GoldenEye turns 20: a look back at one of the greatest video-games ever made 3 years ago

GoldenEye turns 20: a look back at one of the greatest video-games ever made

No GoldenEye 007? No Call Of Duty. It really is that simple.

Released to the world on 25 August 1997, nobody had any idea the landmark impact that GoldenEye 007 would have on the world of video games.


While it went on to sell over eight million copies on the Nintendo 64, and win multiple awards including the BAFTA Interactive Entertainment Games Award, and four awards from the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences: Console Action Game of the Year, Console Game of the Year, Interactive Title of the Year, and Outstanding Achievement in Software Engineering to name but a few, the seismic shift caused by GoldenEye 007 is still being felt to this day.

So let us have a look at all the ways that the game changed our gaming lives for the better:

- Video Game Adaptation Of A Movie

We probably don't have to tell you this, but any time a video game is made out of a movie, chances are pretty damned high that it won't be great. Just like how the movie world hasn't quite managed to make a decent film out of a video game, the basic elements of a passive medium (cinema) and an interactive medium (video-game) are fundamentally very different, something that the folks making games out of movies (and vice versa) haven't quite got a handle on yet.

Sure, there have been some successes: Alien Isolation, Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic, The Thing. But none compare to GoldenEye 007, which was originally conceived as a rail-shooter (kinda like Virtua Cop or Time Crisis), before being converted into a free-roaming shooter.

The games developers had access to the set of the movie, which led to a great level of recognisable detail being crossed over, and enabled them to instil a greater sense of realism into their shooter, which is even more impressive when you consider it comes from the same developers who had previously made platformer Donkey Kong Country and 2D beat-em-'up Killer Instinct (both of which were pretty great, to be fair).


Clip via BreadCrustCouncil

- Realistic Shooters Made Popular

Before GoldenEye, James Bond was heading off a cliff of OTT plots and unrealistic set-pieces, before the movie brought it back down to Earth with a satisfyingly gritty thump.

Before GoldenEye 007, first person shooters were stuck in the netherworld of Doom, Quake and Duke Nukem, fun but not exactly in a long term relationship with realism.

There were so many elements added to the game that were never properly implemented before, but following GoldenEye 007, they are such a cornerstone element of modern shooters that we don't give them a second though.


Stealth was used for the first time, with players advised to take out guards and security cameras before they spot you, lest they cause an influx on endlessly respawning enemies. Telescopic sights were used effectively for the first time (although games fans will argue that another game, MDK, beat GoldenEye 007 to the punch by a few months), as were suppressors, stuff not previously seen in shooters.

Following the success of the realism of GoldenEye, we got The Bourne Identity and all of those sequels, we got the Mission: Impossible series getting quite real, and even Bond himself got grittier once Daniel Craig took over.

Following the success of the realise of GoldenEye 007, we got Battlefield and Call Of Duty, and that isn't including the multitude of games that took what the game did and ran in their own direction with it, like Bioshock, Portal, Half-Life, Team Fortress and so many more.


Clip via FitterSpace

- Multiplayer As We Know It

If you didn't already know, the multiplayer death-match addition to the GoldenEye 007 game was a complete afterthought, as one of the developers told Retro Gamer magazine that the majority of the multiplayer was created by just one member of the team who basically "sat in a room with all the code written for a single-player game and turned GoldenEye 007 into a multiplayer game."

The local multiplayer could be split into 2, 3 or 4 player, with five different death-matches to choose from, including one hit kills (The Man With The Golden Gun), to capture the flag (The Living Daylights), and they all resulted in many a friendship / relationship / family group to break down entirely.


GoldenEye 007's multiplayer mode remained pretty much the best in the business until it was finally surpassed by Halo: Combat Evolved in November 2001, and remains a touch-stone for the mixture of fun and challenge that all online multi-player shooters strive for to this day.

Clip via 1TimeKillers1

- Limited Sequels / Remakes

The fastest way to lose interest in something you love is to make it routine, as is the case with major franchises these days: there are now 15 Call Of Dutys, 13 Battlefields, at least 12 Assassin's Creeds, and so on.

The folks who made GoldenEye 007 didn't come back to make a Tomorrow Never Dies, as they were outbid by Electronic Arts, who went on to make the TND game, which does exist, and is terrible.

Instead, the GoldenEye 007 team created a "spiritual successor" in the form of Perfect Dark on the N64 in 2000, perhaps one of the most underrated games of all time.

And then, back in 2010, the game was remastered for the Wii, Nintendo DS, PS3 and Xbox 360, with Daniel Craig recast in the Pierce Brosnan role, but in attempting to recapture the magic of the original and also keep up with modern shooters, the new GoldenEye 007 fell between the two stools and ended up "just good, not great".

Clip via Rare Ltd