Re-PLAY: Goldeneye 007 (N64)
It’s been a long time, bond.
The year was 1997, films were in 2D and games came in a rich variety of polygons. At this time the playstation and N64 were in fierce competition with Sega about to admit defeat from the console race. Each had their key games but the N64 was about to get a surprise hit from a genre that NEVER does any good- the movie tie in game.
The game was Goldeneye 007…and the rest is history.
This weekend I went to visit Mr. Coldicott in his homestead. He had just recently dug out his N64 from under his bed. It had been there going on a good 7 years so the hope that it would actually work was slim. However after a bit of messing around on his TV he finally got it and on span that familiar metallic nintendo logo that we had both seen so much in our time. So let’s get the graphics question done with- it looks dreadful! Remember though that the TVs we were playing on at that time were still SD and probably no bigger than 20″. We were playing sat about three foot away from a 40″ HD TV which didn’t really do the old 240p resolution any favors. There were certain notable issues like enemy’s being consumed by the Walls and bullet holes floating in mid air, but I prefer to look more on that as charm rather than glitches.
We dove right into the Dam level on 00 agent (no messing around here). Granted probably not the wisest move having not played the game for some time but I made a fair stab at it! Got mullered in the basement getting to the data backup by some sod hiding behind a wall. I can tell you though that even now the gameplay makes your adrenalin rush. There’s something about not being guided around to your objectives like some crap technical safari that really emerges you in the game. There’s no “new objective- it’s over here, about 400 meters” markers popping up every second. Nope, it’s just a list. Find them, do them.
It was Lee’s turn then to have a go at the missile solo level (also at 00). You only get 8 minuets for this one as after that the whole place explodes (was there ever a better incentive?). He blazed his way through corridor after corridor of identical octuplet guard groups, making it all the way to the bullet proof Ourumov at the end of the level. At this point he had 5 seconds left to dash for the lift- and dash he did, making it with barely a second to spare. With a whoop and some old school backslapping we celebrated the achievement. But wait… Objective C, FAILED?! Goddamn it! Back we go! You see most games these days wouldn’t be so bold as to let you finish the mission without completing the objectives- but Goldeneye just glares at you for such a mistake, and makes you start again. I guess there’s something to be said for discipline in games after all as the sense of satisfaction when completing a Goldeneye level is far greater than that of any game I’ve played in recent years.
Some retro games age like milk where others age like your grandparents: with a quet dignity. This is the latter. Re-playing Goldeneye all these years on it’s amazing to see the influence it had on the modern shooter. It’s difficult to comprehend that before Goldeneye, shooters on consoles either weren’t done or were just plain bad. Now it’s difficult to find any other kind of games on them! The gratifying experience if figuring out and completing your objectives is just something that is lacking from today’s games. It’s all waypoints and instructions. When we were thrown into the first level if Goldeneye (the Dam) my friend Steve rightly said “you know, if they made this now- there would be a five Minuit training corse on how to use that sniper rifle”. Am I looking at Goldeneye through Rose tinted glasses? Sure, but they are massive Rose tinted glasses with pictures of girls etched in them and the bond theme playing out of tiny speakers on them…and I would happily stay behind them forever.
Rose Tinted Rating:
Overall: 8/10 (Still Brilliant)