GoldenEye 007: Reloaded only lives twice
When I think of Rare's 1997 GoldenEye 007 on the N64, I think of four-player split-screen multiplayer. I also think of Half-Life coming out a year later and me totally jumping ship from the N64 to the PC. Despite Half-Life being thoroughly better, then, GoldenEye 007 was both massive and iconic - a genuine landmark moment in gaming history. It's also the gift that keeps on giving: Rare, EA, and now Activision have all had a go at riding the coattails of its monumental success for well over a decade.
Next up, then, is GoldenEye 007: Reloaded - a remake of last year's remake of the original movie tie-in game from 1997. It's starting to get a little bit too Droste effect for my tastes.
Still, GoldenEye 007: Reloaded features four-player split-screen play. When do you see that on the Xbox 360 and PS3? There's also 16-player online play, and Eurocom is promising new maps, modes, characters, and weapons - it's going to be more than just Team Deathmatch and Domination, apparently, though presumably those two modes will both be in it.
GoldenEye: Reloaded also features challenge arenas, dubbed MI6 operations. I'm not entirely sure MI6 has ever actually trained its operatives about the pernicious finery of a wave-based survival mode, but I'm sure gamers don't need to be brought up to speed. Elsewhere there's a standard set of Elimination, Assault, and Stealth modes, and Eurocom promises that MI6 Operations will add another ten hours of challenge-based content on top of the base package.
Eurocom isn't working with the same technology used to power last year's GoldenEye 007, instead creating a brand new engine for the HD consoles. Eurocom's bespoke engine will run at 720p and 60fps, though the early pre-alpha build of the game I played clearly had trouble hitting that benchmark in crowded scenes and busy environments.
On Xbox 360 and PS3 the game bears more than a passing resemblance to Call of Duty - it's the kind of look Eurocom clearly fancied on the Wii but couldn't achieve because of technical limitations.
It's still the same GoldenEye 007 as before, however - the same levels, and the same objectives. Alongside the visual spit and polish the big boy consoles' extra CPU cycles have been utilised to make the AI more responsive and aggressive.
The missile silo at Severnaya Zemlya was the level on display. If you remember the scene in original game, Bond turns up to investigate a possible missile launch. In Eurocom's version, however, 007 shows up just in time to take the brunt of an EMP blast. It's proper doomsday imagery, too: helicopters falling out of the sky, fires raging in snowy mountains, and evil people with hammy Russian accents.
GoldenEye 007 automatically feels more at home on the Xbox 360 and PS3, and the benefits of having greater visual fidelity and two analogue sticks (as standard) are immediately apparent - the game both looks and feels better.
Peel back the boosted visual lustre and the game still revolves around the same principles as before - multiple routes across a level, stealthy approaches, and loads and loads of shiny contemporary guns like the AK-47. Tom tells me the laser watch and RCP-90 was taken out of this version, with most gadgetry fun handled via a new smartphone. Boo.
To round off the demo we were shown some footage from the most famous GoldenEye 007 scene of all - the chemical weapons factory at the Byelomorye Dam. We weren't allowed to see the famous bungee jump, but instead a scant handful of corridors from the chemical weapons factory and a few of its woefully understaffed sniper towers.
I'll be honest: I wasn't really fussed with GoldenEye 007 on Wii. Now, though, I'm looking forward to that bungee jump - and everything that comes after.