Over 20 years since its original release, GoldenEye 007 gets the total conversion mod treatment, resulting in a brand new game that feels both fresh and nostalgic at the same time.
Released earlier this month over at GoldenEye Vault, Goldfinger 64 features an entirely new single-player campaign, complete with objectives, sandbox environments and new music, sound effects and weapons. There’s even a full multiplayer mode containing 11 stages.
Mods and homebrew games on N64 are far and few between, but this Goldfinger 64 reminds us that quality always trumps quantity. Developed by a small, albeit dedicated team of enthusiasts headed up by renowned N64 modder SubDrag, it’s good enough to have been an official release during the N64’s heyday. It even runs on original hardware through an EverDrive 64.
Goldfinger strikes a good balance between old and new, retaining the core elements that made Rare’s original game so great, while also making its own mark at the same time. There’s an immediate sense of familiarity upon booting up the game, as you’re greeted by the classic Bond intro and the secret-file menu user interface.
Each single-player mission comes with its own briefing, as per the original game, featuring dialogue that does a good job of portraying the classic Bond cast. Gameplay is still objective based, and the number of objectives scales with the difficulty setting, providing replay value beyond a single playthrough.
It’s only when you set off that you really start to notice the differences. For example, the environments in Goldfinger 64 are absolutely huge compared to GoldenEye 007 – so much so that you’ll need an N64 Expansion Pak in order to play the game. It really plays on the sandbox theme of the original game, providing you with a lot of spaces to explore (many of which may not actually be relevant to the mission).
Goldfinger 64 reminds you what it was like to play GoldenEye 007 for the first time. After 20 years of playing it time and time again, it all became a routine. Goldfinger’s entirely new setting and design means you have to work out and learn what to do for the very first time again. It’s noticeably cryptic at times, something which will no doubt appeal greatly to diehard fans of the original game.
It’s clear that a lot of time, love and attention has gone into ensuring Goldfinger 64 recreates the film on which it’s based. Mission environments look strikingly similar to those seen in the film, and all the key dialogue is in there too. Understandably some creative liberties need to be taken for the sake of gameplay, and much like the original GoldenEye 007, there are missions that portrays events not shown in the film. But it always feels coherent, and the briefings make it clear why you’re doing what you’re doing. Not to mention it’s nice to be surprised by something completely new every now and then.
Goldfinger 64 is a community mod, and one that’s had a long and sometimes troubled development. It’s a little rough around the edges in places, but don’t let that put you off. This game captures the essence of what made GoldenEye 007 so great and distils it into a new experience that nevertheless still feels like its own game. If you’re a fan of the N64 and GoldenEye 007 (who isn’t?) then you simply must play this game.
Visit the Goldfinger 64 page on GoldenEye Vault to find out more about how you can play it.
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