If you like retro gaming then you’ll probably be aware that neckbeards will frequently scoff about “GoldenEye being better than those them there Call of Battlefield shooty games” in a bizarrely thick unnatural West Country accent (American’s read yokel). And at some point in history we were correct. Which brings us crashing through the wall of nostalgia as GoldenEye is not the great game it once once.
So apologies in advance, as I can already feel the sharp and pointies in my tuccus.
is was a revolutionary first person shooter. At the time, everything was a weird sprint rocket jumping clusterfuck that required twitch reflexes, red/blue/green keys, a very forgiving temperament and progress was based on finding secret doors (think DOOM, Duke Nukem or Wolfenstein).
GoldenEye revolutionised the console first person shooter by mixing things up and eschewing the regular mission type of “find key kill everything”. Instead it had fairly open levels and objectives that shifted based on the difficulty. It meant some levels were stealthy, some a race to the finish, and some a regular old murder/death/kill-fest. And the only hidden passages were for secrets, and not an absolute necessity to progress.
There were attempts at boss fights, but these were usually a bit weak as it was just a character from the film that acted as an ever increasing bullet sponge. But other than that it was get from A to B, doing X, Y and Z and avoid getting shot. So while bosses were weak, I do give Rare extra credit for not introducing some kind of tank that has to have 30 different guns shot off it before you can explode it.
There was also no magical jam blood you could wipe off your face to recover health, and no checkpoints. Instead, if you died, you died, and had to start the level again. Yes this could be frustrating the 32nd time you’ve tried to do Control on 00 Agent only for that useless Russian bint to get herself one shot. And you could bork a run when that one gimboid manages to head shot you from 40ft and rinses 90% of your health. But fundamentally, if you wanted to complete the game, you needed a bit of skill and not an over reliance on twitch reflexes.
That said, the AI is non existent and enemies will whack-a-mole pop up out of cover or line up to get shot. It means you can effectively circle-straife enemies and imagine you’re in the Matrix and mostly nobody will hit you.
Ok, so I have clearly played this game too much, and am one of those dullards that are a bit good at GoldenEye. I can piss through the game on the hardest difficulty and only experience minor trouble on Train and Control.
After that, the difficulty comes from unlocking the cheats. These cheats vary in difficulty that as a 14 year old I spent 10 months battering the game until I unlocked everything. Now I can’t be fucked, Train is a pain in the arse on 00 Agent. It took me about 20 goes just to beat the level a few months ago, nevermind doing it “quickly” and getting a “Silver PPK” as the reward.
It follows the film fairly accurately. Moving on.
Multiplayer is life, multiplayer is the best, GoldenEye is the best multiplayer game EVUR!!!
Except, it really isn’t. Let’s face it chaps and chapettes, the multiplayer is actually pretty unbearable now as the maps are shit. They really are. Name a good map, I dare you.
You named Bunker right? That is fine, I accept your answer. Now name a second? Ok, Facility. Great, agreed. Now name a 3rd good level? Huh, what’s that, you can’t? Is that because the other levels are trash? No they really are, ESPECIALLY Egypt. Seriously go play them, Egypt is wide open with nothing there. Stack, ugly as shit and boring to boot. Same as Basement, Archives, and Library.
The rest? I’ll move on, as I can see the tears forming in your eyes. But you know I am right, deep down, you know.
Now, the game modes / the weapon selection… They are all imbalanced, hideously imbalanced. As all the maps have the same spawn points, and each weapon loadout has an overpowered weapon. This means whoever knows the map best or starts closest to gets to the best weapon first and stomps. Golden Gun mode? Whoever gets the Golden Gun first should win. Proximity mines, win. RCP90, win. You might be able to kill them eventually, but with the poorly designed maps you have to suicide run as the person you play inevitably hides in a spot you can’t get to and you just have to chip away at their health and hope they aren’t sat on the respawning body-armour.
Right, so the game is fucking ugly. The AI is truly atrocious, the multiplayer really isn’t “all that”, the control pad is by all conceivable measures, WANK, the frame rate is choppy and people are unbareably smug about how good GoldenEye is. But it isn’t all bad.
The single player has depth to it and that is what has aged the best. The mission variety and difficulty levels can keep it feeling fresh, and a passing interest in trying to unlock cheats is what keeps me coming back.
Other than that the selling point is the multiplayer. Which really isn’t as good as it was.
Not to bag on it too much as you can have fun playing it. But 99% of that fun comes from your own nostalgia and your refusal to admit that whatever the current Call of Duty is is a better game. GoldenEye is held in such high regard because it was the first time console peasants could play a fast paced shooter in multiplayer. It isn’t bad, just aged poorly.
Pros: a lot of depth, tonnes of replayability, local 4 player multiplayer.
Cons: Atrocious/none existent AI, imbalanced multiplayer, smug retro gaming fanatics
Back in the Day:
Find a “best Retro Gaming games” list that doesn’t include this. It won pretty much every award and didn’t score much less than 94% at release.