Codex Gamicus

GoldenEye 007 was a revolutionary first-person shooter by the then Nintendo 2nd party developer, Rareware. The game had a huge critical and commercial success that was not duplicated until Halo in the next generation. It is often considered one of the only games of quality that is based on a feature film.

The game is hailed for it's stellar shooting action, smooth control, and expansive multiplayer options. The multiplayer mode could be played with up to four players in split-screen, using many different weapons and weapon sets in well designed maps. The maps featured hallways perfect for setting traps, vents to hide in, and other designs that are now popular mainstays in the FPS genre. There were even toilets.

The weapons were also diverse, featuring laser guns, several types of mines, and the elusive one-hit-kill Golden Gun. It is believed the zoomable sniper rifle was one of the contributions the game has made to the genre.


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The game starts out with Bond infiltrating a dam somewhere in Arkhangelsk, Russia. After disabling the security personnel around the area, he bungee jumps off one of the platforms and ends up somewhere in the chemical facility. Eventually, Bond meets up with Alec Trevelyn, codename 006 and become surrounded by General Ourumov Arkady and his soldiers. Trevelyn tells Bond to "finish the job". Trevelyn is shot and killed as Bond makes his way out to the runway connected to the chemical facility. He steals the ignition key from a nearby building and escapes in an abandoned plane.

Bond appears in a snow-covered area, where he has to power down the communications dish and find the entrance to the bunker, in which he infiltrates and gathers information on an object called the "GoldenEye" satellite and ends up escaping. He then finds himself infiltrating a nearby missile silo filled with non-combat scientists guarding and maintain a space satellite, and eventually finds Ourumov with a briefcase and flees the scene: Bond's chase ends up spreading to the Monte Carlo frigate in attempts to place a tracker on a helicopter.


Players take control of James Bond and travel through the various levels, using weapons and gadgets to kill enemies, destroy equipment, and steal data. Before every level, a debriefing screen appears giving valuable information on what Bond needs to do. Each level has four difficulty settings to choose from, which can only be unlocked by completing previous difficulties.


GoldenEye 007 is a first-person shooter video game developed by Rare and based on the 1995 James Bond film GoldenEye. It was exclusively released for the Nintendo 64 video game console on 25 August 1997. The game features a single-player campaign in which players assume the role of British Secret Intelligence Service agent James Bond as he fights to prevent a criminal syndicate from using a satellite weapon against London to cause a global financial meltdown. The game also includes a split-screen multiplayer mode in which two, three or four players can compete in different types of deathmatch games.

GoldenEye 007 was originally conceived as an on-rails shooter inspired by Sega's Virtua Cop, before being redesigned as a free-roaming shooter. The game received highly positive reviews from the gaming media and sold over eight million copies worldwide, making it the third-best-selling Nintendo 64 game. GoldenEye 007 is considered an important game in the history of first-person shooters for demonstrating the viability of game consoles as platforms for the genre, and for signalling a transition from the then-standard Doom-like approach to a more realistic style. It pioneered features that have since become common in first-person shooters, such as varied mission objectives, a zoomable sniper rifle, stealth elements, and a console multiplayer deathmatch mode.

GoldenEye 007 was followed by a spiritual successor, Perfect Dark, also developed by Rare for the Nintendo 64. A reimagining of the game, also titled GoldenEye 007, was published by Activision and released for the Wii and Nintendo DS in 2010, and later re-released as GoldenEye 007: Reloaded for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 the following year.


  • At one point in the development, the game existed as a rail shooter.
  • The infamous 4-player split screen multiplayer mode was not added until very late in the development cycle.


GoldenEye 007 was developed by an inexperienced team; eight of its nine developers had never previously worked on video games.[1][2] David Doak commented in 2004, "Looking back, there are things I'd be wary of attempting now, but as none of the people working on the code, graphics, and game design had worked on a game before, there was this joyful naïveté."[3] Due to the success of Donkey Kong Country, GoldenEye 007 was originally suggested as a 2D side-scrolling platformer for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System,[1] but Martin Hollis, the director and producer of the game, proposed "a 3D shooting game" for Nintendo's in-development "Ultra 64" console.[2]

The intention for the first few months of development was for the game to be an on-rails shooter similar to Sega's light gun game Virtua Cop;[2] GoldenEye's gas plant location was modelled by Karl Hilton with a predetermined path in mind.[1] Although GoldenEye is controlled with a pad rather than a light gun, Hollis credited Virtua Cop as an influence on the developers' adoption of features such as gun reloading, position-dependent hit reaction animations, penalties for killing innocent characters, and an alternate aiming system that is activated upon pressing the R button of the Nintendo 64 controller.[2] In addition to Virtua Cop, Namco's light-gun shooter Time Crisis has also been cited as an influence on the game. [1]

