'GoldenEye 007' Wii Review - Nostalgia With A Bullet

GoldenEye 007

Developing video games based on nostalgia is always a slippery slope. Sure, people will speak lovingly of the games of their youth, but that doesn't always mean that they actually want to play those games. (If that was a truism, those compilations of old Genesis games would move "Call of Duty" numbers.) So just because "Goldeneye 007" originally released for the N64 in 1997 and was one of the most incredible titles of that console generation and still one of the most influential first person shooter in the history of gaming, that doesn't necessarily mean that it's still worth playing in 2010.

However, unless you're really attached to the idea of taking control of Pierce Brosnan (his visage has been replaced by Daniel Craig's, the most recent James Bond), the newly revamped "Goldeneye 007" for the Wii is both a delightful trip down memory lane and a worthy modern gaming experience.

The Basics

James Bond, the U.K.'s sexiest and best-insured super-spy, must overcome both the evil General Ourumov and the turncoat Alec Trevelyan across a number of different locales using his wits and a cavalcade of weaponry.

The Highs

Shoot'Em Up

"Goldeneye 007" retains most of what was wonderful about the original game but also brings a lot of modern shooter elements to the table. The original didn't have any environments you could destroy nor did it have particularly intelligent AI villains. The new one rectifies both, and it makes for a more immersive experience.

Ride the Curve

Though it's possible that it didn't do it on pupose, the original "Goldeneye 007" had one of the best learning and difficulty curves of any game created at the time, and the new version nails it exactly. You're dropped into a mission right away (the famous dam scene that became one of the most beloved video game sequences during the N64 era), and you have to learn bits and pieces of game play along the way (like how to solve certain puzzles and what to do with particular weapons). By the end, it's pretty difficult, but you'll be well prepared.

Keep If Offline

While "Goldeneye 007" does offer online multiplayer for up to eight people, the real draw is the local options. The N64 version revolutionized multiplayer for shooters, and the new one preserves much of the elements that made it great while adding on a few more new bits, including an expanded set of weapons. Honestly, it's worth it just to play as Oddjob, who can now throw his hat. Plus, it retains the original multiplayer modifiers (including the no-guns-allowed "Slappers Only") while adding new ones (like the hot potato-esque "Black Box").

The Lows

Map Quest

While the multiplayer is excellent, they did drop the ball a bit on the maps. The big secret about the original "Goldeneye 007" was that while the miltiplayer experience was roundly excellent, it was only really that way in one of the provided levels. "Goldeneye 007" doesn't do enough to expand on those, so while the levels are a bit more dynamic, they're still relatively limited.

Over the Railing

In order to make the game feel a bit more cinematic (Activision is being really adamant about the fact that this is a re-imagining of the movie and not necessarily a remake of the old game — if that's true, somebody should inform their marketing department), there are a handful of on-the-rails sequences that take you out of first person mode for the sake of a transition or a chase. This sequences aren't necessarily bad, but they do interrupt and shift the action in a way that can be jarring. I had a hard time getting myself back into the FPS groove following the completion of them, and it broke the intensity a little bit.

Lost Control

There are a handful of control options for "Goldeneye 007," some of which (the classic controller, an old Gamecube controller) work better than others (the Wii-mote/Nunchuck combination, the utterly useless Blaster). But not a single one of them really feels perfect (or at least as natural as the old N64 pad felt).

The Verdict

If you have ever heard the legends about "Goldeneye 007" and have been curious about what the fuss is all about, the new version for the Wii is an excellent entry point into the world of Nintendo's version of James Bond. Hardcore gamers used to "Call of Duty" or "Halo" will probably find the controls a bit too loose and the graphics a bit too muddy, but if you can look past some surface flaws and focus on the gameplay (and the still-completely-awesome multiplayer), then "Goldeneye 007" will offer both a nice blast of nostalgia and a healthy shoot-em-up experience.