- system: nintendo 64
- publisher: nintendo
- genre: fps
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Back in 1995 James Bond was dead. The latest instalment of his adventures had been released six years before and it was a total failure. A legal showdown over the rights for the character hindered his movie franchise and eventually it killed his fame. The most successful film saga of all time was teetering on the brink of oblivion for an embarrassing lack of vision.
It was time to visualize Bond through the prism of a GoldenEye.
What this meant was the proudest return of 007 up to that date. The movie GoldenEye did not only bring back the charisma of the original James Bond, it also regained his popularity along a new generation of viewers indifferent towards the character for the first time in decades. It wasn't a mere heads or tails bet, but a true challenge that needed faith and talent.
However, if the filmic Bond was lucky enough to rely on a wisely selected team of professional filmmakers, the gaming Bond ended up in good hands by total chance. Nintendo earned the rights to make the adaptation of GoldenEye just around the time one of their newest second parties, Rare, was delivering hit after hit. Donkey Kong Country and Killer Instinct were out there blowing up the charts, and the promising Nintendo 64 was just around the corner. It would have been pretty silly not to offer the next Bond game to the most successful studio that they had at the time, which also happened to be a British commune of film enthusiasts with more than the requirable skills to do a great job, plus the most advanced technology close at hand.
GoldenEye, the game, was released in late 1997 after his lead designer, Martin Hollis, decided to make it as a next-generation title to take advantage of the resources of the powerful N64. But it wasn't all about pretty graphics. GoldenEye became an instant classic and a cult game right on its launch day. It was influenced by Sega's shooter on rails Virtua Cop and finally conceived as an FPS in the line of Doom, but it featured plenty of clever additions that redefined entirely the genre, as it was known. Enemies that would react realistically to their wounds depending on where they were shot, mission objectives other than getting the key to open the next door, different routes and strategies to reach the goal, three levels of difficulty based on the number of tasks and an astonishing variety of mission scenarios. Even the storyline of the game was deeper than the film's.
Rare could have had the definitive shooting game only with that, but they even took the trouble to include a last-minute multiplayer mode that quickly became the norm of the N64 games due to its undeniable fun.
GoldenEye still stands as literally the best James Bond game and one of the best movie-to-videogame adaptations ever made, one of the titles that you would certainly mention in a top ten of the 90s, and one of the main reasons why Rare is remembered as the top-notch developer they are.
There was no worthy return for the gaming Bond in the following years, as Nintendo and Rare declined the offer to keep working on 007 games. All the follow-ups attempted to lift the recipe of success that Rare developed one way or another, only to emphasize even more the influence that GoldenEye passed on the industry. A legacy that, even after the dawn of the online play and the pointless glow effects, never dies.