The development team visited the studios of the GoldenEye film to collect photographs and blueprints of the sets used in the movie.[1][4] Silicon Graphics Onyx workstations and Nintendo's NINGEN development software were used to create the geometry for virtual environments based on this reference material.[2][4] However, many of the missions were extended or modified to allow the player to participate in sequences which the film's James Bond did not.[2] Hilton explained, "We tried to stick to [the reference material] for authenticity but we weren't afraid of adding to it to help the game design. It was very organic."[1] Initially, the designers' priority was purely on the creation of interesting spaces; level design and balance considerations such as the placement of start and exit points, characters and objectives did not begin until this process was complete.[2] According to Martin Hollis, "The benefit of this sloppy unplanned approach was that many of the levels in the game have a realistic and non-linear feel. There are rooms with no direct relevance to the level. There are multiple routes across the level."[2] Hollis also noted that the concept of several varied objectives within each mission was inspired by the multiple tasks in each stage of Super Mario 64,[2] a game whose 3D collision detection system was also influential for Hollis.[1]

Final N64 specifications and development workstations were not initially available to Rare: a modified Sega Saturn controller was used for some early playtesting,[1] and the developers had to estimate what the finalised console's capabilities would be. The final Nintendo 64 hardware could render polygons faster than the SGI Onyx workstations they had been using,[2] but the game's textures had to be cut down by half.[1] Karl Hilton explained one method of improving the game's performance: "A lot of GoldenEye is in black and white. RGB colour textures cost a lot more in terms of processing power. You could do double the resolution if you used greyscale, so a lot was done like that. If I needed a bit of colour, I'd add it in the vertex."[1] At one time, developers planned to implement the reloading of the weapons by the player unplugging and re-inserting the Rumble Pak on the Nintendo 64 controller, though this idea was discarded at Nintendo's behest.[1]

GoldenEye 007 introduced stealth elements not seen in previous FPS games.[1] David Doak, one of the game's programmers, explained how this was implemented: "Whenever you fired a gun, it had a radius test and alerted the non-player characters within that radius. If you fired the same gun again within a certain amount of time, it did a larger radius test and I think there was a third even larger radius after that. It meant if you found one guy and shot him in the head and then didn’t fire again, the timer would reset."[1]

Rather than trying to release the game in tandem with the movie, the Stamper brothers made sure to give the team as much time as they needed.[1] It was developed through two and a half years, the first year of which was spent developing the engine and producing art assets.[2] The game's multiplayer mode was added late in the development process; Martin Hollis described it as "a complete afterthought". According to David Doak, the majority of the work on the multiplayer mode was done by Steve Ellis, who "sat in a room with all the code written for a single-player game and turned GoldenEye into a multiplayer game."[5] The game was released on 25 August 1997, nearly two years after the film. The game's cartridge size was 96 Mb (12 MB).[6] In addition to the Nintendo 64 game, a racing version was in development for the Virtual Boy, but was eventually cancelled before release.[7]


Although Rare did not hold the license to the Bond series after this game (EA took over from there), Rare produced Perfect Dark as a spiritual successor to GoldenEye instead. EA made more James Bond FPS games, but not until GoldenEye: Rogue Agent did they try to cash in on the GoldenEye name and reputation.

The team behind GoldenEye split up into several different groups. Most of them have created their own team, Free Radical, which developed the extremely similar TimeSplitters and TimeSplitters 2. It can be believed that the TimeSplitters games are also spiritual successors to GoldenEye.

GoldenEye 007 was remade for the Wii in 2010. Goldeneye 007 was also remade for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, being released under the title Goldeneye 007: Reloaded. It offers various features such as online multiplayer and the ability to collect achievements and trophies, respectively.


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Paul Drury (15 May 2011). The Making of Goldeneye. NowGamer. Archived from the original on 2 April 2012 Retrieved on 26 August 2011
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Martin Hollis (2 September 2004). The Making of GoldenEye 007. Zoonami. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011 Retrieved on 22 December 2011
  3. "Desert Island Disks: David Doak". Retro Gamer (6): 41–45. July 2004. ISSN 1742-3155. Archived from the original on 7 September 2005. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 GoldenEye 007 Development. Nintendo (24 February 1998). Archived from the original on 24 February 1998 Retrieved on 26 August 2011
  5. "Desert Island Disks: David Doak". Retro Gamer (6): 41–45. July 2004. ISSN 1742-3155. Archived from the original on 7 September 2005. 
  6. N64 Goldeneye 007 Retro Review. Casually Hardcore (15 April 2011). Archived from the original on 31 March 2012 Retrieved on 31 August 2011
  7. GoldenEye 007. GT Anthology. GameTrailers (11 July 2009). Retrieved on 7 May 2011

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