Inside Pulse 12

Diehard GameFAN Hall of Fame Nomination: Goldeneye 007

Every week, we will present a new game to be nominated for the Diehard GameFAN Hall of Fame and Hall of Shame. These nominations will occur every Monday and Friday, respectively. Our standards are just like the Baseball Hall of Fame: every game will be voted on by members of the staff, and any game that gets 75% of the vote – with a minimum of four votes – will be accepted – or thrown – into their respective Hall.

Game: Goldeneye 007
Developer: Rare
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: 08/25/97
System Released On: Nintendo 64
Genre: First-Person Shooter

Who Nominated The Game: Me. The name’s Guy Desmarais.

Why Was It Nominated:First of all, it was an excellent game. We are talking about a game which was so revered and fun that people are still talking about it today; so much so that Activision took notice and thought that they could make money off a remake. It’s a game that won four awards from the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences in 1998, including Console Game of the Year, and which regularly gets voted into lists of the best games of all-time by various publications.

Goldeneye also gets nominated because it innovated in more ways than one. Before it was released, first person shooters on consoles were usually limited to ports of popular PC games, such as the SNES versions of Wolfenstein 3D and DOOM. Speaking of which, few people know that Goldeneye was originally a SNES project before being stepped up to the Nintendo 64. On its new console, it showed that FPS were not limited to PC games anymore by having a control scheme that was customizable and which did not make you want to kick through your TV screen. It was also one of the first games of the genre to introduce objectives-based levels, instead of the simple “run around, and grab they key and shoot the bad guys” design of most of its contemporaries.

Most importantly of all, Goldeneye is a fun game. The single-player campaign has many memorable moments, such as the Facility level, the escape from the Archives and the race against the clock in the missile silo. It had an insane amount of replayability by allowing you to try the stages again for a chance to unlock cheats, which would in turn make you want to play the missions again. Going through the Frigate with the invisibility mode on, liberating hostages while enemies were wondering what was going on is still as much fun as it used to be. The game was full of little moments like this, which I would qualify as “guilty pleasures”, which may or may not make me look like a psychopath but which were all done in good fun, I swear: running over baddies with the tank to hear the satisfying “crunch” sound, turning on the “all weapons” cheat and going through the facility with nothing but a rocket launcher, or shooting unaware guards in inappropriate places and watching the death animations… the list goes on and on.

The real reason why people kept coming back though is the multiplayer mode. Along with Mario Kart 64, Goldeneye is one of the game which best exemplifies the Nintendo 64’s brand of four-player mayhem. Just let each player pick a character, choose a weapon set and a stage, and there you go: Instant deathmatch fun. It’s easy to spend hours trying to blow up your friends with remote mines, or trying to find the online Golden Gun available, or hiding in the toilet stalls of the Facility and fighting for this “strategic” position. The incredible amount of modifiers available gives the game almost endless ways to make killing your friends fun and socially acceptable.

Finally, it’s a game that had enough influence to spawn other successful franchises for the company and developers that worked on it. Rare kept going with the same template for their Perfect Dark series, while team members who left the company made their own critically-acclaimed games Time Splitters.

I think this sums up pretty well why it gets nominated.

All in Favour:

Guy Desmarais: Allow me to copy a section of the review of my review of the Goldeneye remake, which I think sums up my reasons pretty well.

“While people’s enjoyment of the original Goldeneye for the Nintendo 64 can vary, it would be hard to deny its status as a game changer. First of all, it was one of the first enjoyable first-person shooter on a console. Thanks to the N64″²s analog joystick, it permitted freedom of movement that Super NES ports of Doom and Wolfenstein 3D couldn’t really afford. The game was also among the first to introduce objectives-based missions in a time where most shooters were simply about killing everybody, finding the right key and moving on to the next level. Finally, the multiplayer component extended Goldeneye”Ëœs life so much that it is still being played today by gamers all around the world.”

I would probably be willing to admit the game into the Hall of Fame just for the multiplayer component, but I think that between the last paragraph and what I wrote in the “why it’s nominated” section, I made a really strong case of why Goldeneye should stand next to the best games of all time.

