike Turok, which used fogging extensively to prevent pop-up of the scenery, Goldeneye's 3-D engine lets you see a long way into the distance, with no slowdown or pop-up. The dam on the first level takes nearly a minute to run across at full pelt, yet you can see the far side from the moment you step onto it - as well as the mountains that stretch away behind it! The only time fogging becomes obvious is on the jungle level, and the muggy green mist that envelops the Cuban rainforest seems to be as much an aesthetic decision as a practical one.
The Name's Bond. James Bond
Because Nintendo paid good money for the official James Bond licence, the characters in the game are the real deal - Pierce Brosnan is instantly recognisable as 007, whether he's wearing Arctic survival gear, jungle camouflage or his trademark tux, and Sean Bean's mug is so lifelike it's spooky. Robbie Coltrane suffers from a bad case of the blockheads, though! The various 'extras' - soldiers, civilians and the like – are actually staff members from developers Rare, but some bear uncanny resemblances to Clive Dunn from Dad's Army and Jerry Seinfeld! All the characters have been motion captured, giving them an impressively realistic feel as they walk, run and die.
The death animations are particularly worthy of comment - as well as just keeling over in traditional-if-dull style, they backflip, spin, slump to their knees before falling flat on their faces and even clutch agonisingly at their perforated throats, flailing their hands weakly before the life finally drains out of them. Maybe I'm just a sick psycho at heart, but there's something intensely satisfying about pumping 30 АК-47 rounds into a group of soldiers and watching their bodies twitch as each bullet thuds forcefully into their chests! This being a Nintendo game, there's no gouting blood or splattered brains, but ominous crimson stains do ooze over peoples' clothing from the point of impact.
Bond has a huge range of weapons that can make these stains appear, from his humble karate-chopping fists and Walther pistol to grenades, shotguns and assault rifles. He can even go totally John Woo on some levels, with a machine gun in each hand! For some reason, most of the weapons have been given fictional names, but they're all recognisable as AK-47S, Uzis and M-16S.
Using the shoulder buttons brings up one of Goldeneye's coolest features. Although there is an 'auto aim' option to make firefights a little easier (hell, why not - you are James Bond after all!), calling up a precision gunsight lets you make very accurate shots even over long distances. This is most useful on levels where Bond is trying to be inconspicuous - with the silencer on his Walther, he can shoot guards in the head, killing them instantly and quietly, so as not to raise the alarm. Using the sights with assault rifles also zooms the view slightly to make hitting distant targets easier, but the best of the lot is the sniper rifle. With this, it's possible to clear out open areas from a quarter of a mile away, without anyone even knowing you're there!
Now Pay Attention, 007
This being a James Bond game, there are also all sorts of gadgets from Q Branch just waiting to be put to good get-the-bloke-in-the-tuxedo-out-of-a-tight-spot situations. Central to the game is Bond's Rolex watch - as well as having the usual Bondian functions like magnets and lasers, it also acts as the interface through which 007 uses his other kit. An example; in the first bunker level, Bond is equipped with a mini-camera and a key-copying gizmo which have to be used to complete the level. Press Start and Bond holds up his arm to show the watch, which then zooms in so fast you worry that he's going to knock himself out; flick to the equipment screen and choose the camera or analyser, then unpause and use the trigger to operate the chosen gadget. In a well thought-out touch, using the weapon select button then automatically brings up your last gun without having to go back to the watch. This kind of clever design, making the barrier between the player and the action on screen as thin as possible, is obvious all the way through Goldeneye. It's rare (no pun intended!) that you'll find anything getting in the way of actually playing the game.
Even the control system can be tailored to your preferences. The default setting is perfectly usable, but if you want you can reconfigure the controller to mimic the system used in Turok, or even use two controllers, one to move and the other to aim! The only quibble I have is that the aiming crosshairs default to an aircraft-style reversed control (pushing the analogue stick up moves the sights down, and vice versa) but again, this can be rectified in a couple of seconds. Not all games are as flexible with their controls!
See That Some Harm Comes To Him
One unavoidable thing about Goldeneye which some people will have a problem with is its genre. "It's only a Doom clone!" they'll sneer. Chah! It's a first-person shoot-'em-up, but that's about the only point of comparison. Think how awesome Doom looked compared to Wolfenstein 3-D, its predecessor. Then think how awesome Quake looked after Doom. Now think how awesome Quake looks against Wolfenstein. That's Goldeneye...
