reviews\ Dec 7, 2004 at 7:00 pm

GoldenEye: Rogue Agent - XB - Review

By now you’ve heard plenty about a first-person shooter that is still considered one of the best FPS ever to be conceived aside from Halo and Half-Life.  GoldenEye on the Nintendo 64 seemed to breath new life into the genre with its perfect controls (that’s pretty high praise for a first-person shooter), a great story and plenty of shooting action.  GoldenEye: Rogue Agent attempts to continue the tradition yet aside from the fact that this game is in no way connected to the N64 classic, does it have what it takes to be a first-person shooter worthy of being an instant classic?


Meet GoldenEye, an agent working for MI6 who not only loves what he does but also takes full advantage of his License to Kill.  His methods, while completely crude and on the brink of homicidal, get the job done but those cronies at MI6--particularly M, the head director of Her Majesty‘s Secret Services--think his methods unethical and that he’s on the verge of becoming everything they’re fighting against.  Insulted by the severe tongue-lashing after his most recent training mission with James Bond, GoldenEye vows to show them a thing or two and thus becomes the dark angel that fell from grace.  It’s bad enough that, while on assignment, the villainous Dr. No shot his eye out but now he has to suffer such an insult.  So accepting an offer from Aulric Goldfinger (who fans of the classic Sean Connery Bond films will remember as the “man with the Midas touch.”), he is given a new mechanical golden eye (hence the codename) and has fallen into the dark side.


Never mind the chivalry and dashing heroics of James Bond.  This is not about safeguarding the planet from evildoers or rescuing gorgeous ladies--although our boy GoldenEye certainly keeps himself in the company of lovely ladies like pilot Pussy Galore (another classic Bond character) and the psychotic Xenia Onatopp (from the original GoldenEye starring Pierce Brosnan)--from the clutches of some rich madman.  It’s all about revenge and it seems that Goldfinger is also on bad terms with Dr. No.  Goldfinger associate Scaramanga has constructed an eye for the rogue agent that is capable of performing interesting technological feats and thus makes you the perfect instrument of destruction.  GoldenEye is the sort of fellow that isn’t afraid to do what it takes to get the job done from the start of the game when you’re encouraged to grab a stunned enemy and toss him out a window.



You’ll quickly come to notice that the rogue agent is not afraid to mix and match weapons he is able to wield with a single hand.  He can fire a desert eagle-styled pistol in the left hand while firing a submachine gun with the right.  He can stun a bad guy by pistol whipping him and then use the poor soul as a human shield before tossing him out a rooftop or into a vat of chemicals.  Your mechanical golden eye is often upgraded but you only get four different abilities.  MRI Vision allows you to see through solid objects while EM Hack allows you to tamper with certain weapons and electronic controls.  Polarity Shield, one of the most useful of the GoldenEye abilities, offers a protective shield while Induction Field allows you to create a field that can throw enemies like rag dolls.  While these abilities sound great, many of them just don’t translate well in action.  This is but the beginning of what’s wrong with this game, but we shall get into its flaws a little later.


As far as first-person shooters are concerned, the controls are decent enough thanks to the fact that you can chose your own control setting from the very start of the game.  You can also duck for cover for when enemy fire becomes too intense and you can always pick up various weapons dead enemies drop.  However, you’re not able to jump so you’re basically stuck either strafing or crouching your way through environmental hazards.  There are armor pick-ups but no med-packs (your health regenerates itself in time much like it does in Halo).  Your choice of arsenal is the best feature in the game, allowing you to mix an assortment of cool weapons (like the Venom gun that shoots a venom dart that stuns enemies).  You’ll even get to fire a rail gun that shoots right through solid material.


