GoldenEye 007

GoldenEye 007 review: Is GoldenEye 007 on the Wii as good as the N64 original?

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Activision GoldenEye 007
  • Activision GoldenEye 007
  • Activision GoldenEye 007
  • Activision GoldenEye 007

Pros

  • Good AIs, gritty vibe, great gameplay, GoldenEye is back!

Cons

  • Not as groundbreaking as the original, four-way multiplayer with WiiMote/Nunchucks is a bit awkward

Bottom Line

GoldenEye 007 is a fun, respectable FPS that in no way tarnishes its beloved daddy. That said, it's unlikely to ever be regarded as a classic like the original.

Would you buy this?

Games based on movies are crap. When you broach this subject with a group of gamers, you'd probably incur eager nods of emphatic agreement. But then somebody will always ruin the moment with: "But what about GoldenEye 007 on the N64?"

Released back in the 1997 and based on the James Bond film of the same name, GoldenEye 007 was a revolutionary FPS that proved you can have a fulfilling single-player campaign and a mind-blowing multiplayer experience on a console.

This was when multiplayer meant playing with a four-way splitscreen on a small CRT TV (none of that 60in LCD TV business or the luxury of online multiplayer); which makes it even more impressive.

Having been earmarked as one of the best shooters of all time, you can imagine the joy of fanboys all around the world when Nintendo announced at E3 that the game was being remade for the Wii.

I think I may even have shed a tear.

This time around, the game is not developed by Rareware (the guys behind the original who subsequently went on to make Viva Pinata) and Pierce Brosnan has been unceremoniously dumped for Daniel Craig.

Even so, it's hard to rain on the parade of the many fervent GoldenEye fans and their impossibly high expectations. But alas, just as Daniel Craig is not as suave as Pierce Brosnan, Wii's GoldenEye can't match the N64 original. But that's not to say it's not good.

The name is Pierce... Sorry, Craig.

The storyline has appropriately been given a modern wash. The movie's premise remains intact, but the characters and finer plot details have 'gotten with the times'. Many familiar elements have been given a 21st century makeover. For instance, Bond plants his smartphone on the enemy helicopter to track its course to a secret enemy base (instead of a military tracking device). In fact, the smartphone also supplants the old Bond watch and performs a number of functions to aid you in the game, including taking photos to complete certain tasks.

Bond even uses a facial recognition app on his phone. Seriously, an app! To think I was already impressed with a watch-embedded laser from the original. Oh my, how times have moved on since GolenEye N64.

I do miss the cool introduction sequence from GoldenEye N64, where Bond saunters onto the screen and shoots you in the face with the classic 007 movie theme playing as the scene goes through the different characters in the game. Ah, memories.

In terms of gameplay, the developers haven't forgotten the crucial combination of shooting and stealth that made the original such a cult classic. Sneaking around and timely shooting to silence an enemy still underpins the Wii version.

While the game does contain levels from the original, they have been adapted to suit the revamped storyline. But that's fine with me. It is not a port of the N64 version and it does a good job breathing fresh life into an old favourite, while some parts will make dedicated fans stop and shout, "Oh! I remember this bit!"

Bond girls and other eye candy

The graphics are fairly good by Wii standards, although during some of the cutscenes Bond's face was so static it was reminiscent of the old jagged polygon flat-faced Bond from the N64 version. The detailed environment is impressive and features destructible elements.

Xenia Onatopp definitely looks a lot better (ahem, hotter) than she did in the old game.

GoldenEye Wii uses a modified version of the game engine Eurocom used for Dead Space: Extraction, adopting an aim-down sight system with a degree of auto-aim similar to those you see on first-person shooters like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 on the Xbox 360 or PS3. It also borrows bits from modern FPS games, such as slow-motion gunfire sequences as well as options to pull off stealth executions.

For those playing with the WiiMote and Nunchucks, certain actions such as jumping over obstacles require specific hand gestures. A quasi-cover system allows you to crouch behind objects and pull up to shoot once the ADS button is triggered which is pleasantly effective. The AI is a strong point of the game. Enemies can alert other guards once you are spotted and have an impressive repertoire of moves when it comes to evading your shots.

Four's a crowd

Multiplayer was a huge part of the original GoldenEye 007 game, it would be a kick in the guts if Eurocom didn't put 110 per cent effort into it in the Wii version. Luckily, the developer did good job at bringing some of that old magic back.

But I have a few nits to pick.

You can forget playing splitscreen multiplayer with the Nunchucks and WiiMote setup, sadly. Watching your mates wave their arms around in your peripheral vision during a tense game of cat-and-mouse is not only distracting but is annoying enough to induce intense gamer-rage. (Mind you, I was playing on a fairly small screen so if you have a cinema-sized display, you might have better luck than I did.)

I highly recommend investing in classic controllers or nicking your friend's old GameCube controllers. Either that, or play each other through online multiplayer mode, which is a welcome addition to GoldenEye 007 Wii.

You won't find all the multiplayer maps from the N64 in the new version (although there is a revamped Facility map) but old fans should be able to find some favourites in the new collection.

The Bourne Legacy

Overall, the game feels much grittier than the original, reflective of how the recent 007 franchise reboot killed off some of the kitsch elements that made some of the older films laughable. Bond is no longer a pretty boy MI6 agent. He's a lean mean killing machine; cold and efficient.

But will GoldenEye Wii ever live up to the high expectations of hardened GoldenEye fans? Probably not.

A big reason why GoldenEye N64 is such a beloved game is its groundbreaking nature at the time of its release. No other title did FPS better at the time, and it is widely touted as the game that opened up many doors for the FPS games we see today.

While the Wii version is an enjoyable experience, it's really nothing new.

But we need not despair. GoldenEye Wii can stand on its own two feet. It is a solid FPS in its own right — even if it won't make its mark in the annals of gaming history.

For old fans, the nostalgia factor alone is worth giving this game a go. For newcomers who want a robust FPS adventure, you won't be disappointed.

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Read more on these topics: games, Nintendo Wii games, James Bond

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