Saturday, 3 November 2012

007 Games Part 7: GoldenEye 007, James Bond 007

Super AiG's Guide to Every (old) James Bond Game Ever, Volume 7

It's another Super Adventures James Bond special event! I've already played through the first 10 years of 007 games (click the Game Series button then scroll down a bit to find them), and this week I'll be playing through the second decade after James Bond: The Duel brought the 16-bit era to an end, from GoldenEye to Nightfire. Well, to be honest it's more like 6 years actually (there was a bit of a gap).

Game 16 - GoldenEye 007 (1997)
Formats: Nintendo 64.

It was four long years after The Duel before James Bond finally made a return to video games with an adaptation of the seventeenth Bond film, GoldenEye. Though the game actually came out the same year as the next Bond movie, Tomorrow Never Dies.

I've actually already played this one, and I have no idea what else I can say about it. But I suppose I should give it another look anyway, to save leaving the most important Bond game off the Bond game list.

Gun barrel shot, excellent. Surprisingly few of the games so far actually have one of these. Though it's not quite up to having the full opening credits song, so I'll have to live without naked polygon silhouettes dancing to an N64 remix of the theme.

Speaking of which, the music in this game is awesome. Better than the movie soundtrack in fact.


LEVEL 1 - DAM.


Wow, I'd forgotten there was no crosshairs outside of aim mode. I think I'll be leaving auto-aim on for this one.

GoldenEye is the first FPS in the 007 series. Actually it's the first Bond game to even have polygon graphics, and it's a pretty massive step up from The Duel in every department. It's also the first game in the series to introduce a multiplayer mode, which probably ate more hours from poor unsuspecting players than the single player mode ever managed.

I can't believe I'm crap enough to take damage on level one of GoldenEye. Shooting an enemy forces them to regain their balance before firing back, so as long as I make sure everyone on screen gets their share of bullets I can just stand in the open and be perfectly safe. Though I tend to keep strafing just because I find it lines me up with the enemy more precisely than I can manage with the analogue stick.

Alright this level's pretty straightforward on this difficulty setting. I just need to walk forward until I reach a dam, and do a bungie jump off the side. Not the typical approach to sneaking into secret base, but it looks better in trailers.


LEVEL 2 - FACILITY.


Goldeneye 007 shooting Russian soldier's hat off in dam toilet
Sorry mate, but I'm going to have to shoot your hat off again. It's okay, he can't shout out to anyone that I'm here, the game doesn't have voices.

The game roughly follows the plot of the movie, and right now I'm breaking in to a secret chemical weapons plant hidden in a Russian dam. The base actually looks pretty close to how it appears in the movie too. The developers did their research.

Man I love the faces in this game.

While I was focused on taking out the enemies in the distance, this bloke wandered up from around the corner and surprised me. Just as I need to reload too. I bet another one's sneaking up behind me too, so I'll end up getting shot in the ass when I duck behind the wall to hide.

Fantastic, I walk through a security door and find myself ambushed by soldiers. So I duck back to reload, and find more soldiers coming in through the door behind me! Now this pillar is basically all the cover I have as they pour in from both directions. Fortunately it seems that the Russian military trains their soldiers to just kind of stand there in the open, so hitting them isn't a problem.

Anyway I took out the soldiers, rushed through to the chemical tank room, planted some bombs, deliberately blew up my old friend Agent 006, then drove off in a tank to catch my flight out of here. Couldn't afford to waste any screenshots on all that though, as I need to save some to show off things like...


LEVEL 4 - SURFACE.


...these trees!

These trees are amazing. They look like they've just been painted on some boards and stuck to the walls to brighten the place up. Yeah I took this screenshot just to say that. It's not an ugly game though really. It's definitely showing its age, but it's made the N64 look work for it.

But I can't stand here admiring the scenery all day, I've got to go wandering around this huge open area trying to find a key or whatever.


LEVEL 5 - BUNKER.


This is where I got stuck the first time I played the game on 'Secret Agent' difficulty, trying to destroy all these bloody security cameras without being seen and getting caught. But this time I actually managed it. I've just sniped the last one from across the room, so I am finally done with the bunker!

Well actually first I just need to grab the GoldenEye key, make a copy, and take a photo of the screen, but then I am done with this place. And I'm turning the difficulty down to 'Agent' after this, because I think it'd be more sensible to learn the level layouts first before taking on the extra objectives and tougher enemies.


LEVEL 9 - BUNKER. (AGAIN)


Well it's certainly nice to be back in this bloody bunker again. They've even given me a room this time. In the cell next to me is Natalya Fyodorovna Simonova, a computer tech who got a decent introduction in the movie, and absolutely none in this game.

