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GoldenEye 007 (Wii)

GoldenEye 007 (Wii)

Goldeneye: 007 - Nintendo Wii

GoldenEye 007 (Wii) Review

Back in 1997 when this reviewer was still a student and had plenty of hours to spare Rare released GoldenEye 007 for the N64. Still viewed as a classic in recent "all-time top 100" lists the world over it redefined single and multiplayer shooters with excellent use of the now essential Sniper mode and multiple hit locations on enemies.

Since then there have been rumours of remakes and re-releases with Xbox Live and the Wii’s Virtual Console being the two main candidates for launch platforms but a complex rights situation which see’s Rare, owned by Microsoft, GoldenEye owned by Nintendo and the Bond franchise owned by EA and now Activision means we have yet to see any port of that original game.

That doesn’t mean that there haven’t been attempts to bring something similar to market. An on-going project exists with the source engine to bring a similar multiplayer experience to the PC and in 2004 EA released "GoldenEye: Rogue Agent" to critical disdain.

So that brings us reasonably up to date and in June this year Activision announced that GoldenEye was to be revived with an updated version, coded from the ground up, would be released on Wii later in the year. That time is now here and today we find out whether Activision have succeeded in re-creating greatness.

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Looking at single player firstly we have a game which follows the usual trend of linear gameplay moving through a level with various objectives to achieve along the way. In the case of GoldenEye 007 though we have a familiar setting with some twists…

Gamers who remember the original version will recall the initial level which has the camera sweep through a valley, finding Pierce Brosnan’s Bond at the beginning of the level ready to infiltrate a Dam complex. That same sweeping motion is used again here, in a near identical looking location, but instead we find Daniel Craig at the start of the level. In addition to this we also begin the game in co-op mode with Alex Trevelyan (006). It is changes like these which tell us that this isn’t just a remake of the original title.

In single player mode there are various difficulty levels and these help to define the experience we get from the game. On the easiest mode we must complete the main mission objective, essentially getting from the start of the level to the end and health regenerates. As we move up through difficulty the requirements increase until, on the hardest level which is called 007 Classic, we have to complete every mission and sub objective to progress. On top of that it is an old school health system where we must pick up items like bulletproof vests to increase our lifespan.

Essentially there are two games included here. An average, unchallenging, mindless run and shoot marathon and a much more complex, rewarding and challenging stealth/action based game which is much more enjoyable. To give an idea of the difference, playing the pre-credits introduction at the Dam on easiest difficulty takes about 10minutes. On 007 Classic the same level takes over an hour to successfully negotiate. During this hour or so we need to think about how to best approach various aspects of the level. How should we take down groups of NPC’s, which weapon is best used and where we need to be heading next to explore the whole level achieve the sub-objectives.

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That isn’t to say that on the harder level the game is without fault. There are some and they can be rather annoying. Collision detection is one. There can be times when we have a clear view of an enemy, our crosshair on them and when we fire the bullet is obstructed by a wall or vehicle between us and the target which really isn’t on the path of the bullet. The game also has a habit of varying the laws of its own universe. In some areas it would be great to walk up to a door, put the silencer on and take out the guard on the other side by shooting through a window… not possible. In other areas destruction of glass is allowed and is sometimes essential to completion of a segment.

The controls are also hit and miss. With the standard Wii control or zapper the game is reasonably playable and accurate but really FPS games are not a strong point for this style of input. Plug in a Classic/Gamecube controller though and it becomes a whole different experience, much easier to play and much more fun.

So to multiplayer, an aspect of the original game which received huge praise. In this version of GoldenEye we look back to the classic version through inclusion of modes such as the Golden Gun mode where picking up that particular weapon gives us an advantage over other players in a deathmatch style game. There are also team based games where the aim is to capture/protect bases and a few twists are thrown in for good measure. Heroes for example gives one player on each team enhanced skills (play as Bond) in a battle against the enemy team with their own hero. With each multiplayer game achievements are given out and XP gained with further modes unlocked for higher level players.

In terms of how many players can join, its eight for gameplay online via the WiFi connection with players voting for the map used in advance of each game and local play uses four player split screen. Joining a game is an easy process online, matching happening within a few seconds and interestingly problems such as collision detection which are an issue in single player do not impact the multiplayer aspect. Also worth noting is that the multiplayer has mods which can make the game a little more fun, painball mode for example and of course rubber grenades… can’t beat them!

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Obviously with this being a Wii game the graphics are not up to the standard of the 360 or PS3 but the developers have done a decent job with the resources they have available. The dull colour pallet of the source material and locations does help with this and there are a number of highlights such as the scene where the helicopter comes in over the Dam during the intro mission and various weather effects throughout the game which are impressive.

Special praise also has to go to some of the multiplayer maps which offer much better texture levels than the single player game, though the nightclub map looks pretty horrid. We also noted a few framerate issues during the game though these are understandable given the demands of the game and console it is running on.

Finally, the title sequence is suitably Bond-esq and adds a real feel of the movies to the game.

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GoldenEye 007 features the voices of Daniel Craig and Judi Dench amongst others and these help add authenticity to the game. The secondary characters are voiced reasonably well and the overall score and environmental effects are decent.

Particular praise has to go to the title sequence where Nicole Scherzinger takes over the vocals that were originally performed by Tina Turner for the movie. It is also quite humorous to hear Judi Dench throw some tough insults our way if the MI6 team loses a multiplayer battle.

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For those who pick up the game and play on easy with a Wii controller the experience is average at best with awkward input methods and pretty brainless gameplay. Plug in a classic controller and things improve significantly with more responsive and accurate movement/aim. The real quality of the game only becomes apparent in 007 Classic mode though which is much more challenging, requiring the player to employ tactics and skill. The experience enhanced further by the inclusion of an old style health system where we must pick up bullet proof vests and the world of regenerative health is no more.

Multiplayer adds some value to the game, with its no frills team or solo gameplay. There is little real depth to it but as far as console FPS multiplayer goes it is fun and most definitely one that is best enjoyed with a few mates each playing as classic Bond characters. Speaking of characters, Activision should have done everything they could to secure Pierce Brosnan for this game, it just feels wrong without him.

GoldenEye 007 for Wii isn’t the classic the original was however it does have a lot going for it, for those who are up to the challenge, and it is one of the better Bond releases of the last decade, if not the best.

Gameplay 85/100 Without doubt far better on the harder difficultly levels with classic controller. A few bugs are noticeable but overall very good.
Graphics 89/100 It’s the Wii, in Wii-land 90% but to those who regularly play on PC/360/PS3 much lower.
Audio 80/100 Some good voice acting. Judi Dench’s insults in multiplayer are a highlight and the title sequence is also very well done.
Value 83/100 A decent length on the harder single player levels, good fun multiplayer.
(Not an Average)
86/100 Easy difficulty on the single player campaign should be avoided. An enjoyable, challenging and rewarding game on hardest difficulty for single player. Also good for multiplayer fun.

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About Author

Stuart Davidson

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