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Trust Me, You Don't Want GoldenEye 007
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on January 05, 2007   |   Episode 121 (Show Archive)  

   

Not only did GoldenEye 007 prove that first-person shooters could work on a console, it also proved that Bond still had a few tricks up his sleeve!
For many GoldenEye 007 marked the first time they were truly impressed with a console first-person shooter. While there had been ports of Wolfenstein 3D and Doom before it, GoldenEye 007 managed to take the genre in a completely different direction. It was able to give console users a unique experience that felt right at home on a standalone game system. There's no doubt about it, GoldenEye 007 was a high water mark that forever changed the face of first-person shooters on the home consoles.

It's no wonder that so many people are practically begging for this early generation Nintendo 64 game to be ported to the Nintendo Wii. If you ask the average gamer what they would pay money for on the Virtual Console, GoldenEye 007 seems to always rank right up there with the most popular titles from the late 1990s. People want their GoldenEye 007 fix; it's just one of those games that you can't get out of your mind ... even ten years later.

Of course, the prospects of a GoldenEye 007 Virtual Console port seems extremely small. Thanks to a licensing nightmare the idea of getting this Bond first-person

While the video game was cool, just about everything else related to GoldenEye was total trash!
shooter feels remote at best. The current James Bond license holder is Activision, who is busy working on their own next generation 007 title. And that's not it, the GoldenEye name is owned by Electronic Arts, the company that ruined Bond's good name by developing the pseudo-sequel, GoldenEye: Rogue Agent. And worse yet, the original GoldenEye 007 was developed by Rare ... the company that is currently owned by Microsoft. Not only would you have to get all three of these companies to work together, but you would have to give Rare (and Microsoft, by default) a reason to help out their competition's game download service.

But let's say the planets align and an epidemic of peace spreads across this world. Let's say that all three of these companies decide to work together

GoldenEye 007 marked a high water mark for Rare, a height they have yet to even come close to hitting again!
and release the GoldenEye 007 port every person on the Wii forums have been asking for. All of a sudden every Wii owner has the ability to buy one of the best games of all time and everybody is happy, right? WRONG! I hate to tell you this, but no matter how much you demand it, you really don't want GoldenEye 007.

Now don't start your hate mail just yet, because you're looking at one of the biggest GoldenEye fans out there. From the first moment I grabbed the control I knew I was playing something important. GoldenEye was the first

Electronic Arts proved that the GoldenEye name does not always translate to a great game!
Nintendo 64 game that really floored me; in my mind it was even better than Super Mario 64 and Wave Race 64. I can still remember all of the great times I had gathering my friends around the TV and playing the various deathmatch levels. Despite what it may sound like, I love GoldenEye and still regard it as one of the greatest console games of all time. But just because the game was great, that doesn't mean that it's worth rereleasing on Nintendo's Virtual Console.

You will find that most of the people that are the most vocal about their desires to see GoldenEye 007 rereleased are the same people who haven't played it in close to ten years. These are the people that remember loving the game

The graphics were great for the time, but looking back at them now it's hard to play the game with a straight face!
when it was first released and have kept those fond memories with them as bigger and better first-person shooters have been released. These are the people that are nostalgic for a game that will remind them of a more innocent time, a time when the emphasis was on the games and not Blu-Ray DVDs, downloadable movies and media centers. Because if these people actually went back and played GoldenEye 007 today they would find that it feels archaic in comparison to games like Halo, Resistance, and Gears of War.

While it's true that one could argue that all decade old games feel outdated compared to their contemporary counterparts, there has been a disproportionate leap in first-person shooter technology. We're not just talking about the graphics, over the past ten years practically every aspect of the genre has been reinvented. The same cannot be said for every genre, it's easy to go back and enjoy a ten year old racing game, sports game and fighting game. And while platformers have gone 3D, the concept of going back 22

Nintendo is learning the hard way that not every video game is able to withstand the test of time!
years and playing the original Super Mario Bros. doesn't feel all that foreign. But GoldenEye is different. GoldenEye may look like your typical first-person shooter, but in reality it is woefully out of date.

