Just a few days ago, the Nintendo 64 classic GoldenEye 007 celebrated its 20th anniversary. That’s 20 years of jumping off that dam, 20 years of golden guns and 20 years of chaotic multiplayer in the Archives and other levels sometimes but mostly just the Archives. Originally set to debut on the SNES as an on-rails shooter, GoldenEye 007 was rebuilt from the ground up for the N64 and missed the release of the movie by nearly two years.
The wait was worth it and for anyone who owned a Nintendo 64, it was a necessary addition to their gaming collection. Its lengthy campaign is still a blast to play through with multiple objectives to complete and then-amazing recreation of the locations from the hit film.
But what makes it still the best Nintendo 64 game today is the local competitive multiplayer. I can’t name another first person shooter that got as much play between me and my friends than GoldenEye. Even Smash Bros. and Mario Kart 64 were cast to the wayside in favor of this perfect party game.
Before GoldenEye 007, first person shooters were stuck in the netherworld of Doom, Quake and Duke Nukem, fun but lacked realism. There were so many elements added to the game that were never properly implemented before, but following GoldenEye 007, they are such a cornerstone element of modern shooters that we don’t give them a second though.
Stealth was used for the first time, with players advised to take out guards and security cameras before they spot you, lest they cause an influx on endlessly respawning enemies. Telescopic sights were used effectively for the first time (although games fans will argue that another game, MDK, beat GoldenEye 007 to the punch by a few months), as were suppressors, stuff not previously seen in shooters.
20 years ago GoldenEye 007 revolutionized the genre on consoles. 50 years from now, those of us in our 70s, 80s, and 90s will still be talking about the wonderful times we had with it, providing the dementia hasn’t ravaged our brains.