Graphics: This is the best I’ve seen on the Nintendo 64 and so far the best I’ve seen on a console system. While the graphics are surely not as flashy as in other games such as Mario 64, they are more realistic and better suited for the environment. The amount of detail is impressive, and the developers have made excellent use of the Nintendo’s built-in graphical capabilities such as dithering and fog.
Almost every item is destructible, and if not destructible it shows visual repercussions of your actions: bullet holes in walls, etc. Characters are modeled well, and their actions, such as running, diving, and shooting are as real as they come. The levels in the game are beautifully constructed and the layouts are in perfect harmony with the visuals. There are tons of wondrous special touches in this game as well, such as being able to shoot off hats worn by enemy soldiers. The graphics in Goldeneye, well, they’re golden.
Interface: In more categories than are listed here, Goldeneye has raised the bar of expectations. In terms of the interface, you have more control over your character in this game than most any other game of its kind. The only game that I can think of that offers more direct control over your character is the PC game System Shock. In Goldeneye you can run, duck, crawl, lean, and lean while crouching. The multitude of weapons and their use is made easy by a customizable control setup. One real nice feature, and one that I wish they would implement in all games now using a sniper rifle, is the ability to manage the scope. In Goldeneye the scope slowly zooms in or out, depending on how much you need to zoom. It really works well, and is a superior method to any other adaptation of this weapon. The only knock on Goldeneye’s interface is the lack of a jump feature. This is extremely annoying in multiplayer games, when you can’t jump off a two inch ledge; rather, you have to completely descend it before you get off.
Gameplay: Absolutely the most heart-pounding, adrenaline-pumping, edge-of-your-seat gameplay ever to hit your living room. From the first mission to the last you will never tire of the gameplay. You’ll miss work, school, even forget to eat due to the addictiveness of this game.
The missions are very interesting, and offer so much detail even people that have seen the movie ten times will be caught in a world of espionage so compelling, you’ll forget there even was a movie. For the first time in your life you will experience what it’s like to be James Bond. The gameplay captures all that is Bond, and puts you right in the middle. The gameplay from a first-person action game is as good as any game on the market. The closest thing I’ve seen come to its depth of play is Rainbow Six on the PC.
The multiplayer gameplay is also a real nice touch. Players can choose from different characters, and there are over six different types of multiplayer gaming, including a unique game called the golden gun. The goal is to find the golden gun, which kills with one shot, and eliminate all other players, a fun alterative to normal deathmatch.
Sound FX: Each weapon has its own sound effect for loading, firing, and dislodging ammo. There is a unique sound effect for almost every action taken in Goldeneye. I have no idea how they fit so much sound into this game. Sound effects for getting hit are brutal, and with the attached rumble pack you can almost feel the pain. A very nice job has been done here, once again the best I’ve heard.
Musical Score: For what it offers, the music is simply marvelous. Each mission has its own theme, which is beautifully orchestrated. The score is full, rich, and adds a great deal to the ambience of the game. A good musical score is something you don’t appreciate until you hear it done the right way.
Intelligence & Difficulty: The only reason why I marked this criteria section down is because the game is slightly too difficult, even on the lowest setting. For some players reaching the end will become too much of a challenge, as some missions are far too difficult, especially the jail escape with Natalya and the tank to airplane escape in Russia.
As for the AI it is very good, and while it’s primarily scripted, the design is good enough that you don’t notice any flaws.
Overall: Bar none this is the greatest console game ever made. Goldeneye’s influence in the market is heavier than any other title except for the id games. Its mix of thought-provoking action, wonderful ambience, and perfect execution make this a must play for any gamer. If you’ve ever wanted to be James Bond, this is your chance.