I’m hard-pressed to think of many movie-based video games that actually became more famous than the film they were based off of. TRON, perhaps. And whatever everyone in the comments section says. But there was something truly special about GoldenEye 007 that took a decent Bond outing and elevated it to a video game classic.
You won’t see me writing about the Nintendo 64 much in these Nostalgia Lanes. I simply wasn’t crazy about the system, with a controller that should’ve just been a cat with three buttons glued onto it for all the ease of use it presented, not to mention the truly expensive cartridge costs. By the early 2000s, I was firmly in the PlayStation camp (the PS2 would become the last console I’d play avidly), and many of Nintendo’s titles seemed kiddy and boring in comparison. Sure, I tried Zelda and Mario (and have never understood the appeal over their SNES outings), liked the horror of Eternal Darkness, and fell in love with Perfect Dark. But no title became a “must have” in the multiplayer courts as much as GoldenEye.
GoldenEye was a first-person shooter with excellent (for the time) production values. With a swift framerate at your back, you’d zip through several levels from the movie as well as plenty that were just plain made up to pad this puppy out. Lots of guns, lots of enemies, and — best of all — lots of cool little gadgets that you could use to give yourself an advantage. While the character models were as chunky as all get out, they served their purpose. I especially appreciated the minimalistic UI that kept things like health and shields hidden unless you started taking damage. Compared to other FPS titles like Doom, this was Apple-brand sleekness.
But where GoldenEye excelled at, and why it became most famous, was in its multiplayer matches. While this was before consoles would hook up with anonymous players across the world who would yell obscenities in your ear, GoldenEye instead required four players to be in the same room and use 1/4th of the screen for their view. So, the bigger the TV, the better. Sure, it wasn’t an ideal setup, but 4-player GoldenEye was simply intense, with fast-paced matches of various types playing out amidst the screams of players fragged in the back of the head. Everyone had their favorite character they just had to play (Oddjob for me) and a favorite map, and we kept at it for hours and hours.
Today, it’s all about Black Ops and Modern Warfare 2, although I’m long past my FPS days (and playing a FPS without a mouse and keyboard? Blasphemy! My fingers cannot handle it!). Yet GoldenEye will remain one of the most beloved titles from the past generation, so much so that it even prompted the creation of a sequel not too long ago. So, in a weird way, Pierce Brosnan’s Bond had a longer life in video games than he ever did on screen.