Michael O’Reilly: Before there was a Halo, before there were any Halo-killers, there was Goldeneye. And before Goldeneye, there was NOTHING. At least not in terms of FPS games on home consoles. Yes you had some games try, but nothing really hit it big until James Bond brought the tux and the suave. Nintendo and Rareware managed to introduce a game that was addictive and faithful to the movie that spawned it and also created multiplayer gameplay that held peoples attentions for months, if not years afterward. Then there was the customization. How bout fighting some rounds with nothing but submachine guns? Or explosives? How about knives only? Lastly it was the first game of its kind to introduce variable sizes as a challenge for players to over come. Getting too good for your opponent? Play as Jaws while he played as Odd Job and see what happened.

Christopher Bowen: Let me get this out of the way: Goldeneye hasn’t aged well.

But the fact that a first person shooter on the Nintendo 64 hasn’t aged well is no reason to hold what it’s done against it. Simply put, Goldeneye WAS console FPS. The shoddy Doom port wasn’t, nor was any other PC port that was stuffed onto consoles with a stick. Goldeneye showed that consoles could handle first person shooters, and did it with a game that expanded upon the original film so well that the game is arguably more notable than the James Bond movie it’s based off of.

We’ll never see a proper port of the game due to legality issues, and Activision making a “new” Goldeneye is like having the CEO of a famous company run me out of business and then have sex with my fiancee right in front of me; it’s wrong, and serves absolutely no justice. But let’s not sit back with our eyeglasses on our noses, our predjudices towards certain games – especially popular ones, we do tend to have a problem with popular games here – and certain genres in the open, and create a revisionist history that says that Goldeneye wasn’t a watershed moment.

A.J. Hess: First person shooters on the console did not exist before this game came along. For that reason alone, Goldeneye on the N64 deserves entry to the Hall. The fact that it was actually a very fun game that added to the story in the film instead of detracting from it doesn’t hurt either. Rare built a game that dominated the time of anyone that had four friends and cemented the Nintendo console as a requirement. This title also catapulted Rare from the status as a solid developer to a rockstar in the gaming community. Multiple difficulty levels and in-game challenges kept players interested in the single player, and the multiplayer put more asses in seats than the movie. The quality of the game would have been enough, but the sheer number of game types, maps, and tricks put Goldeneye over the top and turned it into one of the most celebrated titles ever.

All Opposed:

Aaron Sirois: I’ve heard a lot of people call this game the first console FPS that didn’t suck. While that might be true, rewarding that with a Hall of Fame slot is like calling Raiden a great successor to Snake because he managed to avoid drowning.

I’ve had some fun with Goldeneye, especially back in the nineties, but I can’t go back and play it now without thinking it sucks. Nostalgia is a powerful force, but not strong enough for me to vote this game in the Hall of Fame.

 
 

Sean Madson: My reasons for giving this the thumbs down is threefold. Before I begin though, I will say that I find Goldeneye to be an incredibly enjoyable game that provided my friends and I with many late night frag fests. In fact, this game along with the original Doom helped pave the way for my future interest in the FPS genre.

Nostalgia likes to fill our memories with rose colored glasses, however, and the majority of this game has not aged well. The single player campaign is still fun to play and something I would return to again and again. The multiplayer, the facet of the game that saw the most gameplay hours, has not. And I won’t in good conscience vote in a game based on the merits of the least played part of its content. In fact, The idea of playing another round of four player split screen with unbalanced characters like Oddjob makes me wince, quite frankly.

Another reason is that I find another N64 title, Perfect Dark, to be a far superior game to this one. While it’s not technically a sequel, it runs on the same engine and even has some of the same multiplayer levels. And speaking of multiplayer, that mode had been bolstered ten fold. I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of a dick when I play multiplayer games with my friends. So rather than shout expletives as we frag each other in the face, we always had much more fun killing sims (PD’s version of bots) while on the same team. This is a perk that Goldeneye (and even Halo strangely) does not offer.

The last thing I want to point out is that I’m really tired of EA trying to shove the Goldeneye name down our throats. Does anybody remember Goldeneye: Rogue Agent? The bond game that had absolutely nothing to do with the movie aside from the title as an attempt to say: “HEY LOOK, THIS GAME IS NAMED GOLDENEYE TOO! YOU LIKED GOLDENEYE RIGHT? YOU SHOULD BUY IT BECAUSE WE REMEMBERED YOU LIKE GOLDENEYE!” Now we have a Wii remake in the works, though it’s looking like “reimagining” would be a better term to describe it. Daniel Craig is filling in for Pierce Brosnan and many plot points have now changed. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth just thinking about it. Perhaps it may turn out to be a decent game, but I think I’m far too burned out to care.

