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GoldenEye: Rogue Agent
November 22nd, 2004
GoldenEye: Rogue Agent is a first-person shooter video game developed by EA Los Angeles and published by Electronic Arts. The player takes the role of an ex-MI6 agent, who is recruited by Auric Goldfinger (a member of a powerful unnamed criminal organisation based on Ian Fleming's SPECTRE) to assassinate his rival Dr. No. Several other characters from the Bond series make appearances throughout the game, including Pussy Galore, Oddjob, Xenia Onatopp and Francisco Scaramanga.
Despite its name and overall being part of the James Bond universe, the game has no relation to the 1995 film or the 1997 video game of the same name. In this setting the game's protagonist is given the name 'GoldenEye' after he loses his eye and receives a gold-colored cybernetic replacement. Electronic Arts has listed this particular title along with 007 Racing (2000) as spin-offs that do not make part of the canon they have built with Tomorrow Never Dies (1999).
At the start of the game, a recording by M (head of MI6) reveals that: "Three years ago, while on assignment, the agent was severely wounded in an encounter with Dr. No and subsequently lost the use of his right eye. Consumed with vengeance, he frequently resorts to violence and brutality, and is no longer fit for service with MI6." According to the account, Dr. No shot the agent in his right eye during a mission.
Three years after the incident that claimed the agent's right eye, he is evaluated through a holographic simulation in which he is paired with 007 to stop Auric Goldfinger, a member of a criminal organization, from detonating a suitcase nuke inside Fort Knox. He fails the test and is held directly responsible for the "death" of 007. Charged with "reckless brutality," he is dismissed from MI6. As he leaves the headquarters, he is seen reading an offer by Goldfinger to enlist in his organization.
The agent accepts Goldfinger's offer and is recruited as his enforcer, meeting with him at Auric Enterprises, where Goldfinger's scientists have developed a weapon known as the OMEN (Organic Mass Energy Neutralizer), which releases energy capable of breaking down organic matter on a nearly atomic level, resulting in disintegration. For his job of eliminating Dr. No, a fellow official of the criminal organization who has declared war on Goldfinger's branch of the organization, he is given a gold-hued cybernetic eye created by Francisco Scaramanga, another official of Goldfinger's organization (from which he receives his codename "GoldenEye"). Scaramanga provides upgrades for the eye, starting with MRI vision.
At his first mission at Hong Kong, GoldenEye has to get a sniper rifle to take down Dr. No with the EM hack feature. At the Midas Casino, GoldenEye has to get to the vault to protect the OMEN with the magnetic polarity shield. At the Hoover Dam, GoldenEye has to destroy the dam and kill Xenia Onatopp. GoldenEye also tosses Oddjob over a rail into a pit inside the Hoover Dam after he betrays and attacks GoldenEye for unknown reasons. At The Octopus, GoldenEye has to download the navigation coordinates to Crab Key (Dr. No's base) with the help of the generated force field from his golden eye.
He is eventually sent to Crab Key, where he confronts Dr. No. During their duel, GoldenEye uses his mechanical eye to sabotage the island's nuclear reactor, causing it to electrocute Dr. No. Upon No's death, Goldfinger contacts GoldenEye and informs him that he believes he is too dangerous to be left alive, and that he had contacted GoldenEye earlier and told him to activate a program which would shut down the Lair's defense grid. Goldfinger reveals that he is intent on taking over the Lair, and leaves GoldenEye to die in the impending nuclear meltdown. GoldenEye, however, manages to escape in Dr. No's osprey before the reactor overloads and the island is destroyed in a large explosion. GoldenEye returns to the Lair intent on confronting Goldfinger. Pussy Galore rendezvous with GoldenEye and informs him that Goldfinger has used the OMEN to wipe out most of the Lair's guards, and taken control of it. Scaramanga provides the mechanical eye with a computer virus that he can use to overload the OMEN.
