Joel: This here, is a significant moment in the marathon – not only is it going to bring us to the halfway point of our sojourn, but it is also the first game on a 64-bit machine in our list.
At the time this was doing the rounds, I wasn’t lucky enough to own an N64 – I think I was into PC gaming in ’97- things like Diablo, Destruction Derby, Carmageddon – but several of my friends had this, so I got plenty of exposure to it. Based around the lore of the GoldenEye film, the premise was that you, a certain Mr. Bond, are tasked with preventing a nasty criminal type using some crazy satellite weapon to destroy London, or something. Who played this in single player anyway? This was all about the evolutionary leaps made in the arena of FPS games by this beauty of a title. I don’t even like the Bond franchise, but boy do I love this game. What’s it got that the other didn’t? well… it was the first with a zooming sniper rifle and the first with 4-way local multiplayer. Probably a few more things, but that 4-way local multiplayer was the big deal. One of the first proper “party games” I remember Many a night was spent squinting at a quarter of a 14″ portable TV and yelling at my friends rather than doing things normal people did, like, I don’t know, going outside. As I said above though, I didn’t get my hands on one of these until some years after their prime when I managed to pick one up for a tenner at a car boot sale, complete with a small selection of games, controllers and cables. This being one of the games I got. I was delighted to find it hadn’t lost any of its appeal and I had soon obtained enough controllers for 4-way action AND had a big enough telly to actually see it. That was possibly the best tenner I ever spent. Though the Dreamcast I picked up a few months back, also for a tenner, was pretty special.
So, to summarise, this is a great example of the FPS genre and I think, something of a portent. I wouldn’t call it “ahead of its time” but it definitely helped define things to come. Liam and I are both pretty decent FPS’ers, but I think I probably have more recent experience here.
Liam: dundedun dun dun dun dundedun dun dun dun dundedun dun dun dun dundedun dun dun dun DA DAAA da da da
I think when we first discussed doing this challenge for charity I think Joel’s first question was ‘So we get to play GoldenEye?’ For good reason too – GoldenEye has a special place in the hearts of people our age as it was the first time, barring j-cart games or people who owned a multitap, four players could play together easily meaning that everyone was involved. The wide array of characters (including Oddjob, who is BANNED Joel!) and massive selection of weapons really showed off the N64s capabilities as a new generation of console.
I always liked the N64, it looked very odd and the controller took some getting used to, but it represented a massive shift in gaming consoles. Going from the Mega Drive to the N64 in our challenge will be a huge jump.
I never owned a N64. I had a pretty decent PC (a 486dx4 100… not quite a Pentium which Joel loved reminding me of every fucking day) and for me, 1996 meant the start of online multiplayer gaming with Diablo, GTA, Red Alert and Quake playable over a dial up connection. PC gaming was going through a kind of renaissance so by this point and was far more content playing PC games on my own. It really doesn’t surprise me that this golden era of 95-97 spawned some franchises that are still (or should be!) selling millions of copies now… Diablo, GTA, Fallout, Age of Empires, Quake, Dungeon Keeper, FF7 and Warcraft 2 were all released on the PC over these 3 years.
I didn’t need to own a N64 to log hundreds of hours of GoldenEye though… everyone else I knew had one and loved to play multiplayer. Being used to the smooth scrolling and mouse look setting of the OpenGL powered Quake (why aren’t we playing Quake?) I found controller based FPS games clunky and inaccurate, luckily when playing GoldenEye 4 player you never got relentlessly targeted and the inaccuracy and clunkyness became part of the games charm. If it was a 4 player game I recon I can hold me own, but in a 1v1 without a keyboard and mouse I won’t stand much of a chance.