The thing that bothered me the most were the omissions. Maybe n-Space was pressed for time, because there are some pretty glaring cuts from the main story. The runway is condensed into a custscene; Zukovsky’s nightclub is missing entirely. The frigate is suspiciously short and linear, completely glossing over the hostages and bomb situation and omitting the Dubai arms fair that was the entire first half of the level on Wii. Similarly, the train level is a brief end-cap to the admittedly awesome tank chase, but removes the construction site entirely.
I suspect that n-Space had much bigger plans for most of these levels but time frame and the DS cartridge’s crippling memory constraints reined in the developers. As an alternative I would’ve liked levels closer to the N64 ones. Instead of just avoiding a huge explosion-heavy runway level, why not a quick hectic race to the plane like on the N64? A nice, long N64-reminiscent train level, complete with brake units and cargo car shootouts would’ve been easy both on memory restrictions and framerate. While the cavernous nightclub is obviously unfeasible on the DS hardware, why not replace it with something completely different, like, say, remaking the N64’s missile silo?
I don’t want to sound too down on this game because it does a lot of things right. The archives, statue park, jungle and cradle are all great, as are the opening dam and facility. The ejector-seat escape from the exploding helicopter is both far more interactive than the Wii sequence and a stunning example of what the DS’s graphics are capable of when you know how to use them. The whole game has some of the most impressive visuals you’ll find from a 3rd party developer on the aging DS hardware, although you can expect similar overall quality to the DS’s CoD games. Just expect an abbreviated, more linear and scripted story experience and you’ll have a good time with GoldenEye DS’s single player.
While the story mode is a bit of a let-down, the multiplayer is incredibly robust for a handheld game. There are several game types, with N64 classics like Golden Gun and Flag Tag returning to join standards like capture the flag, king of the hill and conflict deathmatch. You can also switch on a whole host of modifiers including single-shot deaths (very reminiscent of N64’s License to Kill), shoot to move, and unaided, which takes pretty much the whole HUD away for a more realistic experience. There are also over 70 multiplayer achievements to earn that are all recorded in your personal dossier.
It’s safe to say that GoldenEye is the DS’s deepest multiplayer FPS since Metroid Prime Hunters, but there’s just one problem. At this point in its lifespan the DS has been hacked six ways to Sunday so you’ll encounter a lot of cheaters in global matches. You’ll often encounter maps saturated with proximity mines or populated with players using nothing but rapid-fire rocket launchers; it would be nice in these situations if you could mandate the “no explosives” modifier. Needless to say the cheating is a huge waste of the incredibly deep gunplay and strategy possible in GoldenEye DS’s multiplayer. However, if you stick to local wireless battles or fill up your friends list with trusted players, you can have a ton of fun with this game. It would be a real shame for such a rich multiplayer to fizzle out just because of hacking cheaters.
In the end GoldenEye DS probably would’ve been better if it stuck with a simpler gameplay dynamic rather than half-mimicking the Wii game’s fine-tuned action/stealth mixture. It also would’ve been a stronger story mode if n-Space had replaced some of the more technologically-challenging levels with retro ones reminiscent of the N64 game, instead of cutting them down or removing them entirely. That said, what GoldenEye DS has going for it is impressive and you have to give n-Space credit for their gutsy kitchen sink approach. In its own way the multiplayer mode is just as rich as the Wii game’s, and that serves as proof that n-Space could’ve done a lot more with some extra time and resources.
For that reason, I’m a little scared to see what these people can pull off on the 3DS. I’d certainly welcome an enhanced version of GoldenEye on the upcoming handheld and I kind of wish they’d waited to release the game on the 3DS where it could really meet its potential. Who knows? Eurocom and n-Space have shown that GoldenEye is just as strong in the minds of gamers over a decade later, and if the developers can do it justice on the current consoles, I’d love to see n-Space re-imagine GoldenEye on 3DS. As it stands, GoldenEye is a solid DS shooter that’s just a little too brazen for its own good.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
GoldenEye 007 is a good DS shooter held back by a few issues. The single player story reaches a little too far and comes up short in some areas as a result, but it's still a good run. The multiplayer on the other hand is incredibly deep and fun...just as long as you can avoid the cheaters and find some good friends to play with.
Page 3 of 3