Hello, faithful readers! Before we begin, I’d like to clear something up for the small percentage of you who know of this game, but are confused by my mentioning its console. I noted that I’m reviewing the N64 version because there was a remake with Daniel Craig made for the Nintendo DS, and that game is completely different. Now, before I lay out the plot, I need to state that this game has a single-player campaign mode and a multiplayer mode; since the latter is the reason why this game is still played, I will be reviewing that, but remember that any story I use only applies to the campaign. The plot of this game is the same as the James Bond movie of the same name (if you don’t know who that is, read: British superspy whence come all tropes of that genre), and so you just have to kill a crazy ex-Soviet general and a rogue MI6 agent, thought dead, who have hijacked an EMP satellite.
All right—now onto the gameplay. In multiplayer mode, the goal is to kill each other and have the most kills at the end. Before we dive into the controls, we need to start at the game selection screen. This is where you pick the number of players, the character for each player (many of which are from other James Bond movies), which map you play on, and which class of weapons you can pick up (unfortunately, there is no “random” option for this). You also pick the game mode and how long the game goes (which can either be determined by when a player gets a certain number of kills or by the game ending after a set time). Popular game modes include regular, team, and “License to Kill” or LtK, the mode me and my step-siblings use, in which one shot kills.
As for the controls, they’re not too complicated. This game is a first-person shooter, meaning you don’t see your character, but rather look through his/her eyes. As for the actual buttons, the joystick moves you around, the trigger button under it shoots, the B button performs actions like opening doors or reloading, the A button switches the weapon you’re using, the bumpers turn on sights (some guns cause this to have a zooming effect so you can see farther and more clearly), and the yellow arrow keys let you look up and down or strafe sideways (move without turning your head).
In the game, you get weapons by finding them on the ground. Same goes for ammo. You can then press A to take out your weapon, and B to put the max number of bullets in your cartridge (if you have taken ammo). You then walk around, try to find an opponent (using the radar map in the top-right), and aim your gun and shoot. In regular mode, this will simply cause your opponent to lose health, while in LtK they’ll be dead. If you die, you simply press Start after a bit and you respawn at a random point (the number of these varies, which is why you can’t access some levels in 3- or 4-player games). In regular mode, you can also pick up Body Armor, which gives you a second health bar which is lowered before the first, though this does not affect the first bar.
One important feature of GoldenEye I mentioned earlier was the different weapons. When you select settings before you begin the match, one of the things you must choose is weapon class. These include Rockets (where you can get Rocket Launchers, though there are generally less of these than the other filler weapons), Proximity Mines (where you can get mines that go off when someone, including you, steps near them), and Throwing Knives (where you can get hard-to-aim throwing knives and Slappers, which is how you attack without a weapon). These weapons vary in multiple ways, including cartridge size and where they show up. Certain weapons have much better sights; while most just show a bullseye, some, like the KF7 Soviet, zoom in a little, and the Sniper Rifle zooms in a ton.
Unlike the guns, the character you pick doesn’t really change much. The exception to this is Oddjob, the henchman in Goldfinger, and everyone’s favorite parodied villain (“That really hurt! I’m going to have a lump there, you idiot! Who throws a shoe!? Honestly, you fight like a woman!”). He is substantially shorter than everyone else, meaning you have to aim down to shoot him, which is why he is banned in my group of friends who play this.
Now that we have explored the gameplay of this game, I shall mention the graphics and sound en passant. The graphics are really good for an N64 game, and the music is kind of cool, but all of the levels’ themes are just repetitive, annoying riffs on the James Bond main theme.
Finally, I must tell you how to get this game. Unfortunately, I do not believe this game is on any eShop or equivalent, so you have to either buy the cartridge and have and N64, or use an emulator, but since I don’t think those let you actually play multiplayer, just buy the cartridge. Pacem vobis!