Let me tell you a shameful secret of mine: I never played Goldeneye 64. Well, substantially anyway. I dabbled in it a couple of times, mainly at large social gatherings and never for an extended period of time. I was too busy being narrow minded with my elitist “mouse and keyboard 4 life” worldview as a teenager. But I did understand that it was (and still is to many people) the most beloved console FPS ever. With this in mind, I had a go with 4-player split screen multiplayer for Eurocom’s (published by Activision) upcoming remake of Goldeneye for the Wii at E3.
Now, I couldn’t tell you if this game fully recaptured the magic of the original N64 Goldeneye, but I can tell you that the game was a fairly fun Wii FPS. Activision smartly had a setup of Wii Classic Controller Pros (depicted above), which are basically Wii Classic Controllers with “love handles.” The handles make a big difference in ergonomics, especially for FPSs. It doesn’t feel quite as natural as an Xbox 360 controller for the genre, but definitely brings the Wii on par with the Playstation Dualshock. Having two analog sticks changes the gameplay experience too, but probably for the better.
Goldeneye Wii did seem rough around the edges though, at least in 4-player split screen. I noticed that there were no on screen notifications. There were no kill announcements nor any on screen score report of any sort so it was hard to know how I was doing at a given time without bringing up the intrusive scoreboard. It also didn’t seem as if there were any items on the level to pick up as well. Whether this was intended or just a function of being a demonstration build was unclear. Unsurprisingly, frame rates also seemed slightly sluggish (yet playable) with a 4-player split screen compared to a 2-player split screen. I’ll chalk this one up to “demo build” and “Wii hardware”
Like the original title, you can select from many different Bond characters to take into deathmatch. I remembered that the infamous Oddjob model had some sort of unfair advantage, which my opponents at the booth confirmed with a question for the Activision rep. Apparently his model is no longer harder to hit, but he does have the ability to throw his hat for an instant kill. To counteract this, he can’t throw grenades, like the other play models can. I found the hat throwing not too big of an advantage as it takes some time to wind up and does leave you vulnerable should you miss. I did manage to get a few kills like this though and it felt mildly satisfying, kind of like a lite-humiliation kill.
Hopefully, Eurocom will polish the game up when the game is finally released. Given past Wii FPS entries, I don’t think I’d expect Goldeneye Wii to compete with the big boys, namely Call of Duty and Halo on the 360/PS3. However, it could be a great source of nostalgia for those who cherished the original. I’d be curious to see how those fans receive this remake when it releases.
Oh, and I finished the 10-kill limit deathmatch in second with 8 kills. I blame trying to go for the hat kill too much.