Unfortunately, Rogue Agent quickly shows its numerous and quite disastrous faults early in the game.  For starters, while the levels are designed nicely and do touch on the 007 mythology (you’ll encounter the table Bond was tied to when Goldfinger threatened him with a laser), there seldom occurs moments that seem spontaneous or not scripted.  The enemy AI is also quite horrendous.  You’ll find the enemies acting in questionably dumb ways such as ducking for cover behind a cache of explosives or flammable barrels.  At one point when I faced the Chinese Triad in the Hong Kong level, one enemy just ran right past me shooting at nothing.  What genuine moments of great in-your-face action are spoiled by repetitive battles.


It’s great to be rewarded for doing something as simple as locking an enemy into a steam room and raising the temperature to its highest level, but the reward points are only redeemable for unlocking art galleries.  Like 007: Agent Under Fire, the multiplayer modes are fun for a limited time and its ability to go online thanks to Xbox Live support sadly doesn’t change things either.



Rogue Agent is actually a decent-looking game on the Xbox with a few dazzling moments that really stand out from time to time.  The character models are actually pretty nice to look at . . . although the rag doll effects in this game are completely unrealistic.  You’ll see limbs contort in the oddest of positions.  As for the environments, there are some really dull looking corridors in the game but then again there are some striking outdoor settings.  The main characters look accurately like the actors that portrayed each character during the cut scenes so gamers will get quite a kick out of looking at Goldfinger or Pussy Galore.


As for the game’s sound, the soundtrack is pure Bond and would have felt right at home on a 007 game so it’s fitting here.  The voice acting is pretty good, with just a few lines from actress Judi Dench and Christopher Lee reprising his role as evil genius Scaramanga.  However, when it comes to the enemies, they spout some really inane lines.  “He’s using his golden eye!” one enemy would shout while the other would shout “He’s got a longbow!”  The explosions and gunfire sound excellent thank to the THX.


GoldenEye: Rogue Agent has all the makings of a brilliant first-person shooter but sadly enough it’s a flawed experience that doesn’t come close to matching the exceptional NES classic.  With interesting characters and some neatly designed levels, the game’s repetitive action just makes this one a real lackluster experience from start to finish.  If you’re a fan of all things 007, give this one a rental. 


#Review Scoring Details for GoldenEye: Rogue Agent

Gameplay: 6.5
The mix and match of cool weapons is certainly a plus and the controls are just right, but the repetitive action makes for a go-from-point-A-to-point-B-while-shooting-everyone-in-sight type of game.  There’s very little diversity in the game’s action and rewarding players for doing evil deeds is a wonderfully delightful idea but it really does not get you anything in the end.


Graphics: 7.2
Some decent character models and slightly better looking environments make up the game’s graphics.  The visual effects are pretty good but nothing out of the ordinary.  The great part is that all the classic bad guys look strikingly a lot like the actual actors that portrayed them.


Sound: 7.5
Sound-wise, there’s a soundtrack that’s actually pretty good and the voice acting is quite excellent.  While many of the bad guys will spout out many of the same things over and over again, it’s the sound effects that will win you over.


Difficulty: Medium
There are some levels where the enemies might overwhelm you but thanks to the unintelligent AI you’ll be breezing through the game’s levels.


Concept: 7.0
It’s good to be bad, especially if you’re rewarded for tossing bad guys off building or activating some kind of deadly trap.  Fighting alongside the likes of villains like Oddjob and Pussy Galore is a rare treat fans of the Bond series will like.


Multiplayer: 6.0
Up to four players can take on each another in deathmatch (called Showdown here) and team deathmatch-type multiplayer modes.  There’s even Xbox Live multiplayer support for up to eight players, but the multiplayer matches really don’t offer anything exciting beyond Showdown.


Overall: 6.6
The idea of a 00 agent going rogue and teaming up with classic Bond villains sounds delightfully wicked on paper but, unfortunately, GoldenEye: Rogue Agent’s execution leaves much to be desired.  Aside from the number of flaws that are too hard to ignore and its repetitiveness, this one hardly comes close to the outstanding N64 original in terms of level design.  At the most, this is certainly a weekend rental.


Above Average

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