GoldenEye 007 review

Activision’s successor to the original console FPS sensation leaves us shaken and stirred.

By Rupert Higham, November 12, 2010

Most publisher-released promo screens look far better than their in-game counterparts. GoldenEye is the other way -- It looks even better when you step into Bond's shoes.

In a market populated by Quake and Duke Nukem 3D, the original GoldenEye broke the mould, earning a reputation as the thinking man’s FPS, but jump forward 15 years and absolutely everything this side of the Serious Sam remakes are thinking men’s FPSs. While the fashionable use of Daniel Craig’s new smart phone to hack weapons and computers and the even greater emphasis on stealth (complete with MGS-style guard alert phases) is very much in the spirit of the ground-breaking original, it never threatens to innovate. The mission-based structure of the N64 game returns once again, layering additional tasks with each jump of the difficulty level, offering variety for repeat players.

GoldenEye manages to pace itself a little tighter than its source title, juggling shadow-creeping stealth with heavy-weapon-fuelled shootouts, while throwing the odd curveball to keep you on your toes. The St. Petersburg tank sequence has seen a complete overhaul, transforming it from a sluggish and awkward gimmick into a high-octane city-levelling chase sequence that captures the excitement of the film sequence far more effectively than Rare’s attempt. In fact the polish is so consistent throughout, that it hits you like a slug to the skull from Scaramanga when they do drop the ball.

The end boss battle with Trevelyan (and really, if that was a spoiler for you, where have you been for the last 15 years?) is one of the worst executed in recent memory. Not only does it manage to lack the scale and drama of the N64 cradle level, but Trevelyan’s doggedness in running between his four cover-spots with unflinching mechanical repetition, completely ignoring Bond’s proximity or behaviour – it’s one of the most glaringly awful AI routines witnessed outside of a PS1 game. Trevelyan’s damage animations only kick in every third shot and the battle drags on far too long, ending the game with a whimper considering the superb level of quality up to that point.

The Call of Duty-style "breach" moments allow you to take down rooms full of foes in bullet time before they get a chance to retaliate.

The N64 game’s campaign of sniper rifles and stealth tactics may have left an indelible imprint on the genre but it was the got-it-perfect-first-time multiplayer that kept it welded to the cartridge slot. Eurocom’s title has attempted to try and recreate that magical alchemy and a whole lot more besides. Every possible permutation of local four-player versus action has been included, and for purists that can’t abide the sight of Daniel Craig’s rugged visage, classic Bond villains like Oddjob, Jaws and Scaramanga all make authentic appearances.

More notable is the appearance of a Call of Duty-lite online mode that apes Activision’s other big FPS – and not in a bad way. Experience points, perks and various unlockables populate the robust eight-player deathmatch that hangs together surprisingly well. Matches are promptly arranged, lag (at least in a pre-release environment) was barely noticeable and it provided an unrivalled experience on Nintendo’s under-used service.

The destructible scenery ranges from pots and pans seen here to leveling entire scaffolds on later missions.

So just how good is GoldenEye? It’s damn good, and not just in a “good for the Wii” kind of way. Of course it doesn’t match the likes of Modern Warfare 2 and Halo Reach shot for shot, but it provides a thrilling eight hours worth campaign that offers a worthy diversion from any current HD alternative. That it’s taken the Wii FPS crown almost by default is hardly news. That it’s exceeded every expectation along the way and fully delivered on the hallowed reputation is something Eurocom can be extremely proud of.

8 out of 10

Posted in Reviews, Top 5, and tagged with , , , .

One Response to “GoldenEye 007 review”

  1. Shox121 says:

    Goldeneye N64 is still the most enjoyable FPS ever made on a console. me and my mates literally spent 10 hours a day, everyday playing the multiplayer for a full summer and every other school holiday for 2 years.
    i cant wait to pick up this version. good review


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