On an N64 scale, Goldeneye makes Turok look like Hexen, and Hexen look like... oh, I dunno, something you'd find dangling from a prolapsed intestine. Rare's game is so far ahead of everything else, in terms of looks, playability, design and sheer quality, that it makes the competition look positively sick. It's hard to imagine how Ocean's oft-delayed Mission: Impossible can hope to match this.
Why's it so good? It's mainly because two-and-a-half years, some of the best programmers around and a shitload of Silicon Graphics kit, along with the hefty coffers and perfectionist demands of Nintendo, mean that excellence is pretty much guaranteed as standard. The delights are in the details - shots ricocheting away with a movie-style 'ptang!' if they hit a soldier's metal helmet rather than his head, knocking the helmet flying in the process; fragments of tiles and concrete chipping away under weapons fire; bullet holes actually staying put rather than fading from view when you leave a room; shafts of sunlight through the windows catching airborne dust in the musty old Soviet archives; Bond straightening his tie and adjusting his cufflinks on completing a level successfully... All these things are evidence of the immense amount of time and care put into the whole package.
Kill Bond! Now!
Oh, and then there's the multi-player option, of course. If you've ever played Doom or Quake in deathmatch mode, you'll know just how much fun hunting down and killing your friends can be. Goldeneye is just as much of a thrill as either of these, and the amazing thing is how little the gameplay is affected by having the screen cut into halves or even quarters. The level of detail is only slightly lower than the normal game, and though the frame rate is reduced (only really obvious when fast turns reveal a slight jerkiness), it's still just as fast.
There are more options than you can shake a Walther PPK at - if you want to fight using rocket launchers, the laser guns from Moonraker or even the quaintly-named 'slappers' (bare hands!), you can, and the numerous team options let you find out who your friends really are... (See the 'Get Coltrane!' boxout for more on these.)
Although the usual caveats about N64 multi-player games apply (like the one about needing a Really Big Telly – I mean it!), if you can bring a group of blood-crazed mates round you're in for a fine evening's entertainment. If you thought that Mario Kart's competitive nature brought out the worst in people, just wait until bullets enter the equation! Goldeneye absolutely cements the N64's reputation as the machine to own for group gameplay - with this, Mario Kart and ISS 64, those empty post school/work/pub evenings are going to be so filled there'll be more on the inside than out!
Okay, time for the other shoe to head groundwards - Goldeneye isn't perfect, and it does have faults. The absence of a map, or even a compass, can make some levels slightly confusing, and the fact that Bond's top speed (like Mario, the analogue stick is used to control how fast he moves) is more of a Bill Clinton jog than a bullet-dodging sprint means a certain amount of trudging on the outdoor levels.
The enemies are not even worthy of the term 'halfwit' either, lining up to be shot and often running headlong into doors that have already closed (giving rise to the otherwise unseen problem of polygon clipping, arms, legs and faces pulsating through doors in a way that James Cameron would probably want for the next Terminator film!). Weight of numbers more often decides Bond's fate than any clever tactics on the bad guys' part.
Losing all the weapons you've collected at the start of each new level, even when it follows on directly, rankles, but the one truly annoying thing about Goldeneye is that the weapons select only works one way, and there's a delay on it as well. You press the button and nothing seems to happen, so you press it again, only for the top gun you wanted to flash past and be replaced by Bond's well-manicured but not exactly hot lead hands. You then either have to use the watch to change weapons (letting the enemies pop away at you freely for the couple of seconds it takes to appear), or else peg it away, madly hammering the A-button until the weapon you want reappears. Aaaargh!
Oh, and the music starts to grate after a bit as well. And the deathmatch Caves level is crap.
But even taken all together, these faults are trivial, and don't detract from the playability of the game as a whole. And it is playable. Boy, is it playable. We're talking entire-day-of-work-lost playable (something which no N64 game has managed before), followed by take-it-home-and-play-until-4am-without-managing-to-write-a-single-damn-word-about-it playable. Mario 64? Amateur hour! Goldeneye presses a silenced Walther against the plumber's head and slowly squeezes the trigger.
It's tough, as well. While most Nintendo games are on the easy side, even on the simple Agent level it should be a good couple of days of solid work before you see Goldeneye's game over sequence, and then you've still got the more complex and rewarding Secret Agent and 00 missions to complete! Not forgetting the deathmatch games. And the secret levels. And the cheats.
