Sunday, April 17, 2005

James Bond games are a varied bunch

Goldeneye on the N64 was great. Amazingly great.

My friend got 007 Nightfire on the Gamecube, and the multiplayer of that was also great. I bought it on the Xbox when I saw it for a fiver. I played through the single player mode for a bit, but it was dull. Insipid and uninspired. I gave up when I got to a section where I had to manouvre my car underwater, made frustrating by the appalling controls rather than any game difficulty.

I was recently given Goldeneye: Rogue Agent on the Xbox. Again, the multiplayer is superb, more so given that it's playable online. There's nothing really special about the multiplayer - there's certainly nothing unique to this game, other than maybe the Mag Rail gun which shoots through walls, and the golden gun which massively unbalances the agme in favour of the holder. Some of the multiplayer maps are well designed, and they include interactions (such as collapsing floors, missile launches, and gas chambers). Some are badly designed. But they're fun to play and explore, and I've played it lots for this reason.

The single player isn't that good. It's well presented, with good graphical effects, and great music (from Paul Oakenfold), but it's very much an on-rails game. You'll frequently come to an area with a few doors. they all look the same, but only one will open. You'll be given a new ability (like the ability to see through walls, or the ability to hack opponant's weapons so they malfunction) from time to time, which you'll have to use in the next level but probably never again after that. The game was obviously designed to be played on a PS2 joypad, because it compensates for the large dead zone on the Dual Shock, making control on the Xbox joypad very jumpy indeed (and I'd hate to see how it worked on the Gamecube joypad).

But all that said, it's not that bad either - around 256% better than that of Nightfire. It's certainly very playable if you want a no-thought blaster, and it's interesting to see how EA are really keen to get as many old Bond characters in there as possible. It's also amusing to see how unsexy they can make an Honor Blackman character look. Goldeneye: Rogue Agent definitely has a place in my games collection.

You can tell it's not a labour of love like the original Goldeneye was, however. It's just a bit lazy. That's not the worst crime in the world (the worst crime is not offering customisable controls. I'm looking at you, Doom 3 Collectors Edition), but it does make for a bit of a dull experience. I wonder if I'll ever complete it.

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