Surely few words cause such excitement and rampant nostalgia in the Nintendo community as “GoldenEye multiplayer”, so it was with great anticipation we sat down to play Activision’s new Bond outing in a split-screen four-player deathmatch.
With only one game mode, one map and four characters available – not including Mr Bond, bizarrely – this was an admittedly limited demo, but still gave a decent impression of what the final game is aiming for. Played with Classic Controller Pro, although Remote and Nunchuk support will be available in the final version, this was a straightforward first-to-10 deathmatch featuring Scaramanga, Jaws, Oddjob and Trevelyan: classic Bond characters all, with Oddjob naturally sporting his deadly hat.
The controls are standard FPS fare, with an aim down sight mode replacing the N64 original’s zoom and reticule, and an action button letting you sprint, vault over low walls and perform other moves. There’s also a melee attack now, perfect for finishing kills at close range, but otherwise it’s Bond business as usual: aim, fire, kill. The classic death animation, blood streaming down the camera, is present and correct, accompanied by the same music sample too.
A minimap displays your position and that of your enemies, with arrows indicating if they’re above or below you, perfect for stalking your quarry in the multi-layered map we played. There were ample opportunities for leaping over railings to surprise opponents too, so no doubt experts will have a field day finding the best shooting spots. At the end of each match players are awarded accolades, such as ‘most melee kills’, ‘best accuracy’ and so on.
On paper it sounds like it’s doing everything right, but we came away feeling nonplussed. It looks good, controls well and there were plenty of tense shootouts, but it felt like a standard first-person shooter with a Bond lick of paint. It’s difficult to judge from one map and one mode against complete strangers, but with a regular group of friends this could be every bit as fun as the N64 original. At the moment, however, GoldenEye 007 is standing in the shadow of its predecessor and it will take something very special to make this one shine brightly on its own merits.