Okay I'm locked in a cell with no weapons, and only a powerful electromagnet watch in my inventory. Perhaps I can use it to pull the metal in the guard's boots, causing him to lose balance and knock himself out on the floor. Then I can drag his gun over and shoot the lock open! Or maybe I could just grab the key on the wall.

I think I must have stumbled across the enemy goon manufacturing plant. Every time I manage to kill one of them, a replacement comes in through the door. Firing off machine guns really does stir up the bloody hornet's nest in this game sometimes. Or maybe I just walked past another damn security camera without noticing.

This is just an extended version of the last Bunker level though, so at least finding my way out wasn't a challenge.


LEVEL 10 - STATUE.


Well I got us both out, eventually. There was a lot of running involved. And now I'm racing around these old Communist statues trying to find my way to a meeting with a KGB agent called Robbie Coltrane so he can tell me where to meet with the evil mastermind of this story. Who turns out to be my old buddy 006, who I accidentally blew up on purpose in level 2!

006 tells me that he's captured Natalya (again), and I've got a few minutes to race back to save her from an explosive demise. Which is a bit of a problem, because I can't find my bloody way around this maze at all. I can barely even seen where I'm going.

In the movie Natalya (and Bond actually) were strapped inside the rigged helicopter to make sure they had no hope of escaping the explosion, but I guess polygon 006 couldn't be bothered. No daring escape required here, we just walk away.


LEVEL 11 - ARCHIVES.


Well Natalya's been captured again. We both have in fact, by the Russian defence minister. But I think I've spotted a cunning way out of here.

It's okay, they're fair targets. If I give them a few seconds they open fire on me under orders from evil General Ourumov. In fact everyone in this building is a fair target, which is good because this is going to turn into a bloodbath. I'm sure Bond kills more people in a single level of this game than he does in all the movies combined.

I found Natalya, but I'm still searching for her brain. She's not exactly the best AI sidekick I've had on my side in a game.

Oh and now she's buggered off entirely. Seriously, I've searched this place from top to bottom, and I've no clue where she's gone. There's no way to finish the level without her, so I'm just going to have to quit and start the level again from the beginning. (Twice).


A FEW MINUTES INTO MY THIRD ATTEMPT.


Fine, whatever, you just stand there and keep the door company while I go chat to the defence minister. And you'd better still be there when I come back this time.


LEVEL 14 - TRAIN.


That's how you rescue a hostage. Sniper shot with an Uzi before I even walked in the room.

Well I completed the archives level, but Natalya just got captured again. I raced here in my tank through the streets of St Petersburg to attempt an impossibly daring rescue, but I soon got sick of driving around in my metal sitting-duck and just walked the rest of the way instead.


LEVEL 15 - JUNGLE.


Oh so they CAN do trees when they want to. I guess they just didn't have any polygons left to spare on the Surface level. Hey is that an enemy there in front of me? Fog AND camouflage, I'm so fucked.

Plus there's drone guns scattered around I have get close to and blow up with explosives, and a boss fight. This game is starting to get mean all of a sudden.


LEVEL 16 - CONTROL.


And then there's a level where I have to protect Natalya from henchmen pouring into the room from every angle. I knew it was coming, I knew it'd be a pain in the ass, and yet I was still surprised with just how quickly I completely fucked it up.

As far as I'm concerned that's the end of the game, because I'd rather miss out on the final levels than bash my head against this one again. I get absolutely zero joy out of trying to prevent a room full of enemies from shooting an easy target.

That's as far as I got. Still, further than I've ever gotten before. Those Natalya levels just sapped all my will to keep playing.


So now that I've played more of it, does GoldenEye still get my golden star? Well... yeah, but I'll hand this out to any old crap as long as it keeps my interest, and thanks to the level select I can play this to my heart's content without needing to replay the levels I hate! Plus the multiplayer might not be cutting edge anymore, but split screen deathmatch is always a laugh.




Game 17 - James Bond 007 (1998)
Formats: Game Boy.

It's playing the Bond theme, that's a good sign. No gun barrel intro though sadly, and it appears poor Bond's no longer allowed to show his face for whatever reason. Possibly to avoid paying Pierce Brosnan money for the use of his likeness.

This was the first James Bond game to be released on a handheld, and it took them long enough. A year later and it could have ended up on the Game Boy Color.

Whoa, it's an RPG? Or maybe something closer to Zelda perhaps? Not what I was expecting, but okay.

My mission briefing explains that I'm to locate information about a large arms ring. So far they've narrowed down the location of the info to 'China', so here I am. I suppose I should start asking around then?

