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
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.
The US version is out first, while Japan has to wait until 2005 to
The bottom line is there really are better FPS out there, including
the original Goldeneye for Nintendo 64.