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T (Teen)



Q4 2004


- Traps and super powers make for some interesting multiplayer matches
- Some levels modeled after locations from old Bond films
- Dual wielding weapons



- Monstrously boring levels
- Bland, lifeless graphics
- Forgettable music



Review: GoldenEye - Rogue Agent (XB)

Review: GoldenEye - Rogue Agent (GC)

Review: TimeSplitters 2 (PS2)



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GoldenEye: Rogue Agent

Score: 5.1 / 10


Ever since Electronic Arts grabbed the James Bond license from Nintendo, they've been playing a fair bit of dirty pool. They've been cranking out shooter after shooter, hoping to ride on the coattails of Goldeneye, the first great console FPS. Despite the fact that Rare, the original development team, was not involved, people have bought titles like Nightfire and Agent Under Fire in droves. This time, they've pulled out all the stops and have brought back the Goldeneye name to trick poor consumers once again.  The thing is, Goldeneye came out in 1998. Since then, most of the world has moved onto Halo, leaving their N64s and its funky controller in their dusty closets.


goldeneye rogue agent review          goldeneye rogue agent review

This Goldeneye has absolutely nothing to do with the movie of the same name. Instead, the Goldeneye refers to electronic eyeball of your character. As the title explains, you are a rogue agent. During a simulation, you allow James Bond to be killed, and are therefore unfit for duty in MI6. That makes it sound more like you are flat out incompetent, as opposed to evil, but whatever. You take your revenge by joining Auric Goldfinger and his legion of villains. A skirmish with Dr. No leaves you without an eye, but you are granted a super eyeball with super powers, which is about as super as it sounds. Becoming a Bond villain is an incredibly cool concept, but the developers refused to go anywhere with it. Your character has no personality, and doesn't really do anything evil - he just runs around levels and shoots bad guys, like any other FPS hero. It feels more like you're a super villain's disposable, low wage lackey.

On the other hand, the powers of the Goldeneye are one of the few interesting things this game has going for it. You can use it to see through walls, send out EMP charges to disable enemy weapons, or emanate psychic blasts that cause bad guys to freeze in their tracks.
Some are more useful than others, but at least it makes the game stand out a little. There are other "evil" things you can do, like taking bad guys hostage and using them as bullet shields, but they don't really add much to the game.

Other than that, Rogue Agent is your standard post-Halo console FPS. The shield works the same way, and you are constantly juggling guns stolen from slain foes. R1 fires your gun and L1 tosses grenades, or you can independently wield weapons in both of your hands. The control feels just a bit off, especially the slight lag between the time you pull the trigger and
the time your gun actually fires.


The rest of the game is so generic, it's painful. Almost all of the textures are sparsely detailed, tiled monotonously throughout each huge, boring level. I don't know whether it was intentionally designed to make the game feel more "old school", but it evokes more apathetic yawns than teary-eyed nostalgia. The designers must have been fans of The Library from Halo, because every stage evokes that same sort of repetitive dread. A few of them are modeled after locations from classic Bond movies, like the Golden Gate bridge from Life and Let Die. This is some nice fan service to Bond fans, but a couple of clever nods don't forgive the dullness of the rest of the game. Appropriately bland techno by Paul Oakenfeld accompanies the action, making you pine the days of Rare's amazing sound time and their remixed Bond renditions.




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Speaking of its predecessor, remember how the N64 Goldeneye had multiple objectives, which changed depending on your difficulty level? Well, that's nowhere to be found. You pretty much just run forward, although a handy compass will politely point you towards your eventual goal. Remember when you occasionally had to be stealthy to avoid setting off alarms? You no longer need to worry about that - it's all run and gun. Practically everything that made the N64 Goldeneye worthwhile has been completely ignored.



The only part of the legacy that isn't completely tarnished is the multiplayer mode. The simplistic levels work well for deathmatches, and the eye powers at least provide something different from the norm. The other amusing feature are the traps - you can activate weapons or open up trapdoors by hitting switches stationed throughout the level. While these are mostly useless in the single player, it is pretty fun to lure your opponents towards you, only to open the floor beneath them and watch as they fall helplessly into the void.


goldeneye rogue agent review          goldeneye rogue agent review


I'd go so far as to say the single player mode is almost entirely worthless - the multiplayer is the only reasonable part of Goldeneye: Rogue Agent. If you really want to relive memories of the past, here's what to do: drag your N64 out and play Goldeneye again. Sure, the graphics are blurry, the frame rate is erratic and the controls are terribly awkward compared to today's dual analog setup. But the levels are so much better designed that, even its old age, is a far better game than Rogue Agent. Gamers looking for similar gameplay would be much wiser to grab Timesplitters 2, or the upcoming Timesplitters Future Perfect - - Rogue Agent just can't stand up.


- Kurt Kalata

(February 13, 2005)

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