Perhaps the most noticeable problem is that the game is limited to one analog stick, which means that walking and controlling your camera is not going to be an easy task. Ten years ago this wasn't a problem, the idea of one analog stick was something new to most people and most console first-person shooters weren't about walking, aiming, ducking and jumping like they are today. GoldenEye was released right before a major first-person renaissance, one that saw the release of such industry high points as Half-Life, Counter-Strike and Unreal Tournament. These games had a huge

If it weren't for Half-Life a game like GoldenEye 007 could still be considered relevant!
impact on modern day first-person shooter games, and in a lot of ways acted like the changing of the guard. Although games like Doom and Wolfenstein 3D may have started the genre, it's the influence of Half-Life and Counter-Strike that made the first-person shooter such a massive force in the industry.

In a lot of ways GoldenEye 007 feels like it's stuck between the old style of first-person shooters and the new, something that worked well ten years ago but isn't nearly as exciting in 2007. These days the controls would be considered clunky and unremarkable, they require you to actually hold a button down when you want to aim, something that seems as outdates as asking you to rewind a videocassette or using a dial-up modem to connect to the internet.

Perhaps even more out of date than the game play is the multiplayer mode, which doesn't offer that many different types of games and can only be enjoyed with a split screen

Reggie Fils-Aimes seems to want to get GoldenEye onto the Virtual Console, but as far as I'm concerned he should spend the money localizing those Japanese games we've been missing out on!
perspective. These complaints have more to do with the time and technology than anything else, back in 1997 nobody expected to be able to hook up multiple systems or play your friends online. But in a world of Xbox Live and LAN parties the idea of going back to the days of split screen deathmatches just doesn't appeal to a lot of people.

Of course, Nintendo could conceivably spend the time to recode the game and offer online game play. This is the type of improvement that Xbox 360 users have been accustomed to for a good year now, and it's definitely something that fans of GoldenEye would applaud. But given the fact that Nintendo has yet to release an online Wii game in the United States

It probably goes without saying, but the days of split screen multiplayer is dead. And I don't want GoldenEye to be the one that brings it back!
and they don't seem too keen on spending the time to update their classic Virtual Console titles in any noticeable way, the hope that Rare's first-person shooter would be given online game play seems like nothing more than a fanboy pipe dream. There's also the issue of who would be the ones reworking the game, it's going to be hard enough for Nintendo to get Rare, Activision and Electronic Arts to agree on the project, I can only imagine that convincing the original developers to rework the code to add online game play isn't going to be an easy job.

And even if they do somehow release the game with online support, will people really be interested in playing an online shooter that doesn't look

Hmm ... if Red Steel is the best the Wii can do, then perhaps we do need a first-person shooter like GoldenEye!
especially good and requires you to hold a button down just to aim? Part of the appeal of the Virtual Console is that you have access to the types of games that aren't being made for the Wii. A lot of these games are classic genres that we don't see much of these days, such as 2D shooters and old school platformers. But these days there is no shortage of first-person shooters, so it may be a bit redundant to put so much emphasis on GoldenEye 007.

Of course, there's more to GoldenEye 007 than outdated game play and a split screen deathmatch. There's a solid story mode that not only captures the essence of James Bond, but also feature a large variety of exciting missions with memorably characters and really cool gadgets. It would be a shame to completely lose the single-player campaign simply because of licensing issues. Thankfully GoldenEye 007 is still available at many retailers for around $10, so it's not impossible to

Personally I would rather see GoldenEye 007 on the Xbox Live Arcade, at least there you would have online play and updated graphics!
find at this point. And if that's not an option, there is a whole community surrounding GoldenEye 007 Source, a Half-Life 2 mod that recreates everything you loved about Rare's 1997 masterpiece.

Now don't get me wrong, because of the compelling story and nostalgia aspect I am not completely against the idea of a GoldenEye game on the Virtual Console. As far as I'm concerned Nintendo should make every NES, Super NES and Nintendo 64 game available on their service. What I am against is the blind support the game is getting on message boards. People think they want this game, but when it comes right down to it they really don't. It's predictable that everybody is begging Nintendo to work out the logistics to make this happen, but it's also predictable that everybody will be very disappointed when Big N finally does this. Without online play and two analog stick support, GoldenEye 007 will just be another outdated game that was once considered one of the greatest games of all time. GoldenEye 007 can still mean something to you, but it's best if you remember the game for what it was then and not what it is today.
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