Before its release, nobody was expecting GoldenEye 007 to be a particularly good game. After all, it was a licensed video game based on a film that had come out two years earlier. But what nobody had realised was that Rare had, in fact, developed one of the most influential first-person shooter games of all time.
Simply put, GoldenEye 007 revolutionised the first-person shooter genre on home consoles. It certainly wasn’t the first such game to make the jump to consoles – Doom, Wolfenstein and even Turok: Dinosaur Hunter had come before, although these games were often inferior to similar games on PC. With GoldenEye 007, Rare used the N64’s bespoke features, such as its four controller ports, to deliver an experience that simply hadn’t been done on PC.
In terms of gameplay, it was smarter than other first-person shooters at the time; the game’s single-player campaign offers a variety of sandbox-style levels where players are encouraged to explore and complete mission objectives, rather than just shoot enemies and make it to the end alive. Better yet, playing missions on higher difficulty settings unlocks additional objectives. The game features 20 single-player missions and generally follows the same story as the film, albeit with some minor changes for the sake of gameplay.
Arguably the crowning glory of GoldenEye 007 is its splitscreen multiplayer mode, which can be played with up to four players. There are a number of modes, maps and weapon sets to choose from, all of which draw their inspiration from both the film and the wider James Bond universe.
GoldenEye 007 received universal critical acclaim upon release and is widely considered to be one of the greatest video games of all time. It is important because it proved that the first-person shooter genre could be viable – and, above all, fun – on home consoles, despite the limited controls offered by a controller compared to a keyboard and mouse. It sold more than 8 million copies worldwide.