By KYLE SHEARIN
It’s hard to imagine, but it’s been a solid 13 years since “GoldenEye 007” for the Nintendo 64 strafed its way into our hearts and minds.
Developer Rare’s iconic original game is easily considered to be one of the most influential first-person shooters of all time. Like “Super Smash Bros.,” it’s one of the few games from that era that can still get friends huddled around the same TV, cursing and laughing.
I personally have a strong connection to “GoldenEye 007,” as it marked the beginning of my love for first-person shooters and continues to spark heated arguments with friends about who really killed who more.
So with such a powerful legacy to follow, developer Eurocom certainly has its work cut out. Make a slavish recreation of the original or try something new and daring? Fortunately, the new “GoldenEye 007” takes the latter option by largely ignoring its 1997 predecessor, aiming for something much more modern in the vein of “Call of Duty.”
Many of the same important story elements found in the original are still here, but “GoldenEye 007” is a true retelling in that everything is a bit more layered than before, adding new twists and turns to keep the story fresh for fans of the original.
The game swaps Pierce Brosnan out as James Bond for the current model, Daniel Craig, star of “Casino Royale” and “Quantum of Solace.” In fact, all the roles have either been recast or given complete makeovers except M, reprised by Judy Dench.
While this complete face-lift does add some new energy to the plot and the game’s look, allowing it to have some breathing room between it and the original game, it’s still a bummer to see the hilarious character Boris written out of the plot entirely.
All of the iconic levels you’ll remember from the original are present here, like the Dam, Facility and Jungle. The game’s new style for these levels is grittier and sleeker than before. It’s a marvelous looking game with great attention to detail in each environment that helps immerse you into the game.
Although you still follow a linear path through the levels, a trend more or less bucked by modern games, it feels really organic here.
For being a Wii game though, you’d expect an innovative, effective control scheme, but really, you’re much better off just sticking with the GameCube or Classic Controller rather than using the Wii remote and Nunchuk combo unless you want sniping to be jittery and difficult to control.
Stealth plays a huge part of the new game, but old-school run and gun tactics are also totally acceptable. But it’s just as satisfying to enter a room and slowly take out each enemy one by one with a swift karate chop to the neck opposed to rushing in, guns blazing.
A big improvement from the original is the adoption of the current standard of regenerating health, allowing you to slowly heal after being hit rather than having to hunt for more body armor. Another adopted modern innovation is environmental damage that allows your surroundings to get torn to pieces and change your tactics up.
Enemy soldiers are a lot of fun to fight against, providing a rich challenge, though sometimes they can be annoyingly perfect shooters.
Going along with Daniel Craig’s more modern version of Bond, gadgets don’t play a huge part in “GoldenEye 007,” though Bond does have a trusty smartphone that definitely comes in handy when you need to open doors or cause turrets to turn on their owners.
Clearly, a lot of effort went into making the multiplayer experience feel like classic “GoldenEye 007,” which excelled in its simplicity. As a result, the multiplayer here is a blast, maintaining the spirit of the original and is available to play online, though without any voice chat.
Many classic modes for local “sit around the couch and swear at each other” multiplayer return here, like “You Only Live Twice,” “Golden Gun,” and the infamous paintball mode. Many fan-favorite old villains are back, like Jaws and Oddjob. And don’t worry, “GoldenEye 007” veterans: yes, Oddjob can still throw his hat like in the original.
Sadly though, computer-controlled bots are not an option here.
I don’t think this new “Goldeneye 007” will have the same impact that the original did. It’s nowhere near as revolutionary, but it still is a very solid shooter and easily the best the Wii has to offer in the genre.
The game occasionally suffers from a few technical problems, causing the game to slow down, but curiously only during single-player. In the multiplayer, the game runs perfectly, even in chaotic moments online and in split-screen.
If you treat “GoldenEye 007” like a completely new “Bond” game, rather than a remake of the classic, it’ll be easier to overlook its shortcomings. Ultimately, “GoldenEye 007” feels like a new experience and doesn’t rely on the source material for nostalgic kicks.
4 out of 5 stars.