4/9 – GoldenEye 007

Hello and welcome. My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day.

Today’s game is the Nintendo 64 shooter classic, GoldenEye 007. Developed by Rare, GoldenEye 007 released exclusively on the N64 in 1997.

GoldenEye is a first person shooter adapted from the James Bond 007 movie, Goldeneye, released in 1995, starring Pierce Brosnan. The single-player campaign mode loosely follows the plot for Goldeneye, with players taking the role of the super spy, James Bond. Players play through levels in a non-linear fashion, with levels consisting of multiple objectives throughout an open environment. Unlike previous shooters which were typically styled after Doom, Goldeneye features realistic areas and then places missions throughout those areas. This gives players a sense that the levels are real places and not just linear paths for them to travel down. Higher difficulty levels didn’t simply increase an enemies health or damage, but also provided additional objectives in each level, giving players incentive to play through again in harder modes.

Goldeneye also featured a local multiplayer mode where up to four players could play versus matches in a split-screen mode. Maps are adapted from the single player missions so playing through the single player campaign would unlock more maps to play in multiplayer.

During the planning phase for Goldeneye, the game was thought to be a side scrolling shooting game developed for the Super Nintendo, however the game’s director, Martin Hollis, pushed management at Rare and Nintendo to make a 3D shooter for the upcoming N64, then still being called the Ultra 64. Hollis envisioned making an on-rails shooter similar to the arcade Virtua Cop games. While the team wanted to have a free-roaming mode, they didn’t know if the N64 could support it. The confusion this caused forced the team to simply focus on making interesting levels which was the foundation for the non-linear levels the game would eventually receive. The game also almost didn’t feature a multiplayer mode, with the code for that mode being set only six months before Goldeneye released.

The reputation for game adaptations of films was fairly low at the time but Goldeneye surprised with huge critical and commercial success. The varied, open environments and fun split-screen multiplayer were widely praised and forever changed the way first person shooters were designed. Goldeneye would go on to be the third best selling Nintendo 64 game in the console’s lifetime, only being surpassed by Super Mario 64 and Mario Kart 64.

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