'GoldenEye': Stirred, not shaken, remake
Etched in the back of many gamers’ minds are the fond memories of the iconic Nintendo 64 first-person shooter “GoldenEye.” Of the many things “GoldenEye” did right in 1997, being a successful film-to-game conversion was no small feat, and something few games have done since. Trying to cash in on those golden-laced memories, EA developer Eurocom re-imagined the “GoldenEye” story in a release late last year, and it’s an adventure worth reliving.
Exclusive to the Wii, James Bond returns in the new “GoldenEye” as the Bond of today, Daniel Craig, instead of Pierce Brosnan. It’s revamped details like this that pleasantly crop up throughout this title from beginning to finish. In the storytelling, control, environments and presentation — everything has been updated to live up to today’s “Medal of Honor” or “Call of Duty” standards.
That’s not to say they’ve thrown out everything, though. Of course, Bond returns with tanks, gadgets (well, more of a multi-purpose smart phone now) and guns. Just like the original, stealth relies on two choices for Bond: whether he feels like staying in the shadows and silencing that Walther PPK (which can now be done with the press of a button), or grabbing the nearest AK-47 and trying his luck with some run-and-gun action.
The controls here really help you no matter what road you choose. Wiimote pointer support is excellent as ever, with a ton of customizable control options to help tailor your aiming speed or change button layouts. I especially enjoyed the ability to look around corners by slightly twisting the Nunchuck attachment while zooming in. Whether you’re trying to pick off one baddie or make your way out of a room in a full-on firefight, these controls don’t get in your way.
But while the controls are finely turned, it turns out the enemies themselves could use an IQ check. Though Eurocom has made great strides in getting computer baddies to take cover and attack together, it seems nobody really thought to give them any drive to actually advance, or taught them that doorways aren’t impenetrable fortresses.
Many times while taking the covert approach, I found myself running backward for cover after an alarm had been blown, only to sit there for a few minutes while the Russians apparently thought better of actually going through a door to give chase. For a game that does such a superb job of painting a modern veneer on this decade-old story, it’s details like this that jar the experience.
For better or worse, multiplayer supports four-player split screen action just like the original. This is a step in the right direction; I just wish Eurocom had taken a few more. Specifically, where are the bots? Even N64 games from 10 years ago support more game modes than this game does, and even with online support, multiplayer felt as stale as popping in the original Goldeneye would today.
Don’t get me wrong, I have a great nostalgia for the original — probably an unhealthy amount — but as Eurocom showed us with single player, sometimes it’s necessary to step a bit beyond where you’ve come, and shake, not stir, things up.
Bottom line: Definitely worth buying for the single player, but make sure you’ve got something else lined up for when friends come over.