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Goldeneye 2023

‘Still press here do I?’

Well, it's finally here. In the lead-up to the 2021 release of ‘No Time To Die’ . I reviewed a select number of Bond video games, spoiler alert: I was less than enthused by 2012’s 007 Legends but one I was very impressed by, was the O. G. Goldeneye and now it is back and on modern consoles!

Yes, if you own a digital copy of 2015’s exceptionally good Rare Replay (digital copy) or Xbox Game Pass or the Nintendo Switch’s Nintendo 64 Expansion Pack, you have a free update awaiting you, this game for no additional cost.

Firstly, with only a few quality-of-life exceptions such as 4K inclusions to the graphics and changed controls to accommodate new controllers (although there is an exceptional wireless N64 controller available for the Switch - although the aftermarket is having a field day with the price. It is basically an emulated copy of the original with under-the-bonnet changes so it can run.)

I was initially quite disappointed as when this game’s spiritual successor Perfect Dark was re-made in 2010, the graphics were improved far beyond the N64 original. Plus with the quarter century since Goldeneye’s release, plus the leaked Xbox Live Arcade remake (videos are available on YouTube), it would be a virtual fait accompli that Goldeneye would get the same, even better.

It does run on my obscenely large Jack TV, that's relatively novel but the subtitles (with the exception of dialogue) are near unreadable if it is not in 4:3 display and even this could be disappointing to some.

However, once I got used to this, I realised that the gameplay is still fresh as it was in 1997 with the addition of dual stick controls.

To quote the endlessly brilliant Alan Partridge, ‘STOP GETTING JAMES BOND WRONG!’. It’s not a huge criticism and I think in this game and some others it fits well, but while you can do levels with minimal kills, you’re far more likely to be responsible for mass murder (especially on levels like Bunker 2 with infinitely respawning enemies).

With a mere few exceptions, in the movies Bond causes few more deaths than a dozen or so (in fact, in The Man With The Golden Gun, he only kills the primary bad guy Francisco Scaramanga and in A View To A Kill, he kills no one at all. Half Monk, Half Hitman). It suits here, and while I am very excited by Project 007 later this year where it will be less one-man army and closer to Eidos’own Hitman series, and less the fantasy of a no-consequences mass murderer.

In conclusion, this is a very pleasing history and nostalgia lesson. To some. I personally doubt they will convert any amazing number of people to 1990’s first-person shooters, but it is, at least to me, an incredible treat and at no additional cost, an excellent value one at that.

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