GoldenEye 007 for the Nintendo 64 was the game that introduced non-PC gamers to the joy of multi-player shooters. Fast-paced, elegant, and packed with quirky game modifiers, the game has endured as an unimpeachable classic. Naturally, rather than being re-released, it has been “reimagined” as GoldenEye 007 for the Wii. Even though it chases standards rather than setting them, the game can safely be called the console’s finest shooter.
The likeness of Pierce Brosnan has been replaced with that of Daniel Craig, but the new version looks a lot like the 1997 game. The action opens at the Arkhangelsk dam that is one of gaming's most iconic locations, though the game’s stages are new levels that are, at most, inspired by designs from the original. After a brief introduction to the shooting/stealth combo that was crucial to GoldenEye ’97, players are thrust into a railed shooting gallery that isn’t at all a callback to the film that gave this game its name.
The core directive behind this version of GoldenEye seems to have been to retain as many qualities as possible from the original while importing as many qualities as possible from Call Of Duty. So Bond occasionally whips out a smartphone to accomplish objectives. There are brief railed segments, and a dynamic health system. But the game also has better AI, an updated weapons suite, and online multiplayer that borrows COD’s structure with experience points awarded to unlock new weapons. The fusion doesn't always feel like GoldenEye, but it plays well, and that’s more important.
The levels aren’t as cleverly designed as the 1997 map pack, but they are servicable, and with the difficulty set to remove the dynamic health system, distinctly challenging. In perhaps the smartest nod to the original, upping the difficulty also adds many more objectives to each level, requiring Bond to cover a lot more ground.
Control can be an issue. A Wii-mote/nunchuk combo will get you through the game, but waggling the remote isn’t an elegant way to aim a sniper rifle. The Classic Controller Pro or a Gamecube controller are much better options. With one of those in hand and a few people playing a local split-screen match, the charm of GoldenEye—if not the precise character—can live once more.