Goldeneye: Rogue Agent

Not the revival you were hoping for.

The Lowdown

Pros: Some interesting ideas like super powers in a FPS.

Cons: All of these special powers don't make up for poor level design and sloppy graphics.

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If Halo 2, Half-Life 2, Metroid Prime 2 and Killzone didn't quench your thirst for shooting action this month there is Electronic Arts' Goldeneye: Rogue Agent. I mention Goldeneye: Rogue Agent at the bottom because out of all of these games it is the easily the worse of the bunch. Some people will say Goldeneye: Rogue suffers from wrong place wrong time syndrome. The problems with the game are more than bad timing, it's just that Goldeneye: Rogue Agent isn't a great game.

Instead of playing as the famous 007, you're playing another 00 agent who just got his license to kill revoked. Instead of just getting an ordinary day job he sides with Auric Goldfinger, one of the main villains from the Bond universe. When you side with Goldfinger for no reason he gives you a prototype eye that has special powers. Right when the eye is implanted Goldfinger's base is under attack and it's up to you to save it. Your eye's first power is MRI vision. This will let you see through objects for a limited time to spot hiding enemies. Of course you can opt to not use your MRI vision at all and you'll get through the level fine. Later on you'll get other abilities like being able to "hack" enemy weapons and create a bulletproof shield around yourself. For the most part the powers in the game are useless. At times you will need your eye to hack into a machine, but besides that you can get through the game with out using your eye. Even the useful sounding shield is rendered worthless because you can recharge your health by not getting hit for a few seconds.

OK special powers aside, Goldeneye: Rogue Agent is a first person shooter. Obviously you'll be shooting a lot of stuff and picking up new weapons along the way. In each level you'll start out with your trusty pistol and a couple of hand grenades. You can quickly grab new weapons like magnums, machine guns, shotguns, a poison gun and a laser. The coolest weapon to play with is the MK2 Detonator. This lets you plant a remote bomb that you can blow up at anytime. You can even pick up weapons with both hands and fire each one with the trigger buttons. The two weapon dynamic works pretty well because you can hold a shotgun in one hand for close combat and a rifle in the other hand to take down enemies from far away. Weapons are dropped from pretty much every guy you take down, which means there is no shortage of ammo. Instead of shooting an enemy you can opt to smack one of them with your gun and then take them as a hostage. When you do this you'll get an extra life bar, but you'll lose a second weapon. Most of the time having a hostage is a huge advantage because you can just stand in one place and shoot everything in sight.

Getting a hostage is easy too because of the game's bad AI. When you first enter a room you can normally find some poor chump with his back turned waiting for you. Even if there isn't a guy like that in plain view you can simply strafe around an enemy and then pistol whip them. The game really does make it that easy. EA boasts about an all new E.V.I.L. AI system that makes the game "different" every time you play it. For starters, enemies are always in the same place and if you do the same thing they react in the same way. If there is any difficulty to the game it's the sheer number of shots being fired at you. Rooms are packed with enemies in them, but if you make good use of cover you'll be OK.

The small rooms are part of the bad level design seen in Goldeneye: Rogue Agent. Instead of having areas that give players options or freedom to move around you move from one square box to the next. If you're not in a small room you're in a wide open space with enemies above you. In some rooms there are traps you can spring to kill off a bunch of troops. These traps aren't labeled from a distance and if you happen to walk by one you can activate it. Even when you activate a trap you have no way of knowing if it will actually kill anything until you activate it. There might not be enemies standing in the trap area and since you don't even know where the trap is the first time you set it off it's more luck than skill. The goals in Goldeneye: Rogue Agent aren't always clear either. One goal tells you to shoot down air filters that look like bland background objects. It's not that EA needs to explain them flat out, but it would be helpful if they showed gamers what to look for.

Just like most FPS games Goldeneye has a multiplayer option. You have twenty maps to choose from. Both the Xbox and PS2 versions support standard online play with up to eight gamers to play with. If you're unfortunately stuck with the Gamecube version you can only play with four people. Besides a standard deathmatch Goldeneye: Rogue Agent has a new mode with the Golden gun. Instead of running around trying to kill the other players you just need to survive the longest. When playing in multiplayer you'll also have access to your eye powers. Here MRI vision can come in handy and so can the bonus shield, but otherwise there isn't anything special about the multiplayer mode.

The presentation of the new Goldeneye is lackluster too. You have really bland textures and blocky environments. Just how many levels have to have a industrial gray look to them? The enemies aren't varied either and look uninspired. There are some cool things that Bond fans will notice like the laser table in Goldfinger's headquarters, but there aren't enough elements to make this feel like a bond game. The FMVs in the game come off as really pixilated and they're boring on top of that. When EA announced that Paul Oakenfold was going to do the soundtrack of the game you would think this would be big. Even though he is a world renowned DJ and has some exceptional mixing skills, this soundtrack is pretty bad. It's not cutting edge and you'll hear the same songs loop over and over again.

Goldeneye is arguably the best shooter on the N64. So gamers are going to be expecting another Goldeneye title to carry the legacy of the name. Electronic Arts' has stood up to the challenge of taking the Bond series ion the next consoles past the N64 and they have done a pretty good job with it. So where did Goldeneye: Rogue Agent go wrong? Well for starters the game doesn't look great, the AI is poor and the special powers are worthless. Even if you take away these problems you're left with a basic first person shooter that is nothing special.

Import Friendly? Literacy Level: 0

The US version is out first, while Japan has to wait until 2005 to get this.

US Bound?

This game was released on the 22nd of November in 2004. If you want to learn more about Goldeneye: Rogue Agent check out Electornic Arts' page.


The bottom line is there really are better FPS out there, including the original Goldeneye for Nintendo 64.