This very magazine stated in issue one that Super Mario 64 was "the world's best videogame", and who am I to argue with my own mag? Well, Goldeneye is even better than Mario 64. Even Oddjob could figure out what that means! A Nintendo 64 without Goldeneye is like James Bond without a vodka martini - buy it as soon as you can, and save the world from unworthy 64-bit games!
GoldenEye 007 DownloadsGoldenEye 007 download
If you only buy one N64 game, make it this! Unmatched multiplayer action and superb one-player game - you are James Bond.
Brilliant levels, detailed scenery, breathtaking weaponry and a perfectly judged difficulty curve. It doesn't get much better than this.
The name's Bond, James Bond - licenced to appear on the Nintendo.
The 007 tag might be essential considering the '95 Bond movie has long gone from the local cineplex, but Rare is enjoying unrivalled support from the movie makers. Film set blueprints were provided to help construct levels, while the actors' features appear as texture maps on polygon characters. Not surprisingly the graphics are stunning, and as with Donkey Kong Country, Nintendo is obviously grooming Rare for N64 success in the same way Namco work with Sony. The most impressive aspect of Goldeneye is the way the characters move within their environments and actually react to your presence. Fire off some shots at a group of guards for example, and they scatter in all directions in a blind panic before collecting their marbles and shooting back.
The game is claimed to closely follow the movie's plotline, with a variety of different game types, but so far all that's been shown is the opening assault on a Soviet bioweapons plant. Nothing on Robbie Coltrane or that shocking Russian accent though.
GoldenEye takes the form of a first person perspective Doom-type game, with some unbelievably gorgeous graphics. One nice touch is how the analogue joypad allows players to vary their pace, with a careful tip-toe movement making less noise and less likely to attract patrolling guards! You can duck and climb ladders and are also only allowed to carry a realistic amount of ammunition and have only two weapons to choose from, as it would be unrealistic to lug eight AK-47S around for use later on. It has also been revealed that you can pilot a tank, boat and a helicopter, and there's even some loose talk about famous old Bond villains popping up in bonus sections. Rare has certainly come a long way since their first game, RC Pro-Am on the NES and GoldenEye looks very promising indeed.
Prospects: "Bond, what you do you think you're doing?" "keeping the British end up sir." Cooler than a fox in a blizzard.
Best game on the N64 and quite possibly one of the best videogames games of all time. Rare's stunning lames Bond game is a winner whether you play in the one-player adventure game or the friendship-wrecking multi-player deathmatch. If you own an N64, then you have to have this game or else face social ostracisation and the taunts of small children in the street.
To get back into the air conditioning vent in the Facility, stand on the toilet underneath. Now hold Left-C until your player ducks, then hold R and left on the control stick. When your player returns to the vent, release C and R and press forward on the control stick
This is a useful technique for the multiplayer game, especially for chasing people who've regenerated in the vent section. If you're using proximity mines, make sure you plant some while you're up there to kill anyone who regenerates in there later on.
Use the Invincibility cheat on the Silo level, and place Plastique on a wall. Shoot at it and you'll become a living fireball. Kill your enemies with the flames that follow you around.
If you don't want anybody to know that you have the token in Flag Tag. press and hold Slap (i.e. no weapons selected) before you collect it As long as you are holding Slap nobody will know you've got the token.
Question: I'm playing GoldenEye 007 and I've got stuck on the first level! How do you get to the dam to bungee jump off?
Answer: Assuming that you've cleared the first two 'areas' with the two sentry towers, you've probably come to the green gate where the lorry stops. This is actually where most people get stuck. Look to the right of the gate and you'll see a red switch on the wall. Walk up so that you're stood right in front of it and press B. The gate will now open and you can progress. Nearly all gates are opened like this, however some will also require you to possess keys or security cards which you should have found elsewhere in the level.
Question: How do you take the picture of the video screen and copy the GoldenEye key on the first bunker level in Severnaya?
Answer: This will be the first time on the Agent difficulty setting that you actually have to use items from your inventory. To copy the GoldenEye key, first make sure that you've picked it up (Doh!). Once the key is in your possession, pause the game and push right on the Analogue to enter your inventory. Move down the list until you highlight the 'Key Analyser'. Push A to select the item and then unpause the game. To use the Analyser, simply press the Z trigger (as if you were firing a weapon). When the 'Objective Complete' message comes up, press Z again to replace the key. The same process applies to taking a picture of the video screen. This time, select the camera from your item list, stand in front of the screen and press Z to take the picture.