It seems that the bridge is out, and I can't get across until this bloke receives the tools he needs to fix it. Come on Bond, the gap's like a meter across at best, you can jump it.

Wait, if I need to get across the gap to get anywhere, then how did I get onto this side in the first place?

Guess I'm looking for a hammer then.

Of course I can't actually ask anyone about the hammer. Instead I have to listen to what they want to talk about, which is usually something about fish or med kits. And no I haven't found a med kit either.

I've been searching through every bit of furniture in every room in every building, and now I've even started searching the walls, but so far I've found fuck all.

Alright, there's only four houses here, one of them's got to have this fucking hammer inside. There's no map button by the way, that'd be too convenient. I've just stitched some screens together here.


SEVEN MINUTES OF SEARCHING LATER.


YES, I've found the hammer! It was in a bed. To be fair it was the handyman's bed, so it's not entirely random, but that's still kind of dumb in my opinion.


LATER, AFTER GETTING ACROSS THE GAP.


The name's 'Bond', James Bond.

With his hammer in hand, the handyman got the bridge fixed in half a hummingbird's heartbeat so I could head off to a new location, with new tool locating possibilities.

Though this guy's determined to keep me out of this building, and I think he knows kung fu. Fortunately I can just hold B to make myself pretty much invulnerable to anything he can throw at me. I have to wait for him to make a move before I'm able to hit him back though, which slows things down.

Another fantastic puzzle. This time I just had to press 'A' against every object and wall in every room in the place until I found the secret entrance.

Behind the door was couple of rooms of filing cabinets and a safe, but of course I need to find the key before I can get inside and I can't leave until I've done it. Time to press 'A' on everything in the rooms!

Wait a second, something about this looks very familiar somehow...

Legend of Zelda - Link's Awakening (Game Boy)
Aha, I knew it. That filing cabinet is making a cameo from Link's Awakening! Not that there's many ways to draw a cupboard in 16x24 pixels with like 4 colours.

Anyway I finally found what I was looking for in the room... a med kit! And then later I found the key for the safe too and was able to grab the arms ring information and finally leave.

Boss battle! This isn't fair at all, because she's able to break through my B button block. I managed to beat her in the end, but I needed to use up my med kit mid-fight to manage it.

Damn, if I hadn't found that thing by pure chance I don't think I would have ever gotten past this fight.



EXCITING BOND MUSIC ESCAPE TIME.


These people are more of a speed bump than a challenge. They can't hurt me while I'm blocking, and I only stop blocking to punch them, so they're only here to waste my time.

And so I get into my boat, and drive off into the credits sequence.

Actually it just cuts straight to me arriving at Moneypenny's office, which may be the first time it's ever shown up in a Bond game. Visually anyway, I'm sure he probably visits the place in one of the text adventures.

Aww, there's no hatstand for me to throw my hat onto? Total missed opportunity.

Today's latest Q branch project in progress: a man-eating couch. They don't even try to get the poor bloke out afterwards.

Hey it's M! Sup bro, what you working on there?

Turns out that the information I got from the safe doesn't actually reveal where the arms ring is, but it does mention their contact in the Middle East. 008 is also in the area and apparently needs a bit of rescuing, so I guess I'm flying to Kurdistan then. Hopefully I'll do a better job of helping this guy out than I did with poor 006.

It's too dark to go any further? Well this is familiar, I'll need to find item X before I can get into location Y. Time to press button A on everything.


LATER.


Well there's the lamp to light up the cave, actually out in the open where I can see it for once. But Bond can't be arsed to climb over the wall so I'll need a pass to get inside the building.

I think I remember talking to someone who knows someone who can forge documents, so I'll go pay him a visit.

But there's no way to just ask him to help me, I need to equip the right item to get the message across. And it just so happens that hidden inside a lonely house past a rocky path blocked by impassable plants, I found... a piece of paper.

Of course the forger doesn't want the blank paper. Yeah, I think I'm going to turn this off now.


Well, it captures the feeling of being James Bond better than a lot of the games so far, but that's just because it actually lets you go to the office and chat to his friends. Otherwise it's basically Monkey Island meets Zelda so far, stripped down to the basics. Except you can't see any of the items you need to pick up.


Tomorrow, the age of the PlayStation 007 game begins.

3 comments:

  1. As you point out, 007's GB outing is indeed related to Link's Awakening. Same engine, and all that. Nice catch on the dresser, though! I'd never noticed that particular nugget before.

    My biggest issue with the game is that everyone has a charmless blow-up doll mouth. I still find that design decision baffling- the GB is definitely capable of better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now you've said that, I can't unsee it.

      Delete
  2. it's hard to go back to the old N64 controller

    ReplyDelete

Semi-Random Game Box