“GoldenEye 007” for the Wii: milking our childhoods, or improving game history?

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Game nerds my age all remember the game “GoldenEye 007” with fond memories. For me personally, “GoldenEye” was the reason I bought a Nintendo 64, and that was how I became a gamer at all (my early days of button-mashing on the NES don’t really count).

Snazzy, but will people really get what this is?

Now, with the popularity of remaking TV shows as films, remaking films as films, and so forth, Nintendo has decided to take that (now) classic James Bond game from 1997, and kick it up a notch, as a chef might say.

November, 2010 brings us “GoldenEye 007” for the Wii, and I have to wonder, is this a good thing that I should look forward to, or a cheap marketing tactic that I should abhor?

PROS

1.) Better graphics

The original had amazing graphics for the time. Go back and play it now, and the only things that doesn’t hold up are the character faces, the somewhat bland environments, and the physics. In other words, the only major improvement you can make to the big brother of “Modern Warfare” is to update the visual aspects.

While the Wii is not a graphics powerhouse, it isn’t 64-bit either. In the footage from E3, Bond looks like a well-animated version of the actor. Characters move realistically, and the weapons all look like real weapons (the cute little PP7 has been switched to the real-world Walther P99 that Bond carries). Taking a great game and giving it better graphics is a good thing. This is not an issue for me at all.

2.) A more adult game for the Wii

Oh, boy! You see, I’m not a big devotee to Nintendo classics like Chris clearly is (Mario retrospectives, you say? Collect every Pokemon, indeed?). I love those games, but I’m a cinematic kind of guy. I want a game that takes a great movie premise and makes me the star.

This is Nintendo’s big chance to say, “Hold on. We can do an FPS without a terrible port, and it isn’t even a wacky Japanese experiment for motion control!” This could help them capture that elusive crowd of adults who want to shoot something realistically.

3.) Fan service

I’m a big fan of James Bond, and I’m a big fan of the original game. I’m sure that millions of other gamers are right next to me on that. We haven’t had a great Bond game since the original “GoldenEye” (“Nightfire” was okay, but EA should really stick to sports), and this game’s very existence brings back so many great moments for us. Remember the first time you saw that dopey guard standing in the toilet stall? You’ll see him here! That’s great fun.

Some parts of the classics, regardless of better taste, are just fabulous.

CONS

1.) Rehash syndrome

I’m never a fan of trotting out the same product again and again. That’s why I don’t own multiple DVD editions of the same movie, and that’s certainly why I don’t play many “Halo” games. And I can’t help but feel that this new “GoldenEye” might be yesterday’s meatloaf. Even if the meatloaf was really good when it was fresh, that doesn’t mean it should be served to dear friends another time.

Nintendo is taking a big risk by altering their best-loved games for the next year or two. “GoldenEye,” “Starfox 64,” and “Ocarina of Time” were all being paraded around at E3. Either they just want to come back to our childhoods for fun, or they just hired a crop of developers who haven’t owned a system since the N64 (and probably played it during finals weeks in college).

I guess I’m just weary because the remakes of old “Resident Evil” games, “Prince of Persia,” and especially “Doom” and “Wolfenstein” have been so pointless over the last few years.

2.) Confusing for newcomers

This is a business problem. Yes, fans of the original may jump for joy, but think of the children! (Okay, that is the last time I use that phrase, ever) Some gamers now, who weren’t old enough to pronounce “Nintendo” in 1997, will tilt their heads at this.

It’s called “GoldenEye,” and that was a movie starring Pierce Brosnan as James Bond. This new game stars Daniel Craig as Bond, and the last time we saw a game called “GoldenEye,” it was that dodgy Rogue Agent game that everyone laughed at. To make matters worse, the story has been changed up so that it fits Craig’s take on Bond. This probably means no more flashbacks to the Soviet Union, and less emphasis on minimizing civilian casualties. All of this just may bite the marketing team on the bum in a few months.

3.) Control system?

The footage from the game raises a big question about how we will control Mr. Bond. The moves that he makes seem very precise and sophisticated (then again, those might have just been cutscenes), and the Wii is not known for being FPS-friendly. Back in ’97, the N64 had the appropriate controls for this game: a control stick for movement, a trigger for firing, and distinct different buttons for actions and weapon changes. The only thing that didn’t work great was the manual aim.

What will we get here? Motion control probably won’t be a factor, and the Nunchuk will be used heavily, I’m betting. Just in case the Wiimote/Nunchuk scheme sucks, the classic controller or Gamecube controller can be used. That doesn’t inspire much confidence, but it does cover possible complaints.

I mean, it looks alright, but who's the game really for? Honestly? Also, Bond totally looks like Elijah Wood in this shot.

Some Final Thoughts

So, will this game be another footnote in video game history, under the header “Total Blunders and Insults”? Or will it inspire me to buy a Wii, and poetically continue the legacy of the original? I doubt it will be cringe-worthy. If it turns out to be pants, I’m sure we will all forget it quickly. If it blows up and becomes the next great thing for Nintendo, I won’t complain (I’m sure other people will fire off hate-missiles at it, though). I guess we all have to wait for the exciting conclusion. “GoldenEye 007” for the Wii comes out November 2, 2010.

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