GoldenEye fights his way through the Lair, implanting the computer virus in the process, eventually reaching Goldfinger and the OMEN. Goldfinger traps GoldenEye inside a chamber that he claims will soon be devoid of oxygen. The computer virus then activates the OMEN, causing it to explode in a burst of energy, killing Goldfinger and his troops. GoldenEye and Galore leave the Lair aboard Galore's chopper, and Scaramanga and Number One (Ernst Stavro Blofeld) later discuss what to do with GoldenEye and decide to simply see what he does next before proceeding.
GoldenEye: A fearsome man who was used to be in service with the MI6, fired for his reckless brutality and recruited into world's most powerful terrorist organization under the employment of Auric Goldfinger. Shot in the right eye by Dr. No but merely survived during an assignment that went awry in the past, he was given a new gold-hued cybernetic eye, from which he gained his nickname, "GoldenEye". Even though he is the protagonist of the game, he is rarely seen and was never able to speak.
Auric Goldfinger: A very mysterious man who has his own firm called "Auric Enterprises", expresses an obsession with gold and wealth, and is determined to take down Dr. No, and be the sole dominant operative in the organization he works for. He is modeled after Gert Fröbe but voiced by Enn Reitel.
Dr. No: A high-ranking officer in the world's most powerful terrorist organization, who went freelance, seeking world domination for his own, therefore setting up his evil schemes on his own personal island, Crab Key. He is modeled after Joseph Wiseman and was voiced by Carlos Alazraqui in the game.
Ernst Stavro Blofeld: The head of the terrorist organization, whose face is never seen on the screen, and simply called "Number One" by others in the game; a reference to his second-in-command Emillio Largo / Number Two from the films. Official footage of character renders released by Electronic Arts feature him holding his Persian Cat, with the likeness of Donald Pleasence. He was voiced by Gideon Emery.
M: The head of the MI6 is a woman who has been a veteran in the business of espionage after the cold war. She dismissed GoldenEye from duty for his "unwarranted brutality," revealing that "there is no place in the service for an agent like him". She was modeled after and was voiced by Judi Dench.
Francisco Scaramanga: He is in charge of the operations and technological division within the terrorist organization, and is often seen mentoring GoldenEye through an earpiece. He is modeled after and was voiced by Christopher Lee.
Pussy Galore: Pussy is Goldfinger's personal pilot, who appears to be helping GoldenEye in his mission to take down his employer's chaotic plot. She is modeled after Honor Blackman but voiced by Jeannie Elias.
Xenia Onatopp: A deadly assassin and a femme fatale, who used to work for Janus Enterprises, sent to specifically eliminate GoldenEye. Her likeness is based on that of Famke Janssen's and was voiced by Jenya Lano.
Oddjob: Goldfinger's right-hand man, a martial arts master who is also very deadly with his razor-sharp bowler hat, as well. He is the second character next to GoldenEye to have never seen to speak at all. He is modeled after Harold Sakata.
007: An agent of the MI6 within the Double-O Division, who was tasked with re-evaluating GoldenEye, but lost hope when the latter has proven to be a loose cannon, therefore failing the test. Agent 007 is rarely seen in the game or heard of. He is modeled after and was voiced by Jason Carter.
The game plays like any traditional first-person shooter, where many different tactical options are available to the player to tackle each situation. Throughout each level are different traps that the player can exploit to neutralize a multitude of unsuspecting enemies (such as electrocuting the floor, locking enemies in a dangerously hot sauna, freezing enemies to death in a cryogenic capsule, etc.). The control style is designed as though the player has three in-game "hands" that work independently; the player may use either hand and GoldenEye's cybernetic eye in tandem with each other to perform different actions.
- One-handed weapons include pistols, light machine-guns and light shotguns. These weapons may be equipped in both hands simultaneously.
- The default weapon in the player's right hand is a standard pistol with a low firing speed and infinite ammo.
- If a second weapon is not equipped in the left hand, pulling the left trigger throws a grenade.
