GoldenEye was a pretty good Bond film. As a game it was groundbreaking. The ability to shoot a random henchman in the head from a hundred feet away with the sniper rifle was just one example of the innovations that saw 100,000 copies sold within ten weeks of GoldenEye’s release. And that’s before the joy of multiplayer was discovered and it went on to sell over 8 million cartridges worldwide.
Mates who may have given the N64’s solid-state-gaming cartridges a miss in favour of the shiny new CD-running PlayStation, suddenly changed their tunes. An N64 with four controllers, rumble packs and GoldenEye was at the top of everyone’s Christmas list. Which made them notoriously hard to come by – like a rare gem-encrusted RCP90.
The story began on The Dam level, which immediately let you sneak up behind guards and take them out with silenced headshots from the PP7. Then, after bungee-jumping from a bridge and shooting a man on the toilet, all hell broke loose. High-capacity machine guns and proximity mines put stealth missions on the back burner as you charged through The Facility, completely destroyed The Bunker and terrorised the streets of St Petersburg with a rocket-spunking tank.
If completing the game once wasn’t enough – which it wasn’t – you were able to do it twice more on harder settings, unlocking a new final level each time. The Moonraker level, called Aztec Complex, let you do battle with Jaws and unlock the Moonraker Laser – which was powerful and didn’t need a reload, but took ages between shots. Then, on the Egyptian Temple level – if you could kill the giant-hard-to-miss Baron Samedi – the one-shot-kills Golden Gun was all yours.
Multiplayer. The genre was redefined by this game. After battling mates to choose Oddjob as your player so you’d be near impossible to hit, it was hard to stop playing the ten-minute levels on offer. Whether you were laying proximity mines in the toilet to doom the respawns on The Facility level, launching rockets about tight spaces in The Stacks, or playing The Man With The Golden Gun one-shot-kills setting on The Caverns, the hours flew by. If you didn’t have the game already, you soon would.
If we went through all the good things in GoldenEye, we'd go on longer than the game itself, and that’s still going now. The latest release for the Wii uses better graphics, Daniel Craig’s face, and point-to-shoot compatibility. Online multiplayer capabilities make it great, but like all remakes, it’s just not the same.
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