Dave Olvera: I’ve played Goldeneye and it was a big reason the N64 wasn’t immediately forgotten. Does that make it hall of fame worthy to me? No. Goldeneye was a revelation for console FPS games, but if I compare its actual impact to FPS games as a whole, it is nothing but a popular game on a doomed system. I enjoyed playing it but never look at Goldeneye as being a genre changer or perception altering game.

Goldeneye was a very fun game on a system that really needed a very fun game. Not hall of fame worthy.

Mohamed Al-Saadoon: A lot people say Goldeneye is the best console shooter ever made. While it was very good for its time, that claim is kind of ridiculous. It’s like saying Wolfentein 3D is the best FPS ever because it came out first.

In fact, Goldeneye isn’t even the best FPS on N64. That title belongs to its spiritual successor, Perfect Dark. Being revolutionary isn’t enough to land you a vote from me I’m afraid.
 

Alex Lucard: Now I’ve never been a first person shooter fan, but there have been some games I’ve gotten. Borderlands. The original Doom. Most of the Unreal Tournaments. Goldeneye though? I just never understood the love for it. I always assumed it had such fervor because it was the first decent FPS for the N64 and as with any decent N64 game, it developed a fanatical devotion to it since there were so few games for the system compared to the PSX or even the Saturn and thus a good game became a great game, a great game became HOLYSHITAMAZING and so on.

I never found Goldeneye fun, I found a four person split screen game to extremely annoying and hard on my eyes. Most of all, it’s well known the game is just a SNES title brought over to the N64 since they switched development at the last second. I won’t deny it’s a neat game nor how influential it is, but is it a game I’d consider great or even HoF worthy? Nope. Perfect Dark was a better game and Goldeneye was a successful FPS, but it wasn’t the game that really made PC gamers take notice of how good a FPS could be on a console. That would be ugh…Halo. I remember most of my PC friends played through the horribly unbalanced multiplayer mode in all its split screen glory and basically said, “ew.” Then they went back to Half-Life. A lot of people also forget that Goldeneye actually had some equally popular contempories in its day in Tom Clancey’s Rainbow Six and Duke Nuken 3-D – all of which sold very well for a console FPS and all of which were equally as popular as Goldeneye. Unfortunately, those games didn’t have the Nintendo exclusivity and thus the Nintendo blinders that come with that particular issue. Technically it’s not even the first successful console FPS, as that actual historical factoid falls to Turok, another N64 game that came out roughly four months earlier. But god forbid we ever admit Acclaim made an actually good for its time game that was also staggeringly popular, right? Oh, it also outsold Goldeneye too. Ho ho ho.

So there’s some historical value here, but the fact it was neither the first successful FPS for a console, nor the best FPS for its specific console, coupled with the fact the game has aged poorly leaves me to give the game a thumb’s down.

Aileen Coe: Let me start by saying I enjoyed my time with this game and sank many hours into this, both alone and with other people. In addition, contrary to the usual expectation of movie-based game sucking, it not only doesn’t suck but also managed to be good enough to garner acclaim from many (enough that it was remade this year) and arguably overshadow the movie it was based on. That being said, I don’t really feel compelled to go back and replay the original or pick up the remake, and if there was a choice between this and Perfect Dark, I would pick the latter.
 
 

Result: 4 In Favour, 5 Opposed, 44% Approval = REJECTED

Conclusion: Those in favour of Goldeneye‘s introduction feel very strongly about the game, but many factors prevent it from getting in: over-exposure, a sequel that could arguably be considered superior, and the fact that the game didn’t age well for some people is enough to stop one of the first great first-person shooters for a console from making its way into the Hall of Fame. Pardon me while I bury my face in my hands to hide the stream of tears coming down my cheeks. I’ll be in my living room, trying to kill that bastard Alec Trevelyan again to comfort myself.

Next Week: A well known franchise’s spin-off is the next game to try and make its way into the Hall of Fame.

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