Point blank precision game design. But should it be shot down from its retro gaming pedestal or should it be left to relish in its reputation?
‘Goldeneye 007’ as it is officially named launched all the way back in 1997 for the N64 and received immense critical acclaim.
As well as being a commercial success due to selling an astonishing 8 million units (this made it the 3rd best selling N64 game ranking only under Mario kart 64 and Super Mario 64), it was also reviewed very well.
The game received a 96% Metacritic score and a 9.1/10 on IMDb. Modern games rarely get these kinds of high scores so for its time especially, this was huge and Nintendo had a smash hit on their hands which they embraced fully.
Let’s take a look at some of the
History Of Goldeneye 007 For Nintendo 64
The James Bond Connection
Riding off of the success of the Pierce Brosnan James Bond reboot in 1995, the first-person shooter appealed to audiences of all ages. At the end of the day, James Bond was cool whether you were 7 or 47.
Whether you grew up watching Sean Connery; Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, or Pierce Brosnan, it didn’t matter because the game had all you could want and then some.
Goldeneye 007 featured the iconic opening gun barrel sequence that all generations knew and loved, sprinkled set pieces from the film recreated in those ever so sweet polygonal graphics and a stunning soundtrack to die for.
Even today in 2021, Goldeneye 007 is heralded as a retro classic. Pierce Brosnan himself has praised the game multiple times and even expressed his love for the game by volunteering to play it with Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show in front of an audience. Albeit, he lost because he couldn’t find a weapon but he enjoyed it.
Complete with the funky and unique N64 controller that screams nostalgia, the game is just a joy to play 24 years later.
There are even rumors now that due to its 25th anniversary being 2022 and the game being unbanned in Germany recently, Goldeneye 007 could be making a triumphant return onto the Nintendo Switch Online service.
In its 24 years, the video game has never seen a re-release on another platform due to licensing issues, etc. This is a rarity in gaming, especially from this era but now there will hopefully be an opportunity for new Bond fans who grew up with the likes of Daniel Craig to experience the Bond before him. The last of an era you could say.
This is all great though. We’ve established that Goldeneye 007 is a fantastic game, received critical acclaim, sold well, and won the hearts of many 90s kids and even adults. But the question is, was it the best N64 game?
It Was An Early Title With Some Tough Competition
As previously mentioned, the game launched in 1997 which was very early on in the N64’s lifespan. The console launched a year prior in 1996 and there were only a handful of notable games that launched before Goldeneye 007 (These being Super Mario 64, Cruisin USA, and International Soccer 64).
However, despite there only being a few notable games, Super Mario 64 was the 1996 Game of the Year and decades later is still regarded as revolutionary for the gaming industry. Goldeneye launched after this world-class standard 3D platformer but, couldn’t be classed as direct competition though because it was a completely different genre.
Unfortunately for Goldeneye though, the N64 continued to live on all the way up until 2002, and during this period, there were lots of quality video games released. Arguably its library of games wasn’t as strong as the Gameboy or SNES but boy did it have games.
The first 3D Zelda (Ocarina of Time), and its sequel Majoras Mask, Banjo and Kazooie, Sin and Punishment, Mario Kart 64, Pilotwings, Star Fox 64, Pokemon Stadium, Super Smash Bros 64, and F Zero just to name a few.
There Was A Sequel to Goldeneye?
One big game is missing from that compilation. Can you guess which one? I’ll give you a clue…if anything could be said as more popular or even just direct competition to Goldeneye 007, it is this game.
The game is Perfect Dark. Released in 2000, it once again received immense critical acclaim much like Goldeneye 007 did back in 1997.
Perfect Dark received a 97% Metacritic score (1% higher than Goldeneye 007) and an IMDb score of 8.7/10 (0.4 lower than Goldeneye.) It is one of the most infamous N64 games despite it only selling 2.52 million units compared to Goldeneye 007’s 8 million.
The synopsis of the game reads,” In Perfect Dark, you assume the role of Joanna Dark, a secret agent working for the secret Carrington Institute. Your mission is to rescue a kidnapped scientist and unravel the mystery of the DataDyne Corporation. Along the way, you will get mixed up in alien conspiracies, government cover-ups with people trying to kill you at every turn!”
Sounds a little familiar right? Almost sounds a little James Bondesque which is good because Perfect Dark is essentially Goldeneye’s unofficial sequel. Both games were developed by the same company ‘Rare’ and believe me, that is not where the similarities end.
- The games both use the same engine although Perfect Dark uses a more optimized and advanced version due to it being 3 years newer.
- Both feature a critically acclaimed multiplayer although arguable Perfect Dark has the better received one mainly due to it having 3 distinct multiplayer modes, all of which were executed flawlessly
- Similar control scheme
- General gameplay loop
- Spy-based storyline, one directly related to the Bond series and one more loosely based and unofficial.
Overall, Perfect Dark borrows many aspects that made Goldeneye 007 so special such as the general gameplay loop and controls.
In addition to this though, Perfect Dark has more weapons, more levels, an original Bond unrelated story as previously mentioned, better production values and set pieces, cleaner and crisper graphics, an awesome soundtrack, multiple hidden secrets, and unlockables, and a team co-op mode.
There are also more missions in Perfect Dark than in Goldeneye 007, more customization elements introduced, and unique weapons compared to Goldeneyes Bond-inspired weapons such as the Moonraker laser. Heck, Perfect Dark had to have a RAM addition installed on your N64 because the game had so much crammed into the cartridge.
Yes, I know what you are all rightfully thinking.
“He’s just listed multiple reasons why Perfect Dark and potentially other N64 games are better than Goldeneye 007. You can find better visuals on the N64, you can find more revolutionary games for sure.
So Why Is Goldeneye 007 The Best Game On The N64 Then?”
Goldeneye 007 on the N64 is cited by many to be the best Nintendo 64 game because of nostalgia. Sadly that is the only thing holding this title in the glorious spot. It was one of the best games of its time, but if it were the best N64 game it would have withstood the test of time as some of its competition has.
I know there are many out there that may disagree and that’s fine. “Best” anything is subjective.
As soon as the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack was announced, the comments sections and chats blew up with Goldeneye-related content. Many gamers can’t wait, and I am one of them.
It has become the most requested game of the N64 library to be re-released and seems to hold a special place in retro gamers’ hearts. Let’s hope the version released gets some much-needed updates and tweaks.
What did you think of Goldeneye?