Question: On the Silo level, I've taken a picture of the satellite, but when I finish the level, it says I've failed that objective! What's going on?
Answer: Another common error that some people make is to mistake the rocket at the start of the level for the satellite. The satellite is actually in the last of the numbered rooms - room 4-A1. The satellite looks like a silver cylinder with blue solar panels on either side of it. Repeat the process you went through to take a photo of the video screen on the first bunker level.
Question: How do you confront and unmask Janu on the Statue Park level on 007 difficulty.
Answer: Once you've met Valentin in the cargo container, exit and head over to the opposite wall. Turn left, so you're heading in the direction you were originally going (away from the entrance), and follow the fence until you come to a gap that you can go through. Follow this path to the back of the area, and you'll find a large statue with scaffolding around it. Walk up to the statue and turn around. Several men in black suits will walk out of the shadows and up the hill towards you. It is imperative at this point that you do not attempt to shoot them. Wait until Janus starts talking to you. Put your gun away when prompted to do so, and stand still until he has revealed his identity. Once the 'Objective Complete' message has been shown, you can blast away like crazy, if you really want.
However, it is probably quicker just to run out of the area and head back towards the entrance to the park where Natalya will be held captive. Rescue her, get the black box and leave the level by walking through the gates. Note that you must not shoot at anyone during this very last bit of the level (in fact, you must put your gun away). If you don't, you'll be so full of lead you'll be able to sharpen your head and use yourself as a pencil.
Everyone knows that Bond, James Bond, British secret agent 007, is the most famous international spy of all time (with Austin Powers in a groovy second place, baby!). This game is based on the latest Bond movie, GoldenEye, starring Pierce Brosnan as 007. Here's the story if you haven't seen it: a nasty, radical group of mostly Russians -- the Janus Syndicate -- has stolen control of a sophisticated electromagnetic pulse-shootin' weapon satellite: the GoldenEye. The Janus Syndicate plans to use GoldenEye against the city of London to scramble all the computers and electrical equipment in an effort to cover their tracks after stealing tons of money through illegal electronic transfer. They must be stopped, James!
In the one-player version of this game, you take on the role of 007. Through a series of missions given to you in messages from Q. and Ms. Moneypenny, you must defeat the Janus Syndicate by performing specific mission tasks, gathering objects and information, and wasting all the bad guys you see (since you ARE licensed to kill ... ). If you've ever played Doom, Myst, Duke Nukem, etc., you probably know what to do: move around in a three-dimensional environment, exploring rooms and landscapes, looking for prizes, and defeating enemy drones. Sounds simple enough, so what makes GoldenEye better?
The first-person 3D shooter interface has been done to death -- so much so, that when I got GoldenEye I wondered how it could possibly be interesting enough to hold my attention any longer than Jim Carrey can act serious. All I can say is, after only 20 minutes of playing the ultimate super-spy, my cheeks were hurting from my new permanent grin. Without a doubt, this is one of the most well-thought-out videogames I have ever played. It's similar to all those other 3D shooters out there, but with an intelligent twist: you don't just run around pummeling everything you see. InGoldenEye you have the freedom to make whatever choices (and mistakes) you like, but you also have the responsibility to respect your surroundings and carry out your mission with not only speed and accuracy, but also stealth and smart thinking. It's not just skill through repetition that will help you succeed. It's your instincts, behavior, and attitude as well. Stay focused on your mission objectives. Don't shoot the hostages or civilians. Don't waste your explosives. Don't throw your covert modem into the river (oh, am I the only one who did that?). My point is that you don't just shoot first and then deal with the consequences, you have to THINK about what you're doing, what could happen next, and carefully -- but quickly -- choose the best course of action. You're not just reacting, you're interacting. This is what makes James Bond great. Intelligence and style make him stand out above all the other action heroes.
