A few months back, Goldeneye: Rogue Agent was released on all three major consoles. While a second coming of the N64 classic was expected, it fell notably short in almost every field wherein the original thrived. Many viewed Rogue Agent as the third mediocre FPS spat out by EA to cash in on the Bond franchise, not unlike Agent Under Fire and Nightfire. In what seemed like an attempt to fully saturate the gaming world with their half-baked game, they released a DS knockoff. Surprisingly, though, it isn?t the train-wreck, cash-in game it could have been.
The story would annoy any Bond fanatic. It is best summarized as a hodgepodge of random characters, from Dr. No to Goldeneye, all attempting to kill each other, resulting in nothing more than a ball of cameos. The protagonist is a nameless MI6 outcast, codenamed Goldeneye, who has recently been thrown out of M?s loving troupe under allegations of excessive brutality. While searching through the classified ads, he gets an offer from Auric Goldfinger, the villain from the movie Goldfinger. As it turns out, he is smack-dab in the middle of a turf war with Dr. No, the villain from the movie Dr. No (they weren?t good with titles back then), and needs some fresh blood to strengthen his ranks. So under Goldfinger?s employ, Goldeneye is sent off on various missions to push back Dr. No?s legions of soldiers.
The game?s interchangeable controls are identical to the Metroid Prime Demo, bundled with early DS models. The numerous options are all essentially a choice of whether the movement and aiming is assigned to the control pad, the A/B/X/Y buttons, or the touch screen. Each has their own advantages, whether it is ease-of-movement or increased accuracy, so it is really up to the player which is best. Rogue Agent?s shooting setup is strikingly similar to Halo 2?s dual wielding, allowing a single-handed gun (pistols, SMGs) to be equipped to either hand, or heavier artillery (assault rifles, rocket launchers) to be held in both hands, which are fired by the corresponding shoulder button. The arsenal is somewhat limited, especially when compared to higher-end FPSs on consoles. To make matters worse, if a two-handed weapon is equipped, it dramatically slows down movement, making combat feel tedious at certain points of the game. There are some interesting elements to the gameplay, like unlockable features for Goldeneye?s golden eye, allowing infrared vision and instant kills as well as others.
There is also the hostage feature, where you can club an enemy over the head, put him in a headlock and block bullets with him as his comrades mercilessly pump him full of lead. However, this is flawed at best. Enemy AI is simultaneously spectacular and idiotic. Enemies are knowledgeable enough to take cover, move while shooting and even set off traps built into each level. However, they are too stupid to stop mid-way. Enemies will walk in place, shooting at a uniform spot, even if Goldeneye is clear from the fire. They will dash over to a switch to send a mine car at you, breaking you into little chunks of Englishman, but won?t be able to stop, even after moving out of the area, and shooting them twice. The list goes on with the switches from brilliance to failure. Levels are long, simplistic and often boring. For the most part, the game consists of the simple ?walk through door, shoot everyone, repeat? scheme trademarked by lesser shooters, with an occasional game of Simon thrown in (seriously). Checkpoints are almost randomly inserted, which don?t allow shutting off and returning, which should?ve been available, considering the length of the missions and frustration perpetually building throughout the game, which can only be shed with Kirby: Canvas Curse. Don?t worry, though, the single player game is pretty much cripplingly short.
Then why did the gameplay and value get a palatable seven of ten, even after all these faults were specified? Despite the numerous shortcomings throughout the game, and the extent of its borderline copyright infringement, it still offers a mindlessly fun experience that will keep a patient gamer returning. Mainly through its primo multiplayer. Single-cartridge multiplayer allows anyone with a DS, and a DS-owning friend, to blast one another in what might be the DS? best multiplayer game yet. There are several interesting unlockable skins of Bond favorites who appear in the game like Francisco Scaramanga (The Man with the Golden Gun) and Xenia Onatopp (Goldeneye), among the numerous in-game soldiers, so looks aren?t something to be particularly worrisome about.
The graphics are pretty sleek. Though the enemy skins are limited, they are very nicely detailed. The levels look pretty nice, despite how obviously cookie-cutter they are. The sound is thoroughly disappointing. The music is the same five notes played over and over and over and etc. This will more-than-likely push anyone into turning off the sound on their DS. The near-death beeping is enough to drive somebody insane within minutes. As said, the DS?s volume will likely be off the majority of playtime.
Goldeneye: Rogue Agent is pretty mediocre as far as shooters go. While normally, this game wouldn?t be anything of particular interest, on an action-starved, multiplayer-deprived handheld, for some this may just be worth buying for anyone who is somewhat interested. If there are several people available with a DS, then this is bordering on must-buy. For everyone else, whether or not to buy this is a matter of desperation. Plus, it must be taken into consideration that this is the DS?s first FPS.