- The player may bash an incoming enemy with his fist until he is dazed, then grab the enemy and use him as a human shield. This can also be done with NPC allies (Note: enemies are liable to do this as well with their own allies).
- Two-handed weapons include rifles, rocket launchers, and heavy machine guns. Some of these have an aiming ability that can be used by pulling the left trigger (Note: heavy weapons such as the Predator and the Harpoon RL have no functions with the left trigger).
- A one-handed weapon can be held in each hand at once, although firing both at the same time decreases accuracy quickly.
- Reloading while holding two weapons takes longer, so it is advisable to fire one weapon until it needs to be reloaded, then fire the other while the former reloads and repeat.
- The player can bash an incoming enemy with the butt of his gun, or while holding two weapons without dropping one. However, if the player takes an enemy hostage, he drops any weapon in his left hand and any two-handed weapon he is carrying.
- GoldenEye powers include MRI Vision (to see enemies through walls), EM Hack (to activate traps or disable an enemy's weapon remotely), Magnetic Polarity Shield (to significantly protect from damage), and Magnetic Induction Field (to pick enemies up and toss them around).
- The GoldenEye can be used independently from the other two hands.
- Using any GoldenEye powers depletes its energy, which recharges slowly and must be used sparingly. Some powers use up more energy, and faster, than others.
- Health and armor are indicated by two curved bars on the side of the screen, similar to the N64's GoldenEye. Health regenerates over time, and armor pickups can be obtained to supplement the player's health.
- Towards the bottom of the screen is the GoldenEye powers indicator. As the game progresses the player acquires more powers to choose from using the directional pad. The number in the center indicates how much energy is available to use powers.
- Ammo counters on the left and right corners of the screen indicate ammo for the respective weapons in those hands. If a second weapon is not equipped, the left corner indicates the player's grenades, or whatever second function is available for the equipped weapon.
The game received mixed reviews. Reviewers criticized the game's lack of innovation and personality, despite its unique premise, and considered the gameplay to be mediocre. Several reviewers also disliked its departure from James Bond canon in its introduction and killing off of characters. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the GameCube version 64.25% and 60/100, the Xbox version 63.64% and 61/100, the PlayStation 2 version 59.01% and 60/100 and the Nintendo DS version 57.57% and 58/100. Many consider the GoldenEye title to have been tacked on as an attempt to ride on the success of the Nintendo 64 game. Aside from Xenia's appearance, the Uplink multiplayer level, and the fact that both involve a good agent going bad (although in the case of the original, not the protagonist), it has nothing to do with either the film or the game. The game was, however, noted for showcasing certain levels and multiplayer maps based on locations from the Bond movies, such as Fort Knox from Goldfinger, the space shuttle base from Moonraker, and Scaramanga's hideout from The Man with the Golden Gun.
- Protagonist GoldenEye's real name is Jonathan Hunter.
- Interestingly, despite its unrelation to the film or game, the protagonist's scarred appearance considerably resembles Sean Bean's portrayal of rogue agent, Alec Trevelyan.
- A unique animation plays when GoldenEye equips two Jackal .357s and reloads them at the same time, where he slaps the bottoms of the handguns together to load their magazines. This does not happen when equipped with other handguns, for example a Jackal .357 in one hand and the Spec-9 in the other. Trivial, but neat to look at.
- Despite the Spec-9 being the standard weapon of GoldenEye, on the box cover he appears to be holding a Jackal .357 with the SPECTRE logo engraved on the slide.
GoldenEye: Rogue Agent's multiplayer is separated into three modes of play: Local, System Link and Online. The Xbox and PS2 versions feature online play with up to 8 players. In addition to Xbox Live capabilities, the Xbox version also offers System Link to connect two consoles for 8-person multiplayer via local area network. All versions feature 4-person local multiplayer (provided PS2 players have a Multi-tap). Unsurprisingly, the GameCube version has no online capabilities. As of November 26, 2006, online multiplayer has been shut down.