There are 20 game levels in GoldenEye, each having two or more specific mission objectives. There are few hidden activities each level, so there's a lot to do besides just killing bad guys: take spy photos, plant bugs, disarm bombs, hack into computers, sabotage equipment, melt things with your watch laser, and even drive tanks. You can also replay any stage to try for a better mission time -- faster completion times will earn you extra goodies. Here's a nice feature: the soldiers don't just wander aimlessly in one area waiting for you to walk around the corner, they actually hunt for you -- even if you're at the top of a tower. Avoid tripping the alarms or using a loud gun and you'll have the advantage of surprise. Speaking of guns, you get lots of 'em, and other cool devices and explosives for each mission. Depending on the weapon you choose, you can shoot through doors, launch grenades, or use the gun's scope to get a zoomed-in view for careful aiming and more precise hits. Plunk the guards on the tower from over 1,000 yards away. Your accuracy percentages will be displayed at the end of each mission to give you an idea of how well you did.
I found it to be a pain switching between weapons and devices in a hurry (I like the spinning weapons wheel in Turok much better). However, with a bit of practice, you'll be doing OK. At the start of each mission, you aren't given anything you shouldn't need in that level, and still you have the freedom to pick up and use whatever else you may find. It's an interesting challenge to figure out the best place and time to set your explosives so you can get the job done right. Also, I love the fact that there is no "pause" button -- press START and you look at your watch to check your devices list, review your objectives, and adjust the controller settings. In effect, this "pauses" the game, but in a more appealing way than to see the word PAUSED flashing in the middle of your screen. You can choose between six different controller configurations (I set mine to be the same as Turok -- read my Turok 64 review to see why I'm a big fan of using the analog stick for fluid head motion). The 5th and 6th setting options are for using two controllers, one for each hand, a cool way to play if you can handle it.
Multi-Player Mode is the best reason to own this game. You've probably seen the awesome split-screen multi-player mode in MarioKart 64 and StarFox 64, so you know what to expect here. Even though the smaller sectional view takes some getting used to, there's no better adrenaline rush than a good four playerGoldenEye death match. You get the challenge of using your James Bond skills to compete against up to four of your friends at high speeds and in several environments. There are 8 different player scenarios, like team play (3 against 1, 2 vs. 2, etc.), and other ones like "You Only Live Twice" (where you each get two lives and the last one standing wins), and "The Living Daylights" (capture the flag; the one who can carry it the longest wins). You can choose to be any of the game characters, and a few additional surprise guests will appear as player options after completing certain levels in the one-player game (with a higher difficulty setting and/or a low completion time). You have to earn your bonuses instead of just typing in cheat codes.
GoldenEye has a kick-butt gameplay engine behind it, which is good because the graphics are less than impressive overall. The environments seem blurry sometimes, which may be a result of the big screen that I have, but all my other N64 games seem to be a little clearer. There are a lot of cool details and effects to look for though. Check this out: when you shoot holes in the walls or glass, the holes don't disappear when you turn away, or even when you leave and re-enter the area. When I got lost exploring the ship I was able to tell which hallways I'd already been through by the bullet holes in the walls and the floors. The music is cool, and is adjustable (as expected), and the sounds are quite accurate and fit in perfectly, from the bullet shells hitting the floor to the occasional siren echoes. If I could add anything to the audio sensation of this game, it would be more dialogue (I know it eats up memory, but if they can fit all that incessant chatter into Starfox, you'd think there might be some voices behind the conversations in GoldenEye instead of reading the text on screen).
Polygon animation: it's (currently) a sacrifice of smooth, clearly detailed imagery to achieve awesome gameplay, at least when it comes to the speed of home machines. GoldenEye uses polygons, so the images are "not highly detailed" to say the least -- the characters' faces look like masks on puppets, and they have this sharp-edged robotic look to them. But the speed and flexibility of the entire game is worth it -- after a few moments you're having too much fun to notice any loss of sharp details. I must admit that videogame animation technology is getting better all the time; at 30 frames per second (30 fps), GoldenEye is a good example of how the 64-bit Nintendo is getting closer to the look and feel of the big arcade machines.
GoldenEye is also "Rumble-ready," so plug in a Rumble Pak and you can feel your machine gun jolts. This is the perfect companion piece to this game -- the rumbles are not overdone like they are in StarFox (I'd swear Fox McCloud's Arwing must have a nervous condition or something).
Run, don't walk, to buy this game. Sell cookies, get a second job, use your rent money if you have to. Better yet, use your grocery money, since you'll be too busy playing this game to stop and eat. Seriously, if you like Doom, Myst, Turok, Duke Nukem ... and you want something better, you won't be disappointed with GoldenEye. Even disregarding the awesome intelligence aspects, the multi-player option alone makes it the best 3D shooter ever. Gather three opponents and "Let's get ready to rumble!!"