One of the best games ever made without a doubt.
This game turned me on to James Bond. I used to like the movies and had seen a few of them, but this game completely immersed the player in the world of 007 - it was utterly convincing in making you actually feel like you were James Bond. After experiencing what it was like to be James Bond, I fell in love with the movies and went nuts on all things Bond.
But where to start in whats good?
Firstly, the whole experience has great production values, from the wrist watch menu's, Q gadgets, and dossiers you could tell this was a game crafted with loving care from the minute you loaded it. Obviously created by huge Bond fans for Bond fans.
The graphics were top notch for the time, with great texture work in most levels with detail that stretches endlessly off into the horizon. Huge levels that stretch on forever (with no fogging ala Turok!) and a fast engine, capable of a solid 30 frames a second except for a couple of sections.
The levels are amazing - 20 huge muthas, actually developed from blue prints from the movie sets. When I saw the movie after playing Goldeneye, I was astounded because the movie locations looked exactly the same as the game. Fans of the excellent movie will instantly recognise locations such as the Dam, the chemical facility, the cradle and the dish control. And the bonus levels are great too, rewarding advanced players.
The gameplay is superb - a revolutionary FPS title, introducing stealth, guards that react differently depending on where you shoot them and sniper rifles that allow you to take guards out who are standing sentry half a kilometre away. The first FPS that encouraged and rewarded you to find new ways of getting through levels instead of blowing up everything that moves. The replay factor is huge, with the bonus levels to earn, 4 different difficulty levels which give you various rewards for completing the game and the awesome cheats awarded to players who can rip through levels in insane time frames. The replayability of this game is immense - once I finished it and unlocked everything, I went and did it again TWICE more because it was so much fun - 5 or 6 months of fun.
And I haven't even mentioned the multiplayer yet - still one of the best console multi-player games around SIX years later - there have been a lot of imitators but none have managed to make it more fun running around shooting your friends with guns.
Oh, and the sound is awesome - clean, crisp gun samples which sound great turned up really loud. The music is awesome, taking the techno-inspired movie -soundtrack and recreating it in midi form - it sounds great.
And all this, and I've only just touched on what makes this game so great - you have to play it to truly understand why this is one of the best games ever made for any platform. Maybe the fact that the game made more money than the Goldeneye movie is good proof (from High Score - history of computer and video games) - the movie grossed $340 million US dollars.
The best and hardest part of this game is getting the Facility cheat on OO Agent skill level - amazingly hard, but all the more satisfying.
There is not much wrong - occasional clipping problems where enemies arms go through doors are forgiven. The slowdown in the cradle and archive levels makes them less enjoyable, especially when you're going for your best times or earning cheats and you can't shoot people because the screen is jerking around.
And the tank driving through Russian streets is a pretty poor level - once you've finished it and got the cheat you'll never play it again because it is pretty poor compared to the other great levels. Whereas, the Control, Facility, Dam, Surface, Silo and bonus levels absolutely ROCK, and make you want to play them over and over.
The Bottom Line
Truly, one of the best games ever released - even today, its superb level design, weapons, attention to detail and spades and spades of fun make it without a doubt the best James Bond game ever and the most enjoyable FPS ever written. It never gets boring, right up until the very last level it is an awesome experience - the only bad thing is that it eventually ends.