A few weeks ago I borrowed a Wii for a weekend from a friend of mine, the reason for this is that I wanted to play just a single game on it – Goldeneye 007. I have a 50” TV that is wall mounted in my living room so playing a Wii game was an ideal setup. The original Goldeneye game was released on the Nintendo 64 back in 1997 to coincide with the release of Pierce Brosnan’s first film as James Bond as was a revolution in gaming and is still well remembered by gamers to this day as it is held in high esteem. So with a vacuum in the world of Bond at the moment, Goldeneye has been updated for a modern console and has again been released to a new gaming audience however this time there are a few differences with the game in the way it is has been updated. Firstly Brosnan has been removed and in comes current Bond Daniel Craig’s likeness as Bond, okay you may be a little confused as this mixes up what we have seen on-screen but then I generally found this to be true about most games anyway so this is something that you either like or hate, and after a few hours of playing you forget about it anyway and besides as this is a first player shooter game the view is always looking out, so if your not a fan of Craig then you don’t really see him that much.
The plot of the game is slightly different as well and has been updated to reflect changes in society and culture. The opening sequence at the Chemical facility still remain and so does the escape after fellow Agent Alex Trevelyn (006) is murdered by General Ourumov, however after this adds new locations such as Barcelona and Dubai are used and it is here that the story changes as Bond goes after the Helicopter that is impervious to an electromagnetic pulse that leads him to meet the heroine of the story Natalia Simonova. Okay so the story takes various twists and turns, but the genesis of the story still remains however parts seem to be unfaithful or even unfocussed ands detached to the source material, but on the flipside it can be considered a re-imagining of the game that was based on the film.
In the original Goldeneye game, the players have a plethora of gadgets to use and in this instance it was a watch that Bond used as a communications device, here it is a mobile phone that allows communication to M, voiced by Judy Dench. In fact the updating has Bond using a mobile for all kind of things that allows him to complete a mission. Weapons wise you pick them up as you go along and to be honest lost count at fifteen as to exactly how many different weapons there are. It’s the game play that is the superior ability here, several methods of controlling Bond mean that the use of the controllers gets an extended life of its own as you have the choice to use, I prefer the Classic Controller that you get with the package and although its painted in gold and it does have its downfalls when compared to the use of the Wii Zapper with Nunchuka, and to see the controller options available including a Game Cube controller is totally awesome and allows for additional methods of playing the game!
Playing any first person shooter means that the Artificial Intelligence (AI) could simply repeat again and again which in my opinion renders the game playable only once, here it’s totally different as all characters has been assigned there own AI and tend to react in a different manner depending on what the player does when going through the levels. It has to be said that the effort that has been put into making the game is phenomenal, the attention to detail is awesome and is deep in colour and rich with movement, movement itself is smooth without any jumping at all even at the busier times. The levels offer various degrees of action as well, usually walking through buildings or locations with a gun or rifle targeting the enemy; however along the way there are various things that can be done to immobilise the enemy – called Bond moves this is an interesting way of getting out of situation. Namely by blowing things up with an occasional bullet into petrol tanks that produces one hell of an explosion and takes out about six soldiers in one go and gets rewarded with a loud blast of the Bond theme. Thankfully the tank chase has been retained and even this has been updated as you have to overcome an airborne attack, and although this could be described as an on-rails section it is gritty as well as exciting, with sounds movement and voices being heard over the action taking place it does tend to give a gritty and chaotic feel with your line of sight moving all about the screen in a hurry to take in everything that is happening around you at what seems like light speed. To take out the enemy you don’t even need to have a gun as the full on hands method can be used, which is all part of the stealth that Bond can use, it’s a simple case of don’t disturb anything or make a noise then the guards have no reason to try to kill you, if you do the they react very quickly and a gunfight ensues and this is where your reactions had better be good as the tension is usually when the stealth is used and the whole gravity of the scene changes as music goes quieter and the whole ambiance takes a different stance entirely.
What is now an obligatory item in any game these days is the inclusion of the multiplayer and on-line games as well that are basically a head to head. These tend to excel and adds a Bond frontage to all games which eight players can connect to at a time, the characters here are all based on classic Bond characters from the last 45 years so in one game you could have Jaws, Oddjob, Dr No and Baron Samedi. My favourite is Scaramanger from The Man with the Golden Gun; he appears as a close likeness of Christopher Lee in a white linen suit such is the attention to detail that has been shown that gives full respect to the source and is fully customisable to what mode you play and how you play it.
The whole feel of a Bond movie has quite literally been transplanted to the Wii, the main title is still the same as the film but has ex-Pussy Cat Doll Nicole Scherzinger performing the song, although she seems to be doing a Tina Turner impression and interestingly David Arnold has scored the game to give it an ultimate Bond feel. It’s nice to see long term Bond writer Bruce Ferstein being involved in the story of the game as he co-wrote the 1995 film. From the opening sequences you get the impression that this is big and that the game has had a lot of attention to have it created as a flagship game for the console. In fact this is the flagship game in my opinion and will provide hours of entertainment, it’s a game where its better to stand in front of the TV rather than sit down as I feel you get more involved in the game play, and no I didn’t wear my Tuxedo either in case you were wondering! I have to say that overall I was thoroughly impressed with the game; the sound is amazing as is the overall appearance and quality with any scenes including snow looking amazing that you’ll just want to pause and look closely. This is a classic game that has been updated for the newer and more modern way of gaming that has been introduced via the Wii, this is a game that will also introduce people to what the Wii can do and exactly how well it does it and that’s not a bad thing at all as this truly delivers on all levels. It’s just a bit strange seeing Craig doing a Brosnan era mission in similar clothing that Brosnan wore, like it would be Sean Connery being Bond in Moonraker although this does mean that the violence can be justified with Craig in the game representing the modern incarnation of 007.
Activision – I raise my Vodka Martini to you as you have left me shaken not stirred on the sheer high quality of this game. So like the neighbour who borrowed my lawnmower, I might just borrow the Wii a little longer and wait for the sales to begin.